Resumption of Amtrak service to Canada (2022)

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zephyr17

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They do in New York Penn, but that's all. Regardless, on every Adirondack trip I have taken, CBSA has pulled a couple of people off in my car, and they got on in NYC. They also spend 50% of their time on 5% of the people for the 90 minutes they typically take.
They checked before boarding in Seattle on the Cascades, but I usually got on in Everett. They'd check my NEXUS card (US/Canada frequent border crossing card) when they walked through and scanned my ticket after the train was underway.

Everett usually had a pretty good crowd boarding, too.

Most people had the proper ID and not everyone is going to Canada. Would take extra time to sort out everything at brief intermediate station stops instead of the usual ticket walk once the train is underway. It is easy enough to put the few passengers without documentation off at the next stop, just as they do the few passengers lacking tickets.
 
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williamn

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They do in New York Penn, but that's all. Regardless, on every Adirondack trip I have taken, CBSA has pulled a couple of people off in my car, and they got on in NYC. They also spend 50% of their time on 5% of the people for the 90 minutes they typically take.

The checks at New York Penn have always seemed pointless including the instance on having a special luggage tag, when no one else who gets on the train en route gets checked in the same way (at least on the Maple Leaf).
 

Amtrak25

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Agree. It is security theatre nonsense by the Gate Dragons impersonating Customs. The big authoritarian looking desk they stand behind with a Canadian flag handing out seat checks just to be collected before you head down the stairs, and the bar coded luggage stickers they afix to you e-ticket could be an SNL skit. If CBSA got a look at these machinations, they'd die laughing, and it is hard for them to laugh.

One could always take Metro North to Yonkers or Harmon to avoid that silliness as well as standing in line for an hour, but you won 't get a window seat.
 

zephyr17

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I don't recall a "big, authoritarian looking desk". I recall a not particularly intimidating podium on wheels that they rolled out at NYP.

I do agree it had the aspects of theater and I don't think anyone, including CBSA, paid one bit of attention to the special tags.

I do think checking passports/documentation prior to boarding at the originating terminal does make sense. It lessens the workload for the conductors onboard, who only need to be concerned with those boarding at intermediate points.
 

zephyr17

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You still must enter all Passport and Vaccine infor on the Arrive Canada app.
Yes, but the test was the real wild card, and you don't submit the test result document itself on ArriveCan, like you do with proof of vaccination. You enter the test result but result document itself is only examined at primary inspection and there were a lot of cases where it either wasn't the right test or was too old. Up until a few weeks ago, it had to be a PCR test, not antigen, and even when antigen tests were allowed, they couldn't be home self tests. I do know one of CBSA's issues on resuming Cascades service is they didn't have space or facilities at Vancouver's Pacific Central Station to handle more than a very few people that didn't qualify for entry or had to be referred to secondary inspection. The test was a wild card that caused a lot of people to be ineligible for entry who thought they were okay.

As I said above, I do not see ArriveCan as an impediment. Now, with dropping the test requirement, it becomes much more cut and dried. ArriveCan V or I result code, you are good. No ArriveCan or other result code, off the train you go. Just like not having a passport. It puts the evaluation in the hands of CBSA with a result can be easily checked by the train crews.

I think ArriveCan submission is likely to become a permanent. I do not see Canada dropping the vaccination requirement any time in the near future, if ever. And I think they may well keep ArriveCan even if they do eventually drop the vaccination requirement. As far as CBSA is concerned, the more information they have in advance, the better.

BTW, I've been to Canada twice since the border reopened. ArriveCan is easy to do and quick.

Now they need to get rid of the silly quarantine "plan" requirement. All that does is encourage fiction writing.
 
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Yes, but the test was the real wild card, and you don't submit the test result document itself on ArriveCan, like you do with proof of vaccination. You enter the test result but result document itself is only examined at primary inspection and there were a lot of cases where it either wasn't the right test or was too old. Up until a few weeks ago, it had to be a PCR test, not antigen, and even when antigen tests were allowed, they couldn't be home self tests. I do know one of CBSA's issues on resuming Cascades service is they didn't have space or facilities at Vancouver's Pacific Central Station to handle more than a very few people that didn't qualify for entry or had to be referred to secondary inspection. The test was a wild card that caused a lot of people to be ineligible for entry who thought they were okay.

As I said above, I do not see ArriveCan as an impediment. Now, with dropping the test requirement, it becomes much more cut and dried. ArriveCan V or I result code, you are good. No ArriveCan or other result code, off the train you go. Just like not having a passport. It puts the evaluation in the hands of CBSA with a result can be easily checked by the train crews.

I think ArriveCan submission is likely to become a permanent. I do not see Canada dropping the vaccination requirement any time in the near future, if ever. And I think they may well keep ArriveCan even if they do eventually drop the vaccination requirement. As far as CBSA is concerned, the more information they have in advance, the better.

BTW, I've been to Canada twice since the border reopened. ArriveCan is easy to do and quick.

Now they need to get rid of the silly quarantine "plan" requirement. All that does is encourage fiction writing.
I agree with most everything you said, and it is accurate for American visitors. The variable remains the random (although now free) PCR tests and associated quarantine. This is disproportionately applied to Canadian citizens - particularly couples - returning from US vacations. I personally know several people affected and the process is well-documented on other forums. There are many sitting in multi-day quarantines awaiting test results that take a ridiculous amount of time, and this process is not being removed. The Arrive-Can app will likely remain in-place forever, but is already under court challenge since it discriminates against anyone without a smartphone and data plan - such as many seniors who are less "tech-savvy". I have my next US trip planned and am hoping all this nonsense goes away in the interim.
 
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I agree with most everything you said, and it is accurate for American visitors. The variable remains the random (although now free) PCR tests and associated quarantine. This is disproportionately applied to Canadian citizens - particularly couples - returning from US vacations. I personally know several people affected and the process is well-documented on other forums. There are many sitting in multi-day quarantines awaiting test results that take a ridiculous amount of time, and this process is not being removed. The Arrive-Can app will likely remain in-place forever, but is already under court challenge since it discriminates against anyone without a smartphone and data plan - such as many seniors who are less "tech-savvy". I have my next US trip planned and am hoping all this nonsense goes away in the interim.

Per the smartphone and data plan: they are not really necessary at the border. As long as you filled ArriveCan, (which can be done before departure on a public computer) the ArriveCan info directly shows up in the border officer's computer when they swipe your passport. That was at least my experience.

And I agree the random tests could be troublesome.
 

Bob Dylan

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Per the smartphone and data plan: they are not really necessary at the border. As long as you filled ArriveCan, (which can be done before departure on a public computer) the ArriveCan info directly shows up in the border officer's computer when they swipe your passport. That was at least my experience.

And I agree the random tests could be troublesome.
Remember when NAFTA was going to make it easier to Travel in North America, sort of a Western Hemisphere EU???🤔🙄
 

jis

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Right now, ArriveCan shows Cantic as a border crossing. I suppose that suffices for LaColle ?
The actual checkpost is at the border adjacent to Rouses Point, which strictly speaking is neither LaColle nor Cantic.

The CN line passes through Cantic. The CP line passes through LaColle.

Both are about 2 miles from the border.

Apparently CBSA uses the original checkpost name whereas Amtrak tossed a coin and decided LaColle sounds more Canadian or something :D I don't think that anyone that matters is actually confused about which border checkpost it refers to.
 
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Amtrak25

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On the CN, Cantic, where the Vermont line merges, is about 4 miles north of LaColle. I suppose that is where the Montrealer did its Customs business northbound, but I don't remember. On a real map, Lacolle is slightly northwest of Cantic.

Of course now adays, with a timetable-less Amtrak, no passenger would know to look for either LaColle or Cantic and could screw up.

You are also supposed to put down expected time of arrival. I guess for Amtrak, that would be 4pm.

I think most passengers will simply put in something for Montreal and at 7pm. I hope that does not cause delays and confusion.
 
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jis

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On the CN, Cantic, where the Vermont line merges, is about 4 miles north of LaColle. I suppose that is where the Montrealer did its Customs business northbound, but I don't remember.

Of course now adays, with a timetable-less Amtrak, no passenger would know to look for either LaColle or Cantic and could screw up.

You are also supposed to put down expected time of arrival. I guess for Amtrak, that would be 4pm.

I would suggest that one would open up a map and study it carefully ;)

1647623688500.png
 
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I would suggest that one would open up a map and study it carefully ;)

View attachment 27636
Him, from the map, the CBSA seems to be where you would expect it, along Highway 223, but there's a "Douanes Canadienne," (Canadian Customs) that seems to located in the middle of the Richelieu River. Neither the Cardinal nor the Three Musketeers are amused. :)
 

jis

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Him, from the map, the CBSA seems to be where you would expect it, along Highway 223, but there's a "Douanes Canadienne," (Canadian Customs) that seems to located in the middle of the Richelieu River. Neither the Cardinal nor the Three Musketeers are amused. :)
Yeah, that left me scratching my head, unless there is something to do with some checkpoint for waterborne traffic in some way. But I did not investigate further.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Remember when NAFTA was going to make it easier to Travel in North America, sort of a Western Hemisphere EU???🤔🙄
I remember NAFTA was mainly about easing import restrictions and speeding up freight and cargo traffic. Visiting Mexico as a tourist is more of a hassle now than before NAFTA but it's still pretty easy. It's really only the CBSA that has ever caused me any problems but I do not think NAFTA is responsible for that.
 

thully

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How does the random test/quarantine work? I was thinking of doing a trip to Canada from the US to ride VIA (either the corridor to Montreal or the Canadian+Cascades or bus+Empire Builder loop) this summer (particularly now that the test requirement is in effect). From what I understood you could proceed as normal upon entering Canada, and the quarantine was only if your test came back positive (In which case my quarantine plan would be my hotel - figure I’d do a rapid test pre-departure to catch this before I leave home if at all possible).

I agree with most everything you said, and it is accurate for American visitors. The variable remains the random (although now free) PCR tests and associated quarantine. This is disproportionately applied to Canadian citizens - particularly couples - returning from US vacations. I personally know several people affected and the process is well-documented on other forums. There are many sitting in multi-day quarantines awaiting test results that take a ridiculous amount of time, and this process is not being removed. The Arrive-Can app will likely remain in-place forever, but is already under court challenge since it discriminates against anyone without a smartphone and data plan - such as many seniors who are less "tech-savvy". I have my next US trip planned and am hoping all this nonsense goes away in the interim.
 

JP1822

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The whole cross-border "mess" (for the most part) could be a lot smoother if the agencies worked closer together and with better operating rules in place.

- At one time, I was told a daily manifest of some sort (and realizing last minute bookings can be made) was forwarded to the border patrol folks (excuse the formal title they really have). It was sent at time of the train's departure and then again as train approached noting the changes between the two lists (adds/or subtracts). This was to give a preliminary "heads up" to the border folks.

- Reservations for crossing the border used to require the giving of one's passport number at time of reservation. Presumably this "info" is part of the manifest info forwarded to the border folks, and hopefully it is reviewed prior to the trip by either Amtrak or border patrol.

- At major staffed stations along the train's route to the border, there could be (and some stations do this presently) a basic check of person and passport. I even remember being on the Adirondack and occasionally the conductors would do a general "looksie" to ensure passenger, passport, and the cross border form was filled out.

- If border patrol has a manifest and passport numbers ahead of time, one would think this would be one way to "move things along" - or especially for the Maple Leaf and Adirondack. Match or clear those folks onboard and then focus on last minute reservations, or the changes done in the manifest.

The Adirondack and Maple Leaf border crossings is a real PIA. Maple Leaf everyone now has to GET OFF the train with luggage and be cleared in the train station at the border. Adirondack they still come onboard - till a pre-clearance and check hub is established at Montreal. Still a long way off. Of all the Canada-US border crossings (of the three) Vancouver, BC border crossing (on the Cascades) is the best and most efficient (done right at the station etc.) It's a good model for the Adirondack to follow. The Maple Leaf is the worst. If some of the other points above are in place do the check and processing onboard.

In terms of timing - I would think the Cascades route my go first (back in action), followed by Maple Leaf and then Adirondack. Adirondack may take some time to come back just because of getting Amtrak crew re-qualified and familiarized with a route that's not been running for over two years. If Amtrak and Border Control can get everything up and running at same time - GREAT! Maybe - May or June IF COVID regulations can continue to be relaxed (including the wearing of masks and testing etc.). Both VIA and Amtrak need to be on similar pages though. At one time checks were done on the train for Maple Leaf passengers, and just the ones that had to be "re-verified" for one reason or another stepped inside the station for additional inspection/clearing. Hopefully something gets figured out before July 2022.
 

Amtrak25

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CBSA is determined to kill 60-90 minutes don't matter what.
Amtrak has been doing qualification runs to Montreal, the last one being around December.

I have given up any hope of a facility ever getting done in Montreal Central nor a Vermonter extension. The new Quebec government has thrown all plans out and will start from scratch. If they do come up with something again after dragging their feet for a few years, they'll have another election and throw those plans in the garbage as well. This is like a student being a perpetual Freshman. Since Customs is a federal matter, I don't know why the provincial government is involved in the first place, but they clearly haven't any intention of doing anything, and I don't see the PM and MP's lifting a finger either.

I don't care if the Maple Leaf ever comes back. It carries between a van and bus load across the border, and has no measurable impact on its patronage in New York state according to ESPA's documents since truncated. Until federal legislation and treaties are written literally ordering them back on the trains to do their inspections, it is a useless, political train service. Legislators are the ones who should write laws, not an arrogant government bureaucracy. Forget about a Vermonter to Montreal unless that occurs too because they will refuse to do anything onboard at Cantic.

Come to the realization that the US and Canada are too incompetent and uncivilized to run a pasenger train across the border. Send 63/64 to Erie, build a terminal facility there, and add stations in Dunkirk and Westfield. That would be more beneficial to us and be better patronized than running to Toronto. Run a Thruway bus to Exchange Street and Niagara Falls.
 
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Send 63/64 to Erie, build a terminal facility there, and add stations in Dunkirk and Westfield. That would be more beneficial to us and be better patronized than running to Toronto. Run a Thruway bus to Exchange Street and Niagara Falls.
Why not leave 63/64 running to NFL? It is a popular tourist attraction. I agree running to Toronto is probably not worth the hassle.
 

jis

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Why not leave 63/64 running to NFL? It is a popular tourist attraction. I agree running to Toronto is probably not worth the hassle.
Well, there already are two other trains that run to Niagara Falls. Opening up a few more cities/towns/areas to train service is better than running one more train to NFL IMHO.

Though I would think that Cleveland would be a better terminal for such an extension, but there is the idiotic PRIIA restriction that comes into play.
 
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