Resumption of Amtrak service to Canada (2022)

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

JP1822

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 8, 2019
Messages
107
Goes to show how deep the staffing cuts were when COVID hit. Should it have went that far? We have 20/20 hindsight now, but surprisingly Amtrak didn’t even consider any service north of Seattle (e,g, Bellingham to Seattle service) unless it went all the way. The lead time to re-start service from zero staff is interesting. Not sure what staff was sent to establish daily LD train service, as that’s still trying to turn the corner (will shortly), but that seems more like an easy excuse. Still, of interest, Amtrak often said it furloughed employees during COVID, but clearly that’s not what happened here (they were severed).
 

west point

Engineer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
3,571
Location
SW ATL airport
Willbridge: Has anyone pointed out to WA DOT that Amtrak a while back ran a bunch of qualification / requalification's run on the Vancouver BC route? Makes one wonder if it is equipment not crew.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
6,226
Location
Washington State
Willbridge: Has anyone pointed out to WA DOT that Amtrak a while back ran a bunch of qualification / requalification's run on the Vancouver BC route? Makes one wonder if it is equipment not crew.
I am sure they know. The rail division of Washington DOT is highly invested in the service and monitors it pretty closely.
 
Last edited:

JP1822

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 8, 2019
Messages
107
Although perhaps not ideal, but you can’t tell me Amtrak couldn’t figure out “something” between its Amfleet and Horizon fleet, even though I know the Horizon fleet is pretty well stretched right now due to the delay in deployment of the Venture train cars.
 

west point

Engineer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
3,571
Location
SW ATL airport
Is there a release date yet for Venture set from Sacramento? Also, will it go directly to Seattle or will have to rotate thru CHI / IND for testing and final outfitting?
 
Last edited:

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
AU Supporting Member
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
33,135
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Is there a release date yet for Venture set from Sacramento? Also, will it directly to Seattle or will have to rotate thru CHI / IND for testing?
First ICT (diesel) sets in FY26, that is CY25-26. First set will go to NEC for testing (afterall, they do have to be tested upto the specified 125mph) before going to PNW. The remaining 7 will go directly to PNW.
 

Chris I

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Messages
151
Location
Portland, OR
Hopefully we can get a few more Horizons or Superliners in the interim. 4 more years is a long time to wait, since the current equipment can barely cover the already reduced schedules (compared to those promised with the Point Defiance Bypass).
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
828
Amtrak’s response to letter from WA and Oregon…
Two pages of why we can’t bring service back til December, ended by a non committal “perhaps we can do 3 day a week service though”


 
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
757
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
In the bigger picture Amtrak likely furloughed more employees than it should have in part because it never expected, or perhaps even hoped, that full long distance service would return. Congress likely put a crimp into Amtrak's longer term thinking by allocating funds for, and mandating, the return of pre-pandemic service levels.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,557
Location
Chicago, Illinois
Has there been any indication of when service is expected to resume in December? I am planning a trip that involves going from Seattle to Vancouver that month and would prefer to do it by train if possible.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
6,226
Location
Washington State
Has there been any indication of when service is expected to resume in December? I am planning a trip that involves going from Seattle to Vancouver that month and would prefer to do it by train if possible.
Nobody knows. "December" was very approximate in the Amtrak letter to WSDOT and ODOT. Amtrak is clearly evading committing to a firm date, at least for now.
 
Last edited:

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
6,226
Location
Washington State
I have tickets on the bus for a border crossing in February 2023. Amtrak is not giving us any cause for hope.
The only hope is they have got more political and public pressure on them now than they have had. WSDOT deliberate published the letter from Amtrak when they had been keeping mum before and are clearly angry and frustrated. Senator Cantwell called Gardner in for a "discusion" (aka tongue lashing) about it after the letter came out.

There is definitely a lot more heat about it now than there was.
 

neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
9,549
Location
Ithaca, NY
Here's a summary of some details of the Amtrak staffing issues:


An OBS class was supposed to begin on May 9, but only 3 of the 21 applicants had passed their background checks by May 6. It's not clear whether that's because of Amtrak's inability to process the candidates in a timely matter or because most of the applicants were failing the background checks. Given that both Washington and Oregon have legalized recreational weed, and Amtrak uses hair follicle testing (which is probably overly sensitive to past weed use), it is quite possible that the problem is that most of the applicants are failing the drug test.

Time for Amtrak to stop doing hair follicle tests. Switch to something less over-sensitive. The hair follicle tests have actual false positives from people who've simply been spending a lot of time with cannabis smokers without smoking themselves. Given the laws in Washington and Oregon, this is just going to be too common...


Though I've also heard reports that Amtrak is not processing applicants in a timely manner.
 

west point

Engineer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
3,571
Location
SW ATL airport
Suspect problems are because of shortage of customs and border control both US and Canadian. If they have to motor to the station that makes 1 or 2 not available at other crossings.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2012
Messages
1,952
Location
UK / France
Just to clarify please, this is for November... probably:

Either train or bus from Toronto to the Falls Canadien side, walk across the bridge, train to NYC?

Do these services usually operate in mid winter too?

Thank you
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporting Member
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
24,632
Location
Austin Texas
Just to clarify please, this is for November... probably:

Either train or bus from Toronto to the Falls Canadien side, walk across the bridge, train to NYC?

Do these services usually operate in mid winter too?

Thank you
Yes they do Jamie!

Like all things post Pandemic, the Schedules are Uncertain and TBD,but GO Trains and Buses and VIA( No Maple Leaf however) should be running with Weekends having more Service,

And although yall won't be there when the Falls Freeze later on, it's Beautiful there in the Winter.
 

amtrakpass

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 21, 2016
Messages
209
The Maple Leaf to Toronto is available again for purchase on the Amtrak app in about a week starting on June 27th. We'll find out soon if it actually is running. Shows as Via Rail #98 on the Canadian side going towards Toronto. Haven't noticed anything about the Adirondack or Cascades services however
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
AU Supporting Member
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
33,135
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
The Maple Leaf to Toronto is available again for purchase on the Amtrak app in about a week starting on June 27th. We'll find out soon if it actually is running. Shows as Via Rail #98 on the Canadian side going towards Toronto. Haven't noticed anything about the Adirondack or Cascades services however
The BC fare is just $1 more than Coach? I guess Amtrak forgot to add in the fare differential in the US segment. The fare differential is indeed $1 in the Canadian segment.

BTW, it does not appear in the VIARail system yet.
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporting Member
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
24,632
Location
Austin Texas
The BC fare is just $1 more than Coach? I guess Amtrak forgot to add in the fare differential in the US segment. The fare differential is indeed $1 in the Canadian segment.
One of the Best Deals going even if Technicaly VIA doesnt have BC on this route, and something the Adirondack badly needs IF it ever runs again( even if its an Amtrak Train unlike the VIA/Amtrak run Maple Leaf???)
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
4,306
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
VIA has been known to use the business car for local traffic, with no actual business service. On several occasions we have had to sit in regular coach between Toronto and Niagara Falls if origin or destination was in NY State although holding business class tickets. "That's an Amtrak ticket" is a common reason, as is saying CBP or CBSA wants all cross-border passengers in one car. In fairness, we've also had to move from Business at Amtrak's behest between Buffalo and the border for the same reason. They usually open only one door for border checks and it's not in the business car.
 
Top