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Amtrak Adirondack #69 NYC-Montreal

Amtrak Adirondack #69 NYC-Montreal

Old Jan 8, 11, 9:54 am
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Amtrak Adirondack #69 NYC-Montreal

Prologue
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.

Report

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!
aaron1262 is offline  
Old Jan 8, 11, 3:14 pm
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Nice TR, much appreciated. I took the Adirondack between NYC and Montreal a few years ago (also in winter) and my experience was much the same. It is a scenic and pleasant (albeit slow) way to travel. But who could argue at that price?

Originally Posted by aaron1262 View Post
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!
I agree with your statement regarding the need to work with both governments to make it easier to cross the border. Last September, I took the Maple Leaf from Canada to New York City and I was again surprised that it took us 2.5 hours to cross the border.. The agents were very thorough, which is in fine in principle, but it took mere minutes to cross the same border on other occassions during the same trip either by car or on foot.

I'm not so sure about the idea to run the train at night. Much as I agree that the Amtrak coach seats are reasonably comfortable, I would not want to sleep in them. And if AMTRAK would add sleepers, those would be much more expensive and less competitive compared with the airlines.. I think both the Adirondack and the Maple Leaf cater mostly to students and tourists (and to a lesser extent to local traffic in upstate NY), where price and scenary are important considerations.. Another improvement I would like to see on those trains would be the return of checked baggage, at least between large(r) stations, such as Toronto, Montreal, Albany and NYP. I have no idea why Amtrak stopped adding a baggage car on those trains.
Arnur is offline  
Old Jan 8, 11, 3:34 pm
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Yes, if they could just streamline that border crossing thing it would be quite a good deal. The Amtrak trains have plenty of room to move around and it never feels cramped (unless they're out of seats and you're made to stand). Has happened to me once between Albany to NYC in the winter when airports were closed!

p
putongo is offline  
Old Jan 8, 11, 5:06 pm
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Political will. Is it there?

http://www.financialpost.com/York+Mo...462/story.html

http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/07/21/t...c-to-montreal/
PropWasher is offline  
Old Jan 8, 11, 6:34 pm
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Thanks for the links to those two articles. After reading them, I don't agree that there will be any "blasting" in the Adirondack mountains to make way for high-speed track. The Adirondack Park has had all kinds of extra protections going for it so that its beauty isn't tarnished. But, improvements in many other sections of the NYC-Montreal train route can be achieved.

Let's hope some progress does get made.... wouldn't it be wonderful to have a 4 or 5 hour train journey between these two great cities?

p
putongo is offline  
Old Jan 9, 11, 1:42 am
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Originally Posted by Arnur View Post
I have no idea why Amtrak stopped adding a baggage car on those trains.
Baggage has to be with passengers as they cross the border.
cedric is offline  
Old Jan 9, 11, 1:56 am
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Very unique TR, thanks for sharing.
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Old Jan 9, 11, 7:43 am
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Originally Posted by cedric View Post
Baggage has to be with passengers as they cross the border.
Thanks, that certainly explains it. But this must be a new rule then, as the Adirondack certainly used to allow checked-luggage between Montreal and New York Penn Station a few years ago.
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Old Jan 9, 11, 9:46 am
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I usuallly like travelling by train, but Amtrak's poor service and late trains does not make this an option on so many routes. On both the Adirondack, and the Maple Leaf from Toronto to New York, a passenger spends half a day on a train that has no first-class facilities, and no dining car (usually just a snack bar serving hot dogs and other microwaved delights). These trains should run overnight with a sleeping car service as was once available many years ago. I live in Toronto, and I sometimes take the Maple Leaf locally in Canada, but I would never take it as far as New York. On Air Canada I expect a decent J class service for even a two hour flight, there is no way I would take a 12 hour train ride unless there was a proper premium class service.
royalflight is offline  
Old Oct 15, 12, 8:58 am
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NY Senator Schumer wants Amtrak Adirondack to clear immigration customs at Montreal's Central Station, eliminating Saint-Lambert station stop..

http://www.schumer.senate.gov/Newsro....cfm?id=336750
money_opp is offline  
Old Oct 15, 12, 11:06 am
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That's great news! Now how about for Toronto? And it seems to be only good news for south-bound departures. We'll still have that pesky 2 hour border crossing going north. To be fully effective, we need to have it working in both directions. Oh well.
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Old Jun 15, 14, 9:59 pm
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I took this route from Montreal to NY recently. Its still the same. The train is very scenic and i loved it except for the border. You sit for so long at customs it made the trip seem so much longer not even moving for so long. I am hearing by 2016 you will clear customs in montreal for both countries and no stops between plattsburg and montreal at all. It will save literally over three hours off the time! They are also working to get a faster track between NY border and montreal the train literally crawls on old tracks. The NY politicians are working on this so i think it will happen and the State of NY seems willing to spend some money to improve the links between the two cities by rail.

Driving is so fast its a straight shot on I-87 and everyone speeds the train has to be somewhat close to make it realistic. NYC and montreal has alot of traffic would be nice to get some cars off the road also with a decent rail option.
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Old Jun 16, 14, 12:10 pm
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IKR, when you fly there, does the plane land at the border, go thru customs, take off and land at the destination? No! Trains should be allowed that too!!!
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Old Feb 24, 15, 3:13 pm
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Originally Posted by melroskowski View Post
I'm scheduled to take this exact train this weekend! Anyone know how the WIFI will be? Scheduled to work on my train ride back to NY. Thanks!!
I took it a few years ago and I wasn't able to get it to work at my seat, but it worked fine in the cafe car.
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