Agreement between CP and Amtrak about Detroit River Tunnel

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Amtrak just made an agreement with CP to run trains between Detroit and Windsor through the Detroit River Tunnel. So a new overnight express train could run through Canada over the Wolverine and Empire Service routes which would allow higher speeds and less congestion than running south of Lake Erie. Just an interesting optional possibility.
 

CCC1007

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Amtrak just made an agreement with CP to run trains between Detroit and Windsor through the Detroit River Tunnel. So a new overnight express train could run through Canada over the Wolverine and Empire Service routes which would allow higher speeds and less congestion than running south of Lake Erie. Just an interesting optional possibility.
Can we get a source on this?
 

neroden

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Amtrak just made an agreement with CP to run trains between Detroit and Windsor through the Detroit River Tunnel. So a new overnight express train could run through Canada over the Wolverine and Empire Service routes which would allow higher speeds and less congestion than running south of Lake Erie. Just an interesting optional possibility.
Unfortunately, the Canada Southern railroad was ripped up, meaning that the route from Buffalo to Windsor is... indirect. So maybe less congestion, but probably not higher speeds. :-(
 
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Ryan

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Can we get a source on this?
From Amtrak:
Amtrak PR said:
CP has committed to maintaining its industry-leading role as a host railroad and to cooperating with Amtrak to implement its long-term strategic vision to bring new and expanded intercity passenger rail service to more North Americans, including:

  • Increased frequency on the Hiawatha Service between Chicago and Milwaukee.
  • Extending Hiawatha Service from Milwaukee to St. Paul, Minn., to create a second round-trip on the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago corridor.
  • Passenger service through the Detroit River Tunnel between Michigan and Ontario to Windsor and Toronto (with connections to VIA Rail Canada).
Subject to CP’s application for control of KCS being approved by the STB, the agreement also includes CP’s commitment to support Amtrak efforts to work with the Southern Rail Commission (SRC) and others for the first service in more than 50 years on two U.S. routes:

  • Establish Amtrak service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La.
  • Study the potential for Amtrak service between Meridian, Miss., and Dallas.

Also under discussion here:
 

Amtrak25

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Customs will never allow it. Neither Michigan nor New York would fund it. Chicago - Toronto service is just another Connect US fantasy promulgated by Stephen Gardner to entertain the advocates.
 
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Customs will never allow it.
CBP and CBSA would have no choice but to allow it if Congress and the Candian Parliament appropriate funds for the incremental costs involved in implementing such service. OK, so maybe that's not going to happen, but the costs are chump change in the context of the annual appropriation bills, and there's really no technical reason why suitable border inspections aren't possible, it's just a matter of cost and political will.
 

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But rather true in this instance. Of course there is always the hope that the US would annex Canada or vice versa, in which case there would no longer be any border issue.
There is an entire realm of possibilities between "never going to happen" and "someone annexes territory". It may be unlikely or even wildly improbable, but the absolutely finality of "never" is inappropriate in this situation.
 
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What about the Montrealer (aka Vermonter)? You think that will never come back?
As an overnight train, unlikely. Amtrak did run test trains on the route prior to Covid (video on YouTube), so if anything it will be an extension of the Vermonter. However, if/when the Adirondack is restored I'm not sure there's a market for two day trains - even with different routes. Montreal - Boston makes far more sense.
 

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What about the Montrealer (aka Vermonter)? You think that will never come back?
Very different cases, and of course they will come back. It will take the same hour or two to do processing but once the processing is on shore at Montreal Central, that time will not be part of the train schedule.

Given current practices, what is likely to happen for a New York to Chicago train running through Canada will be that it will involve two such border checks consuming a lot of time, possibly involving passengers getting off the train with their baggage, going through C&I and then reboarding, as is the case at Niagara Falls NY and ON these days for the Maple Leaf, when it runs. This is because the US and Canada C&I folks are averse to running a sealed train through Canada (or US for that matter).

Of course nothing is forever, and things could change. But for now such a NY - Chicago train is impractical.
 
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jebr

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There is an entire realm of possibilities between "never going to happen" and "someone annexes territory". It may be unlikely or even wildly improbable, but the absolutely finality of "never" is inappropriate in this situation.

Plus, Amtrak isn't going to include something like this just to get hopes up for a few railfans. There's only so much that Amtrak can probably get CP to agree to, and they're not going to waste that on trying to appease a few railfans with a sliver of hope.
 

jis

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Plus, Amtrak isn't going to include something like this just to get hopes up for a few railfans. There's only so much that Amtrak can probably get CP to agree to, and they're not going to waste that on trying to appease a few railfans with a sliver of hope.
Then again, the ConnectUS I see as a position paper to provide guidance. I don't think even Amtrak claims that they will be successful in introducing service on all those routes. What we are discussing here is the set of challenges that is likely to be faced if current practices prevail, on a route that involves essentially running sealed operation through Canada. Of course practices can change and stuff can happen changing those assumptions. Indeed Amtrak adding that possibility to their vision could cause some politicians with enough clout to get excited and do something about it.

I think a more fundamental problem will be convincing the US taxpayers that their funding should be used to run a train essentially bypassing major population centers in the US. I think a NY - Chicago train that runs diverted from Toledo via Detroit and then onto Chicago has a better chance of winning friends, while also avoiding border problems. But that is just me and probably can be ignored as a mad idea. Then again, it came very very close to happening a few years back.
 
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Amtrak25

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What about the Montrealer (aka Vermonter)? You think that will never come back?

As an extended Vermonter, only if and when a facility is built in Montreal Central, the ball has been in Quebec's court for 3 years, for which time they have done nothing. I expect nothing to happen.

As an overnight Montrealer, forget it, or for that matter an overnight Montreal Limited via the D&H.

Unlike the [dying] Maple Leaf and still born International, they are not VIA Rail trains in Canada. Politicians wrote procedures and funded facilities for Niagara Falls, NY and ONT that are unacceptable to passengers. They can similarly build a palace in Windsor and Detroit for Customs as well. But if they force everyone off the train with their luggage while they featherbed and procrastinate for a couple of hours, nobody is going to ride a train across the broder.
 

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I think a train NY - Chicago train that runs diverted from Toledo via Detroit and the onto Chicago has a better chance of winning friends, while also avoiding border problems. But that is just me and probably can be ignored as a mad idea. Then again, it came very very close to happening a few years back.

How long have I been advocating for that? There's only 60 miles of track to fix up between Dearborn and Toledo. The track from Dearborn to Porter, Indiana is passenger-operator-controlled track, avoiding NS-caused delays. There's enough room in the ROW from Toledo to Detroit to have a passenger-controlled track (there are currently four tracks plus vacant land on the direct route, and alternate ROWs, too). If South of the Lake ever gets funded for the Chicago approach, as it should, we could have a passenger-operator-controlled route from Chicago Union all the way to Toledo....

Anyway, in the Canada department, what we might see is the reopening of Detroit Michigan Central Station, customs at that location, a Detroit - Toronto train operated by VIA, and a Chicago-Detroit Michigan Central train. People who wished to use it to go from NY to Michigan would probably have to change trains at Burlington GO Station in Ontario; it still might prove attractive, particularly for Buffalo to Detroit traffic, even with the double border crossing.
 

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Then again, the ConnectUS I see as a position paper to provide guidance. I don't think even Amtrak claims that they will be successful in introducing service on all those routes. What we are discussing here is the set of challenges that is likely to be faced if current practices prevail, on a route that involves essentially running sealed operation through Canada. Of course practices can change and stuff can happen changing those assumptions. Indeed Amtrak adding that possibility to their vision could cause some politicians with enough clout to get excited and do something about it.

I think a more fundamental problem will be convincing the US taxpayers that their funding should be used to run a train essentially bypassing major population centers in the US. I think a NY - Chicago train that runs diverted from Toledo via Detroit and then onto Chicago has a better chance of winning friends, while also avoiding border problems. But that is just me and probably can be ignored as a mad idea. Then again, it came very very close to happening a few years back.

Trains 63/64 ran on the MC across Ontario in the 1970's when 403b meant state funding was only 50%, and NY and MI each contributed their 25%, until one of them cut it off. It was also the first and only Amfleet train run across the Empire Corridor around 1978 with Chicago-based cars cycled off Chicago-Detroit trains. It even had a baggage car. Through the 1970's, only one coach was open through Ontario, the rest of the train sealed. That cut down on Customs time. VIA Rail's Atlantic did so across Maine, but that was until 1994, long before 9/11/01. It would not work today.

All Aboard Ohio had an obsession with running a train between Toledo and Chicago via Michigan, either an extended Pennsylvanian, or diverted Capitol Ltd, or Lake Shore Ltd. I thought it was an awful, poorly thought out idea, lengthening running times by over 3 hours, wrecking connections at Chicago, losing a slot on the NS Chicago Line they would never get back, and making equipment turns in Chicago too tight. But someone at Amtrak was foolish enough to listen to them and sent a 49 that way one day on a test. Luckily CN put the kibosh on it due to issues around Battle Creek, and would have required ICTS locomotives assigned to it anyway.
 

Amtrak25

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So the problem would be sneaky people jumping on and off of a moving train in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere? Makes a lot of sense.

Customs could simply say we cannot trust your train did not stop anywhere across Ontario during the night just because the schedule said so. CN stabs trains all the time.

You are dealing with paranoid people on power trips. Do not expect rational behavior.
 
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Customs could simply say we cannot trust your train did not stop anywhere across Ontario during the night just because the schedule said so. CN stabs trains all the time.
The train will inevitably stop at a red signal somewhere, creating the opportunity for abuse. As long as that possibility exists, the prospect is unlikely. As has been pointed out earlier in this thread (and in past ones where this has been discussed) the most direct route no longer exists. If a proposed train were to use the best currently available routing, the time consumed by customs stops would forfeit any time advantage over an all-US route. Make even one stop in Canada (e.g. Aldershot to connect to Toronto) and the whole discussion is moot - unless by some miracle the passenger traffic justified it.
 
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