Adirondack line will resume train service

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File photo. A federal grant will enable Amtrak to add a second daily train along the New York City to Montreal route.

Amtrak will resume rail service to Whitehall and other communities along the Adirondack Line beginning April 3, the area’s representatives in Congress announced Friday.

Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik said in separate press releases that their intervention helped convince Amtrak to resume the service between New York City and Montreal, which had been suspended during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The line also provides rail service to the communities of Plattsburgh, Ticonderoga, Rensselaer, Port Henry and Rouses Point.

“I am proud to announce that after months of advocacy Amtrak has heeded our calls and will officially reopen the Adirondack Line between the Empire State and Canada, finally restarting this vital economic engine for the North Country and Capital Region,” Schumer said in a joint release with Gillibrand.

“The Adirondack line’s years-long closure has been economically harmful to many of the communities along its route,” Gillibrand said in the release. “I urged Amtrak to reopen the line for months and I’m proud to be announcing that it will be resuming service ahead of the busy summer tourist season.”

“I am proud to announce that just one day after my call with the President of Amtrak and following my continued advocacy, Amtrak will finally resume service for the Adirondack Line by April 3,” Stefanik said in a separate release. “Families throughout Upstate New York and the North Country rely on the Adirondack Line for transportation, and it serves a significant economic driver, connecting tourists and our Canadian neighbors, to our region.

“(R)esumption of this service will help pump vital tourism dollars into Main Streets across Upstate NY,” Schumer agreed.

The senators, in a letter to Amtrak Chief Executive Officer Stephen J. Gardner, noted that in the federal fiscal year 2019 – the last year before the pandemic took hold — the Adirondack Line carried 117,490 riders, an increase of 5.1% compared to the prior year.

“This is a large economic driver in the community, as total tourism accounts for over 16 percent of the Adirondack region’s share of employment in 2020. Hamilton and Essex counties depend on tourism heavily, with 44.7 and 36.8 percent of all employment sustained by visitors respectively,” the senators’ release said.

The area’s representatives in Albany also said they were happy to see the service restored, citing the impact it has on the region’s economy.

“This is a great day for the Adirondack region,” said Assemblyman Matt Simpson, R-Horicon. “This reopening will result in increased economic activity and growth, as well as an influx of tourists looking to explore the Adirondacks.”

“The Adirondack Line is a crucial resource for the North Country. It’s a transportation service for our residents and with its ability to connect visitors from Canada and across out state to this region, a major economic driver,” said state Senator Dan Stec, R-Queensbury. “Its closure had a major impact on our ability to move forward from the pandemic and get our economy back on track.

“The reopening of the Adirondack Line on April 3 is a major victory for the North Country,” he added.

“The long-awaited resumption by Amtrak of the Adirondack rail service between Montreal and New York City not only reestablishes one of just three vital train links between the U.S. and Canada but restores Amtrak service to several North Country communities and represents another important step in normalizing cross border travel post pandemic,” North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas was quoted as saying in Stefanik’s release.

The return of the Adirondack Line comes roughly 10 months after Amtrak restored its Maple Leaf Line, which connects New York City to Toronto.