As part of her tour through Northern Ontario, Canada, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne unveiled the first of 16 refurbished passenger coaches as part of the renewal of the Polar Bear Express train on Friday.
Ontario's $17-million investment in the Polar Bear Express will upgrade and modernize a rail service that provides an essential link for people and businesses in Northern Canada.
“We are proud to deliver the first car of the Polar Bear Express remanufacturing project,” said Corina Moore, President and CEO of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission in a press statement. “The refurbished equipment has been thoughtfully built to meet the needs of our passengers, and it showcases the quality refurbishment work produced by our Remanufacturing and Repair Centre.”
The refurbished rail cars will improve the travel experience for passengers, offering them new seats and a vastly upgraded experience with electrical and USB charging, accessible washrooms, modern flooring, enhanced luggage space, comfortable dining cars and a family car.
“At the event with Premier Wynne and Minister Michael Gravelle, you could just see that the employees were beaming; their faces were just filled with pride,” she said. “To have re-manufactured that equipment in North Bay and then to provide it to our own passengers — it's a double win for us.”
The Polar Bear Express has operated continuously for over 50 years. More than 55,000 passengers travel on the train each year. As there are no roads connecting the James Bay Coast to the mainland, the train is the primary mode of transportation for thousands of people every year.