Canadian border reopening; how soon will international railrestored?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

danasgoodstuff

Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 23, 2021
Messages
139
Location
PDX
Canada is a beautiful country with friendly residents and I'm still looking forward to 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. They don't seem to be nearly as aggressive with people who live near the border so I understand why some folks may think I've exaggerated prior experiences. In any case I hope those who have friends and family on the other side can be reunited soon!
Thumbs up for the last sentence. I do have family on the other side, who I hope to see soon. This trip will be by car, but I have crossed by all modes including walking. Most of my experiences with the officers on either side have been positive, or at least not too bad. But you never know, and there's the rub. Worth remembering that they are charged with a fairly impossible task. It will most likely never be as casual as it once was, pre-9/11. I'd love to see more cross-border rail connections, not fewer.
 

jiml

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
3,801
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
GO Train service has resumed between Toronto and Niagara Falls, ON, with 4 frequencies on weekends only. Weekday demand is still low, but a minimum of 2 trips on weekdays is expected to resume by September.

Trains depart Toronto at 8:51, 12:51, 16:51 and 20:51. The trip takes 2 hours.

Trains depart Niagara Falls at 11:16, 15:16, 19:16 and 23:16. The trip takes 2 hours and 4 minutes.
go-train-niagara.jpg
 
Last edited:

Exvalley

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
948
That GO station seems dangerously close to the falls, LOL.

Does the testing requirement before entry into Canada apply to driving as well as flying? I am assuming that it does.
 

jiml

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
3,801
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
Does the testing requirement before entry into Canada apply to driving as well as flying? I am assuming that it does.
I'd wait about a week and then check. One newscast last night specifically said Americans crossing on land were exempt from both quarantine and testing. I believe that is wrong and the testing for land crossing is part of the new exemption. The government website says this:

If demand is such that this results in lengthy lines starting on August 9, I'd guess they'll quickly pivot to proof of vaccination only.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
5,123
Location
Washington State
That GO station seems dangerously close to the falls, LOL.

Does the testing requirement before entry into Canada apply to driving as well as flying? I am assuming that it does.
I've read the news reports on CBC ( I am assuming Canadian media are the most accurate on this) and the Canadian government websites. It certainly appears that both full vaccination completed at least 14 days prior to entry and a negative COVID test within 72 hours will be required for entry whether land or air. The only difference is for air it has to be within 72 hours of the flight departure while for a land crossing it has to be within 72 hours of presenting yourself at the border crossing.

I am following the issue closely because I have 2 planned Canadian ski trips this winter as well as maybe planning a ride on the Canadian in November (which I think I will push to March).
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
5,123
Location
Washington State
I'd wait about a week and then check. One newscast last night specifically said Americans crossing on land were exempt from both quarantine and testing. I believe that is wrong and the testing for land crossing is part of the new exemption. The government website says this:

If demand is such that this results in lengthy lines starting on August 9, I'd guess they'll quickly pivot to proof of vaccination only.
They will be requiring that proof of vaccination and test results be uploaded to them on the ArriveCAN app or their website prior to arrival.

I think there may be some confusion because the current entry requirements for eligible travelers required both a test prior to entry and a test conducted at entry and 3 day quarantine while that test came back. They are dropping the test at entry and the three day quarantine, but a negative test within 72 hours prior to entry will still be required.
 

Exvalley

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
948
So if you get selected for a random test upon arrival into Canada, is it safe to assume that you have to pay for that test?

I think that I know the answer, but I just wanted to confirm.
 

ScottR

Train Attendant
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
33
Location
Monterey
That GO station seems dangerously close to the falls, LOL.

Does the testing requirement before entry into Canada apply to driving as well as flying? I am assuming that it does.
I Did not know there was a train tunnel under the falls. I’m adding this route to my bucket list
 

jiml

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
3,801
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
So if you get selected for a random test upon arrival into Canada, is it safe to assume that you have to pay for that test?

I think that I know the answer, but I just wanted to confirm.
Since you did not request the test it's highly unlikely they could charge you for it. I would certainly kick off if they tried, although that might not help your case.;)
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,420
Location
Austin Texas
Since you did not request the test it's highly unlikely they could charge you for it. I would certainly kick off if they tried, although that might not help your case.;)
Maybe if the Canadian Government paid for the Tests ($250-$300 is pricey even in CDN$)it would help the Tourism they're seeking with this rushed about face!
 

NapTown Jim

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 30, 2008
Messages
49
Location
Indianapolis
Does this GO Train have luggage racks that will allow you to bring more than an airline sized carry on? I've looked at commuter trains into Chicago (Metra & South Shore Line) and they won't let you bring larger bags on board.
 

jiml

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
3,801
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
Does this GO Train have luggage racks that will allow you to bring more than an airline sized carry on? I've looked at commuter trains into Chicago (Metra & South Shore Line) and they won't let you bring larger bags on board.
These are commuter cars with no luggage storage at all. There are a few seat locations that have floor space in front of them that does not obstruct aisles or doors. In some cars this is where bicycles go.
 

NS VIA Fan

Conductor
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
1,939
Location
Nova Scotia
These are commuter cars with no luggage storage at all. There are a few seat locations that have floor space in front of them that does not obstruct aisles or doors. In some cars this is where bicycles go.
If GO did become the option for cross-border travel I'm sure accommodations would be provided for luggage. Right now the GO summer service to Niagara has lots of room for bicycles which is very popular on that route. And now with the longer routes to Barrie and Kitchener as well as Niagara.....perhaps even a cafe could be provided. Westcoast Express that uses the same type of car has a cafe counter on runs between Vanvouver and Mission.

And I've found the seating on GO's newer cars on those longer runs of nearly 2 hrs....just fine.

20170916_171753.jpg
20170916_180938_001.jpg
 

jiml

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
3,801
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
If GO did become the option for cross-border travel I'm sure accommodations would be provided for luggage. Right now the GO summer service to Niagara has lots of room for bicycles which is very popular on that route. And now with the longer routes to Barrie and Kitchener as well as Niagara.....perhaps even a cafe could be provided. Westcoast Express that uses the same type of car has a cafe counter on runs between Vanvouver and Mission.

And I've found the seating on GO's newer cars on those longer runs of nearly 2 hrs....just fine.

View attachment 23622
View attachment 23623
GO had experimented with a cafe car and a coffee trolley on the Barrie route and even had several regular coaches set up with tables in a "dinette"/computer desk configuration. I haven't been on the train for 2 years (for obvious reasons), but hadn't seen any of the tables in a long time before that. If still around they might be on the less-busy routes, since they affect seating capacity.
 

west point

Engineer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,738
A very slight complication might be if "Delta" starts a real rampage in either country. My state is a high no vaccination state and that worries some that the governor will finally have to back down on no restrictions.
 

supportamtrak

Train Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Messages
39
Location
USA
So if you get selected for a random test upon arrival into Canada, is it safe to assume that you have to pay for that test?

I think that I know the answer, but I just wanted to confirm.
The test is free. I crossed into Canada by land on 7/7/21 and had to be tested on the spot to avoid the 14 day quarantine.

You go through customs/immigration, then you drive into a tent after being handed a test kit; you self-test under supervision and you’re good to go. You get the results on your phone about 48 hours later.

Before showing up at the border, make sure to download the ”ArriveCAN” app and fill out the questionnaire.
 
Last edited:

Seaboard92

Engineer
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
4,293
Location
South Carolina
I'm looking forward to when they resume the Cascades because that morning train from Seattle has some of the best scenery in the entire system north of the Empire Builder route. I would love to do that in a dome car.

I could see the Maple Leaf returning but what always baffled me is why Amtrak didn't market the stops it made on the Canadian side of the border. You would think that would give you a few additional riders each day with the addition of all those city pairings.
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,116
Location
Denver
I'm looking forward to when they resume the Cascades because that morning train from Seattle has some of the best scenery in the entire system north of the Empire Builder route. I would love to do that in a dome car.

I could see the Maple Leaf returning but what always baffled me is why Amtrak didn't market the stops it made on the Canadian side of the border. You would think that would give you a few additional riders each day with the addition of all those city pairings.
A friend and I made the GN Morning International from Seattle to Vancouver, BC and booked travel in the Parlor-Observation-Lounge. It was nice but that winter day a dome coach freed up off of the Empire Builder was in the consist and we ended up spending most of the trip in the dome.
 

NS VIA Fan

Conductor
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
1,939
Location
Nova Scotia
I could see the Maple Leaf returning but what always baffled me is why Amtrak didn't market the stops it made on the Canadian side of the border. You would think that would give you a few additional riders each day with the addition of all those city pairings.

If you looked at an Amtrak Timetable for the Maple Leaf right up until Covid......unless you read the footnotes.....Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Grimsby, Aldershot, Oakville and Toronto are listed and look just like any other Amtrak stop in the schedule.


The former CN Station on the Maple Leaf route in Downtown Hamilton (pop 700,000) was closed and the stop moved to Aldershot years ago. But a big announcement is being made tomorrow and rumoured to be the start of all-day GO Train service between Hamilton West Harbour (old CN Station site) and Toronto. If the Maple Leaf does return....some mods would be required to the tracks at West Harbour to permit it to stop there
 
Last edited:

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,420
Location
Austin Texas
If you looked at an Amtrak Timetable for the Maple Leaf right up until Covid......unless you read the footnotes.....Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Grimsby, Aldershot, Oakville and Toronto are listed and look just like any other Amtrak stop in the schedule.


The former CN Station on the Maple Leaf route in Downtown Hamilton (pop 700,000) was closed and the stop moved to Aldershot years ago. But a big announcement is being made tomorrow and rumoured to be the start of all-day GO Train service between Hamilton West Harbour (old CN Station site) and Toronto. If the Maple Leaf does return....some mods would be required to the tracks at West Harbour to permit it to stop there
Good News indeed.😊

Most of my trips on the Maple Leaf were to Niagara Falls and Oakville, and I always wondered why the stop for Hamilton was out in the boonies @ Aldershot.( although I did know that connections for Windsor could be made there as I did one time).

The Texas Eagle has a similar thing with the Station for Waco, a City of 100,000 plus and home to Baylor University, being @ McGregor, an old small Farming/ Ranching town located 20 miles to the West.
 

jiml

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
3,801
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
...some mods would be required to the tracks at West Harbour to permit it to stop there
Yes, the current Niagara Falls GO service bypasses West Harbour. No platforms on the main line and even the single-train storage track to the right in this picture has been severed.
Harbour-1.jpg
It certainly looks like a connection on that side may be the plan and part of the announcement, which might involve other developments for the Grimsby Sub.
 
Top