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Date: 08/12/19 06:48
Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: Dcmcrider

At the Michigan Rail Conference--extension of the Wolverines via the Michigan Central tunnel.

https://www.woodtv.com/news/national/amtrak-considers-proposal-to-extend-rail-service-from-chicago-to-toronto/

"EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Amtrak is considering a proposal that would extend the Wolverine line’s rail service from Chicago to Toronto.

The proposal was discussed on Thursday during the Michigan Rail Conference at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The idea was first brought up in March in an Amtrak grant request."
 

Paul Wilson
Arlington, VA



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/19 06:50 by Dcmcrider.



Date: 08/12/19 07:28
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: andersonb109

First they would need to sort out the border issues. If there were no intermediate stops in Ontario, the best way would be to clear the train on arrival in Toronto. That's how it's done in Vancouver.The other issue is that VIA provides frequent excellent service between Windsor and Toronto. And crossing by car to get to the VIA station is much less time consuming than it would be to clear the train. I've crossed many borders in Europe including into and out of Russia. Nothing compares to the time and hassles of crossing by train to and from Canada. They seem to be more interested in treating you like a suspect rather than a guest. 



Date: 08/12/19 07:38
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: Dcmcrider

I doubt VIA would be interested at all in a sealed train operating from Windsor to Toronto, so expect an arrangement similar to what occurs at Niagara Falls. What I don't get is that automobiles and their occupants--tens of thousands per day--are rarely subjected to thorough searches at the US-Canada border, but a handful of railroad passengers and their luggage have to be herded through an inspection station. I also wonder to what extent Amtrak has had discussions with CP and VIA about any of this.

Paul Wilson
Arlington, VA



Date: 08/12/19 08:16
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: 79mph

Dead on arrival.
Nobody bothered to check first with "homeland"about the idea?
It's the same situation that killed off the International, the Montrealer (Maple Leaf), and has constantly troubled both the Adirondack and Vancouver-Seattle services.
If anything, the environment for cross-border travel today is 100% worse than it was back then.

 



Date: 08/12/19 08:31
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: joemvcnj

This is a feeble attempt by Amtrak at promoting corridors, like Duluth, also a lost cause. . 

US Customs effectively killed the service via Port Huron. They were impossible to deal with even before 9/11/01. Doing it via Detroit is equally hopeless. I witnessed their theatre for an hour on the hot, humid Port Huron platform in July 2001.  

I have my doubt that VIA Rail would want its Windsor - Toronto service jeopardized by shenanigans with either Customs, dispatching issues in the Kalamazoo - Battle Creek black hole, NS west of Porter, Amtrak's general Chicago incompetence, and chronic locomotive failures .

Getting off the train for clearance at Niagara Falls in each direction with your luggage is ridiculous and has basically killed the rail market. 
 



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/19 09:13 by joemvcnj.



Date: 08/12/19 08:51
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: ghCBNS

A 'Sealed' train is too far between the border and Toronto (375 km) and besides there's a lot of potential passengers in Hamilton, Brantford, Guelph, Kitchener/Waterloo, London, Woodstock that would be bypassed.

Just bring Amtrak and VIA together in one station where CBP and CBSA work together in the same facility as they do now in Vancouver. Passenger gets of train...clears....then boards the connecting train either VIA or Amtrak.

Tweak the schedules a bit and two services a day could be offered each way.



Date: 08/12/19 09:05
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: Lackawanna484

It took quite a while to get the Vancouver clearance process accomplished, in fairness.

One part I don't understand is that US and Canadian border control staff have the train manifests hours before the individual arrives. Same as aircraft passengers.  But, passenger cars pull up on I-87, they get an instant check, and are waved on. A very small percentage are hauled over for a secondary check



Date: 08/12/19 09:16
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: joemvcnj

Every time, and I mean every time, I ride the Adironack northbound, CBSA pulls someone off. I have my doubts they even read the manifest until the train pulls in. US Customs scans passport books and cards with a device. I forgot if CBSA did that going north. This year, there were no US Customs forms to fil out soutbound



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/19 09:18 by joemvcnj.



Date: 08/12/19 18:02
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: ProAmtrak

Sounds like Airline Boy and Garedner aren't paying attention on this sectror that forced Amtrak to eleminate the International, I know they hated to do that, but with issues at the border they had no chioice, they lost already with the Hooiser State, and they're probably too stupid to quit promoting corridor only, everyone in their right mind know corridors will only work to a certain extent!



Date: 08/12/19 18:19
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: rhburn3

90 minutes to pay the toll and get to US Customs from Sarnia to Port Huron.  30 seconds with the Customs Officer.  It is a slow crossing.



Date: 08/12/19 19:19
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: 4489

andersonb109 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> First they would need to sort out the border
> issues. If there were no intermediate stops in
> Ontario, the best way would be to clear the train
> on arrival in Toronto. That's how it's done in
> Vancouver.The other issue is that VIA provides
> frequent excellent service between Windsor and
> Toronto. And crossing by car to get to the VIA
> station is much less time consuming than it would
> be to clear the train. I've crossed many borders
> in Europe including into and out of Russia.
> Nothing compares to the time and hassles of
> crossing by train to and from Canada. They seem to
> be more interested in treating you like a suspect
> rather than a guest. 

"Frequent"?  Please share your definition of frequent.  Thanks!



Date: 08/12/19 19:21
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: RuleG

Good grief!  What a bunch of negativity.  :(

So many on Trainorders whine that Amtrak's management does not care about anything outside of the Northeast Corridor.  Yet, when there is a proposal to improve service, all of you rain on the parade.



 



Date: 08/12/19 19:43
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: mp51w

They would be better off running a connecting thruway bus from Dearborn & Detroit to Windsor to connect wth VIA.



Date: 08/12/19 19:58
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: TAW

RuleG wrote: 

> Good grief!  What a bunch of negativity.  :(

> So many on Trainorders whine that Amtrak's management does not care about anything outside of the Northeast Corridor.  Yet, when there is a proposal to improve service, all of you rain on the parade.
 

The negativeity generally involves crossing the US/Canada border. That generally starts as a negative experience and deteriorates, whether you are trying to set up cross border or are personally crossing the border. 

TAW



Date: 08/12/19 20:18
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: jp1822

Rule G Wrote:
"Good grief!  What a bunch of negativity. :(  So many on Trainorders whine that Amtrak's management does not care about anything outside of the Northeast Corridor.  Yet, when there is a proposal to improve service, all of you rain on the parade." 

We've already been in this parade and it was a hurricane. It's not the International Route, but it would be a restoration of service that existed and was killed off. Isn't the objective of the corridor initiatives to bring about "new corridors" where multiple trains and demand exists? Sorry, don't see this one. There are more important corridors to consider and that should emerge. Moreover, this would be effectively a long distance day train........If looking at Wolverine service, why not look at adding another frequency that would end serve Detroit but end in Toledo (or double back to Detroit), or extending an existing train that would normally terminate in Detroit/Pontiac down to Toledo. Would also provide some connectivity on the Amtrak map - since we are re-hashing old routes. Opportunities could exist with connecting to/from the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited at Toledo. Anyone know how the Thruway bus is working between Chicago and Toronto and Detroit and Toronto. Used to be on the printed schedules, not sure if still offered online or not.  
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/19 20:41 by jp1822.



Date: 08/12/19 20:18
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: RuleG

TAW Wrote:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

> The negativeity generally involves crossing the US/Canada border. That generally starts as a negative experience and deteriorates, whether you are trying to set up cross border or are personally crossing the border. 

TAW

A couple months ago, I flew to and from Canada and felt going through customs at the airport was a hassle.  I also crossed the US/Canada border on VIA and Amtrak trains a few times.  Whatever incoveniences I experienced during those trips has no relevance to how I view the prospects of Amtrak reintroducing Chicago -  Toronto service.  If it was really desired by the powers that be, the customs issues can be addressed. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/19 20:19 by RuleG.



Date: 08/12/19 20:47
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: TAW

RuleG Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>>  If it
> was really desired by the powers that be, the
> customs issues can be addressed. 

Having spent 20 years fighting customs and immigration over the Cascades trains, including working through state and federal government...I don't think so. Even US Senators can't overcome the system. "National Security" is the magic phrase to stop any such conversation. (Immigration works the Cascades - in Vancouver. Customs insists on stopping the trains in Blaine. It's been that way since 1995 regardless of the effort of folks who want otherwise.)

TAW



Date: 08/12/19 20:50
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: jp1822

Customs between Vancouver, BC and Seattle on Amtrak Cascades - Great. 

Customs between Niagara Falls and Toronto was the WORST experience of my life. Would never ever take the Maple Leaf to/from Canada ever again unless I heard they changed the border crossing process. Everyone had to get off the train in Niagara Falls, ON (including those who boarded in NYP with red cap assistance with their luggage in tow), stand on lines, wait to go through customs, and screening/processing at the little Niagara Falls, ON Train Station. Then re-board the train from a low level platform, up the steps with no help whatsoever, into different Amfleet coach seats with stowing away the suitcases - horrendous and completely dangerous at the time of night arrived with snow on the ground. If Amtrak can't fix that, I have no faith they'd be able to execute a Chicago to Toronto Customs check that basically fell flat on its face and service cancelled in the early 2000's due to the lateness and length it took. 

Customs on Adirondack from upstate NY to Montreal is better, but not a picnic either, and they've been working for 20 years to get customs moved into Montreal Union Station to no avail. 

Better investments elsewhere tha could materialize faster. 



Date: 08/12/19 20:50
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: thehighwayman

andersonb109 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Nothing compares to the time and hassles of
> crossing by train to and from Canada. They seem to
> be more interested in treating you like a suspect
> rather than a guest. 

Which direction is worse ... going INTO the US .... or going INTO Canada???

 

Will MacKenzie
Dundas, ON



Date: 08/12/19 21:08
Re: Amtrak pitches Chicago-Toronto corridor
Author: Duna

"The total cost of the extension wasn’t released."

(Don't want to spoil the party too early)



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