Discussion of Canadian Passenger Rail Services such as AMT (Montreal), Go Transit (Toronto), VIA Rail, and other Canadian Railways and Transit

Moderator: Ken V

  by AgentSkelly
 
Kaback9 wrote:I just rode the Adirondack and Customs was only a problem with the Canadians, the US guys were done and we were on our way, our only delay was we did not have a P32ACDM to take us into Penn Station, so we waited at Albany 45 minutes while they got a switcher (or as Amtrak likes to call it Emergency power) to be ready in NYP to pick us up. If you ask me customs should be done at each terminal like the Airlines do. The Adirondack is in trouble because NY State who funds the train is having problems.

I think its ridiculous we are getting rid of our international services if anything we should be keeping them and expanding.
This can be done on the Adirondack BUT it requires Amtrak to eliminate the stop at St. Lambert.
  by buddah
 
well kaback all the reasons listed above are noted as true from amtrak press & public relations dept..

.VIA tired of trains arriving late from the U.S. side due to freight interference
.Delays at customs inspections, ( for both sides actually)
.Michigan's desire for a daylight train between Port Huron and Chicago

However I had the inside track back in 2004 I was in communications with the head man himself back them "David Gunn" we wrote and emailed back and forth a few times and that's when I got the heads up after I wrote him a 10 page complaint letter about canceling the train and what could have been done to improve it to make it profitable or at least break even. The main reason was because of Funding.. The Bush admin cut Amtrak's subsidy, when that happened Michigan representatives said thy no longer want the give the train route any funding as well, for it not only serves Michigan but Canada So they wanted Amtrak and VIA to take more financial responsibility. Ridership had fell to a low of around 90k passengers a year compared to 120-125k in the late 90s early 2000's So that doomed the route. So to have something to run on that leg they brought back the blue water. This way since it terminated in Michigan, the state would continue to fund it as a Michigan service route and no longer would Amtrak have to worry about customs. ( note: the blue water still carries the same late never on time performance as the International did). My guess it this is what is happening to the Adirondack, NY state does not want to fund in large amounts a train that leaves new york state. This is a outrage as it has been named one of the most scenic train routes! I believe ( I HOPE) the current maple leaf will be extended and run to Montreal from Toronto over night then back early in AM morning hours . this would give Amtrak passages access to Montreal still and give VIA rail there over night train to Montreal back since they canceled the enterprise. However I dough they would do that, but it makes scene if they cancel the Adirondack. They better not cancel the Adirondack its the only international route I haven't traveled!

BIT of fact: the Original International PRE-Amtrak ran from Chicago to Montreal in 15hrs with steam locomotives!
  by jp1822
 
I was surprised to see an old CN passenger timetable with a lot of trains departing from Montreal/Toronto and continuing on to Chicago - most as overnight trains - as compared to today and even when Amtrak was running its "International." This definitely seemed like a big market that CN and even CP was going after at one point (i.e. cross-border conection at Windsor/Toronto. Now there is no direct train cross the border, even though VIA and Amtrak run a host right up to it, so to speak.
  by NS VIA FAN
 
buddah wrote:( I HOPE) the current maple leaf will be extended and run to Montreal from Toronto over night then back early in AM morning hours . this would give Amtrak passages access to Montreal still and give VIA rail there over night train to Montreal back since they canceled the enterprise. However I dough they would do that, but it makes scene if they cancel the Adirondack. They better not cancel the Adirondack its the only international route I haven't traveled!
I think we’ve been over this before, so again, let’s be realistic. Extending the Maple Leaf to Montreal from Toronto so a through service between New York and Montreal can be maintained (if the Adirondack is discontinued) just doesn’t make sense. Its 545 miles from NYC to Toronto then add 340 miles from Toronto to Montreal……It’s only 380 miles from NYC to Montreal in the first place!

Why would VIA extend the Maple Leaf to Montreal using Amtrak equipment? Is Amtrak going to give VIA sleepers that are compatible with the Amfleet to run in a captive Toronto <> Montreal service when those sleeper could be used to increase capacity on their own trains in the US? If VIA wanted to run an overnight train between Toronto and Montreal, why wouldn’t they just use their own equipment?

VIA has already tried an Overnight train in the Toronto-Montreal market. The Enterprise ran between 2000 and 2005. This was one train that was very well promoted by VIA but it just didn’t work. What did work was the Toronto-Kingston portion and it was retained as #650-651/655. I was on the Enterprise numerous times and about the only time there were any great number of passengers beyond Kingston to Montreal was Friday and Sunday nights and mainly in the coaches. People just didn’t ride the sleepers.

Once the current track upgrades are completed in the corridor VIA will probably be able to offer a 3 hr 59 min service again so you could conceivably have a train leave Toronto at 8pm and be in Montreal by midnight (even push the departure to 8:30 or 9pm) Why would someone spend 8 hours on an overnight train and the additional expense of a sleeper for themselves and VIA to operate? It didn’t work 5 years ago……why would it work now?
  by gaspeamtrak
 
NS VIA FAN wrote:
buddah wrote:( I HOPE) the current maple leaf will be extended and run to Montreal from Toronto over night then back early in AM morning hours . this would give Amtrak passages access to Montreal still and give VIA rail there over night train to Montreal back since they canceled the enterprise. However I dough they would do that, but it makes scene if they cancel the Adirondack. They better not cancel the Adirondack its the only international route I haven't traveled!
I think we’ve been over this before, so again, let’s be realistic. Extending the Maple Leaf to Montreal from Toronto so a through service between New York and Montreal can be maintained (if the Adirondack is discontinued) just doesn’t make sense. Its 545 miles from NYC to Toronto then add 340 miles from Toronto to Montreal……It’s only 380 miles from NYC to Montreal in the first place!

Why would VIA extend the Maple Leaf to Montreal using Amtrak equipment? Is Amtrak going to give VIA sleepers that are compatible with the Amfleet to run in a captive Toronto <> Montreal service when those sleeper could be used to increase capacity on their own trains in the US? If VIA wanted to run an overnight train between Toronto and Montreal, why wouldn’t they just use their own equipment?

VIA has already tried an Overnight train in the Toronto-Montreal market. The Enterprise ran between 2000 and 2005. This was one train that was very well promoted by VIA but it just didn’t work. What did work was the Toronto-Kingston portion and it was retained as #650-651/655. I was on the Enterprise numerous times and about the only time there were any great number of passengers beyond Kingston to Montreal was Friday and Sunday nights and mainly in the coaches. People just didn’t ride the sleepers.

Once the current track upgrades are completed in the corridor VIA will probably be able to offer a 3 hr 59 min service again so you could conceivably have a train leave Toronto at 8pm and be in Montreal by midnight (even push the departure to 8:30 or 9pm) Why would someone spend 8 hours on an overnight train and the additional expense of a sleeper for themselves and VIA to operate? It didn’t work 5 years ago……why would it work now?


Via's prices were to high!!! that's why it wouldn't work! How about trying the leisure traveller or family's?
Via was to focused on the buisiness traveller.Don't get me wrong the buisinee traveller has is valueable too as a customer.
If Via would have tried to route the train through Ottawa it may have had a better chance!
If it had left Toronto at 23:30 and arrived in Ottawa at 06:00/06:30 and arrived in Montreal at 08:00 and on the return trip left Montreal at 22:00 and arr./dep. Ottawa at 23:30/24:00 and arrived in Toronto at 08:00 would have had a better chance of being successful!!
If there was some way the could have dropped off and picked up a coach and a couple of sleepers so the passengers could have pre-boarded before departure time and were allowed to stay on board in Ottawa after there 06:00/06:30 arrival time till 08:00!

I know the Renaissance cars are semi permantly (sp) coupled together and this would be a problem but hopefully Via could figure that out!?

This is was to be such a GREAT DEAL VIA got for its money but taht's another can of worms to open up!! :P
  by neroden
 
jp1822 wrote:I was surprised to see an old CN passenger timetable with a lot of trains departing from Montreal/Toronto and continuing on to Chicago - most as overnight trains - as compared to today and even when Amtrak was running its "International." This definitely seemed like a big market that CN and even CP was going after at one point (i.e. cross-border conection at Windsor/Toronto. Now there is no direct train cross the border, even though VIA and Amtrak run a host right up to it, so to speak.
The summary is: train service declined (we lost a lot of trains around the origin of Amtrak) -- and when trains started to come back, Customs & Immigration (on both sides) got slower and stupider about trains. This made it harder to bring international trains back. :-P Perhaps more Customs officials will learn how to deal with trains if there are more trains?

In fact, in the "old days", the Michigan Central/New York Central ran passenger trains Chicago-Detroit-Windsor-Niagara Falls-Buffalo-Albany-NYC. It's shorter than the Lake Shore Limited route and hits bigger cities; hitting Detroit is especially useful. But it has to cross the Canadian/American border *twice*....
  by goodnightjohnwayne
 
neroden wrote:
jp1822 wrote:I was surprised to see an old CN passenger timetable with a lot of trains departing from Montreal/Toronto and continuing on to Chicago - most as overnight trains - as compared to today and even when Amtrak was running its "International." This definitely seemed like a big market that CN and even CP was going after at one point (i.e. cross-border conection at Windsor/Toronto. Now there is no direct train cross the border, even though VIA and Amtrak run a host right up to it, so to speak.
The summary is: train service declined (we lost a lot of trains around the origin of Amtrak) -- and when trains started to come back, Customs & Immigration (on both sides) got slower and stupider about trains. This made it harder to bring international trains back. :-P Perhaps more Customs officials will learn how to deal with trains if there are more trains?

In fact, in the "old days", the Michigan Central/New York Central ran passenger trains Chicago-Detroit-Windsor-Niagara Falls-Buffalo-Albany-NYC. It's shorter than the Lake Shore Limited route and hits bigger cities; hitting Detroit is especially useful. But it has to cross the Canadian/American border *twice*....
The former New York Central trackage through Southern Ontario has been partially removed, and the remainder has been neglected since the Penn Central gave the Canadians full ownership.
  by Silverliner II
 
neroden wrote:
jp1822 wrote:I was surprised to see an old CN passenger timetable with a lot of trains departing from Montreal/Toronto and continuing on to Chicago - most as overnight trains - as compared to today and even when Amtrak was running its "International." This definitely seemed like a big market that CN and even CP was going after at one point (i.e. cross-border conection at Windsor/Toronto. Now there is no direct train cross the border, even though VIA and Amtrak run a host right up to it, so to speak.
The summary is: train service declined (we lost a lot of trains around the origin of Amtrak) -- and when trains started to come back, Customs & Immigration (on both sides) got slower and stupider about trains. This made it harder to bring international trains back. :-P Perhaps more Customs officials will learn how to deal with trains if there are more trains?

In fact, in the "old days", the Michigan Central/New York Central ran passenger trains Chicago-Detroit-Windsor-Niagara Falls-Buffalo-Albany-NYC. It's shorter than the Lake Shore Limited route and hits bigger cities; hitting Detroit is especially useful. But it has to cross the Canadian/American border *twice*....
Didn't they run "closed-door" in Canada, thereby eliminating the need for customs stops? No stops between Detroit and Buffalo?
Or am I thinking of a different run.....???
  by Ken V
 
Silverliner II wrote: Didn't they run "closed-door" in Canada, thereby eliminating the need for customs stops? No stops between Detroit and Buffalo?
Or am I thinking of a different run.....???
Amtrak did run non-stop between Detroit and Buffalo at first, but later on stops in Canada were added making customs inspections necessary at both border points. Long before Amtrak, the New York Central ran multiple daily passenger trains along this line with several station stops in Ontario.

And, oh, it was Conrail, not Penn Central, that sold the tracks to CN/CP - in 1982.
  by ejones
 
Silverliner II wrote: Didn't they run "closed-door" in Canada, thereby eliminating the need for customs stops? No stops between Detroit and Buffalo?
Or am I thinking of a different run.....???
I remember taking the Wolverine as a teen with my dad between Albany and Detroit. I recall quite distinctly stopping at St. Thomas. And this Penn Central timetable shows they were still running this route, with stops between Buffalo and Detroit, in the late 60's.
  by Silverliner II
 
Thank you! :) Question answered. Too bad the route in question is no longer in one piece...

To do that move today, I am guessing Amtrak would have to run from Niagara Falls via the Grimsby Sub, then reverse at Bayview Jct. to the Dundas Sub, then head for London, and then onward to Windsor and via the tunnel to Detroit. No fun riding backwards from Bayview Jct...although isn't there another leg (at Hamilton Jct IIRC) that would allow a continuous forward move to the Dundas?
  by neroden
 
Silverliner II wrote:Thank you! :) Question answered. Too bad the route in question is no longer in one piece...
Well, it hasn't had houses built on it or anything. The ROW is effectively intact, so if there's some miraculous return of US-Canadian passenger rail cooperation with serious money, it's still reinstatable.
  by buddah
 
with all these confusing cross border runs switching and swaping could someone be thinking of the Amtrak Niagara rainbow as well? as I have come to find out a transfer in Detroit could have been made for Chicago to NYC travel through Canada.

PS: just a little piece of cross border history not to be repeated. Can 2 different trains occupy the same track, at the same time, at the same moment, at one very short station? Yes. Amtrak and VIA in 1 shot, at 1 station. London ON. http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4094992533/
  by goodnightjohnwayne
 
neroden wrote:
Silverliner II wrote:Thank you! :) Question answered. Too bad the route in question is no longer in one piece...
Well, it hasn't had houses built on it or anything. The ROW is effectively intact, so if there's some miraculous return of US-Canadian passenger rail cooperation with serious money, it's still reinstatable.
The real problem is that there is no commercial or economic motivation to reinstate this route, and there most certainly isn't any political motivation to reduce the border crossing times for routes involving a single daily passenger train.

Considering the very rapid decline of industry in Souther Ontario in the last few years, it seems likely that this region will see the same permanent economic decline that Michigan and Western New York have been seeing for decades. The sad truth is that places like Detroit and Niagara Falls were far more significant destinations in the mid-19th century than they are today. It's just as sad to recall that Southern Ontario was more closely integrated into the economy of the United States at the time of the Civil War than it is today.
  by VPayne
 
A few thoughts...
Option 1: Couldn't passengers for the country on the opposite side of the border be pre-cleared by staff brought in from the local airport at the departure city? It would require a screening area be set up at the station but this is doable and minimizes the labor costs. The pre-cleared passengers would then be assigned cars that would be physically separated from the rest of the train. The rest of the train would service local stops until the border with everybody required to get off before crossing. Then those same cars could be used for local riders starting at the border going toward the terminus city in the next country.

Option 2: Have a dedicated van provided that would pick up custom agents from the bridge/tunnel border station used by automobiles. The van takes them 45-60 minutes out from the border to the next station stop and could be provided by the same servicer that provides crew vans. The passengers then walk through a car outfitted as a screening station and take there seats on the other side of the train. Since some of the local traffic will have cleared out there would be empty cars to make this work. Alternately, screening is provided at the seat. Anybody who cannot be cleared due to an issue is taken off at the main border station and given a bus ride once cleared.