After more than three years of closure because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all three of Amtrak’s rail routes across the US border into Canada are now back on track, with the Adirondack service to Montréal resuming on April 3.
Amtrak has three train lines that travel into Canada: Portland via Seattle to Vancouver on the Cascades service, New York City to Toronto via Niagara Falls on the Maple Leaf, and NYC to Montréal on the Adirondack. The US border with Canada closed on March 18, 2020, and train journeys continued on the US portions of the lines, but the border crossings by rail have been gradually reopened.
The Adirondack is the last of the three lines to resume fully. Amtrak’s Maple Leaf line started again in June 2022, while the Cascades service returned to Vancouver earlier this month. The Adirondack train leaves Penn Station in New York City at 8:41am, and arrives in Gare Centrale in Montréal at 8:16pm.
“Whether you’re experiencing the greatness of New York City, the culture of Montréal or the beauty of the Hudson Valley and Lake Champlain region, the return of the Adirondack provides customers with a reliable, relaxing and sustainable way to travel,” Amtrak President Roger Harris said in a statement. “We’re proud to restore service to one of the most popular trains in the Northeast.”
Canada no longer has any COVID-19 vaccination, testing or quarantine requirements. Non-US citizens traveling to the United States are required to show proof of vaccination with an FDA-approved vaccine.
As on many other Amtrak trains, the Adirondack service has free wi-fi, a cafe car, seats that are larger than those on airplanes and have plenty of legroom and no middle seat. Small pets are permitted on board.
Amtrak's flurry of changes in the Northeast
Amtrak’s train lines in the northeastern US are the busiest in the country, and they are undergoing a flurry of exciting changes that promise to make getting around the region even easier for travelers.
Cheap ‘Night Owl’ fares have been launched between New York City and Washington, DC. Fares are as low as $5 for shorter distances, and the line also includes a stop in Philadelphia, as well as at the airports in Newark and Baltimore.
Amtrak’s Acela trains, the only high-speed service in the country, are undergoing a major overhaul, taking a strong stance on sustainability with a 50% reduction in carbon, more seating and eco-friendly packaging in the cafe car. The new train cars are expected to start running later this year.
Not only are trains getting faster and cheaper, but new services are also starting up. The Ethan Allen Express, which runs between New York City and Burlington, Vermont, was revived in July 2022 after a 70-year pause. The trip takes about 7.5 hours, and ticket prices start at $75.
Journeys on all of these routes are available for potentially discounted price with Amtrak’s USA Rail Pass, which offers 10 journeys in 30 days at a set price of $499, which is sometimes knocked down to $299 when the pass is on sale.