Amtrak’s Adirondack Line to resume in April

Train station at Westport (News photo — Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID — State and federal officials are celebrating the recent news that Amtrak will be reopening its Adirondack Line from New York City to Montreal as early as April 3, making stops along the western shore of Lake Champlain as it did before the service was closed in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.

Assemblyman Billy Jones, D-Chateaugay Lake, issued a statement on Friday, March 10, lauding the decision. He represents all of Franklin and Clinton counties and five towns in Essex County: North Elba, Jay, Keene, St. Armand and Wilmington.

“Since 2020, I have worked with local leaders and Amtrak officials to bring back service to the North Country and it is great news that the train will be returning on April 3,” Jones said. “The community depends on this service and have waited patiently for Amtrak’s return. The train also brings tourists to the North Country and is a vital service for students at SUNY Plattsburgh and Clinton Community College as well. This is cause for celebration and I look forward hearing those train whistles in Plattsburgh once again.”

Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, who represents all of Essex, Franklin and Clinton counties, issued a March 10 press release about the resumption of the Adirondack Line. Earlier this year, he called officials from the New York state Department of Transportation to highlight the importance of the rail line to the region and to advocate for the service to resume.

“The Adirondack Line is a crucial resource for the North Country,” Stec said. “It’s a transportation service for our residents and with its ability to connect visitors from Canada and across out state to this region, a major economic driver. Its closure had a major impact on our ability to move forward from the pandemic and get our economy back on track.”

Train stop at Port Kent on Lake Champlain (News photo — Andy Flynn)

Rep. Elise Stefanik announced the news in a March 10 press release.

“I am proud to announce that just one day after my call with the president of Amtrak and following my continued advocacy, Amtrak will finally resume service for the Adirondack Line by April 3,” she said. “Families throughout Upstate New York and the North Country rely on the Adirondack Line for transportation, and it serves a significant economic driver, connecting tourists and our Canadian neighbors, to our region. When Amtrak initially left the North Country out of their reopening plans, I brought New York’s 21st District’s concerns to the highest levels to reopen the Adirondack Line. I continued my push to secure a date and deliver this result, so our families can have certainty about their access to transportation.”

In her press release, Stefanik included a comment from Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce.

“The long-awaited resumption by Amtrak of the Adirondack rail service between Montreal and New York City not only reestablishes one of just three vital train links between the U.S. and Canada but restores Amtrak service to several North Country communities and represents another important step in normalizing cross border travel post pandemic,” Douglas said. “The service, which had been growing before the COVID shut down in 2020, has been recognized as one of the world’s most scenic train rides, used by Montrealers and New Yorkers as a travel option to reach either end or to access the Adirondacks.”

Douglas thanked Stefanik and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, for their active advocacy.

In July 2022, after Amtrak resumed its Maple Leaf line from New York City to Toronto, Stefanik, Gillibrand and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, publicly called for Amtrak to restore the Adirondack line, with Schumer and Gillibrand co-writing a letter to Amtrak President and CEO Stephen J. Gardner.

“We are aware of the challenges that Amtrak and public transportation agencies have faced and are continuing to face due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, including low ridership levels and supply chain issues,” the letter stated. “As shown through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Congress is willing and able to assist in helping public transportation agencies return to normal service, and if possible, expand. However, Amtrak must ensure that the Adirondack and other suspended lines do not face unnecessary delays due to its impact to the region.”

In fiscal year 2019, the last full fiscal year before the pandemic impacted the state of New York, the senators said that Amtrak’s Adirondack line had 117,490 riders, a 5.1% increase in ridership compared to fiscal year 2018. They pointed to the rail line’s impact on tourism in the North Country, stating that in 2020, tourism accounted for 44.7% of employment in Hamilton County, 36.8% in Essex County, and over 16% in the Adirondack region as a whole.

Stations served by the Amtrak Adirondack Line

New York, NY — Moynihan Train Hall (NYP)

Yonkers (YNY)

Croton-Harmon (CRT)

Poughkeepsie (POU)

Rhinecliff (RHI)

Hudson (HUD)

Albany-Rensselaer (ALB)

Schenectady (SDY)

Saratoga Springs (SAR)

Fort Edward (FED)

Whitehall (WHL)

Ticonderoga (FTC)

Port Henry (POH)

Westport (WSP)

Port Kent (PRK)

Plattsburgh (PLB)

Rouses Point (RSP)

St-Lambert, QC (SLQ)

Montreal, QC — Gare Centrale/Central Station (MTR)

Starting at $1.44/week.

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