HUNTSVILLE – It’s one of the last chances to hear the clickety-clack of an Ontario Northland train on the track.
Lucille Frith, president of the Huntsville Train Station Society and co-chair of the Committee Promoting Muskoka Rail Travel, said she and others are organizing a group ride on the Ontario Northland passenger train for Monday, Sept. 17.
“For the sake of train enthusiasts, we’ve decided we’re going to do a quick jaunt,” said Frith.
The journey will start in Huntsville by catching the 11:30 a.m. northbound train, travelling an hour to South River, disembarking for a few hours and then returning on the southbound train. The group should return to Huntsville by 3:30 p.m. that day.
Participants are expected to come from Bracebridge as well.
“If we get 50 people, we’ll get Ontario Northland to put another car on, or save a car, because it would be kind of fun to have everyone together,” said Frith. “And I’m also going to see about snacks for when we get up there.”
She said the point of the journey is to take a nostalgic trip on the publicly funded Northlander before the provincial government shuts it down on Sept. 28. The province is in the process of divesting itself of Ontario Northland Transportation Commission communication and rail assets. It will cease operation of the rail service and sell the asset later.
Frith said the ride would be done both as a farewell to Ontario Northland, but also in anticipation of a new service provider reviving rail service to the north in future.
“This last ride will have to do us until we get the next owner of the passenger train service,” said Frith. “We’ll be on that first train, too.”
Return fares for the upcoming ride are $33 for seniors and students, $39 for adults and $19.55 for children.
Should the northbound train be behind schedule the event may be cancelled due to the relatively short stay in South River before catching the southbound train.
“Anybody who is a train enthusiast and wants to spend an hour going up and an hour coming back with like-minded people can call me,” she said.
Those interested in participating in the ride can contact Frith by calling 705-789-8903 to RSVP.