Funding, Border Inspection and Operation of Cross Border Services

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If this train originated in Detroit instead of Chicago-NYP via Canada, would it be feasible - or reasonable - for passengers to clear Canadian customs before even setting foot on the train? This is the practice at NYP for the Adirondack to Montreal, I believe.
Not a chance. There are currently no examples where Canadian border officers operate in other countries. This differs from the US where officers do pre-clearance in places like Canada, Aruba and Ireland. AFAIK, provision was made for a Canadian "office" in the Niagara Falls, NY, Amtrak station, however this never materialized due to "union" issues - long before a pandemic made it all academic. I'm not even sure whether the US would permit "foreign" officers to operate on US soil, but the issues run much deeper than that.
 

John Bredin

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What are the facilities at Vancouver BC for the Cascades when that was running? I thought there was a fenced-off platform at the Vancouver station so that you entered the U.S./left Canada when you entered the platform and you left the U.S./entered Canada when you exited the platform. Or is that an incomplete picture and some of the customs or immigration check for either or both nations still occurred at the border itself?

I thought:
(1) appropriate legislation or executive agreements between the U.S. and Canada had been adopted to authorize this at Vancouver and Montreal (see below), and

(2) the Cascades sealed-platform operation was a model for similar arrangements at Montreal (also only one stop north of the border) but the blockage to that coming to fruition before Covid was the lack of cooperation by Quebec in fencing off a platform rather than the two federal governments.

Someone correct me if my recollection is wrong,
 
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Each passenger rail crossing of the US-Canada border is unique in how it is handled by authorities on both sides. I'm most familiar with the Maple Leaf, which prior to its suspension was handled as described in the post immediately above (although 90 minutes was more typical) at the Niagara Falls crossing. It is important to note that it is the only cross-border train not entirely operated by Amtrak and it makes multiple stops on the Canadian side. Its future has been discussed many times on AU, under several topic headings.

The Adirondack - an all-Amtrak train - is stopped for inspection enroute and makes one stop on the Canadian side other than Montreal terminus. Passengers are not usually required to disembark for inspection. There has been repeated discussion of US pre-clearance being done in Montreal if the stop were eliminated.

The Cascades - an all-Amtrak train - receives the airline model of US pre-clearance in Vancouver central station, becoming essentially a US domestic train on departure. Canadian inspections are also carried out there, since Vancouver is the first and only stop on the Canadian side.

The International - the last train to cross between Ontario and Michigan, was inspected on either side of the border by the appropriate officers but passengers were not (normally) required to leave the train. Despite lower ridership than the Maple Leaf, these inspections would routinely take up to 2 hours - especially if the consist contained Superliners. The lengthy inspections jeopardized connections at either end (Chicago, Toronto) and contributed to the train's demise.
 
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jis

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(2) the Cascades sealed-platform operation was a model for similar arrangements at Montreal (also only one stop north of the border) but the blockage to that coming to fruition before Covid was the lack of cooperation by Quebec in fencing off a platform rather than the two federal governments.
The so called Cascade sealed platform operation is weird. The final customs inspection by US CBP actually used to happen at Blaine where they collected the customs forms, or at least it was that way for a long time. I have heard that they were thinking of stopping that and actually completing the entire customs process at Vancouver Pacific Central station. But I am not sure that it actually happened before service was suspended.

What the geniuses of CBP will actually do in Montreal is anybody's guess at this time.
 

Willbridge

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Each passenger rail crossing of the US-Canada border is unique in how it is handled by authorities on both sides. I'm most familiar with the Maple Leaf, which prior to its suspension was handled as described in the post immediately above (although 90 minutes was more typical) at the Niagara Falls crossing. It is important to note that it is the only cross-border train not entirely operated by Amtrak and it makes multiple stops on the Canadian side. Its future has been discussed many times on AU, under several topic headings.

The Adirondack - an all-Amtrak train - is stopped for inspection enroute and makes one stop on the Canadian side other than Montreal terminus. Passengers are not usually required to disembark for inspection. There has been repeated discussion of US pre-clearance being done in Montreal if the stop were eliminated.

The Cascades - an all-Amtrak train - receives the airline model of US pre-clearance in Vancouver central station, becoming essentially a US domestic train on departure. Canadian inspections are also carried out there, since Vancouver is the first and only stop on the Canadian side.

The International - the last train to cross between Ontario and Michigan, was inspected on either side of the border by the appropriate officers but passengers were not (normally) required to leave the train. Despite lower ridership than the Maple Leaf, these inspections would routinely take up to 2 hours - especially if the consist contained Superliners. The lengthy inspections jeopardized connections at either end (Chicago, Toronto) and contributed to the train's demise.
A useful summary. A few details:
  • the VAC inspection bubble works well, from my few visits and friends' reports. However, suburban stops at White Rock and New Westminster that formerly were offered cannot be made.
  • And a nice feature: Business Class passengers go through U.S. Customs first.
There have been some rocky points in the border operations (my Canadian mother-in-law having to walk down the ballast at Blaine with her suitcase still comes to mind), but through-out the history of this there have been citizens on both sides who kept pressing their respective politicians. And -- ;) -- maybe being three time zones away from Our Nations' Capitals helps in the same way that the Coast Starlight became a premier service until Gardner was able to throttle it back.
 
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I sometimes wonder about the objective need for current restrictive border controls at our land borders. I know that at least one of the 9/11 hijackers entered the US by a land crossing from Canada, but it's not clear that he would have been stopped by our current border protocols. Even after passports were required, our inspections to and from Canada by car were very brief. A quick look at the passports, maybe read the chip, a couple of questions, and we were on our way. Why do they need to haul everyone out of the train with their luggage and make them wait in line while the agents fuss around looking for low grade contraband that they're not going to find, and even if they do miss some, it's not really a threat to our national security. It sounds the the process is straight out of a Paul Thereoux account of the Bucharest - Istanbul express at the Bulgarian-Turkish border.
 
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fdaley

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Even if they sealed the train except for one coach for a stop (like Aldershot or London), as they once did on 63/64 and the CP/VIA Atlantic, that wouldn't fly today. Customs will simply say how do we know you didn't unlock the gangway door during the trip. As I said, remember the mentality you are dealing with. They are just as ruthless and untrusting of train crews as they are with passengers. They'll even go ruffling through bags marked "Crew'.

In the case of the VIA Atlantic, when the service was revived in the mid-1980s, political pressure forced U.S. customs to back off from a ridiculous policy of waking up all the through travelers in the middle of the night to a much more reasonable standard of interviewing only the handful of passengers who were detraining in the United States. As I recall, this happened in part because Maine's federal officials intervened after hearing from constituents who wanted the new service to survive. Under the deal they reached, customs agents rode the train across Maine and could verify for themselves that the sealed doors remained sealed -- and they could monitor anyone boarding and detraining at the one door that opened.

I realize it was a different (pre-9/11) era. But assuming both countries still function as representative democracies, is there really no one capable of exercising some oversight of our two customs agencies to keep them from sabotaging a service that the traveling public wants?

And I agree, BTW, that the new customs facility and process at Niagara Falls will wind up killing the Maple Leaf, if it hasn't already, unless the customs agencies are forced to change.
 

crescent-zephyr

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And I agree, BTW, that the new customs facility and process at Niagara Falls will wind up killing the Maple Leaf, if it hasn't already, unless the customs agencies are forced to change.

What new facility and process? I must have missed something!
 

fdaley

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What new facility and process? I must have missed something!

Since about 2015 or 2016, customs officials on both sides have been making everyone pile off the train and bring all of their luggage inside the station. On all of my previous trips on the Maple Leaf over 30 years, the customs inspections and interviews were done on board the train.

Because of my wife's mobility issues, the Canadian customs officials allowed us to remain on board for the inspection when we went west in 2016, even though everyone else was required to detrain. But coming east in 2017 after a cross-country trip on the Canadian, we had to schlep with our wheelchair and all of our baggage from a three-week trip and stand in line for the better part of an hour inside the new Niagara Falls NY station.

On our next trip north of the border, we took the Adirondack to Montreal, even though it added a day to the itinerary, to avoid going through this again. For future trips, we'll either use the Adirondack or drive across the border and stash our car somewhere in the suburbs on Montreal or at one of the VIA corridor stations.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Since about 2015 or 2016, customs officials on both sides have been making everyone pile off the train and bring all of their luggage inside the station. On all of my previous trips on the Maple Leaf over 30 years, the customs inspections and interviews were done on board the train.

Because of my wife's mobility issues, the Canadian customs officials allowed us to remain on board for the inspection when we went west in 2016, even though everyone else was required to detrain. But coming east in 2017 after a cross-country trip on the Canadian, we had to schlep with our wheelchair and all of our baggage from a three-week trip and stand in line for the better part of an hour inside the new Niagara Falls NY station.

On our next trip north of the border, we took the Adirondack to Montreal, even though it added a day to the itinerary, to avoid going through this again. For future trips, we'll either use the Adirondack or drive across the border and stash our car somewhere in the suburbs on Montreal or at one of the VIA corridor stations.

Oh I see. Yes that’s how it was the last time I rode the Maple Leaf. I thought there was maybe a newer process than that.

Back to the topic of this thread, I’m thinking we won’t see any “through” trains from Chicago to Toronto again. Will be a Chicago to Detroit Train and a Detroit to Toronto Train.
 

zephyr17

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If this train originated in Detroit instead of Chicago-NYP via Canada, would it be feasible - or reasonable - for passengers to clear Canadian customs before even setting foot on the train? This is the practice at NYP for the Adirondack to Montreal, I believe.

Now, that might not address the reverse problem of wily Canadians somehow boarding the train and sneaking into the U.S....
No, that was not the practice on the Adirondack. At NYP, Canada bound passengers had their ID checked and got special baggage tags, that was all. The Adirondack stopped for customs inspection right at the border and customs inspection took place onboard while the train sat there. That was in both directions.

For the record, customs and immigration formalities were handled differently for each of the cross border trains.

Adirondack Onboard inspection at border, as mentioned. All Amtrak operation.

Maple Leaf - ALL passengers deboard with all luggage at Niagara Falls, ON (north/west bound) and Niagara Falls, NY (south/east bound) for customs and Immigration inspection inside station. Wait in station until train itself is cleared. New(ish) Niagara Falls, NY station built with joint use by both CBP and CBSA in mind if Canada exercises her Preclearance rights, but right now , no. Joint Amtrak/VIA operation. Amtrak crew between Niagara Falls, ON and New York, VIA crew between Niagara Falls, ON and Toronto.

Cascades - Northbound customs and Immigration inspection on arrival at Pacific Central Station. Southbound US Immigration inspection prior to boarding at Pacific Central Station in a "Preclearance light". US Customs inspection onboard train at border in Blaine,WA. With recent rail preclearance agreement, that is expected to change at some point with both US immigration and customs being done at Pacific Central Station. All Amtrak operation.

I would expect a Maple Leaf model for a Chicago-Detroit-Toronto service, since it would most likely be making Canadian stops and also be a joint Amtrak/VIA operation. Border formalities would be done using either a joint CBP/CBSA facility in Detroit's MC station with Canada exercising preclearance rights, or CBP in MC and CBSA in Windsor.

I do not think a New York-Chicago route via Southern Ontario is in the cards at all, and in the small chance it were, it would not run sealed. Border formalities would be done in Detroit/Windsor and Niagara Falls.

Finally, neither CBSA nor CBP like onboard inspection and probably would not permit another one. That is one of the reasons the Adirondack is likely ultimately to switch to all border formalities for both sides being done in Montreal, much like Vancouver.
 

fdaley

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To me, the Maple Leaf model is a flop. It's bad enough that the train sits at the border for more than an hour for the customs inspection, but to force everyone to haul all their luggage off the train on every trip really kills any sense of the train being competitive with car travel.

From my corner of New York, one can drive to Montreal in a bit over three hours, and the border crossing usually involves rolling down one's car window and responding to a few questions that consume 5 minutes at most. The Adirondack takes at least 5.5 hours, mainly because of the long border stop and slow running north of the border. Even so, pre-pandemic, we often took the Adirondack because it's wonderfully scenic and we could stay in our seats and read or work during the border stop. If we had to pile off every trip at Rouses Point or Lacolle, we'd never do it.

Pre-clearance in Montreal would be an improvement for the Adirondack, but that model's not going to work for a Toronto-Detroit-Chicago run without skipping a whole bunch of travel markets on one side of the border or the other. Unless we're talking about a service that only runs from Detroit to Toronto.
 

zephyr17

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To me, the Maple Leaf model is a flop. It's bad enough that the train sits at the border for more than an hour for the customs inspection, but to force everyone to haul all their luggage off the train on every trip really kills any sense of the train being competitive with car travel.

From my corner of New York, one can drive to Montreal in a bit over three hours, and the border crossing usually involves rolling down one's car window and responding to a few questions that consume 5 minutes at most. The Adirondack takes at least 5.5 hours, mainly because of the long border stop and slow running north of the border. Even so, pre-pandemic, we often took the Adirondack because it's wonderfully scenic and we could stay in our seats and read or work during the border stop. If we had to pile off every trip at Rouses Point or Lacolle, we'd never do it.

Pre-clearance in Montreal would be an improvement for the Adirondack, but that model's not going to work for a Toronto-Detroit-Chicago run without skipping a whole bunch of travel markets on one side of the border or the other. Unless we're talking about a service that only runs from Detroit to Toronto.
Well, flop or not, that is the way CBSA and CBP are going to demand it be done unless it runs sealed to a fairly close terminal city like Montreal or Vancouver where border inspection can be performed.

Your complaints all center around the border inspection, which Amtrak and VIA have almost no control over. CBSA and CBP are going to do a thorough border inspection at the border for any train that has intermediate stops in their respective countries. Period. And they want to do it in an environment they have better control over than onboard, with direct access to facilities such as their computer network, interview rooms, detention facilities, etc. They are not going to agree to any more onboard inspections. So the question becomes do you want cross border services at all, given the hard constraints CBSA and CBP require?

Also, it may take only 5 minutes once you get to the booth. What about the time spent in line? At Peach Arch on Interstare 5 the wait can be 2 hours or more at peak times. They have signs to turn off your engine. Multiply your 5 minutes by everyone on the train, then create a schedule that allows for a peak load and includes time to handle non US/non Canadian residents who can require more time.

You have made great case of the perfect being the enemy of the good.

As to a Detroit-Toronto train, that would be a VIA Rail Canada service, not an Amtrak service, since 99% of it would be in Canada. A Chicago-Detroit-Toronto train would almost certainly be a joint service, with VIA handling it between Detroit/Windsor and Toronto. Making it Detroit-Toronto cuts out the Amtrak part. Think VIA is interested in running a train to Detroit? The already have Toronto-Windsor service.
 
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Amtrak25

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Well, flop or not, that is the way CBSA and CBP are going to demand it be done unless it runs sealed to a fairly close terminal city like Montreal or Vancouver where border inspection can be performed.

Your complaints all center around the border inspection, which Amtrak and VIA have almost no control over. CBSA and CBP are going to do a thorough border inspection at the border for any train that has intermediate stops in their respective countries. Period. And they want to do it in an environment they have better control over than onboard, with direct access to facilities such as their computer network, interview rooms, detention facilities, etc. They are not going to agree to any more onboard inspections. So the question becomes do you want cross border services at all, given the hard constraints CBSA and CBP require?

Also, it may take only 5 minutes once you get to the booth. What about the time spent in line? At Peach Arch on Interstare 5 the wait can be 2 hours or more at peak times. They have signs to turn off your engine. Multiply your 5 minutes by everyone on the train, then create a schedule that allows for a peak load and includes time to handle non US/non Canadian residents who can require more time.

You have made great case of the perfect being the enemy of the good.

As to a Detroit-Toronto train, that would be a VIA Rail Canada service, not an Amtrak service, since 99% of it would be in Canada. A Chicago-Detroit-Toronto train would almost certainly be a joint service, with VIA handling it between Detroit/Windsor and Toronto. Making it Detroit-Toronto cuts out the Amtrak part. Think VIA is interested in running a train to Detroit? The already have Toronto-Windsor service.

Both Canadian and American federal politicians need to codify procedures to get them back on board, as they did for 35 years. They can bring their portable devices with them, and bring whatever few people to the dinette car or into their palace for longer interviews as they do at Rousses Pt and Lacolle.

Without that, the Maple Leaf is poorly patronized, a financial money pit for VIA Rail, and failed business model that should be discontinued.
 
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Well, flop or not, that is the way CBSA and CBP are going to demand it be done unless it runs sealed to a fairly close terminal city like Montreal or Vancouver where border inspection can be performed.

Your complaints all center around the border inspection, which Amtrak and VIA have almost no control over. CBSA and CBP are going to do a thorough border inspection at the border for any train that has intermediate stops in their respective countries. Period. And they want to do it in an environment they have better control over than onboard, with direct access to facilities such as their computer network, interview rooms, detention facilities, etc. They are not going to agree to any more onboard inspections. So the question becomes do you want cross border services at all, given the hard constraints CBSA and CBP require?

What CBSA and CBP desire is not necessary to do a border inspection, as the experience of train operations in many countries (including the US-Canada border in the past) clearly demonstrates. It's even more true with the development of advanced technology, as computer databases and such can now be accessed through wireless networks, so it really shouldn't be a problem for inspectors to do their job on board the train.

The vast majority of border crossers at these ports of entry are really of no interest to the border agencies and represent no threat to the security of either country. The worst that might happen with more relaxed border controls is an increase in petty smuggling, but that already happens at the road border crossings. Is there really any need to snarl up border crossings for people riding public transportation just to make sure nobody smuggles a few Cuban cigars or an extra liter of booze into the United States? Both countries claim they want to do something about climate change, yet in this instance, they are discouraging the use of public transportation to cross border. I bet the same problem happens for bus travelers, too.

This poster is right, Amtrak and VIA have no control over this. Perhaps people should be contacting their representatives, senators, members of the Canadian Parliament, the President and the Prime Minister and the responsible cabinet secretaries and ministers to put some pressure on CBSA and CBP to put into practice a more reasonable border control process.
 

zephyr17

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What CBSA and CBP desire is not necessary to do a border inspection, as the experience of train operations in many countries (including the US-Canada border in the past) clearly demonstrates. It's even more true with the development of advanced technology, as computer databases and such can now be accessed through wireless networks, so it really shouldn't be a problem for inspectors to do their job on board the train.

The vast majority of border crossers at these ports of entry are really of no interest to the border agencies and represent no threat to the security of either country. The worst that might happen with more relaxed border controls is an increase in petty smuggling, but that already happens at the road border crossings. Is there really any need to snarl up border crossings for people riding public transportation just to make sure nobody smuggles a few Cuban cigars or an extra liter of booze into the United States? Both countries claim they want to do something about climate change, yet in this instance, they are discouraging the use of public transportation to cross border. I bet the same problem happens for bus travelers, too.

This poster is right, Amtrak and VIA have no control over this. Perhaps people should be contacting their representatives, senators, members of the Canadian Parliament, the President and the Prime Minister and the responsible cabinet secretaries and ministers to put some pressure on CBSA and CBP to put into practice a more reasonable border control process.
I do not disagree with you as to the feasibility of on board inspections, but both CBSA and CBP are pretty unbending in their demands and most policymakers leave their internal processes to them. They also have a history of being hostile to handling passenger trains at all, such as CBSA's trying to refuse to handle a second train at Vancouver and the dreadful handling of the International, which played no small part in its discontinuance.

As an aside, the process on buses is no better, all passengers must get off with all luggage, get inspected, no one is allowed to reboard until a determination is made for all passengers (cleared, detained for further inquiry, refused). So it is largely the same as the Maple Leaf procedure, with the extra added bonus of waiting for the buses in front of you to clear. I have crossed by bus at Pacific Highway and at Niagara Falls when the Cascades and Maple Leaf, respectively, were bustituted.
 

Amtrak25

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What makes the bus different is that your luggage is under the bus, so no negotiating aisles and stairs with it. They often don't bother accessing it except for the few specifically asked for it.

When they go on board the Adirondack, they seldom ask you to get it down and open it, but merely ask where it is.

On the Greyhound crossing from Montreal to Burlington, they let us back on the bus, except for one woman they made an issue of inside the facility for 40 minutes.

Therefore, what goes on at Niagara Falls is based on power trips, theatre, and laziness.

There was a time when they rode moving trains, such as from the Auburg Trestle to St Albans. The lawmakers need to let them throw their temper tantrum, and like recalitrant children, ignore them, and write their procedures out of existance.
 
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west point

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Does anyone know how Ararondiac and Mapleleaf costs are allocated cross border? If Amtrak pays more for operations in Canada than revenue for passengers going for intermediate stations past Niagra then something is wrong.
 

jis

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Does anyone know how Ararondiac and Mapleleaf costs are allocated cross border? If Amtrak pays more for operations in Canada than revenue for passengers going for intermediate stations past Niagra then something is wrong.
Amtrak does not pay anything for operation in Canada. In Canada Maple Leaf is a VIA operation. That is why you get two separate tickets when you travel from New Yrk to Toronto, one from New York to Canadian Border and the other from Canadian Border to Toronto. And that is why there is no real BC ticket in Canada. They charge a nominal $1 additional for it. That is also why the OBS staff changes at Niagara Falls ON and American Commissary supplies are offloaded and stored and replaced by Canadian Commissary supplies in the Cafe and vice versa in the opposite direction.

The Adirondack is an Amtrak train all the way as are the Cascades and Amtrak pays contract fees for use of facilities and staffing Canada for turning the consist. But Amtrak staff operates the trains to the Canadian terminal. Of course Amtrak then duly collects some amount from the states under contract from whom it operates those trains.
 
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zephyr17

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New York and Washington State pay Amtrak for all costs for the Adirondack and Cascades as state supported trains. New York pays for the Maple Leaf as far as Niagara Falls as part of its Empire Service. I do not know about the funding for the VIA part of the operation between Niagara Falls and Toronto.

Heck, Washington even paid for a siding at Colebrook, BC so they could add the second train.
 
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I'd venture to say federal politicians on either side couldn't care less whether trains cross the border. They're the ones that have influence over customs officials. New York State, Michigan and Ontario on the other hand are very supportive but the process is out of their hands.

As has been stated multiple times in this thread, ultimately the federal politicians that codify the customs procedures need to be made to care about issues Important to constituents. They do after all work for the voters.

Last time I checked, we didn’t live in a dictatorship – although sometimes I think if we did the trains would run better.
 

zephyr17

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As has been stated multiple times in this thread, ultimately the federal politicians that codify the customs procedures need to be made to care about issues Important to constituents. They do after all work for the voters.

Last time I checked, we didn’t live in a dictatorship – although sometimes I think if we did the trains would run better.
Really low priority. Plus CYA is a high priority for politicians generally and second guessing CBP/CBSA would not be a good look on the remote chance something did happen. There is very little upside for them. Chances of them doing something is close to zero.

And legislators generally do not codify procedures. They make laws that set forth requirements (x is eligible, y is ineligible, etc). The agencies themselves formulate the implementing regulations and procedures. They could set forth a requirement that rail passenger customs inspections take place onboard. But they won't.

The best chance to have it happen would be for organized lobbying to weigh in. And it does not look like a priority issue with RPA. Getting the cross border trains back and Chicago-Detroit-Toronto trains, even under the current border regimen, is what they are actively working towards.
 
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west point

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Amtrak does not pay anything for operation in Canada. In Canada Maple Leaf is a VIA operation. That is why you get two separate tickets when you travel from New Yrk to Toronto, one from New York to Canadian Border and the other from Canadian Border to Toronto.

Let me put another way. For the Maple Leaf. Does VIA pay anything to Amtrak for loco and car miles? As well how are the fuel charges allocated? If Amtrak receives some payment from VIA do these payments and the excess Canadian passenger revenue exceed the extra costs of the above expenses? Excess passengers defined by those passengers who would not use Amtrak portion if there was no connection to Canada.

For the other two cross border trips. Does the Canadian revenue. excess passenger revenue, and state support pay for the above expenses + crew costs, track mileage, and station costs?

If all this revenue for Detroit <> Toronto does pay for the Canadian operating costs, then IMO would have no objection.
 

zephyr17

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For the Cascades and the Adirondack all revenues go to Amtrak. Tickets physically sold in Vancouver and Montreal and online to Canadians go to Amtrak with no VIA involvement. Amtrak pays terminal costs in Vancouver and Montreal and I imagine VIA charges them for costs such as extended hours by agents in Vancouver where Amtrak provided much more service than VIA (28 arrivals and departures per week versus 6 in summer, 4 in the winter for VIA). But Amtrak received all revenue.

As to distribution of costs for trainset use and fuel for the Maple Leaf, I do not know and the information is likely proprietary. I imagine VIA paid for Toronto terminal costs, since it was their train at Toronto.

I have no doubt that Amtrak passes through all charges incurred in Canada to the supporting states. Amtrak may not have their act together in many things, but they are quite enthusiastic about charging states for any costs related to state supported services.

The Cascades service to Vancouver, which I have ridden the most, though i have ridden all three, is heavily patronized, particularly in cruise season. Washington DOT is anxious to get the service restarted and the service has good political support in western Washington. The hang up now appears to be issues with CBSA (them again!) how to handle the random arrival testing Canada now requires, that Pacific Central Station does not have sufficient facilities for increased number of travellers expected not to be admitted to Canada under their strict COVID protocols, and the fact that Amtrak has apparently decided they want to resume all Canada services on the same date. Despite the fact that all those services are state supported, requested and paid for by New York and Washington, and the most heavily patronized of them, the Cascades, is separated from the others by 2,000 miles and do not remotely serve the same people (except for me, who regularly took Cascades-Canadian-Maple Leaf trips).

PS, as a Washington taxpayer, I have standing to object if I so choose (which I don't, I love the Vancouver Cascades service, miss it, and am very happy my tax dollars support it). Since you are apparently from Georgia, you don't really have standing to object to how Washington and New York choose which rail services to support. Or Michigan, which would likely be on the hook for the American portion of a Chicago-Detroit-Toronto train.
 
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