Adirondack (train)

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Saratoga Springs Rail Station – Adirondack Train 02.jpg
The Adirondack at Saratoga Springs station in 2013
Service typeInter-city rail
StatusSuspended(it reopens on a unknown date)
PredecessorLaurentian (D&H)
First serviceAugust 6, 1974
Current operator(s)Amtrak
Ridership361 daily
132,000 total (FY12)[1]
StartNew York
EndMontreal, Quebec
Distance travelled381 miles (613 km)
Average journey time11 hours
Service frequencyDaily
Train number(s)68 (southbound), 69 (northbound)
On-board services
Class(es)Reserved coach
Catering facilitiesCafe/Lounge car
Rolling stockAmfleet coaches
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Track owner(s)Metro-North Railroad
CSX Transportation
Canadian Pacific Railway
Cascade Investment Railway

The Adirondack is an intercity rail passenger train operated daily, partially along the Empire Corridor, by Amtrak between New York City and Montreal. The trip takes approximately 11 hours to cover a published distance of 381 miles (613 km), traveling through the scenic Hudson Valley and along the eastern border of the Adirondack Mountains.[2] The Adirondack operates as train 68 southbound, and as 69 northbound. The Adirondack service is financed by the New York State Department of Transportation. It is temporarily suspended as of March 2020 due to the closure of the Canadian/American border in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A service resumption date has not yet been announced.[3]

For most of its existence, the Adirondack has been plagued by numerous delays. Amtrak only owns two legs of the route, in Manhattan and between Poughkeepsie and Schenectady. Additionally, the route crosses an international boundary where immigration procedures can take up to two hours. The on-time performance of the route averaged 64.8% for the year ending June 2016. According to Amtrak, 28.8% of the train delay was due to track- and signal-related problems, especially along the Delaware & Hudson segment, which is now owned by Canadian Pacific Railway.[4]

During fiscal year 2015, the Adirondack carried over 132,345 passengers. The train had a total revenue of $7,453,664 during FY2015.[1]


The Adirondack at Saratoga Springs in 1980
Northbound Delaware & Hudson Passenger Schedule effective 1962-10-28 showing the Adirondack and the Laurentian between New York, Albany, Saratoga Springs, and Montreal

At the inception of Amtrak on May 1, 1971 the Delaware & Hudson operated two trains between Albany, New York and Montreal: the Montreal Limited (overnight) and the Laurentian (day). Both trains were discontinued, and for three years the D&H line saw no service. The Adirondack began running on August 6, 1974 (with a ceremonial train the previous day) from Grand Central Terminal in New York to Albany, then over the D&H's line to Windsor Station in Montreal.[5][6] From the outset the train operated with financial support from the state of New York.[5] The train initially operated as a section of the New York–Buffalo Empire State Express.[7]

Unlike the Maple Leaf, which is operated by Via Rail crews in Canada, the Adirondack (like Cascades trains to Vancouver) is operated solely by Amtrak personnel.

As part of an effort to improve on-time performance along the Empire Corridor, Amtrak reached an agreement with CSX to lease the CSX Hudson Subdivision between Poughkeepsie and Schenectady. Starting in 2012, Amtrak effectively took operational control of the Hudson Subdivision, handling all maintenance and capital responsibilities.[8] Even with this move, Amtrak still operates less than half of the trackage along the Adirondack route.

In 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection began planning a preclearance facility at Montreal Central Station, which would allow U. S. Customs and the Canada Border Services Agency to conduct prescreenings in Montreal. Under this plan, passengers arriving in Montreal would be processed by Canadian officials, while departing passengers would be screened by American personnel. Presently, the Adirondack must stop at Lacolle, Quebec northbound and Rouses Point, New York southbound for immigration procedures that can take up to two hours.[9] By early 2017, the United States Congress had passed its necessary enabling legislation.[10] The corresponding Canadian legislation was given royal assent in late 2017, though it is yet to enter into force.[11]

On April 10, 2018, Amtrak announced that all trains using the Empire Connection, excluding the Lake Shore Limited, would operate into Grand Central Terminal from May 26 to September 4, 2018 to allow work on the Empire Tunnel, the Spuyten Duyvil movable bridge, and Track 19 in New York's Penn Station.[12]

Due to continuing infrastructure work at Penn Station, the northbound Adirondack ran combined with the northbound Maple Leaf for most of the summer of 2019, splitting in Albany. The two trains ran separately on weekends during July and August.[13]

In March 2020, Adirondack service north of Albany–Rensselaer was suspended indefinitely after all non-essential travel across the Canada-United States border was banned in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[14][15] In July 2021, the Adirondack service was suspended following the resumption of the Ethan Allen Express service to Rutland, which overlaps with the Adirondack from New York City to immediately south of Whitehall.

Trails & Rails[edit]

During select weekends throughout the year, the National Park Service's unit in New York City, the National Parks of New York Harbor, offers their Trails & Rails program onboard the Adirondack that provides information on the history, ecology/biology, and related background of the areas traveled through onboard the route from New York City to Albany and Albany to New York City. This program is staffed entirely by the Park Service's Volunteers-In-Parks (VIPs), each of whom utilizes their individual research and experiences to present a unique program, as well as standard information about the common sights of the trip.

Route details[edit]

The Adirondack operates over Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, CSX Transportation, Metro-North Railroad and Amtrak rails:[16]

The Adirondack used CP Rail's Windsor Station until January 12, 1986, when it was rerouted to CN Rail's Central Station. Until the Empire Connection was built in 1991, the train served Grand Central Terminal instead of Penn Station in New York City. There is a short distance of track between Albany and Schenectady that allows for 110 miles per hour (180 km/h) operations.

Northbound trains leave New York just after the morning rush, arriving in the Capital District at lunchtime, crossing the Canadian border after the afternoon rush and arriving in Montreal in early evening. Southbound trains leave Montreal in mid-morning, cross into the United States at lunchtime, and arrive in New York in the evening.

During the spring, summer and early fall, ferries from Burlington, Vermont stop at Port Kent station.

Station stops[edit]

State/Province Town/City Station Connections/Notes
Québec Montréal Montreal VIA Rail Canada simplified.svg Via Rail: Québec City–Windsor Corridor, Ocean, Montreal–Jonquière, Montreal–Senneterre
Exo.svg Exo: AMT Mont-Saint-Hilaire icon.png Mont-Saint-Hilaire line
Montreal Metro.svg Montreal Metro: MtlMetro2.svg Orange
Autobusmontréal.svg STM Bus: 36, 61, 74, 75, 107, 150, 168, 178, 410, 420, 430, 435, 715, 747
Saint-Lambert Saint-Lambert VIA Rail Canada simplified.svg Via Rail: Québec City–Windsor Corridor, Ocean
Exo.svg Exo: AMT Mont-Saint-Hilaire icon.png Mont-Saint-Hilaire line
Bus interchange RTL: 1, 6, 55, 106
Canada–United States border
New York Rouses Point Rouses Point
Plattsburgh Plattsburgh Bus interchange Clinton County Public Transit (at Government Center)
Port Kent Port Kent ferry/water interchange Lake Champlain Transportation: seasonal ferry service to Burlington, Vermont. Train stops only on days ferry operates.
Westport Westport Amtrak Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach to Lake Placid.
Port Henry Port Henry
Ticonderoga Ticonderoga ferry/water interchange Fort Ticonderoga Ferry: seasonal ferry service to Shoreham, Vermont.
Whitehall Whitehall
Fort Edward Fort Edward Amtrak Amtrak: Ethan Allen Express
Bus interchange Greater Glens Falls Transit
Saratoga Springs Saratoga Springs Amtrak Amtrak: Ethan Allen Express
Bus interchange Capital District Transportation Authority
Schenectady Schenectady Amtrak Amtrak: Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf
Rensselaer Albany–Rensselaer Amtrak Amtrak: Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf
Bus interchange Capital District Transportation Authority
Hudson Hudson Amtrak Amtrak: Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Maple Leaf
Rhinecliff Rhinecliff–Kingston Amtrak Amtrak: Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Maple Leaf
Poughkeepsie Poughkeepsie Amtrak Amtrak: Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf
MTA NYC logo.svg Metro-North Railroad:  Hudson Line
Bus interchange Dutchess County Public Transit, City of Poughkeepsie Transit, Ulster County Area Transit
Croton-on-Hudson Croton–Harmon Amtrak Amtrak: Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf
MTA NYC logo.svg Metro-North Railroad:  Hudson Line
Bus interchange Bee-Line Bus System
Yonkers Yonkers Amtrak Amtrak: Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Maple Leaf
MTA NYC logo.svg Metro-North Railroad:  Hudson Line
Bus interchange Bee-Line Bus System
New York City Penn Station Amtrak Amtrak (long-distance): Cardinal, Crescent, Lake Shore Limited, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Meteor, Silver Star
Amtrak Amtrak (intercity): Acela, Carolinian, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Maple Leaf, Northeast Regional, Vermonter
MTA NYC logo.svg LIRR:  Main Line,  Port Washington Branch
NJ Transit NJ Transit:  North Jersey Coast Line,  Northeast Corridor Line,  Gladstone Branch,  Montclair-Boonton Line,  Morristown Line
BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: "1" train"2" train"3" train"A" train"C" train"E" train
Bus interchange MTA Bus


D&H ALCO PAs in 1975.

The Adirondack debuted in 1974 with D&H equipment, much of it ex-Laurentian, as Amtrak was experiencing equipment shortages. These were supplemented by a pair of Skyline dome cars leased from the Canadian Pacific Railway. Two D&H ALCO PA diesel locomotives hauled each train. On March 1, 1977, new Turboliner gas turbine trainsets took over from the D&H cars. Conventional Amtrak equipment would eventually displace the Turboliners.[18]

The Adirondack operates year-round with General Electric P42DC and P32AC-DM units and Amfleet passenger cars. A typical consist includes:

  • 1 P42DC/P32AC-DM locomotive. The P32AC-DM operates between New York and Albany; the P42DC handles the remainder.[2]
  • 1 Amfleet I cafe car[2]
  • 2-4 Amfleet I coach cars[2]
  • 2 Amfleet II coach cars[2]

Unlike other Empire Corridor trains, the Adirondack does not offer business class seating.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Amtrak Sets New Ridership Record" (PDF). Amtrak. 10 October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "ADIRONDACK". TrainWeb. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  3. ^ "Rail advocates call on Amtrak to resume Adirondack Service to Montreal". November 7, 2021.
  4. ^ "Amtrak Route on-time performance for Adirondack service".
  5. ^ a b "Montreal Train Run Commences Today". Schenectady Gazette. August 6, 1974. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
  6. ^ Burrs, Edward C. (August 6, 1974). "New York‐Albany‐Montreal Train Is Resumed With a Festive Air". New York Times.
  7. ^ "Historic Rail Service Resumption Set Today". The Post-Star. Glens Falls, New York. August 5, 1974. p. 2. Retrieved June 23, 2019 – via open access
  8. ^ Eric Anderson (October 18, 2011). "Amtrak leasing track corridor". Times-Union. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
  9. ^ Bowen, Douglas John (2012-05-11). "Customs relief in sight for Amtrak's Adirondack". Retrieved 22 Jun 2012.
  10. ^ Anderson, Eric (2017-03-19). "Amtrak's Adirondack on track to benefit from customs legislation". Times Union. Albany. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  11. ^ "House Government Bill C-23 (42-1)". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 2019-06-11.
  12. ^ "Most Hudson Line trains to Operate to/from Grand Central Terminal during Infrastructure and Bridge replacement Period" (Press release). Amtrak. April 10, 2018.
  13. ^ "Summer 2019 infrastructure alert".
  14. ^ "Service Adjustments Due to Coronavirus" (Press release). Amtrak. 2020-03-24. Archived from the original on 2020-03-25. Retrieved 2020-03-25.
  15. ^ Dickson, Jane (March 18, 2020). "Canada-U.S. border to close except for essential supply chains". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  16. ^ Roberts, Earl W.; Stremes, David P., eds. (2012). Canadian Trackside Guide. Bytown Railway Society, Inc. ISSN 0829-3023.
  17. ^ "Canadian Trackside Guide".
  18. ^ Amtrak (August 5, 2014). "Celebrating 40 Years of the Adirondack". Retrieved 2014-08-05.

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata