Maple Leaf (train)

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Maple Leaf
Whirlpool bridge.jpg
The Maple Leaf crosses the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, in 1983.
Service typeInternational Inter-city rail
LocaleEastern United States/Canada
First serviceApril 26, 1981
Current operator(s)Amtrak (within US)
Via Rail (within Canada)
StartNew York City, United States
EndToronto Ontario, Canada
Distance travelled544 mi (875 km)
Average journey time12 hours, 30 minutes (includes time at border control)
Service frequencyDaily each way
On-board services
Class(es)Business and standard class
Seating arrangementsReserved Coach Seat
Business Class Seat
Catering facilitiesOn-board café
Baggage facilitiesCarry-on baggage only
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Track owner(s)Amtrak
Metro North
CSX Transportation
Canadian National
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 Maple Leaf replaced Buffalo–Toronto connecting service operated by Via and the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway, the latter of which discontinued passenger service that day. 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

The Maple Leaf is one of four New York Amtrak routes that are primarily state funded with the others being the Adirondack, the Empire Service, and the Ethan Allen Express. Primary funding for these routes is from the New York State Department of Transportation rather than federal funding.

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.[4]

2013 terror plot[edit]

In 2013, the Maple Leaf was the target of a failed 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.[5][6][7]

Route details[edit]

Amtrak Maple Leaf (interactive map)

In the United States, the Maple Leaf shares the route of Amtrak's Empire Service. 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.[8] In Canada, the service shares the route of the GO Transit Lakeshore West line.

VIA Maple Leaf sign at Toronto Union Station

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

Station stops[edit]

State/Province Town/City Station Connections Notes
Ontario, Canada Toronto Union Station GO Transit (rail): Barrie, Kitchener, Milton, Lakeshore East, Lakeshore West, Richmond Hill, Stouffville
GO Transit (bus): 16, 18, 21, 31, 61, 63, 65, 71, 90
Toronto Transit Commission (subway): Line 1, 509, 510
Toronto Transit Commission (bus): 6, 72, 97, 120, 121, 310, 320
Union Pearson Express
Via Rail: Canadian, Corridor
Oakville Oakville GO Transit (rail): Lakeshore West
GO Transit (bus): 18, 20, 46
Oakville Transit: 1, 4, 5, 10, 11, 13, 14/14A, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 26, 28, 120, 121, 190
Aldershot, Burlington Aldershot Burlington Transit: 1x
GO Transit (rail): Lakeshore West
GO Transit (bus): 15, 18
Hamilton Street Railway: 18
Grimsby Grimsby
St. Catharines St. Catharines GO Transit (rail): Lakeshore West (seasonal service)
St. Catharines Transit: 303, 315, 415
Niagara Falls, Ontario Niagara Falls, ON GO Transit (rail): Lakeshore West (seasonal service)
GO Transit (bus): 12
Niagara Falls Transit: 102, 104, 108, 204
WEGO: Green Line
Canada–United States border
New York, United States Niagara Falls, New York Niagara Falls, NY Amtrak: Empire Service
Buffalo Buffalo–Exchange Street Amtrak: Empire Service, Thruway Motorcoach to Jamestown, New York
NFTA: Buffalo Metro Rail
Depew Buffalo–Depew Amtrak: Empire Service, Lake Shore Limited
Rochester Rochester
Syracuse New York State Fair Train only stops during fair
Syracuse Amtrak: Empire Service, Lake Shore Limited
CENTRO: 16, 48, 50, 60, 62, 70, 82, 236, 246, 250
Rome Rome Amtrak: Empire Service
Utica Utica Adirondack Scenic Railroad: to Thendara, New York
Amtrak: Empire Service, Lake Shore Limited
CENTRO: 15, 31
Amsterdam Amsterdam Amtrak: Empire Service
Schenectady Schenectady Amtrak: Adirondack, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Lake Shore Limited
CDTA: 351, 353, 354, 355, 370, 763, 905 (BusPlus)
Rensselaer Albany–Rensselaer Amtrak: Adirondack, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Lake Shore Limited
CDTA: NX Northway Express, 114, 214
Hudson Hudson Amtrak: Adirondack, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express
Rhinecliff Rhinecliff–Kingston Amtrak: Adirondack, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express
Poughkeepsie Poughkeepsie Amtrak: Adirondack, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express
Dutchess LOOP: A, B, C, D, E, Poughkeepsie RailLink
UCAT Ulster-Poughkeepsie LINK
Metro-North Railroad: Hudson Line
Croton-on-Hudson Croton–Harmon Amtrak: Adirondack, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Lake Shore Limited
Bee-Line: 10, 11, 14
Metro-North Railroad: Hudson Line
Yonkers Yonkers Amtrak: Adirondack, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express
Bee-Line: 6, 9, 25, 32, 91 (seasonal service)
Metro-North Railroad: Hudson Line
New York City Penn Station Amtrak: Acela Express, Adirondack, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Lake Shore Limited, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
LIRR: Main Line, Port Washington Branch
NJ Transit: North Jersey Coast Line, Northeast Corridor Line, Gladstone Branch, Montclair-Boonton Line, Morristown Line
NYC Subway: 1, ​2, ​3, A, ​C, and ​E trains
NYC Transit buses: M7, M20, M34 / M34A Select Bus Service, Q32
PATH: HOB-33, JSQ-33, JSQ-33 (via HOB)
Temporarily not served through September 4, 2018.[4]
Grand Central Terminal Metro-North Railroad: Hudson Line, Harlem Line, New Haven Line
NYC Subway: 4, ​5, ​6, <6>​, 7, <7>​​, and S trains
NYC Transit buses: M101, M102, M103, M1, M2, M3, M4, Q32, M42
Serving as the southern terminus through September 4, 2018.[4]


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

The Maple Leaf operates year-round with an Amtrak GE P42DC or P32AC-DM locomotive and Amfleet I & II passenger cars. A typical consist will include:

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

Between Albany and New York, the train is always pulled by a P32AC-DM dual-mode locomotive, since diesel operation is prohibited in New York Penn Station. Typically, P42DC locomotives are used between Albany and Toronto, which results in a locomotive change in Albany. Occasionally, the P32AC-DM locomotive will stay on the train all the way to Toronto.

An extra Amfleet II car is added to the Maple Leaf consist during the Christmas shopping rush to handle additional 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, Minnesota: MBI. ISBN 978-0-7603-1765-5.
  4. ^ a b c "Most Hudson Line trains to Operate to/from Grand Central Terminal during Infrastructure and Bridge replacement Period" (Press release). Amtrak. April 10, 2018.
  5. ^ Rocha, Euan; Alastair Sharp (22 April 2013). "Canada thwarts "al Qaeda-supported" passenger train plot". Reuters Canada. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  6. ^ Macdonald, Alaistair; Siobhan Gorman; David George-Cosh (22 April 2012). "Canada Thwarts Alleged Plot to Attack Train". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Jordan train bridge reportedly target of thwarted terror plot". Retrieved 2014-01-26.
  8. ^ "Travel Advisory; Grand Central Trains Rerouted To Penn Station". The New York Times. April 7, 1991. Retrieved 2010-02-07.

External links[edit]