Montreal to NYC customs?

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Christopher rou

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hi just have a question on how the custom stop/inspection works. Do we get off the train and take our luggage to get scanned? Do they come on the train and just ask questions and if they feel the need, go through the bags?
 

pennyk

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The last time I was on the Adirondack between Montreal and NYC, customs officers entered the train and inspected on the train. Passengers did not get off the train.
 

zephyr17

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Yes, last time I rode the Adirondack CBP boarded and did the inspection on board. They make multiple passes through the train and it takes awhile.

Note that each cross border train has a different method:
Adirondack onboard as noted.
Maple Leaf deboard with all luggage and go through Customs & Immigration in the Niagara Falls, NY station. Unsure of what is done for Canada, never ridden it northbound.
Cascades, US Immigration in Vancouver before boarding. Short US Customs walk through at border in Blaine, WA. Canadian Customs and Immigration at Vancouver station.
 

Montreal Ltd

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Yes, last time I rode the Adirondack CBP boarded and did the inspection on board. They make multiple passes through the train and it takes awhile.

Note that each cross border train has a different method:
Adirondack onboard as noted.
Maple Leaf deboard with all luggage and go through Customs & Immigration in the Niagara Falls, NY station. Unsure of what is done for Canada, never ridden it northbound.
Cascades, US Immigration in Vancouver before boarding. Short US Customs walk through at border in Blaine, WA. Canadian Customs and Immigration at Vancouver station.
A couple of months ago I did the northbound on Maple Leaf. Deboarded with all luggage and went through customs and immigration in the Niagara Falls ON station.
 
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Gord

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A couple of months ago I did the northbound on Maple Leaf. Deboarded with all luggage and went through customs and immigration in the Niagara Falls ON station.
At NF station in New York there is a high-level platform so it's easy to roll your luggage out to go through Customs.
Coming into NF Canada, it's low platform loading so you have to drag your luggage up and down the vestibule steps. It's a real pain for people with large luggage, mobility issues and for many seniors. This annoying practice has been in place for a few years, prior to that people remained on board for Customs inspection.
 

dogbert617

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At NF station in New York there is a high-level platform so it's easy to roll your luggage out to go through Customs.
Coming into NF Canada, it's low platform loading so you have to drag your luggage up and down the vestibule steps. It's a real pain for people with large luggage, mobility issues and for many seniors. This annoying practice has been in place for a few years, prior to that people remained on board for Customs inspection.
That is weird. So for both Niagara Falls, NY, and Niagara Falls, ON, they make all passengers briefly get off the train and go into the station for a brief immigration and customs check, then get back on the train? You'd think they do the immigration and custom check, right on the train and let passengers stay in their seat! A la the Adirondack, between Montreal and Plattsburgh.

I like how the Cascades does the immigration(both US and Canada), right inside the Vancouver, BC station. That's a great idea to do!
 

jiml

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The issue on the Niagara route is the intermediate stops on the Canadian side prevent doing these activities in Toronto. Not a problem with Cascades. The Amtrak Maple Leaf does "double duty" as both a local and long-distance train since VIA cancelled its local service on the route. Once GO Transit augments its service between Toronto and Niagara Falls, ON, I can see Amtrak running non-stop to Niagara Falls, NY and doing all checks in Toronto.
 

PVD

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If I recall, the Leaf switches crews and cafe car offerings as well.... There has been a glacially slow process working towards pre clearance in Montreal, that would require the elimination of the stop between the border (Rouses Pt) and Montreal.
 

bretton88

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That is weird. So for both Niagara Falls, NY, and Niagara Falls, ON, they make all passengers briefly get off the train and go into the station for a brief immigration and customs check, then get back on the train? You'd think they do the immigration and custom check, right on the train and let passengers stay in their seat! A la the Adirondack, between Montreal and Plattsburgh.

I like how the Cascades does the immigration(both US and Canada), right inside the Vancouver, BC station. That's a great idea to do!
The issue is the passport scanners aren't portable, so they find it easier for you to come to them, than try to match person with their passport.
 

jis

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The issue is the passport scanners aren't portable, so they find it easier for you to come to them, than try to match person with their passport.
That has got to be about the most lame excuse in this day and age in a country that claims to be technical innovation engine of the world. :p
 

Dakota 400

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they make all passengers briefly get off the train and go into the station for a brief immigration and customs check, then get back on the train?
This seems to be SOP for our Immigration and Customs people. Arriving on a cruise ship at the end of a cruise, but continuing on the ship for its next cruise, Immigration requires a "zero count" meaning all passengers must disembark, go through Immigration (a cursory Passport inspection), and wait until 100% of the passengers have been "inspected" before anyone may re-embark. Sometimes, this even includes the ship's crew.
 

zephyr17

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They do it onboard on the Adirondack both directions (although the train sits for what seems forever while they do). So not having the stationary passport scanners available doesn't appear to be complete deal breaker in all cases I think they just looked at the passport, I don't recall any sort of portable scanner. I know they did not take it away with them during the inspection.

They are talking about doing US Pre-clearance and Canadian Customs for the Adirondack at Montreal (although they've been talking about that forever). It would mean dropping the St. Lambert stop outside Montreal, although that doesn't appear to be any kind of show stopper to anyone.

You aren't going to see pre-clearance on the Maple Leaf. Unlike the Cascades and the Adirondack which are entirely Amtrak operations, the Maple Leaf is a VIA operated train Niagara Falls-Toronto and makes several stops and handles local passengers.
 
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west point

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Have not compared schedules but at one time St. Lambert stop was used by inbound Amtrak passengers who were connecting to VIA's Nova Scotia trains.
 

jiml

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You aren't going to see pre-clearance on the Maple Leaf. Unlike the Cascades and the Adirondack which are entirely Amtrak operations, the Maple Leaf is a VIA operated train Niagara Falls-Toronto and makes several stops and handles local passengers.
As I mentioned earlier in this discussion, there are plans to have GO Transit take over local service between Toronto and Niagara Falls, ON - with an increase from the current one train a day (2 on weekends), which is opposite the Maple Leaf schedule similar to the former VIA-only service. (The daily VIA train was suspended after an accident on the route several years ago, leaving the Maple Leaf as the only option.) Once GO takes over a non-stop Maple Leaf will be possible, with "Vancouver-style" pre-clearance done in Toronto Union and the train sealed enroute. The infrastructure has already been looked at, with US officers rotating between Union Station and nearby Billy Bishop airport. Unfortunately the latter's pre-clearance plans are still pending last I checked, so there's a lot of pieces to the puzzle.

The border formalities in both directions used to be handled on the train until a plan was uncovered to attack the train - also several years ago. Not sure who moved to in-station checks first, but with border crossings there tends to be a "we're going to do what they do" mentality with both governments.
 

jis

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Nonstop Maple Leaf in Canada may be possible if NY State agrees to fund it, which is ... well quite uncertain to say the least [emoji6]
 

jiml

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Nonstop Maple Leaf in Canada may be possible if NY State agrees to fund it, which is ... well quite uncertain to say the least [emoji6]
One rumour awhile back was some support from the big casino on the NF NY side, since the non-stop would essentially bring customers right to their doorstep. The main highway between the two cities can be congested and vehicle delays at the border lengthy - especially with one of the primary bridges down to one lane for multi-year reconstruction.
 
G

Gord

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Yes, you walk your bags through Customs which is at one end of the station. Once cleared you go outside and circle around to the center of the station and wait inside for about an hour or so before re-boarding. Onboard Customs was in place until a few years ago. Presumably, the introduction of a baggage scanner in the station is the reason they now make everyone leave the train.
 

jis

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One rumour awhile back was some support from the big casino on the NF NY side, since the non-stop would essentially bring customers right to their doorstep. The main highway between the two cities can be congested and vehicle delays at the border lengthy - especially with one of the primary bridges down to one lane for multi-year reconstruction.
Casinos are known to be remarkably unreliable source of rail passenger funding. They talk the talk but when it comes time, don;t walk the walk beyod a few steps at most. I would not hold my breath on that one.
 

jiml

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Casinos are known to be remarkably unreliable source of rail passenger funding. They talk the talk but when it comes time, don;t walk the walk beyod a few steps at most. I would not hold my breath on that one.
Agree 100%. It was a few years back after Seneca Niagara's (had to look it up) big expansion and I don't think it gained any traction. Not even sure they're doing all that well with the stiff competition on the Canadian side.
 
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