The Adirondack at Saratoga Springs station in 2013
|Service type||Inter-city rail|
|First service||August 6, 1974|
132,000 total (FY12)
|Distance travelled||381 miles (613 km)|
|Average journey time||11 hours|
|Train number(s)||68 (southbound), 69 (northbound)|
|Catering facilities||Cafe/Lounge car|
|Rolling stock||Amfleet coaches|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Track owner(s)||Metro-North Railroad|
Canadian Pacific Railway
Cascade Investment Railway
The Adirondack is an intercity rail passenger train operated daily 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 the Adirondack Mountains. The Adirondack operates as train 68 southbound, and as 69 northbound. The Adirondack service is financed by the New York State Department of Transportation.
For most of its existence, the Adirondack has been plagued by numerous delays. Amtrak only owns or operates the southern leg of the route, from New York City to 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 (Canadian Pacific Railway) segment.
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. From the outset the train operated with financial support from the state of New York. The train initially operated as a section of the New York–Buffalo Empire State Express.
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. 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 opened 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. By early 2017, the United States Congress had passed its necessary enabling legislation. The corresponding Canadian legislation was given royal assent in late 2017, though it is yet to enter into force.
On April 10, 2018, Amtrak announced that all trains using the Empire Connection, excluding the Lake Shore Limited, will 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.
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.
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.
- CN St-Hyacinthe Subdivision, Montreal to Saint-Lambert: 6.15 mi (9.90 km)
- CN Rouses Point Subdivision, Saint-Lambert to Rouses Point: 42.7 mi (68.7 km)
- CP Canadian Subdivision, Rouses Point to Ballston: 169.3 mi (272.5 km)
- CP Freight Subdivision, Ballston to Schenectady: 4.6 mi (7.4 km)
- CSX Hudson Subdivision, Schenectady to Poughkeepsie (trackage leased by Amtrak): 86.3 mi (138.9 km)
- Metro-North Hudson Line, Poughkeepsie to Spuyten Duyvil: 61.8 mi (99.5 km)
- Amtrak Empire Connection, Spuyten Duyvil to Penn Station 21.4 mi (34.4 km)
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.
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. Four D&H ALCO PA diesel locomotives hauled the 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.
- 1 P42DC/P32AC-DM locomotive. The P32AC-DM operates between New York and Albany; the P42DC handles the remainder.
- 1 Amfleet I cafe car
- 2-4 Amfleet I coach cars
- 2 Amfleet II coach cars
- "Amtrak Sets New Ridership Record" (PDF). Amtrak. 10 October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
- "ADIRONDACK". TrainWeb. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
- Amtrak Route on-time performance for Adirondack service
- "Montreal Train Run Commences Today". Schenectady Gazette. August 6, 1974. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
- Burrs, Edward C. (August 6, 1974). "New York‐Albany‐Montreal Train Is Resumed With a Festive Air". New York Times.
- "Historic Rail Service Resumption Set Today". The Post-Star. Glens Falls, New York. August 5, 1974. p. 2. Retrieved June 23, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
- Eric Anderson (October 18, 2011). "Amtrak leasing track corridor". Times-Union. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
- Bowen, Douglas John (2012-05-11). "Customs relief in sight for Amtrak's Adirondack". RailwayAge.com. Retrieved 22 Jun 2012.
- Anderson, Eric (2017-03-19). "Amtrak's Adirondack on track to benefit from customs legislation". Times Union. Albany. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
- "House Government Bill C-23 (42-1)". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 2019-06-11.
- "Most Hudson Line trains to Operate to/from Grand Central Terminal during Infrastructure and Bridge replacement Period" (Press release). Amtrak. April 10, 2018.
- Summer 2019 infrastructure alert
- "Service Adjustments Due to Coronavirus" (Press release). Amtrak. 2020-03-24. Archived from the original on 2020-03-25. Retrieved 2020-03-25.
- Dickson, Jane (March 18, 2020). "Canada-U.S. border to close except for essential supply chains". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
- Roberts, Earl W.; Stremes, David P., eds. (2012). Canadian Trackside Guide. Bytown Railway Society, Inc. ISSN 0829-3023.
- Amtrak (August 5, 2014). "Celebrating 40 Years of the Adirondack". Retrieved 2014-08-05.
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