Amtrak considers restoring Detroit to Toronto Service.

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, January 20, 2020 10:23 AM

CMStPnP

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).   

Am I missing something here?  What profile did you fit?

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, January 20, 2020 10:32 AM

Here's a funny story from my wayward youth days (40+ years ago).  My brother was in the Army and gave me a Kabar sheath knife.  I thought I was cool so I carried it under my front car seat.  One day, I went over to Windsor to railfan.  This was in the days before runthroughs and mergers and to see CN and CP, you had to go to Canada.  I had forgotten all about the knife and was pulled over at Canadian Customs for secondary inspection.  An older lady came over and her first question was "do you have any knives or weapons?".  Without thinking, I said "no" and then remembered and got scared.  She sat in the drivers seat, reached over and opened the glove compartment and looked under the passenger seat.  She got out and looked in the backseat.  Then I had to open the trunk and pull out the spare tire.  She looked everywhere except under the driver's seat.  When it was all over, I was so shook up that I went and put it in the trunk, turned around and went home.  I never made that mistake again.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, January 20, 2020 10:59 AM

Backshop
Am I missing something here?  What profile did you fit?

Young hippie radical dope-smoking Bucky Badger in an import car.  Perhaps even long-haired.  Probably in Canada originally for draft dodging.  You know all those American college students are dopers.  And they sure do know how to hide a stash...

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, January 20, 2020 11:06 AM

Here's another old time border crossing story...In my 20's, besides being a railfan, I was also a long haired, bearded biker who rode a Harley (I know, contrasts).  Every time I went over the border in my car, Canadian Customs would do a secondary inspection on me, figuring I must have an illegal reason for being in a car.  The one time that I went over on my bike, they must have considered it too obvious and they waved me through with just the normal "where ya going? have anything on you?" questions.  I laughed for the next 10 miles.

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Monday, January 20, 2020 12:58 PM

Backshop

 

 
CMStPnP

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).   

 

 

Am I missing something here?  What profile did you fit?

 

 



Well, he was driving one of those GD un-American rice-burners.

Wink 

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Monday, January 20, 2020 1:23 PM

My wife and a friend and I traveled all around the US and parts of Canada for four months in around 1975. We three, and our van, were classic hippie.

Just to have some handy while on the road, we filled a film canister with aspirin, and placed in this slot in the van's engine cover, which sat between the two front seats. That slot was where we kept a road atlas, and every manner of detritus we gathered along the way. The canister wound up buried under tons of junk, and was soon forgotten.

After three months in the US we crossed into Canada and traveled around.

When we arrived at the border to re-enter the US, officialdom took one glance at us, told us to pull over, and two guards proceeded to give the van a throrough search.

We noticed a commotion, then we were escorted into some big dog's office. One of the guards who searched the truck reaches into his pocket and produces the film canister, opened it, and showed it to the boss. The mood got serious.

It turns out that 3+ months of van/engine vibration had turned the content into 100% white powder ...

I took quite a bit of explaining to men with skeptical faces, and a taste-test by them, for us to escape, after about half an hour.

Those guys looked really disappointed as we drove away.

We had a good laugh a bit down the road. Because a bag of marijuana, tied to a string, was stowed away deep inside one the two rear double-doors. They never got that far; our self-created faux cocaine probably saved us! 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, January 20, 2020 4:48 PM

Backshop
Am I missing something here?  What profile did you fit?

They thought I was a college aged kid on a smuggling run.   You never watched Beverly Hills Cop?    Opening Scene, Semi of smuggled Cigarettes from Canada without the U.S. taxes on each carton.   The Canadian border still today used by smugglers to make quick money in both directions due to price and tax differences.   Canadian customs could care less and would wave Bin Laden and his ilk through but the American customs profile people and are highly suspicious.

Also BTW, in the 1990's Railroad and Police scanners were illegal in the province of Ontario, not sure if they still are.

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Posted by Garth1943 on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 8:15 AM

I think Mr. Klepper could express his views without  insulting Canada in the last sentence of his post. There are many similar situations in American cities. But more to the point, why should Amtrak consider operating a Detroit to Toronto train? Such a train would operate on Canadian rails for more than 98% of its journey. If anyone should run it, it would be Via Rail, not Amtrak. If it uses the route that Mr. Klepper prefers, it would require permission from Canadian Pacific, which is a Canadian company and has no interest in passenger service. But why would anyone bother? The Amtrak services that cross the border at present all originate in cities (New York and Seattle) which are a long way from the border. Detroit is right on the border, and the tunnel is Canadian-owned. Anyone wanting to go from Canada to Detroit, or vice versa, could take a taxi to or from the Via Rail station in Windsor,  which I have done more than  once. There  are always taxis waiting  at the station when a train from Toronto arrives, and the drivers all have passports allowing them to cross the border. A more sensible plan would be to revive the Toronto to Chicago service, which crossed the border at Sarnia, not Windsor, until it was discontinued, and which runs on CN track for its entire journey. This would permit connections with the three Amtrak trains that run between Chicago and the west coast. A Detroit to Toronto service would be not only impractical, but entirely useless.

 

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 8:40 AM

Garth1943

why should Amtrak consider operating a Detroit to Toronto train? Such a train would operate on Canadian rails for more than 98% of its journey. If anyone should run it, it would be Via Rail, not Amtrak.

Correct.

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 11:03 AM

Twelve years ago, my wife and I went to Ottawa and back by way of Detroit. In both Detroit and Windsor, we had to wait in the station until a driver with a passport was called before we could ride through the tunnel. Apparently, not many travelers who arrive by train are ready to cross the border upon arrival.

Johnny

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 8:46 AM

Obviously it would be a Chicago - Toronto train or make good connections with a Chicago - Detroit or Chicago Pontiac-via-Detroit train.

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Posted by Steve B500 on Monday, February 10, 2020 8:35 PM

CMStPnP

Current Detroit to suburban route passes the cutoff to MC Station about 5 miles West and then curves away to the North and onto the suburbs.   In order for your cross platform transfer to take place at MC station the train would have to travel East for 5 miles then back West for 5 miles and then North.   Seriously doubt Amtrak will set something like that up.

Geography correction: The MC Depot is at milepost 1.4. Amtrak joins the line at West Detroit, milepost 3.0. Quite a bit less than 5 miles.

Amtrak will set it up if M-DOT, which funds everything, orders it to.

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