Ontario Northland

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USDOT# MC/MX # Full Legal Name
26390 MC-129334 Ontario Northland Transportation Commission


Ontario Northland (often called ONR, however proper rail reporting marks are ONT) is a rail (passenger and freight) and coach service operator based in North Bay, Ontario. They provide service as far south as Toronto and as far north as Moosonee. Ontario Northland services the communities of Moosonee, Moose Factory, Hearst, Kapuskasing, Smooth Rock Falls, Cochrane, Timmins, Iroquois Falls, Matheson, Kirkland Lake, Engleheart, Armstrong, Temiskamming, Cobalt, Haileybury, Temagami, Sudbury, North Bay, Petawawa, Pembroke, Renfrew, Arnprior, Ottawa, Parry Sound, Huntsville, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Orillia, Barrie and Toronto (Yorkdale and Toronto Union terminal).

Recent history

In March 2012 the Ontario government announced the winding down of Ontario Northland in an effort to balance its budget. The government claimed the agency was no longer viable with low passenger numbers and high subsidies.[1] Assets such as Ontera telecommunications and freight operations would be sold off. The first major stage of the shut-down was the discontinuation of The Northlander train, which was replaced with bus service. The last run occurred on September 28, 2012.[2] The government stated it was committed to the continuation of the Polar Bear Express, but intended to tender operations of the bus routes to private companies.[3]

There was much opposition to the plans from both politicians and Northern Ontario residents. A plan to restructure Ontario Northland was eventually negotiated by February 2014. The government announced in April 2014 that the company would remain a crown agency and Ontera telecommunications would be sold to Bell Aliant. They also announced that they would be renewing the rolling stock for the Polar Bear Express.[4] A total of 16 ex-GO Transit Hawker Siddeley Canada single-level cars are being refurbished. The first car to be completed was unveiled in August 2016.

Beginning in September 2015, Greyhound Canada reduced service emanating from Sudbury, which included the Trans Canada, Ottawa, and Toronto services. Ontario Northland introduced service between Sudbury and Ottawa at the start of 2016 to fill the void.[5]

Further expansion occurred in January 2018, with new service to communities west of Sudbury that include Espanola, Sault Ste. Marie, Wawa, and White River. There is an emphasis on transporting people to medical appointments in the larger urban centres.[6] On April 9, 2018, Ontario Northland began serving Manitoulin Island. The service connect 15 communities as well as Sudbury five days per week. Again emphasis was on connecting people with medical facilities.[7]

On February 12, 2020, the Province announced that Ontario Northland would be extending its bus service to Thunder Bay, beginning April 2020. The new route includes stops in Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, and North Bay with connections to Toronto and Ottawa.[8] However, as the COVID-19 Pandemic began to unfold, Ontario Northland started to scale back service and delayed expansion to Thunder Bay.[9] Service between Thunder Bay and White River eventually began on May 17. The following day, service was expanded from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg, with stops in Dryden, Kenora, the Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg and the University of Winnipeg. Kasper Transportation had been offering service from White River to Thunder Bay, and on to Winnipeg via Sioux Lookout until May 2. This service was halted due to a decrease in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.[10]

Routes

Rail

Present

  • The Polar Bear Express - Operated between Cochrane, Ontario and Moosonee/Moose Factory, Ontario

Former

  • The Northlander - Operated between Toronto's Union train station and Cochrane, Ontario.
  • The Little Bear - Operated between Cochrane, Ontario and Moosonee, Ontario.
  • The Dream Catcher Express - Operated between North Bay, Ontario and Temagami, Ontario. The Dream Catcher Express used to operate only six days per year and is operated to give riders a picturesque view of the natural beauty Ontario's Northern community of Temagami has to offer.

Motor Coach

Ontario Northland operates motor coach services from Hearst, Ontario to Toronto, Ontario which services the various northern communities along the way. In May 2020, service was added to Winnipeg, MB.

  • 100/200 : Toronto—Barrie—Bracebridge—Huntsville—North Bay
  • 300/400 : Toronto—Parry Sound—Sudbury
  • 500/600 : Sudbury—Timmins—Cochrane—Hearst
  • 650/660 : Sudbury—North Bay—Petawawa—Ottawa
  • 670/680 : Hearst – Sault Ste. Marie – Sudbury – North Bay – Ottawa
  • 682/683 : Sault Ste. Marie – Thunder Bay
  • 684/685 : Thunder Bay – Winnipeg, MB
  • 695/697 : Sudbury – Manitoulin Island – Sudbury – North Bay
  • 700/800 : North Bay—Matheson—Timmins—Cochrane—Hearst
  • Shuttle : Cochrane—Timmins

[4]

Bus roster

Active

Fleet
number(s)
Thumbnail Year Manufacturer Model Engine Transmission Notes
1308 2019 TEMSA TS 45 Cummins ISX12 Allison B500R
  • Ex-?; acquired circa 2019-2020.
  • Equipped with a wheelchair lift
1901-1906 Ontario Northland 1902-a.jpeg.jpeg 2018 MCI D4505 Cummins ISX12
  • 2019 models.
L1907-L1909 2019 TEMSA TS 35E Cummins L9 Allison B500R
  • Leased during 2019; unknown if still on active roster.
  • 1908 is still active as of August 10, 2020.
  • Non-accessible.
B1910 2019 MCI J3500 Cummins L9 Allison B500R
L1911-L1914 Ontario Northland L1914-a.jpeg.jpeg 2019 TEMSA TS 35E Cummins L9 Allison B500R
1915 Ontario Northland 1915-a.jpeg.jpeg 2019 TEMSA TS 45
2001-2003 Ontario Northland 2003-a.jpeg 2019 TEMSA TS 35E
  • Purchased to inaugurate Thunder Bay-Winnipeg route.
2101-2106 2020 MCI J4500
5211-5215 Ontario Northland 5213-a.jpg 2011 Prevost X3-45 Detroit Diesel Series 60 Allison B500 5214-5215 are retired.
5216-5218 Ontario Northland 5218-a.jpg 2011 Prevost X3-45 Volvo D13 Allison B500
  • 2012 models.
  • 5216 is retired.
5331-5333 Ontario Northland 5333-a.jpg 2013 Prevost X3-45 Volvo D13 Allison B500
  • 2014 models.
5401-5402 Ontario Northland 5401-a.jpg 2014 MCI D4505 Cummins ISX12
  • Retrofitted with LED headlights.
5403-5405 2014 Prevost X3-45 Volvo D13 Allison B500
5501-5503 Ontario Northland 5503-a.jpg 2015 Prevost X3-45 Volvo D13 Allison B500
  • 2016 models.
5601-5603 2016 Prevost X3-45 Volvo D13
B5604-B5609 Ontario Northland B5609-a.jpg 2017 MCI D4505 Cummins ISX12

Retired

Fleet
number(s)
Thumbnail Year Manufacturer Model Engine Transmission Notes
70-72 1946 CC&F IC-41
100 (1) 1953 CC&F CD-36A
100 (2) Renumbered 817
101 1950 CC&F C-36A
  • Ex-Demo; purchased in 1956.
110-114 1975 MCI MC-5B
  • 111-114 renumbered to 751-754.
120 MCI MC-5A
122 5/1965 MCI MCC-5A
123 4/1966 MCI MC-5A
124 1967 Prevost
125 1967 MCI MC-5A
126-127 5/1967 MCI MC-5A
130 1968 MCI MC-5A
132-133 1971 MCI MC-7
134-135 1972 MCI MC-7
136 1973 MCI MC-7
137 1976 MCI MC-8
200-201 1972 MCI MC-7
  • 200 was involved in a major accident on March 18, 1973.[11]
202-203 1/1973 MCI MC-8
204-205 10/1974 MCI MC-8
  • 205 renumbered to 741.
208-210 3/1978 MCI MC-8
  • 209-210 renumbered to 781-782.
211-216 Renumbered 811-816
217-219 Renumbered 821-823
300-303 1973 UTDC/Rek-Vee Club Car Ex-GO Transit 1206, 1211, 1210, 1202; purchased in 1976.
501-503 Renumbered 5991-5993
504 Renumbered 5001
505-506 Renumbered 5011-5012
507 Renumbered 5021
508-510 Renumbered 5031-5033
511-512 Renumbered 5041-5042
741 1974 MCI MC-8
751-754 1975 MCI MC-5B
  • Formerly numbered 111-114.
761-762 1/1976 MCI MC-8
  • Formerly numbered 206-207.
781-782 3/1978 MCI MC-8
  • Formerly numbered 209-210.
811-816 1981 MCI MC-9
  • Formerly numbered 211-216.
817 1981 Dodge B-322
  • Formerly numbered 100 (2).
821-823 6/1982 MCI MC-9 Detroit Diesel 8V71N
  • Formerly numbered 217-219.
824-828 4/1982 MCI MC-9 Detroit Diesel 8V71N
831-835 4/1983 MCI MC-9 Detroit Diesel 8V71N
841 1984 MCI MC-9
843-845 1984 MCI MC-9 Detroit Diesel 8V71N
851-857 Ontario Northland 854-a.jpg 1985 MCI 102-A3 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA
861-862 1986 MCI 102-A3 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA
871-877 1987 MCI 102-A3 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA
881-882 Ontario Northland 881-a.jpg 1988 MCI 102-A3 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA
891-892 Ontario Northland 892-a.jpg 1989 MCI 102-A3 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA
901-903 1990 MCI 102-A3
931-932 Ontario Northland 931-a.jpg 1992 MCI 102-C3 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA
  • 1993 models
951-955 Wc15.JPG Ontario Northland 955-a.jpg 1995 MCI 102-D3 Detroit Diesel Series 60
961-962 1996 MCI 102-D3 Detroit Diesel Series 60
  • 1997 models.
981 1997 MCI 102-D3 Detroit Diesel Series 60
  • 1998 model.
1022 Wc15.JPG 1989 MCI 102-AW3 Detroit Diesel 8V92TA
2340, 2344 1981 MCI MC-9
5001 Ontario Northland 5001-a.jpg 1999 MCI 102-DL3 Detroit Diesel Series 60
  • 2000 model.
  • Formerly numbered 504.
5002 2000 MCI 102-DL3 Detroit Diesel Series 60
  • Purchased used.
5011-5012 Ontario Northland 5012-a.jpg 2000 MCI 102-DL3 Detroit Diesel Series 60
  • 2001 models.
  • Formerly numbered 505-506.
5013-5017 Ontario Northland 5015-a.jpg 2001 MCI D4500 Detroit Diesel Series 60 Allison B500R
5021-5022 Ontario Northland 5021-a.jpg 2002 Prevost LeMirage XL II Detroit Diesel Series 60 Allison B500
  • Purchased second hand from Prevost in 2011.
5031-5033 Ontario Northland 5033-a.jpg 2003 MCI J4500 Detroit Diesel Series 60 ZF AS Tronic
  • Formerly numbered 508-510.
5041-5042 Ontario Northland 5041-b.jpg 2004 MCI J4500 Detroit Diesel Series 60 ZF AS Tronic
  • Formerly numbered 511-512.
5051-5053 Ontario Northland 5052-a.jpg 2005 MCI D4500 Detroit Diesel Series 60 ZF AS Tronic
5071-5073 2007 MCI D4505 Detroit Diesel Series 60
5091-5092 Ontario Northland 5091-a.jpg 2009 MCI D4505 Detroit Diesel Series 60 Allison B500R
  • 2010 models.
5334-5336 Ontario Northland 5336-a.jpg 2007 Prevost X3-45 Detroit Diesel Series 60 Allison B500
L5704-L5709 2010 Prevost X3-45 Volvo D13
5800 2013 TEMSA TS 35 Cummins ISL9 Allison B500R
  • 2014 model.
  • Leased in April 2018 to initiate Manitoulin Island service.
  • Sold to Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours in 2019.
5991-5993 Ontario Northland 5991-a.jpg 1998 MCI 102-DL3 Detroit Diesel Series 60
  • 1999 models.
  • Formerly numbered 501-503.
  • 5993 retired sometime before April 27, 2013.

Demonstrators

Fleet
number(s)
Thumbnail Year Manufacturer Model Engine Transmission Notes
13895 2016 MCI D4500CT Cummins Westport ISL G Allison B500R
  • CNG demonstrator; leased from July-Fall 2017.

Rail roster

Locomotives

Active

Fleet number(s) Thumbnail Year Manufacturer Model Class Engine
horsepower
Gearing
top speed
Notes
202-205 Ontario Northland 203-a.jpg EMD EGU None None
  • Electric Generator Units; provides electricity to passenger cars.
  • 202-204 are ex-MILW F7B/F9Bs acquired circa 1985, converted to EGUs in 1989-1991.
  • 205 is ex-GO Transit 801; acquired in 1996.
220-221 1979-85 EMD F40PH None None
  • Ex Amtrak 317, 394; purchased in 2019.
  • Rebuilt by NRE as Auxiliary Power Control Units (APCU); provides electricity to passenger cars.
1600-1605 Ontario Northland 1603-a.jpg 1956-57 GMDD GP9 16V567C
1750hp
62:15
65mph
  • 1600 sold to DESX in 2014.
  • 1602 sold to NRE in 2006.
  • 1603 equipped with a 2000hp 16V645E engine in 2001.
1730-1737 Ontario Northland 1731-a.jpg 1973-74 GMDD SD40-2 16V645E3C
3000hp
62:15
65mph
  • 1732 wrecked in July 1996.
  • 1731 and 1736 retired and sold to Progress Rail in 2005.
1740 EMD SD40-2
  • Ex-NREX; acquired in 2020.
  • Exx-CP 5417, née-KCS 672.
1741 EMD SD40-2
1800-1803 Ontario Northland 1800-a.jpg 1974 GMDD GP38-2 16V645E3
2000hp
62:15
65mph
  • 1803 wrecked in October 1977.
1804-1807 Ontario Northland 1805-a.jpg 1982 GMDD GP38-2 16V645E3
2000hp
62:15
65mph
  • 1807 wrecked in July 1996.
1808-1809 Ontario Northland 1808-a.jpg 1984 GMDD GP38-2 16V645E3
2000hp
62:15
65mph
1810 EMD GP38-3
2100-2105 1999 GMDD SD75I 16V710G3C
4300hp
83:18
70mph
  • Units built as options on CN GF-643c order for use on projected garbage trains from Toronto to Adams Mine near Kirkland Lake.
2200-2202 1977 EMD GP40-2 16V645E3
3000hp
62:15
65mph
  • Nee-B&M in 1977, purchased from Helm Leasing in 2005 to replace the 3 FP7Cat's.

Retired

This section is incomplete.

Fleet
number(s)
Thumbnail Year Manufacturer Model Class Engine
horsepower
Gearing
top speed
Notes
200 1964 NSC None None
  • Steam Generator car.
201 1947 None None
  • Steam Generator car, rebuilt from boxcar 2525.
  • Ex-Auto Train; purchased in 1982.
  • Née-GN 9.
206 1960 NSC EGU None None
  • Electric Generator Unit; provided electricity to passenger cars.
  • Ex-BCR 159 Borealis; purchased in 2004.
  • Exx-VIA, née-CN 15483.
210 NSC None None
1200-1202 1946 Alco S-2 1000 hp
  • Sold to International Minerals and Chemicals as 1200-1202 in 1973.
1203 1950 MLW S-4 1500 hp
  • Sold to Abitibi-Price as 90 in 1973.
1300-1301 1949 Alco RS-2 1500 hp
  • Rebuilt to RS-3 specs (1600 hp).
1302-1303 1950 MLW RS-2 1500 hp
  • Rebuilt to RS-3 specs (1600 hp).
1304-1311 1951 Alco RS-3 1600 hp
  • 1310 sold to Abitibi-Price in 1985.
1400-1401 1955 MLW RS-10 1600 hp
1402-1403 1957 MLW RS-10 1600 hp
1500-1521 Ontario Northland 1502-a.jpg 1951-1953 GMDD FP7 1500 hp
  • 1503, 1505, 1507, 1512-1513 to GO Transit in 1973.
  • 1500, 1504, 1511, 1514 to GO Transit in 1976.
  • 1501, 1510, 1518-1519 renumbered to work with TEE sets.
  • 1502, 1509, 1521 rebuilt to FP7Cat 2000-2002.
1980-1983 1957 Werkspoor TEE
  • Ex-NS/SBB; purchased in 1977.
  • Used in trainsets with identically-numbered cars.
  • Locomotives retired 1979-80; cars renumbered and paired with FP7 locomotives.
1984-1987 1951-1953 GMDD FP7 1500 hp
2000-2002 Ontario Northland 2002-a.jpg Built 1954-1956
Rebuilt 1997
GMDD FP7Cat Cat 16V3516
2075hp

Passenger cars

All-time

This section is incomplete.

Fleet
number(s)
Thumbnail Year Manufacturer Type Seating
capacity
Notes
301-302 1917 Pullman Baggage n/a
400 1927 Pullman Business
  • Named Okanawanna.
  • Ex-N&W Golden Exporter; purchased in 1971.
  • Nee-Wabash 400.
401 1926 NSC Baggage n/a
410-412 1953 NSC Baggage n/a
413-414 1954 NSC Lightweight baggage n/a
  • Ex-VIA 9604, 9602; acquired in 1983-84.
  • Née-CN 9232, 9230.
417 1967 HSC RTC-85 n/a
600-615 Ontario Northland 601-a.jpg 1967-68 HSC RTC-85 54
650-660 1967 HSC RTC-85 48
700-703 Ontario Northland 700-a.jpg 1967 HSC RTC-85
RTC-85SPD
750 1967 HSC RTC-85
801-806 1936 NSC Coach
  • 804 converted to Entertainment car.
811-812 1949 Pullman-Standard Coach
  • Ex-BAR 251-252; purchased in 1959.
830-836 1941 Pullman-Standard Coach 56
  • Ex-N&W 1725-1729, 1731, 1733; purchased in 1971.
840-842 1949 Pullman-Standard Coach 56
  • Ex-N&W 511, 532, 535; purchased in 1971.
850-855 1956 CC&F Coach 52
  • Ex-VIA 5712, 5714, 5700, 5705, 5708, 5711; purchased in 1990-92.
  • Exx-CN "Dayniter" coaches; née-CN coaches.
856-857 1950 CC&F Coach 52
  • Ex-VIA 5727, 5731; purchased in 1993.
  • Exx-CN "Dayniter" coaches; née-CN sleepers.
1404 1944 ACF Lunch Car
  • Named Meechim.
  • Ex-USA Hospital car 89471; purchased in 1952.
  • Nee-Detroit & Macinac 471.
1405-1406 1949 CC&F Coach/Lounge
  • Ex-CP 2243, 2275; purchased in 1968.
1407 1954 Pullman-Standard Diner
  • Named Moose River.
  • Ex-VIA 1368; purchased in 1968.
  • Exx-CN 1368; nee-CN parlour-grill 908 Luster Lake.
1408 1955 CC&F Café-bar-lounge
  • Ex-VIA 2514; purchased in 1990.
  • Exx-CN 2514, exxx-CN café-coach 3028, née-CN coach 5613.
1409 1954 Pullman-Standard Diner
  • Ex-VIA 1358; purchased in 1992.
  • Exx-CN 1358, née-CN buffet-sleeper 1012.
1410 1954 CC&F Entertainment car
  • Ex-VIA coach-café 3024; purchased in 1992.
  • Exx-CN 3024, née-CN coach 5546.
1980-1983 Renumbered to 1984-1987.
1984-1987 1957 SIG TEE
  • Ex-NS/SBB; purchased in 1977.

Contacts

  • Address: 555 Oak Street East, North Bay, ON
  • email: info@ontc.on.ca
  • Fax: 705-472-6535
  • Phone: 705-472-4500 or 1-800-363-7512

References

  1. Province winds down Ontario Northland Transportation Commission. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved on 29 September 2012.
  2. Ferguson, Rob (16 August 2012). Ontario Northlander train to make its last run Sept. 28. Toronto Star. Retrieved on 29 September 2012.
  3. Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (Press release). Government of Ontario. Retrieved on 29 September 2012.
  4. Transformation Update. Retrieved on 2014-12-26.
  5. [1]
  6. [2]
  7. [3]
  8. "Ontario Northland Extends Bus Service Northwest to Thunder Bay". Press release. Ontario Northland. 12 February 2020.
  9. "Ontario Northland suspends launch of Thunder Bay bus route." 17 April 2020. North Bay Nugget.
  10. "Ontario Northland launches scheduled bus service between Thunder Bay, White River, Winnipeg." 14 May 2020. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
  11. Witnesses recall March ’73 bus crash near Barrie that left 12 dead, www.thebarrieexaminer.com, retrieved on 2013-05-18.

External links