A northern legend since 1964, this whistle-stop train remains the most popular and affordable conduit to the remote communities of Moosonee and Moose Factory. It departs Cochrane at 9am, reaches Moosonee at 1:50pm, then returns south at 5pm, arriving in Cochrane at 9:42pm. The assortment of passengers is a sight in itself: locals, trappers, biologists, geologists, tourists, anglers and paddlers.
There is a licensed dining car, open for the whole journey that serves breakfast, fast food and dishes such as lasagne (snacks/mains $5/11). It's a five-hour trip each way, so an overnight stay is recommended to avoid spending 10 hours on the train (looking at trees) for three hours in Moosonee and Moose Factory. To guarantee your seat, book the night before at the latest, as extra cars can still be added at that stage.
While you ponder this lengthy journey, consider the following: when fur trading peaked 300 years ago, the main access to Ontario's interior was from the north via the Hudson and James Bays. The latest chapter in the Polar Bear Express' history is its recent upgrade, with 16 new cars added in 2016.