You are invited to attend a screening of the documentary De-Railed: the National Dream at 7 p.m on Thursday, November 20 in Room 1030 in the new building (Essar Hall) of Sault College on Northern Ave (scroll down to watch the trailer!). Admission is free.
This full-length film focuses on the urgent need to bring Canadian rail service back to life in Algoma as well as the rest of the country. It was directed by independent filmmaker Dan Nysted, who will introduce the film and field questions following the screening.
This film is an excellent tool for educating the public about the crumbling state of the Canadian railway system and the need for action to be taken to prevent the loss of more rail. Canada has lost more than 10,000 kilometres of track since 1990. Via this film, the filmmaker asks why has Canada allowed its “ribbon of rail” to become so tattered? He also presents the deregulation, struggles, successes, economic and environmental implications, and human stories of short-line passenger rail services across Canada.
Nystedt travelled by train throughout Canada (including Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Vancouver Island) where municipalities, First Nations and community organizations are trying to preserve and restore endangered short line rail services. He explores the factors behind the deregulation of our nation’s greatest infrastructure—rail—through reflection on the history of short-line passenger rail, the environmental implications of the impending energy crisis and the potential role of rail in Canada’s steps towards environmental sustainability.
In the 1800s, tracks were laid across this massive continent. Little more than one hundred years after the completion of the trans-Canada rail-line we are tearing up our tracks for the cost of the steel, and increasingly investing in automobile culture as the entire world is discussing climate change, the energy crisis, and how to implement a‘green revolution. This is an urgent concern since communities without passenger rail will find themselves economically, socially, and culturally isolated as flying and long-distance automobile transportation become too costly in dollars and carbon emissions.
Nystedt filmed a wide range of people, including: Robert Bateman (artist and environmentalist), Dr. Judith Sayers and Mary Ashley (co-chairs, Island Corridor Foundation), Graham Bruce (E & N Railway), Harry Gow (co-founder, Transport Action Canada); Nicholas Heap (climate change policy snalyst, David Suzuki Foundation); Gerald Gauthier (director, industry liaison, Railway Association of Canada); Joseph Boardman (president/CEO Amtrak); Chief Isadore Day (chief, Serpent River First Nation); Dr. Barry Wellar (professor emeritus, University of Ottawa),as well as people in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario who are working passionately to save their local rail lines from being abandoned. These interviews convey the environmental, economic, geographic and social reasons that Canada’s rail system must be returned to being the envy of the world.
De-Railed raises many questions and challenges us to find answers. It also shows us amazing work being done in local communities by dedicated citizens to maintain the rail infrastructure that will keep us connected into the future
This screening is brought to you by several partners. Clean North sees reinstating greater use of trains as a way to promote transportation with a lower carbon footprint by reducing the number of cars and transports on roads and highways. The Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Sault College is participating in the screening because of their interest in social justice issues such as availability of accessible public transportation. Viewing De-Railed will be a good opportunity for Digital Film Production students at Sault College ho are interested in seeing how social issues can be covered through the medium of film. And the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains affiliated with Algoma U’s NORDIK Institute sees this film as an excellent way to increase public awareness of the importance of preserving and enhancing passenger train service in Algoma with connectivity to Toronto, Ottawa and the rest of the country