The arrival of the automobile and the building of highway 8 dealt a heavy blow to the PPJ. The railway couldn't compete and passenger service ended in 1959, followed by freight in 1984. Then, a long struggle began to keep the rail corridor open for other uses. The MRC Pontiac wanted to create a recreational bike trail to link up with the city of Gatineau, passing through the municipality of Pontiac. In 1987, the MRC purchased the corridor for the symbolic price of one dollar, while shouldering the costs associated with putting a stop to the demolition of rail bridges, which was to happen the same year.
However, the proposal ran into stiff opposition in the municipality of Pontiac where farmers wanted to reclaim the land while a citizens' committee supported the recreational trail. The debate went on for years without resolution. The case wasbrought before the Québec Administrative Tribunal, which ruled in favour of the farmers. This was a major setback for the MRC Pontiac. Solutions were eventually found, however, and the PPJ became part of the Route verte du Québec in 2010, connecting east to Gatineau and west to Ontario with a 10-km extension on Allumette Island.