Al Phillips

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The Thin Case for Passenger Rail in Ontario’s Northern Regions 

July 16, 2020 | Al Phillips

Passenger rail has been the subject of debate in Ontario’s northern regions for as long as anyone can remember. Most recently arguments have been put forward in support of passenger rail on the basis of; tourism, connectivity, equity, and economic spin off. Given this renewed enthusiasm, Northern Policy Institute posed the question to an analyst who has been researching transportation in Canada for many years: Does passenger rail make sense for Northern Ontario?

In “The thin case for passenger rail in Ontario’s northern regions” the lead author, Al Phillips, explores the arguments for and against passenger rail in Northern Ontario. Phillips, who is a longtime associate with the University of Manitoba’s Transport Institute, analyzed passenger rail in thin and remote regions and related this experience to Ontario’s northern regions. He highlighted three key factors for passenger rail in such areas: complementary or supporting freight rail, volume and frequency, and subsidies.

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