RAIL’s Fight For More Trains Still On Track

VIA Rail Sign At Sarnia Train Station. Sarnia News Today file photo.

Rail Advocacy in Lambton (RAIL) isn’t giving up the fight for improved passenger rail service locally.

The group was formed five years ago after the number of VIA Rail trains in and out of Sarnia was cut to just one a day.

RAIL Co-Chair Mabel Higgins says while more trains are needed, many improvements have been made locally in recent years.

“Upon our recommendation, VIA provided upgrading and accessibility funding for our heritage train station,” says Higgins. “It means now that it is accessible. The station needed a lot of brickwork and that was also done. VIA also reinstated two stops for us, and that was Wyoming and Strathroy.”

Higgins says RAIL has also been instrumental in reconfiguring the route to connect to train 70 in London, which allows Sarnians to reach Toronto 45 minutes earlier.

She says they’ve been hoping for better service for a few years now, and are still optimistic changes can be made with help from senior government.

“Maybe VIA can look at a ‘Plan B’, sort of a dusted off version of what the president had earlier brought to us. It got people pretty excited to have four trains coming into Sarnia a day,” says Higgins. “We’d be happy with maybe two more.”

Meanwhile, VIA Rail is celebrating its 40th anniversary on Saturday with a special event at Sarnia’s Centennial Park from 11am until 3pm.

There’ll be a tree-planting, and the public will have a chance to tour some of the company’s trains, meet with staff and take in some free entertainment.