Im actually happy with this announcement mainly because I get a direct benefit. Ontario Northland's trains are extremely loud and are the only trains that make my building shake as they pass by.
Looking over the line on Google Maps, it looks to be one of the most scenic railways in the GTA. Besides the trip through the Don Valley, it goes through some exceptionally pristine countryside in Stouffville and northern York Region, and travels right along the water's edge of Lake Simcoe. The people who work the line are very lucky people
Maybe Casino Rama should look at purchasing it, and construct a split to better serve the casino. Besides the gorgeous trip from the city, it might encourage cottagers who felt going to the casino was too far out of their way to drive to a near by station and take the train to it. If a Toronto casino is built, improving access to their casino would be in their best interests.
Finally, while for the most part in the city a flatbed truck is somewhat wasteful, it isn't necessarily the case in the rural north. Besides the heavier snow fall and rough roads making a more rugged vehicle more appealing, more people out there are blue collar workers and thus may use of its capacity more than a suburbanite would.
Northern Ontario (north of the French River) should succeed from Southern Ontario, either forming its own province or join Manitoba.
Everything is simply too different and it is impossible for policies makers in the south to care much about the small number of people who live in the North.
And Metrolinx just paid what, +$300m for CN rail corridors (announced just a week after the ONR release). I'm not saying northerners are getting the shaft worse than Scarberians or anything ... but one provincial rail entity seems entirely separate from the other.
Those all sound like great ideas to increase access and productivity. But the service still wouldn't cover its operating costs - passenger rail doesn't in Canada. So what are we trying to achieve? If it's preservation of the trains, then I would advocate taking 1% of the current operating subsidy and giving it to the Toronto railway museum at roundhouse park. (As far as I can tell they get zero provincial grants now.) That in my opinion would serve as many people as the current setup does, and generate more "spinoff" benefits.