Your November Stories / Vos histoires de novembre

Photo (Your Stories, Northlander)

HOW HAS THE CANCELLATION OF THE NORTHLANDER TRAIN AFFECTED YOU, PERSONALLY?
Comment l’annulation du Northlander vous a impacté, de façon personnelle?

Name / Nom: Martha Heidenheim
Comments / Commentaires: I live in Hearst and recently retired. Winter driving has become more difficult in the north, the highways are not as well cared for as they were in the past and yes, I am aging.

I have a son in Thunder Bay and friends & family in Southern Ontario. I was looking forward to making use of public transportation during the winter to visit them. Three years ago I used the bus service to meet up with friends in Barrie and travel to Camp Wanakita in Haliburton for a weekend. What a nightmare! The service was sub-standard, slow, terrible hours for connections. I have crossed that adventure off my list.

When my kids were young I used to take the overnight train from Kapuskasing and we would travel in comfort to London! Imagine! Those days are long gone.

I feel isolated an trapped without the choice of public transport in the winter.


Name / Nom: Arlene Johnston
Comments / Commentaires: I am a senior experiencing health issues, which makes it impossible for me to drive all the way to Englehart to see my son and his family. The Northlander would make it possible for me to visit whenever I wish. Even when I could drive, my son did not want me driving up in inclement weather which was almost half the year. Please bring back the Northlander train.


Name / Nom: Russell Nicholls
Comments / Commentaires: I’d like to advise just how the lack of having railway passenger service affects me personally!  I am ninety years old, and lost my lovely wife of sixty five years about 6 months ago. I miss her dearly. I have three daughters, of which two reside here in Huntsville. My third daughter resides in New Liskeard, and would like me to come up to New Lisheard to spend some week-ends with her.

Here’s where the bus situation becomes a problem. It takes me to North Bay, but I have to wait in North Bay for a considerable length of time before I can get another bus on through to New Liskeard. The alternative would be for my daughter/son-in-law to drive down to North Bay to pick me up at the station. If the Ontario Government / Federal Government had any concern for us here in North Eastern Ontario they’d have a through train running from Toronto, to at least, Cochrane. This is very frustrating for me, and it appears that the only way to correct the situation will be in the ballot box.


Name: Lidia Mattucci-Jacobsen
Comment: I live in Huntsville. My husband and I as well as our entire family have used the train regularly for decades commuting to Toronto. We are now approaching retirement and ourselves and large number of our neighbours feel irate that there isn’t a train to Huntsville. This service is extremely important especially as we have a growing population moving north to retire.


Name / Nom: Shirley Gilson
Comments / Commentaires: I used to have take the Northlander regularly for visits to Sick Children’s Hospital and the Hugh Mcmillan Center for Disabled children. As my child grew and his seat inserts got larger, it was harder to lift them. The staff on the Northlander train were very helpful to us and made sure that he was comfortable. We would travel in an enclosed in cabin where my son could lay on the bench seat and I could rest on the other one. It also gave us privacy as he had to have his diaper changed and he was being fed by stomach tube during the last few years.

A server would come to the cabin to see if we wanted to order a sandwich or anything and if I had to use the washroom, she would stay with my son until I got back. This sure relieved a lot of the stress that travelling with disabled children involves. My son passed away in his 18th year so I was spared having to figure out how to get to Toronto without the Northlander. I truly feel sorry for those who have to make that trip in another way.

Please bring back the Northlander so the truly vulnerable have a way of travelling back and forth to medical facilities that we are not privy to up here in Northern Ontario. We have an aging population with many medical issues and families with handicapped children who need the space it offers for comfort and peace of mind. This is a huge issue for us in the North (the forgotten people).


Name / Nom: Mary
Comments / Commentaires: My inlaws lived in a town about 2 hours away. My father in law was having medical issues, while my mother in law was advancing in dementia & unable to care for herself, very dependent and demanding on my father in law. Because of my own medical linitations, I was unable to drive down & back in order to help support both of them.

If the train had still been running, I would have taken the train down and back: The bus is hard for me to tolerate as you don’t have the ability to get up and move around to stretch your legs and body, increasing pain & stiffness. It would have been good for my mother in law to have another familiar face around to talk to and spend time with. My father in law could have gotten a break from the stress & gotten the rest he needed to take better care of himself … AND there would have been moral support for both of them as they were both struggling with the unwanted changes that they were facing. My mother in law needed to be placed in a nursing home, but was on the waiting list for almost 5 months.

It caused me much grief, frustration & sadness that when they were in need of more support & help, I could only give it over the phone instead of being there in person, where I could also have made healthy meals for them, kept up with laundry and basic housekeeping and been much more help in a practical sense. My father in law continued to have more medical issues and died less than a year later!

It’s especially frustrating when I see our tax dollars going to provide transit services in the GTA, while northern Ontario had its train canceled, and bus stations closed with fewer buses running, despite gov’t promises to improve northern transportation plan!

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