With the anticipated return of passenger rail service to Muskoka, Bracebridge is getting a new sheltered waiting area near the former station.
“The shelters will be well lit, heated, have next train arrival information and access to wifi,” said Kate Bondett of Ontario Northland.
Bondett said Ontario Northland plans to construct many such shelters along the Northlander corridor, and a tender is currently out for the construction of nine fabricated passenger shelters. Installation in Bracebridge is expected in 2025.
The subject of the new train shelter came up during budget deliberations by the Bracebridge general committee earlier this week.
Councillors heard the existing station at 85 Hiram Street will have to be removed to build a state-of-the-art shelter.
The existing train station was built in the summer of 2004 by the Town with support from local suppliers through donations and community volunteers. Until the discontinuation of Ontario Northland passenger rail service in 2012, the station served as a shelter to passengers waiting to catch a northbound or southbound train.
According to a staff report, in 2017 the movement of the building to Annie Williams Memorial Park was considered by recreation and public works staff in conjunction with the Annie Williams Memorial Park Board. It was decided the building was not appropriate for any use at the park.
Coun. Barb McMurray said she would like to see the building repurposed for use as a warming hut at the outdoor ice rink in Vankoughnet.
Geoff Carleton, the head of public works, said the existing building has been vandalized over the years but agreed to tour the building with McMurray.
The new station will be funded through Ontario Northland.
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