Amtrak service from Saratoga Springs to Montreal to halt temporarily

PLATTSBURGH — Passenger train service on Amtrak between Saratoga Springs and Montreal will reportedly be suspended between May 20 and June 29 as repairs to the rail line are being done.

The disruption comes as an unpleasant surprise to local officials at the start of the summer travel season.

“If this will fully resolve the CN track conditions exacerbated by heat that resulted in shutdown last summer, then it will be understandable and worth it to put things right and avoid a summer long repeat,” North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said.

“Unfortunately, living up to the expression about what a way to run a railroad, Amtrak has stonewalled all stakeholders and our federal officials so we are awaiting further details and assurances.”

Service on Amtrak has been the source of frustration for the region in recent years.

The run from New York City to Montreal and points in between known as the Adirondack line, was shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic in April of 2020. It stayed dormant until April of 2023 when it resumed running.

But two months after it resumed, the line was shut down following the imposition of a 10 mph speed limit by CN Rail on its trackage north of the Canadian border anytime the external temperature exceeded 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

The line began running again last September.

While the portion of the Adirondack from Saratoga Springs to Montreal is expected to be suspended, service from New York City to Saratoga is expected to continue. The Saratoga Race Course will be the site of the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown, on June 8.

The race was moved to Saratoga due to renovations at the Belmont track.

There was no information on Amtrak’s web site Monday afternoon regarding the closure of the northern portion of the Adirondack line.

The portion of the line between Saratoga Springs and Montreal is about 184 miles and included stops in Fort Edward, Whitehall, Ticonderoga, Port Henry, Westport, Port Kent, Plattsburgh and Rouses Point.

Amtrak issued a statement to Trains News Wire that said, “Due to anticipated track work, Amtrak has modified Adirondack service on a short-term basis from May 20 to June 30 and will only operate between New York City and Saratoga Springs.”

City of Plattsburgh Mayor Chris Rosenquest said it was a relief that the Adirondack line suspension is not planned to go further into the summer months.

“But who knows how these things work. They’re often delayed,” Rosenquest said.

“They’re often postponed, stretched out, and other reasons for closure. But we’ll see. It’s a shorter window than it was last time, and hopefully we don’t have as much impact as we saw previously.”

Douglas said he hopes the future for the rail line is better.

“We have been working with our federal friends for almost a year now,” he said.

“It’s been slow and frustrating, awaiting a full agreement between Amtrak and CN on needed work and costs.”


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