The small, grassroots campaign to restore passenger rail service between Cochrane and Toronto is teetering on the edge of a derailment.

“All Aboard Northern Ontario” founder Eric Boutilier of North Bay says a lack of money has stalled work on compiling a case to present to both senior levels of government.

The group was counting on financial support from municipalities all along the line. Boutilier says only the Timiskaming and Northeastern Ontario Municipal Associations contributed. None south of Temagami chipped in.

Photo credit: supplied

“One has got to have deep pockets in order to effect change in a meaningful way,” Boutilier comments. “ So All Aboard Northern Ontario has brought this as far as we can with the resources that we’ve been provided and without more, the project is suspended until further notice.”

Online fundraising has begun, but Boutilier doesn’t expect it to be enough. He won’t give a deadline for making the suspension permanent, other than “probably in the next little while.”

Frustrated and dispirited, Boutilier stands by his belief in the value of what he’s been doing. “I still remain convinced that a case can be made for restoring this particular rail corridor. I mean we’re talking about arguably one of the most densely populated corridors. The state of the infrastructure is in very good condition that it would be simple to be able to restore the service rather quickly.”

With files from Bob McIntyre, Vista Radio