My mother grew up in Cochrane, Ontario, a town built at the junction of two railways, the National Transcontinental and the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario. So you might say that I have train whistles in my blood.
We visited Cochrane many times when I was a child, and once we took the Polar Bear Express train up to Moosonee for the day. One of the things I found remarkable about that trip is that the train would stop at places that looked like the middle of nowhere: no station, no sign, just a patch of forest between Cochrane and Moosonee. “The middle of nowhere” is relative, of course: for many people those patches of forest were home, or the start of a canoe journey (you were allowed to check canoes in the baggage car).
It turns out the VIA Rail will stop anywhere you like on certain trains:
On some VIA Rail routes, you can get off and on the train exactly where you want — even in places where there is no scheduled stop! The ideal solution for outdoor activities — at that little lake deep in the forest, or that wild river you’ve been dreaming of for so long!
To use this service, you must purchase your ticket at least 48 hours in advance and tell us the exact spot where you want the train to stop by specifying the exact mile marker at which you would like the train to stop.
This is such a compelling offer that I only wish that I had a mile marker to call home so I could try it out.