Maple Leaf (train)
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The Maple Leaf crosses the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, in 1983.
|Service type||International Inter-city rail|
|Locale||Eastern United States/Canada|
|First service||April 26, 1981|
|Current operator(s)||Amtrak (within US)
Via Rail (within Canada)
|Start||New York City, New York, United States|
|End||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Distance travelled||544 mi (875 km)|
|Average journey time||12 hours, 30 minutes (includes time at border control)|
|Service frequency||Daily each way|
|Class(es)||Business and standard class|
|Seating arrangements||Reserved Coach Seat
Business Class Seat
|Catering facilities||On-board café (not available between New York City and Albany)|
|Baggage facilities||Carry-on baggage only|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) (Standard Gauge)|
|Track owner(s)||Amtrak, Metro-North, CSX, Canadian National|
|Timetable number(s)||63, 64 (Amtrak)
95, 97 (Via)
The Maple Leaf is a passenger train operated by Amtrak and Via Rail between Pennsylvania Station in New York City and Union Station in Toronto via the Empire Corridor. Daily service is offered in both directions; the 544-mile (875 km) trip takes approximately 12 hours, including two hours for customs and immigration inspection. Although Amtrak rolling stock is used exclusively, the train is staffed by Via Rail personnel while in Canada. Service began in 1981.
The original Maple Leaf passenger train was a Grand Trunk Western Railroad service between Chicago, Illinois and Toronto, Ontario. The service operated between Chicago's Dearborn Station and Toronto's Union Station on a route through Stratford, Ontario, Port Huron, Flint, Lansing, and Battle Creek, Michigan and South Bend, Indiana. The route between Battle Creek and Port Huron is still served by Amtrak trains 365 and 364 and is called the Blue Water service.
The long-standing Maple Leaf name was later applied to a joint Lehigh Valley Railroad/Canadian National overnight service between New York City and Toronto, which followed a route through Geneva, New York and Wilkes-Barre, Allentown, and Bethlehem in eastern Pennsylvania. The last LV/CN Maple Leaf ran on February 4, 1961.
Amtrak and Via Rail introduced the Maple Leaf along the Hudson River and Erie Canal on April 26, 1981. The new Maple Leaf was the first collaboration between the two companies and the first New York-to-Toronto passenger service in a decade. The new train employed Amtrak's Amfleet coaches with a dinette car. A 1982 consist included a baggage car, two coaches and a dinette; time spent in customs ranged from thirty minutes to two hours.
In the US an Amtrak crew operates the train whereas in Canada a Via Rail crew is in charge. Because of this need for a crew exchange, the Maple Leaf was one of the last Amtrak trains to receive the new GE Genesis locomotive owing to the Via Rail's crews' unfamiliarity with the unit. The Maple Leaf retained the EMD F40PH until Via received its own Genesis locomotives in 2002.:107
2013 Terror Plot
In 2013, the Maple Leaf was the target of a terror plot involving an attempt by two men, both non-citizen residents of Canada, who sought to derail the train as it crossed a bridge over the Twenty Mile Creek near Jordan, Ontario. The two men were allegedly affiliates of an Al-Qaeda group operating out of Iran.
A change of locomotive is made at Albany on select days with P42DC units utilized north of Albany and P32AC-DM units taking over the remainder of the route to Penn Station. The Maple Leaf has previously operated with P32ACDM units directly from Toronto to New York. Rarely, the P32ACDM may stay on the train to Toronto. East of the border crossing, the service is shared with Empire Service trains. Prior to the completion of the Empire Connection in 1991 the Maple Leaf originated at Grand Central Terminal in New York instead of Penn Station.
- CN Oakville Subdivision and Grimsby Subdivision, Toronto to Niagara Falls
- CSX Niagara Subdivision, Buffalo Terminal Subdivision, Rochester Subdivision, Mohawk Subdivision, Selkirk Subdivision, and Hudson Subdivision, Niagara Falls to Poughkeepsie (Amtrak-owned between Hoffmans and Schenectady)
- MNRR Hudson Line, Poughkeepsie to Spuyten Duyvil
- Amtrak Empire Connection, Spuyten Duyvil to Penn Station
Consist and equipment
The Maple Leaf operates year-round with Amtrak P42DC & P32AC-DM units and Amfleet I & II equipment. A typical consist will include:
The Maple Leaf consist grows to six cars with the addition of an extra Amfleet II car during the winter Christmas Holiday Shopping rush to handle additional seasonal demand.
- 1946 Lehigh Valley timetable for The Maple Leaf. http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=46013
- Malcolm, Andrew H. (February 14, 1982). "New York to Toronto Train". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
- "Amtrak's new Toronto-NY line fills 10-year void; may be a winner". Miami News. April 28, 1981. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
- Solomon, Brian (2004). Amtrak. Saint Paul, MN: MBI. ISBN 0760317658. OCLC 56490949.
- Rocha, Euan; Alastair Sharp (22 April 2013). "Canada thwarts "al Qaeda-supported" passenger train plot". Reuters Canada. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- Macdonald, Alaistair; Siobhan Gorman; David George-Cosh (22 April 2012). "Canada Thwarts Alleged Plot to Attack Train". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- "Jordan train bridge reportedly target of thwarted terror plot". Niagarathisweek.com. Retrieved 2014-01-26.
- "Travel Advisory; Grand Central Trains Rerouted To Penn Station". The New York Times. April 7, 1991. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
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