Maple Leaf (train)
The Maple Leaf crosses the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, in 1983.
|Service type||International Inter-city rail|
|Locale||Eastern United States/Canada|
|First service||April 26, 1981|
|Current operator(s)||Amtrak (within US)|
Via Rail (within Canada)
|Start||New York City, United States|
|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|
|Class(es)||Business and standard class|
|Seating arrangements||Reserved Coach Seat|
Business Class Seat
|Catering facilities||On-board café|
|Baggage facilities||Carry-on baggage only|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|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 the train uses Amtrak rolling stock exclusively, the train is operated by Via Rail crews 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 direct New York-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.
Because of this need for a crew exchange, the Maple Leaf was led by some of the last EMD F40PH locomotives in Amtrak revenue service. While most Amtrak routes outside the Northeast Corridor had switched to the GE Genesis by 2000, it had not been added to the Maple Leaf owing to the Via Rail crews' unfamiliarity with the unit. The Maple Leaf retained the F40PH until Via received its own Genesis locomotives in 2002.:107
The Maple Leaf is one of four New York Amtrak routes that are primarily state-funded with the others being the Adirondack, Empire Service, and 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.
Due to continuing infrastructure work at Penn Station, the northbound Maple Leaf will run combined with the northbound Adirondack for most of the summer of 2019, splitting in Albany. The two trains will run separately on weekends during July and August.
2013 terror plot
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.
In the United States, the Maple Leaf shares the route of the Empire Service, Amtrak's corridor service along the former main line of the New York Central Railroad. 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. In Canada, the service shares the route of the GO Transit Lakeshore West commuter rail line.
- Metrolinx Oakville Subdivision, Toronto to Burlington
- CN Oakville Subdivision and Grimsby Subdivision, Burlington to Niagara Falls
- CSX Niagara Subdivision, Buffalo Terminal Subdivision, Rochester Subdivision, Mohawk Subdivision, Selkirk Subdivision, and Hudson Subdivision, Niagara Falls to Schenectady (Amtrak leases the Hudson Subdivision between Schenectady and Poughkeepsie from CSX)
- MNRR Hudson Line, Poughkeepsie to Spuyten Duyvil
- Amtrak Empire Connection, Spuyten Duyvil to Penn Station
Amtrak numbers the train as 63 northbound and 64 southbound. Via numbers it as 97 southbound and 98 northbound, and brands the Toronto-Niagara Falls leg as part of its Corridor services.
Northbound trains leave New York after the morning rush, arriving in Syracuse at noon, crossing into Canada during the afternoon rush and arriving in Toronto in early evening. Southbound trains leave Toronto after the morning rush, cross into the United States just after noon and arrive in New York in mid-evening. Trains stop for two hours for customs procedures in Niagara Falls, Ontario northbound and Niagara Falls, New York southbound.
- 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. The train switches "on-the-fly" to third rail when it enters the Penn Station tunnel. Typically, the P32AC-DM is swapped for a P42DC diesel locomotive 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.
- Malcolm, Andrew H. (February 14, 1982). "New York to Toronto Train". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
- "Amtrak's new Toronto-NY line fills 10-year void; may be a winner". Miami News. April 28, 1981. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
- Solomon, Brian (2004). Amtrak. Saint Paul, Minnesota: MBI. ISBN 978-0-7603-1765-5.
- "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
- Rocha, Euan; Alastair Sharp (22 April 2013). "Canada thwarts "al Qaeda-supported" passenger train plot". Reuters Canada. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- Macdonald, Alaistair; Siobhan Gorman; David George-Cosh (22 April 2012). "Canada Thwarts Alleged Plot to Attack Train". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- "Jordan train bridge reportedly target of thwarted terror plot". Niagarathisweek.com. Retrieved 2014-01-26.
- "Travel Advisory; Grand Central Trains Rerouted To Penn Station". The New York Times. April 7, 1991. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
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