Canadian border reopening; how soon will international railrestored?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,524
Location
Chicago, Illinois
I checked a few days ago and both the Adirondack and Cascades were bookable starting in early January, although I'm hopeful they will resume operations sooner than that.

The Maple Leaf was not bookable for any dates. If it doesn't resume operations, I'm curious how the process will proceed. Will it be officially discontinued or will it be another SL East situation? I'm also curious if any information will be provided as to potential connections between Amtrak and GO Transit. Although the stations are only half a mile apart, the bridge between them is not open to pedestrians or anyone in a car without a NEXUS card.
 

TC_NYC

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Messages
109
Location
Tri-Cities, Washington
What makes people think the Maple Leaf is going to be killed? I would also help that Amtrak and WDOT (Washington State DOT) would restore at a minimum Seattle-Bellingham service before the return of college in September as Bellingham is a big college town on the Seattle-Vancouver route.
 

jiml

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
3,810
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
What makes people think the Maple Leaf is going to be killed?
Since before the pandemic there have been a number of discussions in other threads regarding the future of the Maple Leaf. It had initially been suspended in Canada due to bridge repairs, then Covid. In the meantime, Ontario's GO Transit had developed a reasonably robust commuter service between Toronto and Niagara Falls, with some days up to 4 frequencies. One trip each way coincided very closely with the Maple Leaf schedule. With frequent commuter service on the route, the only future for the Maple Leaf would be to run sealed from the border to Toronto. While that could simplify customs formalities, it would also remove VIA's economic interest in operating the train in Canada and force Amtrak to do it themselves or contract the track owners (CN or Metrolinx) to do it for them. Then along came the pandemic, GO service was replaced with buses and there have been no recent developments.
 

danasgoodstuff

Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 23, 2021
Messages
149
Location
PDX
Since before the pandemic there have been a number of discussions in other threads regarding the future of the Maple Leaf. It had initially been suspended in Canada due to bridge repairs, then Covid. In the meantime, Ontario's GO Transit had developed a reasonably robust commuter service between Toronto and Niagara Falls, with some days up to 4 frequencies. One trip each way coincided very closely with the Maple Leaf schedule. With frequent commuter service on the route, the only future for the Maple Leaf would be to run sealed from the border to Toronto. While that could simplify customs formalities, it would also remove VIA's economic interest in operating the train in Canada and force Amtrak to do it themselves or contract the track owners (CN or Metrolinx) to do it for them. Then along came the pandemic, GO service was replaced with buses and there have been no recent developments.
How about Amtrak just running the Maple Leaf to the CND side of Niagara Falls? That's where the best views and most tourist stuff is (although the NY side has more tourist accommodations than it used to). Sure, you can walk across the bridge, but from the Amtrak station on the US side that's a bit of a hike IIRC. Or getting VIA & Amtrak to cooperate in a rational way. No train from the US to Toronto (the biggest city in CND after all) seems weird to me. And with a historic tourist trap on the way, it's doubly weird.
 

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,219
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Since before the pandemic there have been a number of discussions in other threads regarding the future of the Maple Leaf. It had initially been suspended in Canada due to bridge repairs, then Covid. In the meantime, Ontario's GO Transit had developed a reasonably robust commuter service between Toronto and Niagara Falls, with some days up to 4 frequencies. One trip each way coincided very closely with the Maple Leaf schedule. With frequent commuter service on the route, the only future for the Maple Leaf would be to run sealed from the border to Toronto. While that could simplify customs formalities, it would also remove VIA's economic interest in operating the train in Canada and force Amtrak to do it themselves or contract the track owners (CN or Metrolinx) to do it for them. Then along came the pandemic, GO service was replaced with buses and there have been no recent developments.
Remember, the Maple Leaf is not an Amtrak train. It is a PRIIA 209 New York State train. It is already operating as such between New York and Niagara Falls NY. I am almost certain that New York State will not fund its operation for an extended distance in Canada. Unless some outfit in Canada want to fund its Canadian operation I don;t see how it can continue to run in Canada.

Since in normal course of things Amtrak used to run it to Niagara Falls ON, I am sure that can be restored with ease.
 

jiml

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
3,810
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
Remember, the Maple Leaf is not an Amtrak train. It is a PRIIA 209 New York State train. It is already operating as such between New York and Niagara Falls NY. I am almost certain that New York State will not fund its operation for an extended distance in Canada. Unless some outfit in Canada want to fund its Canadian operation I don;t see how it can continue to run in Canada.

Since in normal course of things Amtrak used to run it to Niagara Falls ON, I am sure that can be restored with ease.
I agree. I think eventually either GO will run to Niagara Falls, NY, or the Maple Leaf will run to Niagara Falls, ON, with a cross-platform connection. Either will require some additional track and platform work. There are logistical hurdles to overcome with either scenario unfortunately.
 

Mailliw

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
472
Location
Scranton, PA
My guess is that the Maple Leaf ends up being folded into the Empire Service and terminating in Niagara Falls, NY. Passengers will have to Clear customs on their own and then take GO Transit from Niagara Falls, ON to Toronto.
 

jiml

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
3,810
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
Interestingly, the reporter on tonight's supper-hour newscast was positioned next to the Whirlpool bridge used by the Maple Leaf to speculate on the impact of the border re-opening.
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,439
Location
Austin Texas
It appears that the US is not going to follow by opening the border southbound when the current deadline passes later this week. Any discussion of resumed train service is pointless until that happens.
🥺🥺🥺🤬

Austin Health Officials just announced we were going back to Stage 4 of the COVID Protocols( Red) due to a Tripling of Positive Tests and Hospitalizations in the past 2 weeks!

99% were the Delta Variant with a few Cases of the Lambda Variant showing up! 100% were Unvaccinated persons! 😱
 
Last edited:

MikefromCrete

Engineer
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Messages
2,720
Location
Crete, IL
Since before the pandemic there have been a number of discussions in other threads regarding the future of the Maple Leaf. It had initially been suspended in Canada due to bridge repairs, then Covid. In the meantime, Ontario's GO Transit had developed a reasonably robust commuter service between Toronto and Niagara Falls, with some days up to 4 frequencies. One trip each way coincided very closely with the Maple Leaf schedule. With frequent commuter service on the route, the only future for the Maple Leaf would be to run sealed from the border to Toronto. While that could simplify customs formalities, it would also remove VIA's economic interest in operating the train in Canada and force Amtrak to do it themselves or contract the track owners (CN or Metrolinx) to do it for them. Then along came the pandemic, GO service was replaced with buses and there have been no recent developments.
So, it's all just speculation.
 

Exvalley

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
964
My guess is that the Maple Leaf ends up being folded into the Empire Service and terminating in Niagara Falls, NY. Passengers will have to Clear customs on their own and then take GO Transit from Niagara Falls, ON to Toronto.
I would not be interested unless the GO train was guaranteed to wait until I clear customs. If I miss the GO train due to the length of time to clear customs, I am not interested in waiting a couple of hours for the next train.
 

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,219
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
I would not be interested unless the GO train was guaranteed to wait until I clear customs. If I miss the GO train due to the length of time to clear customs, I am not interested in waiting a couple of hours for the next train.
As a first approximation my guess would be that if the GO train for cross border traffic originated and terminated at Niagara Falls NY then it would be more likely to wait than if it was a local Canadian affair originating and terminating at Niagara Falls ON.

But of course, since all this is speculation, only time will tell.
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,439
Location
Austin Texas
As a first approximation my guess would be that if the GO train for cross border traffic originated and terminated at Niagara Falls NY then it would be more likely to wait than if it was a local Canadian affair originating and terminating at Niagara Falls ON.

But of course, since all this is speculation, only time will tell.
Let's hope if it does end up being a GO Train operation from the Border to Toronto, that it involves Trains and not Buses!
 

Devil's Advocate

It's just a scratch.
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,633
Location
Siding of Excellence
Canada is a beautiful country with friendly residents and I'm still looking forward to finally crossing the border on a train someday in the future. Unfortunately the motivation sapping experience of dealing with Canadian border dragons was already a deterrent and now they'll be able to add fake vaccines, bogus tests, and secret infections to their repertoire of unfounded accusations. In any case I hope those who have friends and family on the other side can be reunited soon! Once I was vaccinated the first thing I wanted to do was visit family again and it would suck to be stuck on the wrong side of a closed border in a situation like that.
 
Last edited:
Top