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Amtrak between NYC Penn Station & Montréal

Amtrak between NYC Penn Station & Montréal

Old Apr 10, 2023, 10:45 am
  #1  
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Amtrak between NYC Penn Station & Montréal

Has anyone here ever taken this Amtrak train which takes between 11 and 12 hours during the day? My husband and I want to go to Montréal for a week the last week of May and the rail fare is MUCH less expensive than flying. It is not worth redeeming miles as I am saving them for European travel.

I’m trying to gauge the reliability of this train. The service restarted on April 3 with a fare sale of $140 roundtrip. Traveling along the Hudson is beautiful as I’ve done that portion before and I would imagine the Adirondacks by train would be stunning. So if anybody has had any experience with this pre-pandemic, I’d love to hear it. Thanks.
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Old Apr 10, 2023, 11:17 am
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I've taken Amtrak up the Hudson many times, but never into the Adirondacks. That does sound like a very long time to be on the train. Would you consider perhaps flying one way, and taking the train the other? I'm seeing LGA-YUL one-way fares of just $98 on most May dates (but that's probably for Basic Economy). There are mileage redemptions available on some dates for about 8,000 miles per passenger, as well.
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Old Apr 10, 2023, 11:28 am
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I've taken the train from nyp up to Montreal a couple of times.

It's a long ride but it's not super delay prone from a railroad operations standpoint.

The border stop can take time there's no way to really predict that naturally.

You stay on the train for the inspection at least.

Obviously, the short flights from NYC blow the total transportation time away, but if you have the time it's not a bad way to head up there.
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Old Apr 10, 2023, 11:28 am
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Also, depending on how good your car-rental discounts are, you might consider doing a one-day, one-way car rental from Manhattan to YUL. I can get a rate of $109 (tax included) from Avis. The drive takes about six hours, without stops.
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Old Apr 10, 2023, 12:31 pm
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It is a long ride, but a very scenic one. The train follows the shore of Lake Champlain for miles and miles in addition to the Hudson running that all trains between New York and Albany enjoy. The line does not host a lot of freight traffic so the train is not really subject to a lot of delays.

The border inspections take about an hour and the track for the first few miles over the border in Quebec is really slow, but both of those are allowed for in the schedule.
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Old Apr 10, 2023, 1:29 pm
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I took it years ago. If it’s only Amfleet I equipment that limits the sightseeing. The trip was fine but flying is so quick that I am not sure if I’d do it again.
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Old Apr 10, 2023, 2:39 pm
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I’m relieved to learn that the tracks aren’t shared by a freight line because I know that Amtrak will always be second to freight lines.

I’ve done that drive nearly every year when I was growing up as we used to go skiing at Mt Tremblant every March. I don’t want to drive. Moreover, we would have to rent a car and buy all of the insurance attached to it because we no longer drive a car. It was costing too much money for the driving that we did which was essentially doing alternate side of the street parking.

We know it’s a long ride and I’m relieved that crossing the border with passport inspection is included in that timeframe.

We might just make a go of it and give it a try. We’ll pack bagels for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. Then we’ll get something to eat in the café late afternoon which will probably be very limited. On the way back, we will pick up all sorts of goodies to enjoy for that trip.

So this is looking like a go although the idea of flying one way is getting my attention.
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Old Apr 10, 2023, 3:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Analise
So this is looking like a go although the idea of flying one way is getting my attention.
If you decide to fly one way, note that LGA-YUL is about $40 USD cheaper per person than YUL-LGA.
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Old Apr 10, 2023, 4:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Analise
We might just make a go of it and give it a try. We’ll pack bagels for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. Then we’ll get something to eat in the café late afternoon which will probably be very limited. On the way back, we will pick up all sorts of goodies to enjoy for that trip.

So this is looking like a go although the idea of flying one way is getting my attention.
I think you'll have a good time with this approach. If you treat the train ride as part of the adventure/trip vs just thinking you're trying to get up to Montreal as fast as possible I think you'll enjoy the slower pace.
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Old Apr 10, 2023, 4:31 pm
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Also, note that for the Southbound trip, if the train arrives ALB on time, it has a scheduled 40-minute dwell time there. I have not been through the ALB station in years, but they used to have a decent café there with food to go. So you might have time to pick up something for dinner there to bring on board the train. In fact, if the train is on time and you place a phone call at the right time, you could probably have a nearby pizzeria deliver a pizza or subs to you at the station entrance, which you could then bring back to the train!
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Old Apr 10, 2023, 4:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Long Train Runnin
I think you'll have a good time with this approach. If you treat the train ride as part of the adventure/trip vs just thinking you're trying to get up to Montreal as fast as possible I think you'll enjoy the slower pace.
this is how my husband sees it as the train ride will be part of the vacation as opposed to looking for the quickest way there.
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Old Apr 10, 2023, 4:55 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976
Also, note that for the Southbound trip, if the train arrives ALB on time, it has a scheduled 40-minute dwell time there. I have not been through the ALB station in years, but they used to have a decent café there with food to go. So you might have time to pick up something for dinner there to bring on board the train. In fact, if the train is on time and you place a phone call at the right time, you could probably have a nearby pizzeria deliver a pizza or subs to you at the station entrance, which you could then bring back to the train!
Now THAT is interesting. Thank you!
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Old Apr 10, 2023, 5:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Analise
this is how my husband sees it as the train ride will be part of the vacation as opposed to looking for the quickest way there.
Yeah, almost all my personal Amtrak travel is simply for the experience of riding the train. So, the delays etc don't really drive me to crazy since I don't have much waiting on the other end. Definitely helps you enjoy it more.
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Old Apr 10, 2023, 5:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Long Train Runnin
Yeah, almost all my personal Amtrak travel is simply for the experience of riding the train. So, the delays etc don't really drive me to crazy since I don't have much waiting on the other end. Definitely helps you enjoy it more.
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What would drive me crazy as if we sat waiting for a freight train as they take priority when they own the rails. I was wondering if that were an issue on the Adirondack line.
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Old Apr 10, 2023, 5:56 pm
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Another option -- if one does not want to spend 11 1/2 hours on a continuous train ride -- is to take a stopover, maybe in Albany, maybe in Saratoga. Amtrak used to offer free, en-route stopovers of up to 23 1/2 hours, but I no longer see that offered when using the multi-city booking engine online. It's possible that an Amtrak phone agent could book a free stopover, but I'm not holding my breath.

But even without a free stopover, you could probably book a stopover for an extra $20-30/person (plus the cost of overnight lodging, of course), if you wanted to break up the trip.
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