Amtrak is restoring passenger train service in Toronto, more than two years after shutting it down as travel plummeted during the pandemic

For more than two years, Amtrak has listed its service to Toronto from New York, via Western New York, as a project that will eventually be restarted. That changes today, as a train passes Niagara Falls, New York and on to Toronto

Passengers will still need to follow Canada’s strict and complicated rules for crossing the border, including using the ArriveCAN software to notify the Dominion that the person is arriving. Tomorrow, passengers will learn what the rules are for coming from Canada to the United States.

The restart of service is in the process of being approved by supporters of passenger rail. Bruce Becker is a past president of the Empire State Passenger Association. He says ridership in upstate New York has increased and that will help.

“Amtrak has added additional cars to trains serving Western New York in recent months. Traffic in upstate New York is doing very well and in fact for at least two or three months in a row traffic in upstate is higher than it is. was in the comparable months of 2019, before the pandemic.

Becker says those who have ridden Amtrak see the tens of millions of dollars New York has invested in new stations along the line between New York and Niagara Falls.

“The new downtown Buffalo station at Exchange Street is beautiful. Downtown Buffalo traffic is increasing and that’s a good sign. More and more people are using Amtrak, to and from Buffalo, enjoying the convenience and beautiful new station.

What proponents of passenger rail service pushed for were much faster trains, with speeds like the top speed of 110 miles per hour from near Amsterdam to New York. Becker says Washington is almost ready to release an environmental study, which has been in the works for 13 years.

“The Federal Railroad Administration is committed to releasing this study in 2022 and its current dashboard is already somewhat outdated, but is aiming for a final release this summer.”

Jose P. Rogers