Amtrak considers restoring Detroit to Toronto Service.

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Posted by LAWRENCE SMITH on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 9:07 PM

I live in SE Mich. Those here who want to go to Toronto by train drive their own car over the border - usually via the tunnel - clear customs, then a brief drive to the VIA station and secure park. Then a 1st class seat on a fast train to Toronto usually on time with decent food and plenty of wine. Pour yourself off at the historic toronto  union station and grab a cab to your hotel. If u live in say, chicago, you could do the same thing by timing your arrival in DET w/the VIA schedule to Toronto. Good luck w/that given Amtrak on time performance. I suppose there is an argument for an overnight w/sleepers run by amtrak on VIA rails. Why not go through Battle Creek/Port huron instead? THis is an existing Amtrak route to PH and there is already an Amtrak station there just on the US side of the border at PH. Would have to figure out customs. This could cater to those outside SE Mich. Let SE Mich pssgrs take VIA. VIA knows how to run pssgr trains - I took a 1st clss seat last yr Montreal to Quebec City - 90mph running, clean, good food and unlimited wine, on-time. But, if Bill Ford wants a train to stop at MCS.......

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 3:48 PM

LAWRENCE SMITH
But, if Bill Ford wants a train to stop at MCS.......

His motivation for wanting one is the same motivation Brightline has for station stops near large apartment complexes.   Ford thinks having a mini-transit station there would attract workers to his company as well as he wants them to live close by Michigan Central Station and I think he is planning apartments as part of the MC rebuild either in or next to the station.   So with the transit center he can charge higher rents.

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Posted by PJS1 on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 7:29 PM

LAWRENCE SMITH
 Then a 1st class seat on a fast train to Toronto usually on time with decent food and plenty of wine. Pour yourself off at the historic toronto  union station and grab a cab to your hotel. 

My kind of person.  How much is the wine?

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 11:46 PM

GeoPRR:  The HEP situation in the US has a much more convoluted history than in Canada.  Canadian F-40s all can provide 1000Kw HEP from each of their locos.  With the split system that is why VIA can have 25 - 30 car trains on summer Canadians.  That is 2 of the 3 locos are spliting the load. 

Amtrak has stated that Auto -Train can support 18 cars with LED lighting and 16 - 17 cars with conventional lighting.  All Auto train cars now modified to LED. Now early Amtrak locos had 500 - 600 Kw HEP.  Believe Amtrak F-40s had 600 Kw HEP.  As well P-40s were 600 as well.  Now the 6 P-40s assigned to Auto train were changed to 1000 Kw. That is why those are stuck on Auto Train except occasional substitutions to P-42s.  P-42- not sure if they were 1000 or less ?  So if you can identify the locos pulling your train you may have a good idea if HEP was maxed out.

Now the Amtrak standard is 1000 kW .  The ACS-64s actually have 2 1000 kW inverters but only one can provide power at a  time.  As well the Sprinters have 1000 kW as well.  So the Amtrak standard will now allow 18 car trains.  Have no idea if single level cars use less but suspect that may be so ?  Also 2 diners are in consist of the Auto Train.  If just one diner lack of that extra load might even allow slightly longer trains.  The Safety Patrol Meteors this weekend might give an answer if longer single levels can be run with the P-42s that are assigned are 1000 kW capacity ? 

Here is the recommended split HEP system recommended by US engineers that has not been adopted by Amtrak ! Dated 2000.

https://www.apta.com/wp-content/uploads/Standards_Documents/APTA-PR-E-RP-016-99.pdf 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 9, 2020 4:30 AM

blue streak 1
Here is the recommended split HEP system recommended by US engineers that has not been adopted by Amtrak ! Dated 2000.

https://www.apta.com/wp-content/uploads/Standards_Documents/APTA-PR-E-RP-016-99.pdf 

The PRIIA spec from 2011 explicitly cites this standards document as the basis for its HEP design (see section 10.2, p.123 in my copy).

Note that there is a cognate Standard (https://www.apta.com/wp-content/uploads/Standards_Documents/APTA-PR-E-RP-018-99.pdf) for the connectors and other cabling used with the system.

 

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Posted by calzeph on Sunday, January 12, 2020 8:16 PM

When I was a kid back in the summer of 1969 my parents, brother and I took the overnight train between Toronto and Chicago on a circle trip. US Customs inspectors were on the train starting in Toronto and did their duties while the train was moving if I remember correctly

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Sunday, January 12, 2020 9:27 PM

I'm not sure Amtrak or the customs people would have the skill or desire to implement a streamlined procedure today. 

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Posted by LAWRENCE SMITH on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 9:55 AM

on the MON/QUE run it was all u could drink - price included in 1st class ticket cost. Lost money on me. 

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 1:51 PM

Back in the late '70's, we travelled from Syracuse to Detroit by rail.  Pretty sure we were in a 'sealed' car, if you will - I don't recall dealing with customs at either border.    We probably crossed into Canada at Black Rock.

Got into Detroit (no doubt the MC station - I wasn't as savvy about it then) where my mother picked us up.

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Posted by George7622 on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 4:46 PM

In the mid-60s I took the GTW/CN from South Bend to Quebec City (Lévis). No problem with customs in either direction. Going east, Canadian customs boarded the train at either Lansing or Flint (they got to me just after we left Flint). Going west, U.S. customs interviewed me after we left Toronto, although on one other trip I went through US customs with my checked baggage at Central Station in Montreal. 

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 9:59 AM

tree68

Back in the late '70's, we travelled from Syracuse to Detroit by rail.  Pretty sure we were in a 'sealed' car, if you will - I don't recall dealing with customs at either border.    We probably crossed into Canada at Black Rock.

Got into Detroit (no doubt the MC station - I wasn't as savvy about it then) where my mother picked us up.

 

In 1969, I rode from New York City to Chicago by way of Detroit in a Slumbercoach (or whatever the New York Central called its cars). I woke up just before we reached Windsor--and I stepped off there and was immediately told to get back on because we were ina foreign country. I saw nobody from Customs in Detroit, where I changed to a coach.

In 1984, I rode overnight from New York City to Montreal--and saw no customs until we had arrived in Montreal. Because I had checked my suitcase in New York (no lockers were available because street people were using them), I had to let customs look inside it before I could claim it.

 

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 12:38 PM

Unfortunately,  everything changed and continues to change since 9/11.

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Posted by Sunnyland on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 4:23 PM

Parents and I took GTW from Chi to Toronto through Port Huron tunnel. CN took over at Toronto and we went on to Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa all on CN. Would be nice to have that alternative again to get to Toronto.  That was in 1968

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Posted by Muralist0221 on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 4:37 PM

Rode the Wolverine (NYC) numerous times between New York and Chicago. At Buffalo, Canadian agents would get on and handle things for anybody getting off in Canada. A fellow passenger once made the comment about how much more professional the Canadians were the the American customs agents. lol

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Posted by Gramp on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 8:42 PM

Anybody get off at Annandale?

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 11:28 PM

Gramp
Anybody get off at Annandale?

Never going back.

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Posted by Ajsik on Thursday, January 16, 2020 4:52 AM

Overmod
 
Gramp
Anybody get off at Annandale?

 

Never going back.

 

 

Not even if California tumbles into the sea?

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 16, 2020 9:13 AM

Ajsik
Not even if California tumbles into the sea?

What, NEVER? ... well, hardly ever...

That would be the day I'd go back.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Thursday, January 16, 2020 10:45 AM

Annandale?   Well excuse me!  What's the reference/significance? 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 16, 2020 10:49 AM

charlie hebdo
Annandale?   Well excuse me!  What's the reference/significance?

It's an extended reference to the Wolverine, which was the train mentioned in the Steely Dan song 'My Old School'.  We've had a couple of other threads on this over the years.

Annandale-on-Hudson is the locatin of Bard College.  It does not have a dedicated station but there is a stop about 4 miles away for the 'college trade'.

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, January 17, 2020 8:48 AM

Seems we lost quite a bit of the thread yesterday. Too bad they were good comments and lots of info.  Well we were warned. C'est la vie. 

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, January 17, 2020 9:06 AM

Miningman

Seems we lost quite a bit of the thread yesterday. Too bad they were good comments and lots of info.  Well we were warned. C'est la vie. 

 

There seem to be some ongoing problems with Calmstream's software. 

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Posted by samfp1943 on Friday, January 17, 2020 6:43 PM

[quote user="Miningman"]

When the Toronto-Chicago went through the tunnel into the US custom agents were brought over from the bridge and they boarded the train and checked everyone one by one. They arrested and detained a young Asian women in my car not to far from where I was sitting. 

I had no trouble but watched out the window as the young lady was escorted into a waiting vehicle with cuffs on. 

Went on to Chicago, stayed two nights and on to Flagstaff. Roomette, great meals, met lots of people. Separated smoking room in the Superliner Baggage Car, can't do that any more,  met a lot more fun people. Great conversations. Always wondered about that gal though.  

[/quote]

           It has, admittedly, been a number of years since I was responsible for Dispatching Company trucks, and Drivers across the Border into Canada.

     But I do recall, that Canadian Customs proceedures on American Drivers entering into Canada. Their 'checling' of arrest records, and public violation, not to mention driver's personal documentation lists, went to very 'thorough extremes'; and problematic driver  issues were stopped before crossing into Canada.   Some trucks were even held in the Intra-Boarder 'Holding Areas', whie the drivers were arrested on the American side of the Border.  

I can't even imagine how those situation work under the current political situations that exist in this day and time. Dispatching 'Fleet Drivers' has got to be a major deal, certainly; it would have to be pre-cleared, and previously,checked out drivers who would be dispatched across into Canada.  

 

 

 


 

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, January 18, 2020 9:12 AM

In a post that was consigned to and now floating around in cyberspace forever ( along with several others on this thread) I mentioned that the best of times at the border for us worker bee citizens was during the President Reagan- Prime Minister Mulroney era when a true spirit of cooperation was in place at the borders. Flourishing economic activity took precedence over bureaucratic interference and tireless regulations that become the norm for fanatical functionaries.  No wonder Reagan and Mulroney sang ' when Irish eyes are smiling' together.

Then a long succession of more socialist type government was elected, starting in Ontario and the good times were over.  Guaranteed for life unionized government jobs displaced the great economy and many many more Customs agents along with a dark streak of anti American sentiment started to appear at the crossings. 

This lasted until 911 and then the USA joined the party. ( at least on the Canadian border crossings). 

The first big crackdown I recall concerned exploding truck tires. Heard about that every day in some news clip from the official sources, as if we were being invaded by Americans using exploding truck tire weaponry. Then it was this and then it was that.  

We dropped the brass ring that was given to us during the good years of Reagan/Mulroney.  

 

 

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, January 18, 2020 9:33 AM

It's the modern age of expedience, exploiting differences and keeping the pawns under control.  Solving problems only with more government action and fines and regulation, and when that caused problems, put spin on it and regulate some more.

It seems to continue to evade the political class in both countries what the lesson of Trump's election was really teaching: people are so fed up with the situation they'll vote in droves for someone not beholden to it... and even defend him when he keeps putting the wrong foot forward in his mouth.  You'd think there were still people coming up through the policy establishment that would comprehend this massive evolving sea change and use it for good rather than exploit it for expediency.  (I know firsthand of four, but they're still very young).

Come the revolution this stuff will be stopped.  But not the way Jimmy Carter tried, and not the way George Bush tried; the whole internal support system in the administrative bureaucracies has to be 'kicked upstairs' and people who will coordinate to 'do right' put in their places.  As a start.

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, January 18, 2020 12:19 PM

Rode the NYCentral, PC many times via Canada, NY or Boston - Detroit 1941 to end-of-service via Canada (then via connection at Toledo on Amtrak) and never had any meetings with customs.

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Posted by 54light15 on Sunday, January 19, 2020 10:51 AM

When I lived in New York and was married, in the early 1990s we would take the train to Toronto from Poughkeepsie. The Canadian customs guys were pretty easygoing, but coming back was not fun. They asked, "what are you bringing back?" I said, "some books, some records, that's about it. Oh and some T-shirts. " Customs guy said, "You didn't say that before." "I didn't think of it before" "Yes, but you didn't say that before." What the hell was I supposed to say? They also stood behind your seat so you have to twist around in an uncomfortable position to talk to them. My wife at the time dressed sort of like a punk-rocker and they questioned her very closely. 

The whole process took at least two hours while the train was stopped on the bridge. And then when I got a beer in the club car, I gave the attendant a Canadian dime. He got upset. Not a fun experience and I won't do it anymore. 

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Sunday, January 19, 2020 6:45 PM

My trips to Canada on Amtrak have been varied as far as customs/imigration inspections. Going to Vancouver BC was a piece of cake at the Vancouver Station. Going to Toronto on the Maple Leaf, the train stopped at Niagra Falls, NY and we were kicked out of our car while they ran dogs through our car. Nothing found. Afterward, I asked our conductor whether that was a normal event. "No, the previous day, Canada's customs had found something on their inspection and U.S. customs were embarassed hence the enhanced inspection". On my trip on the Adirondak, we stopped at Rouses Point and the inspectors came through the car asking their basic questions, similar to when I have driven across the boarder. No Problem. Of course all these experiences were pre 9/11. 

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Posted by York1 on Sunday, January 19, 2020 6:55 PM

On a tour, a bus took us from Seattle to Vancouver where we got a ship.

Crossing into Canada, the bus was stopped, and Canadian customs came aboard and had all none-U.S. people get off the bus.  They were checked closely, while the U.S. people on the bus were not checked at all.  The tour guide said that sometimes, it's the other way around, sometimes everyone is checked, and sometimes no one is checked.

On the same trip, going from Dawson City, Yukon, to Fairbanks, our bus was not stopped at all going into Alaska from Canada.  No customs, no agents, nothing.

 

Non-customs related:  The highlight of the entire two weeks was the ride on the White Pass & Yukon train.  If you have not taken it, be sure to do it sometime!

John       

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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, January 20, 2020 8:58 AM

Customs can be real jerks when they profile.   I was profiled right after college.   Got a job at EDS, had Wisconsin plates on my car and UW-Madison stickers and was crossing the border back into Detroit (in a Nissan Sentra).   They were real jerks and almost tore the car apart (threatened to do a search) in front of me via drug search (if they do that, you put it back together again they do not, and they throw your possessions all over the pavement and remove the floormats.... anything they can).   

Happily I answered their questions without sneering or giving them any lip but I was so ticked off after that run-in I wrote a nasty letter to my Senator (zero impact and boiler plate response).   I was honestly treated with more respect and less suspicion by the East German border control crossing out of East Berlin.   So they are not always nice polite and down to business, in my view and I fully understand why some hate them deeply in the Congress.   Some of them are real thugs in government clothing.

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