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
LocaleHudson Valley
PredecessorLaurentian (D&H)
First serviceAugust 6, 1974
Current operator(s)Amtrak
Annual ridership117,490 (FY19)[a][b][1]
TerminiMontreal, Quebec
New York City, New York
Distance travelled381 miles (613 km)
Average journey time11 hours[2]
Service frequencyDaily
Train number(s)68, 69
On-board services
Class(es)Coach Class
Disabled accessAll cars, most stations
Catering facilitiesCafé car
Baggage facilitiesOverhead racks
Rolling stockAmfleet coaches
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Operating speed35 mph (56 km/h) (avg.)
110 mph (180 km/h) (top)
Track owner(s)MNRR, CSX, CPKC, CN

The Adirondack is an intercity rail passenger train operated daily, partially along the Empire Corridor, by Amtrak between New York City and Montreal. Trains take approximately 11 hours to travel the 381 miles (613 km) route through the scenic Hudson Valley and along the eastern border of the Adirondack Mountains.[3] Operation of the Adirondack is supported by the New York State Department of Transportation and Via Rail.

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 Kansas City.[4]


The Adirondack at Saratoga Springs in 1980

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. Amtrak service to Montreal began in 1972 with the Montrealer, which ran through Vermont rather than New York.

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]

Initially, the Adirondack used the same routing as its D&H predecessors, running over the former Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad via Watervliet and Mechanicville, New York, and over the Schenectady–Mechanicville freight bypass to Saratoga. With the April 30, 1978 timetable change, the Adirondack dropped both stops but continued to use the route.[8] The train was re-routed via Schenectady on October 29, 1978, but did not start stopping there until January 29, 1979.[9][10] 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.

21st century[edit]

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.[11] 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 departing passengers to be prescreened in Montreal, where northbound passengers would be processed by the Canada Border Services Agency upon arrival, rather than at the border itself. 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.[12] By early 2017, the United States Congress had passed its necessary enabling legislation.[13] The corresponding Canadian legislation was given royal assent in late 2017, though it is yet to enter into force.[14]

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.[15]

For most of the summer of 2019, the northbound Adirondack ran combined with the northbound Maple Leaf due to infrastructure work at Penn Station, splitting in Albany. The two trains ran separately on weekends during July and August.[16]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

In March 2020, the Adirondack was truncated to Albany–Rensselaer after all non-essential travel across the Canada-United States border was banned in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[17][18] In July 2021, Adirondack service was suspended following the resumption of Ethan Allen Express service to Rutland, which overlaps the Adirondack between New York City and Fort Edward.

Weekday service from New York City to Albany resumed on December 5, 2022.[19] Full service resumption to Montreal took place on April 3, 2023 with the exception of the Port Kent stop as service on the Port Kent-Burlington Ferry remains suspended indefinitely.[20]



Most Adirondack trains consist of five to seven cars hauled by a locomotive.[3]

The passenger cars are the Amfleet series built by the Budd Company in the mid-1970s to early-1980s. Most trains include a Café car (food service/lounge) and four to six Coach Class cars. Unlike other Empire Corridor trains, the Adirondack does not offer business class seating.[3]

All cars offer complimentary WiFi, an electric outlet (120 V, 60 Hz AC) at each seat, reading lamps, and fold-out tray tables. Passengers self-select seats on a first-come, first-served basis.[21] Reservations are required on all trains, tickets may be purchased online, from an agent at some stations, a ticketing machine at most stations, or, at a higher cost, from the conductor on the train.[22]

Between New York City and Albany–Rensselaer, trains are pulled by a GE Genesis P32AC-DM dual-mode diesel locomotive at speeds up to 110 mph (177 km/h). The locomotives operate on third rail electric power in Penn Station and the Empire Connection tunnel and on diesel power for the rest of the route.[23] Between Albany–Rensselaer and Montréal traditional diesel-only GE Genesis locomotives are used.

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.[24]

In the coming years all equipment will be replaced with Amtrak Airo trainsets, the railroad's branding of its combination of Siemens Venture passenger cars and a Siemens Charger diesel-electric locomotive.[25] The trainsets for the Adirondack will have six passenger cars, which will include a cab control car, a food service area, and a mix of 2x2 Coach Class and 2x1 Business Class seating.[26] The car closest to the locomotive will have batteries to supply electricity to traction motors in the locomotive when operating in Penn Station and the Empire Connection tunnel, eliminating the need for third rail propulsion. The arrangement will eliminate the time-consuming locomotive change at Albany–Rensselaer.


The Adirondack operates over Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, CSX Transportation, Metro-North Railroad and Amtrak rails:[27]

Station stops[edit]

Town/City Mile (km) Station Connections/Notes
QC Montréal 0 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, AMT Mascouche icon.png Mascouche 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 4 (6.4) 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
NY Rouses Point 49 (79) Rouses Point
Plattsburgh 72 (116) Plattsburgh Bus interchange Clinton County Public Transit (at Government Center)
Port Kent 85 (137) Port Kent ferry/water interchange Lake Champlain Transportation: seasonal ferry to Burlington, Vermont. Train stops only on days ferry operates.
Westport 112 (180) Westport Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to Lake Placid
Port Henry 123 (198) Port Henry
Ticonderoga 140 (230) Ticonderoga ferry/water interchange Fort Ticonderoga Ferry: seasonal ferry to Shoreham, Vermont
Whitehall 162 (261) Whitehall
Fort Edward 184 (296) Fort Edward Amtrak Amtrak: Ethan Allen Express
Bus interchange Greater Glens Falls Transit
Saratoga Springs 203 (327) Saratoga Springs Amtrak Amtrak: Ethan Allen Express
Bus interchange Capital District Transportation Authority
Schenectady 222 (357) Schenectady Amtrak Amtrak: Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf
Rensselaer 240 (390) Albany–Rensselaer Amtrak Amtrak: Berkshire Flyer, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf
Bus interchange Capital District Transportation Authority
Hudson 268 (431) Hudson Amtrak Amtrak: Berkshire Flyer, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Maple Leaf
Rhinecliff 293 (472) Rhinecliff–Kingston Amtrak Amtrak: Berkshire Flyer, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Maple Leaf
Poughkeepsie 309 (497) Poughkeepsie Amtrak Amtrak: Berkshire Flyer, 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 349 (562) Croton–Harmon Amtrak Amtrak: Berkshire Flyer, 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 367 (591) Yonkers Amtrak Amtrak: Berkshire Flyer, 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 381 (613) Penn Station Amtrak Amtrak (long-distance): Cardinal, Crescent, Lake Shore Limited, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Meteor, Silver Star
Amtrak Amtrak (intercity): Acela, Berkshire Flyer, 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


  1. ^ "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2022 Ridership" (PDF). Amtrak. November 29, 2022. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  2. ^ "Amtrak Timetable Results". Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Amtrak – Adirondack". TrainWeb. Retrieved December 27, 2022.
  4. ^ "Amtrak Route on-time performance for Adirondack service". Amtrak. Archived from the original on August 18, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Montreal Train Run Commences Today". Schenectady Gazette. Associated Press. August 6, 1974. p. 19. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
  6. ^ Burrs, Edward C. (August 6, 1974). "New York‐Albany‐Montreal Train Is Resumed With a Festive Air". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Metivier, Don A. (August 5, 1974). "Historic Rail Service Resumption Set Today". The Post-Star. Glens Falls, New York. p. 2. Retrieved June 23, 2019 – via open access
  8. ^ "Amtrak Adirondack to Drop Mechanicville". Schenectady Gazette. April 21, 1978. p. 2. Retrieved May 23, 2023 – via GenealogyBank.
  9. ^ "Amtrak Service To Begin Sunday". Schenectady Gazette. October 24, 1978. p. 27. Retrieved May 23, 2023 – via GenealogyBank.
  10. ^ "'Adirondack' Train Now Serves City". Schenectady Gazette. January 29, 1979. p. 11. Retrieved May 23, 2023 – via GenealogyBank.
  11. ^ Anderson, Eric (October 18, 2011). "Amtrak leasing track corridor". Times Union. Albany. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
  12. ^ Bowen, Douglas John (2012-05-11). "Customs relief in sight for Amtrak's Adirondack". Railway Age. Retrieved 22 Jun 2012.
  13. ^ Anderson, Eric (2017-03-19). "Amtrak's Adirondack on track to benefit from customs legislation". Times Union. Albany. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  14. ^ "House Government Bill C-23 (42-1)". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 2019-06-11.
  15. ^ "Most Hudson Line trains to Operate to/from Grand Central Terminal during Infrastructure and Bridge replacement Period" (Press release). Amtrak. April 10, 2018.
  16. ^ "Summer 2019 infrastructure alert". Amtrak. Archived from the original on July 6, 2019.
  17. ^ "Service Adjustments Due to Coronavirus" (Press release). Amtrak. 2020-03-24. Archived from the original on 2020-03-25. Retrieved 2020-03-25.
  18. ^ Dickson, Jane (March 18, 2020). "Canada-U.S. border to close except for essential supply chains". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  19. ^ "Adirondack Train". Amtrak.
  20. ^ "Amtrak Adirondack Line to resume by April". NEWS10 ABC. 10 March 2023. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
  21. ^ "Reserved Coach Class Seat". Amtrak. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  22. ^ "Travel Guide to Train Fares". Amtrak. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  23. ^ Vermont Agency of Transportation (January 2010). "Passenger Rail Equipment Options for the Amtrak Vermonter and Ethan Allen Express" (PDF). Vermont Legislature. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  24. ^ "Celebrating 40 Years of the Adirondack". Amtrak. August 5, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  25. ^ "Introducing Our New Trains: Amtrak Airo". Amtrak. December 15, 2022. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  26. ^ "Amtrak FY 2022–2027 Asset Line Plan" (PDF). Amtrak. p. 132. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  27. ^ Roberts, Earl W.; Stremes, David P., eds. (2012). Canadian Trackside Guide. Bytown Railway Society, Inc. ISSN 0829-3023.
  28. ^ "Canadian Trackside Guide".


  1. ^ Route suspended since March 2020.
  2. ^ Amtrak's Fiscal Year (FY) runs from October 1 of the prior year to September 30 of the named year.

External links[edit]

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