The Agawa Canyon Tour Train in northern Ontario is a long-running tourist attraction that brings thousands of visitors to the remote and beautiful Agawa Canyon. Canada’s famed Group of Seven painters traveled this route and painted several gorgeous views of the area. Today artists and tourists alike enjoy the views.
The train originates in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and travels 114 miles (183 km) to the Canyon station, within the Agawa Canyon. Numerous trails and waterfalls await the traveler within the canyon.
It used to start from Bay Street, but in 2023 it starts from a new station at 99 Huron Street. After passing under the International Bridge (to Sault Ste Marie, Michigan not confusing at all) it passes the massive Algoma Steel facilities and the Steelton train yard before heading north out of the city.
The train is an “out and back” affair, departing Sault Ste. Marie at 8 AM in the morning, pausing in the Canyon for 90 minutes, then returning to “the Soo” by 6 PM.
In 2023 the train runs from August 3 to October 15. Book on their web site!
The Algoma Central Railway used to own and operate this line. They ran two passenger trains over the line – the tourist train from Sault Ste. Marie to Canyon, and a regular passenger train that ran to Hearst, ON. The tourist train often operated with 20 to 24 passenger cars, making it among the longest passenger trains in North America.
The Algoma Central Corporation sold the railway to Wisconsin Central in early 1995. CN acquired the WC in late 2001. The train to Hearst was terminated in mid 2015 after efforts to operate it by Railmark Canada Ltd. failed.
CN sold portions of the former Wisconsin Central to Watco in early 2021. The tourist train has been a separate organization since 2015, operated by a group including the Missanabie Cree First Nation, N1 Strategy and the Machine Shop.
The Agawa Canyon train used to operate with a collection of historic train cars, including the stainless steel “Canyon View” observation car on the tail end.
Today the train operates with many ex CN/VIA cars. The train is pulled by one of three ex Denver Ski Train F40PH locomotives – 104, 105 and 106 – acquired by CN in late 2009.