Back on track: Amtrak’s Adirondack train returns to the North Country

Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 6:23 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - Amtrak’s Adirondack train is chugging along again for the first time in three years.

The line closed at the start of the pandemic, but as of Monday afternoon, it’s back to bringing passengers to Montreal.

You could feel the excitement on the platform in Plattsburgh when the train stopped to pick up and drop off passengers for the first time in three years. Many say this is a lifeline to visiting family across the border in Canada and around New York.

“I’m just glad to have the Adirondack back!” said Randolph Hennings of Plattsburgh.

Hennings said before the pandemic, he often rode the Adirondack train to go visit family.

The line closed in 2020 due to the pandemic, and Amtrak President Roger Harris says its reopening was delayed due to a series of logistical reasons.

“There was a change of ownership in the station in Montreal. The tracks needed some work after the end of the pandemic,” he said.

Harris says the first train out of New York City was pretty full up until Albany, then 40% full until at least Plattsburgh. On it were some frequent riders and first-time users.

“This is my first time using it up to Plattsburgh. I love it because I’m able to go see my boyfriend in college and it’s much more convenient,” one rider said.

Meanwhile, public officials are excited about cross-border traffic and the boost it will bring to New York businesses.

“The Adirondack line is something we’ve been working on since the start of COVID really, with reopening the economy making sure all of the resources we have are full operating,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-New York.

“The return of Amtrak really does put the city of Plattsburgh in the greater Plattsburgh region into a true multimodal station for the North Country,” said Mayor Chris Rosenquest, D-Plattsburgh.

With all the lines in the country now reopened, Amtrak is looking to the future. Their president says by the end of the decade, all their cars will be dual-mode diesel and electric, and include Wi-Fi and more food options.

While there are no COVID requirements for U.S. citizens, Amtrak’s website still states noncitizens traveling by train from Canada do need proof of vaccination.

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