Maple Leaf (train)

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This article is about the joint Amtrak/Via service. For other trains, see Maple leaf (disambiguation) § Transport.
Maple Leaf
Whirlpool bridge.jpg
The Maple Leaf crosses the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, in 1983.
Service type International Inter-city rail
Status Operating
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
Stops 20
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
On-board services
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 12 in (1,435 mm) (Standard Gauge)
Track owner(s) Amtrak, Metro-North, CSX, Canadian National, Metrolinx
Timetable number(s) 63, 64 (Amtrak)
97, 98 (Via)

The Maple Leaf is an international passenger train service 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.


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.[1]

In the US an Amtrak crew operates the train whereas in Canada a Via Rail crew is in charge.[2] 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.[3]:107

2013 terror plot[edit]

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.[4][5][6]

Route details[edit]

VIA Maple Leaf sign at Toronto Union Station

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.[7] West of the border crossing, the service is shared with the Lakeshore West line of GO Transit.

The Maple Leaf operates over Metrolinx, Canadian National Railway, CSX Transportation, Metro-North Railroad, and Amtrak trackage:


Amtrak locomotive #106 pushing its train east through Toronto's Mimico GO Station.

The Maple Leaf operates year-round with Amtrak P42DC & P32AC-DM units and Amfleet I & II equipment. A typical consist will include:

  • 1 P42DC/ P32AC-DM locomotive
  • 1 Amfleet I Cafe/'Businessclass' car
  • 1-2 Amfleet II 'Coachclass' cars
  • 2-4 Amfleet II 'Coachclass' cars

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Malcolm, Andrew H. (February 14, 1982). "New York to Toronto Train". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  2. ^ "Amtrak's new Toronto-NY line fills 10-year void; may be a winner". Miami News. April 28, 1981. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  3. ^ Solomon, Brian (2004). Amtrak. Saint Paul, MN: MBI. ISBN 0-760-31765-8. OCLC 56490949. 
  4. ^ Rocha, Euan; Alastair Sharp (22 April 2013). "Canada thwarts "al Qaeda-supported" passenger train plot". Reuters Canada. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Macdonald, Alaistair; Siobhan Gorman; David George-Cosh (22 April 2012). "Canada Thwarts Alleged Plot to Attack Train". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Jordan train bridge reportedly target of thwarted terror plot". Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  7. ^ "Travel Advisory; Grand Central Trains Rerouted To Penn Station". The New York Times. April 7, 1991. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 

External links[edit]