Resumption of Amtrak service to Canada (2022)

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Willbridge

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As long as Minnesota pays for it, since somebody's got to if they want it to happen. I said North Dakota since it is the closest state and the last state any service to Winnipeg would pass through. Adjacent Washington provides the subsidy for the Cascades to Vancouver, and New York for the Maple Leaf and the Adirondack, so I just extended it to something similar.

Nice of Minnesota to let North Dakota be a free rider.
I have a soft spot for the Winnipeg service, having ridden the daylight NP train long ago. However, there were more Canadian connections back then. When combined with lack of interest by North Dakota and likely border hassles it doesn't seem to be a serious possibility.
 

zephyr17

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I have a soft spot for the Winnipeg service, having ridden the daylight NP train long ago. However, there were more Canadian connections back then. When combined with lack of interest by North Dakota and likely border hassles it doesn't seem to be a serious possibility.
Yeah, CBP and CBSA would likely be pretty resistent to even serving another train, passenger hassles aside. They tanked the International and CBSA did its damndest to stop the second Seattle-Vancouver train. With twice a week service on the Canadian and it often being hours late at Winnipeg both directions, connections would be iffy at best.

Any prospect for a connecting bus to reinstated? There was a Winnipeg connecting bus one for years that connected to the Builder, though I don't recall where it did it, Grand Forks? Minot?
 

Willbridge

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Yeah, CBP and CBSA would likely be pretty resistent to even serving another train, passenger hassles aside. They tanked the International and CBSA did its damndest to stop the second Seattle-Vancouver train. With twice a week service on the Canadian and it often being hours late at Winnipeg both directions, connections would be iffy at best.

Any prospect for a connecting bus to reinstated? There was a Winnipeg connecting bus one for years that connected to the Builder, though I don't recall where it did it, Grand Forks? Minot?
With the intercity bus industry in the shape it's in that would only happen if there was a big subsidy. Right now, if there's even a carrier between Winnipeg and Grand Forks they're not participating in the National Bus Traffic Association.

One problem in setting up a Thruway connection for long distance trains is that unless it's subsidized, the Sold Out conditions on the trains, combined with long delays on both the Canadian and U.S. train connections, combined with less than daily service, and sometimes no agent at the connecting point make it a risky proposition.
 
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Given that Winnipeg is not a "destination", a cross-border train seems really unlikely. Even within VIA's lifetime though, it was served by multiple daily domestic trains. Now with the Canadian's schedule and timekeeping it would be difficult to plan a connection of any kind. It's too bad, since decent well-used tracks cross the border on the route, reducing any potential cost.
 
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Just to clarify, that really is a bus icon.

The train icon looks like this:
View attachment 28747

The bus icon looks like this:
View attachment 28748

And mixed service where there is a train and a bus looks like this, with a "bus" in front of a "train".
View attachment 28749
Yes, I know. It's showing that now, but it did not at the time. However - the middle image being displayed is clearly still a train and the verbiage displayed on hover over says "train". Also - if there isn't a "legend" that shows that mixed service icon, and there isn't mixed service available, how would one even know it exists?

Again, not a dang thing we can do about it, but Amtrak needs to get it together.
 

jebr

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Nice of Minnesota to let North Dakota have a free train, though. Since I am wholly ignorant of Minnesota's position and had not even heard of a serious effort to start a Winnipeg train, how hard are they pushing for it and how committed are they to funding it?

It's in a few plans and potential future maps, and that's about it. If Minnesota ever gets truly serious about passenger rail, I'd expect it to be a pretty low priority, unfortunately. MSP - Duluth, MSP - Fargo/Grand Forks, MSP - Kansas City, and even MSP - Sioux Falls are likely to be bigger priorities.

That said, depending on the routing you could probably have most of the stations in Minnesota, though by doing so you'd be skipping both Fargo and Grand Forks, while picking up destinations that are much smaller.

With the intercity bus industry in the shape it's in that would only happen if there was a big subsidy. Right now, if there's even a carrier between Winnipeg and Grand Forks they're not participating in the National Bus Traffic Association.

For a while there was a private operator out of Winnipeg that offered shuttles to Grand Forks. Jefferson Lines dabbled in a Winnipeg service a few years ago, though the connection times weren't great and there was no interlining between Amtrak or VIA (and I think they used different stations too.) It was dropped after about six months.
 

Amtrak25

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I rode Jefferson Lines from Grand Forks to Winnipeg in 2003. The service had been around a few years, may have been a Thruway bus contractor with another bus company prior to then, and connected with the Empire Builder. The name "Triangle" comes to mind. JL ran it twice a day. I had gotten off the Empre Builder at West Grand Forks at 5am and took a taxi into town, ate breakfast at a tacky Harvey's adjacent to a tacky bus depot.

It was a July 1, Canada Day. There were just two of us on the bus and one automobile at the border. Canadian Customs was polite but wanted to me to get my luggage off the bus, search it, see my VIA Rail ticket to Sudbury, though I told him I was to get it at Winnipeg staion, but showed him my itinerary, which had me leaving Canada on the Maple Leaf a week hence. What he really wanted to know is when an American is getting out of the country. He also stamped my passport and wrote July 8 on it. No Canadian official had stamped my passport, ever or since. He basically had nothing to do but focus on me.

Several years hence, Jefferson Lines ran the business down, first cutting one frequency, then diverting the other from the Winnipeg downtown bus terminal to the airport, then killed it, disliking having to put up with Customs.

Winnipeg is a major Canadian city, but with VIA Rail being what it is, some small replacement bus companies, and Greyhound's demise, there is not much public transportation to network with, for a bus or a train.

Great Falls - Shelby Amtrak (who wrote bus tickets) - Sweetgrass - Coutts, direct connection to Greyhound Canada at the border to Calgary - that was different matter, averaged 21 passengers per trip, but Rimrock Trailways was financially failing, flunking US-DOT inspections, and killed it because they said their break even point was 25 (then run a smaller bus). Very hard to bring back now even though there was a proven market, though there is county bus service between Shelby and Sweetgrass, but nothing on the Alberta side.
 
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zephyr17

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WICT106

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As long as Minnesota pays for it, since somebody's got to if they want it to happen. I said North Dakota since it is the closest state and the last state any service to Winnipeg would pass through. Adjacent Washington provides the subsidy for the Cascades to Vancouver, and New York for the Maple Leaf and the Adirondack, so the border state paying for service made the most logical sense.

Nice of Minnesota to let North Dakota have a free train, though. Since I am wholly ignorant of Minnesota's position and had not even heard of a serious effort to start a Winnipeg train, how hard are they pushing for it and how committed are they to funding it?
See here : https://www.dot.state.mn.us/planning/railplan/2015report/3.pdf
 

WICT106

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I dunno. I kinda like Winterpeg. VIA marooned me there once...
I like Winnipeg, too. While between guiding canoe trips, I was able to spend days off in Winnipeg. It has its' downsides, but it was a vibrant city when compared to the tiny towns where Canoe Bases where located.
 

zephyr17

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A Seattle television station reported today the run from Seattle to Vancouver BC will start in September. I do not see it on schedule yet.
The WSDOT announcement was quite general and said details will follow. No specific date was mentioned, just "September". I do not expect that it will show up in any form on Amtrak.com, either in schedules or reservations, until all the operational details are fully worked out, including a specific service resumption date.

The resumption of the Maple Leaf to Toronto this last Monday did not show up in schedules or reservations until about a week before service started. I would not expect to see Vancouver rail service bookable or in schedules until at least August at the earliest.
 

zephyr17

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What are the odds service to Montreal resumes by December? I have vacation time that I need to use by years end.
Nobody will know until it is announced.

The issues are:
1. Condition of the CN Rouses Point Sub from Southwark (near St. Lambert) to Rouses Point. For CN it is effectively a low speed industrial lead. It hasn't been maintained to any revenue passenger service requirements since the COVID service suspension, and CN in Canada is not subject to Amtrak access statutes or regulations.
2. Crew staffing
3. CBSA and CBP willingness to resume onboard inspections. While the long term solution is a facility in Gare Central in Montreal for both, the ball has apparently been dropped for that and onboard inspection will be required for any near term resumption of service. Neither CBSA nor CBP like onboard inspection and are resistant to it, notwithstanding the opinions of several posters here.

My estimate of resumption of Adirondack service by December is no more than 50/50. Much depends on how much New York State, which contracts for the service, is willing to press it.
 
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Amtrak25

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In Quebec, the welded rail portion was 49 MPH, the jointed rail portions were 30 MPH. I presume some of the latter is now down to 10MPH. Only political pressure on CN to upgrade it will work, or I'm afraid the Adirondack will become like the Sunset Ltd-East or Fort Wayne Line, unless they use the CP into EXO's crummy little Montreal terminal, and forget about extending the Vermonter into Canada.
 
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In Quebec, the welded rail portion was 49 MPH, the jointed rail portions were 30 MPH. I presume some of the latter is now down to 10MPH. Only political pressure on CN to upgrade it will work, or I'm afraid the Adirondack will become like the Sunset Ltd-East or Fort Wayne Line, unless they use the CP into EXO's crummy little Montreal terminal, and forget about extending the Vermonter into Canada.
Don't forget "EXO's crummy little Montreal terminal" is within fairly easy connected walking distance of Central station, with access to hotels and other services, and it's not like the Adirondack really connects to VIA anyway.
 

Amtrak25

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I know that, and I would fully support rerouting the Adirondack there. Part of the line down to Candiac already has commuter trains. A stop at Montreal West would be nice too. Amtrak seems to have a pretty good relationship with the CP.
 

Amtrak25

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A problem will be how the trains would reach VIA’s Montreal Maintenance Center (assuming trains would still get serviced there) from Lucien-L’Allier. There is a connection between CN’s Taschereau Yard and CP’s Cote Saint-Luc Yard, but they’d still need to reverse direction somewhere on CP territory…

What did they until the early 1980's ? Contract with EXO at their Montreal West facility to service it.

I'd imagine the Vermont advocates wouldn't like this either, pinning their hopes on a Customs facility in Montreal Central, which is never going to happen. Quebec Provincial government trashed the plans and started over with a new election. They'll probably do that again after their next election. EXO is not longer interested in commuter service on the Rousses Pt subdivision to St Jean. Federal government in Ottawa certainly doesn't care about anything except the Quebec -Toronto corridor.
 
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JWM

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I'd be reasonably certain that both Canadian and American customs will want one station in MTL and that would be Central Station. The Adirondack would have to use the route prior to Covid interruption which is via St. Lambert. The St. Lambert stop can be eliminated which would allow customs clearance by both countries at Central Station.
 
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