One reason for the excessive running time for this particular train is the
excessive amount of time wasted at the border for "customs and
Years ago, this was done while the train was moving enroute, the US
Customs people would go into Canada and meet the train and ride it to the
first US station and interview all the passengers while enroute. Another
way it was done years ago was to do a pre check and seal your suitcase
at the station in Canada before you boarded in a US only bound coach.
They also had you fill out some paperwork. They would then pass through
the train enroute, check the seals (sometimes) and pick up the paper work
and little or no time was lost at the border.
There are better ways to accomplish customs and immigration inspections
and if there was a will to do it, it could be done.