The Agawa Canyon Snow Train used by hundreds of skiers each spring to get to the start of the Wabos Loppet is no more. Effective immediately, the snow train has been cancelled.
The Wabos Loppet takes place in March each year and begins with a scenic hour-long train ride from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, via the Snow Train, to the lumbering village of Wabos. At Wabos, skiers begin an uninterrupted 27 KM (16 mile) cross country course that leads through the woods, to Sheppard Creek, where tea and oranges are served. From there ski on to Norm's cabin at the edge of Bone Lake. There skiers enjoy more refreshments of tea and cookies. The last part of the trip takes participants to Stokely Creek Lodge for a festive celebratory barbecue and live entertainment.
With no Snow Train, will the Wabos be cancelled, will there be a special Snow Train just for the event, or will the tour be rerouted so a Snow Train is not required?
The full release from the Canadian National Railway is below:
CN cancels Agawa Canyon Snow Train as a result of low passenger demand
Railway will focus on growing successful summer and fall tour business
TORONTO - (November 19, 2013) - CN - today announced that it is terminating operation of the Agawa Canyon Snow Train because the seasonal excursion service is incurring rising operating losses as a result of stagnating passenger demand.
CN said it will focus its attention now on continued operation of its successful summer and fall Agawa Canyon excursion trains.
The Snow Train typically operated six Saturday excursions each winter north of Sault Ste. Marie Ontario to the Agawa Canyon.
Despite CN’s efforts to promote the service, passenger counts have failed to grow, remaining at approximately 1,500 per season.
John Orr, CN vice-president, Eastern Region, said: “Since 2011 when we launched our new train, we have actively promoted the Snow Train and its newly refurbished equipment. Unfortunately, ridership has stagnated and the service is not economically sustainable. CN remains committed to Sault tourism and will focus its resources on promoting and growing ridership on the summer and fall tours where we have seen success.”
In the summer and fall, passengers can disembark from the train and tour the Agawa Canyon for about 90 minutes before it returns to The Sault.
This service operates seven days a week over a 17 to 18 week-long season.
The canyon tour, along with the newly- refurbished train cars offering a higher level of enjoyment and passenger satisfaction, has attracted an increasing number of passengers. In the last two years, ridership on the summer and fall excursions has increased by more than 10 percent.
“CN is very pleased by the success of the summer and fall excursion trains,” said Orr. “Working with our partner Tourism Sault Ste Marie, we will continue to invest in the promotion and delivery of this featured excursion train service”.
Information on how to book an excursion on the Agawa Canyon Tour Train can be found at http://www.agawacanyontourtrain.com/ or by calling 1-800-242-2987.