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Old Jan 8, 11, 10:54 am
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: DFW/SEA
Programs: *A Silver, AA Gold + Miles Scattered Everywhere.
Posts: 2,045
Amtrak Adirondack #69 NYC-Montreal

Before this trip, I have traveled on Amtrak once in my entire life..earlier in 2010(officially last year) I took the Acela Express from NYC-BOS. Short, but quite enjoyable. Fast forward to the end of 2010, I've relocated to Montreal for an internship. I went back home to Seattle for the holidays and decided to stop off in NYC for the New Years festivities. To get back over the border to Montreal, I decided to take the Amtrak's daily Adirondack #69 service.

From what I read online, the Adriondack train is one of the most scenic routes running in North America. If you're looking to get to Montreal quickly, this will definitely not be your choice of transportation. This is a day train that leaves at 8:15AM and gets in around 7:15PM. That's right 11 Hours to go 370 miles! Not exactly fast...but for $62 each way(15% discount if you have student advantage card) you can't beat the price. There's only 1 class of service.


I arrived at Penn Station around 7:30AM. Figured out from other people that I had to stand in this HUGE line to get my passport checked in order to board the train. Lots of people that day..not surprising since it was Jan 2nd. 25 min later I boarded the train and surprisingly we left on time at 8:15AM. I was impressed with the amount of space each seat had. A ton of leg room and even a fold out leg rest that makes sleeping a little bit easier.

Got going and eventually we were out of the tunnel going out of the city. The train runs right along the Hudson. It was a pretty foggy day...

We hit our first stop in Yonkers and then Croton fairly quickly and around 9:30AM we were in Poughkeepsie.

As we continued rolling I noticed that the Hudson was pretty frozen..

around 10:45AM we reached Albany, where we had a 20 minute break. Went up into the station. There's free wifi there if you have laptop or ipod.

As we got rolling, got some shots of Albany.

Continued up for the rest of the afternoon. Afternoon went by pretty quickly and I started watching episodes of Hawaii Five 0 that I had downloaded. Also took a nap. Passed through Ft. Edwards. Apparently there's only one main track in upstate NY somewhere so at one point we had to pull to the side to the let the train going down to NYC pass.

Before I knew it we had made it to Plattsburgh NY around 3:30. This is the interesting part. Plattsburgh to Montreal is a distance of 60 miles. But it takes us 4 hours to go that distance. 2.5 hours of it is just sitting at the border and then another 1.5 to go the rest of the way. I know there's been talk about doing customs/immigration on arrival in Montreal and they definitly have my vote for this. They would probably have to elminate the stop at St. Lambert, but this would be ok as not many people get off there. Shaving off 2 hours would make the train ride much more feasible for most people and could probably increase ridership. Make it to Montreal in a comparable time as the bus would.

Moving along we get to the border at 4PM and the Canadian CBP checks our passports, asks questions, etc.. Finally at 6:30 we start rolling again. 1 hr 15 min later we made it to Montreal. As expected just a bit late..not so bad.

Overall this was an enjoyable and very scenic experience. I would do it again, but Amtrak really needs to work with the govt's of U.S. and Canada to eliminate the 2 hour border stop and do it on arrival instead. Not sure what they could do about the speed of the train. Also, i think more people would ride this train if the timing was better. You essentially lose 1 day of travel each way making it less appealing to most folks. If they made it into a night train that would fit most people's schedule much better, trade off is that you miss the scenery!
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