Amtrak considers restoring Detroit to Toronto Service.

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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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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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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  --  Saints Fan  

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Wednesday, January 15, 2020 11:28 PM

Gramp
Anybody get off at Annandale?

Never going back.

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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 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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