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  #1  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2019, 7:21 PM
Crawford Crawford is offline
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Montreal-NYC Overnight Rail Service

A Montreal entrepreneur says he has $10 million lined up to start overnight private service between Montreal and NYC. They would travel nightly in both directions, leaving at 8 PM and arriving at 9 AM. Sounds promising, but we'll see:

Former CAQ MNA aims to launch overnight train service between Montreal and N.Y.C.

The time is nigh for an overnight train between Montreal and New York City, says François Rebello.

The Montreal entrepreneur and former Coalition Avenir Québec MNA says he has lined up $10 million in private-sector funding necessary to launch the service, allowing passengers to make the trip in the comfort of sleeper cars while saving money on hotel stays.

https://montrealgazette.com/news/loc...real-and-n-y-c
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  #2  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2019, 7:33 PM
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I support passenger rail but the fares needs to be competitive with flying. I looked for a week in September (Sept. 18) and there and plenty of fares between Montreal and LaGuardia for $110 - $130 US each way. If the ticket costs 2.5 to 3 times as much and the trip takes significantly longer, I can't see this being successful.

"The cost of a return trip would be roughly $400 Canadian, a price Rebello said compares favourably with flying and even to driving when gas, tolls and parking in New York City are factored in. Savings on New York hotels, where modest rooms can start at $200 Canadian a night, are also a selling point. The service could be useful for smaller businesses looking to save money on one-day business trips. Rebello sees a burgeoning market as well among environmentally conscious millennials who are less likely to own cars and prefer to avoid plane travel."
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  #3  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2019, 8:08 PM
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I assume they mean $400 CAD for the train ride, not one-way, which is certainly competitive with flights. A $300 USD fare is reasonable, IMO.

But we'll see if this is implemented. The current Amtrak service isn't practical for most travelers, and it's kind of a joke to have such poor service between the two most transit-oriented metros in U.S.-Canada.

Another question- Where is this train stopping in NYC? Penn is at capacity most of the day and probably isn't an option. Metro North has capacity at Grand Central, but are they amenable to another user?
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  #4  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2019, 8:55 PM
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The Amtrak Vermonter leaves NYC but only goes to St. Albans Vt. (beautiful scenery along the way); you disembark and proceed the rest of the way via bus. This bus stops at the Customs and Border facility on US I-89 / Can Hwy 133 then proceeds to downtown Montreal, and coming back it's the same. Unless they plan on building and staffing customs offices, this doesn't seem in any way feasible.
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  #5  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2019, 1:17 AM
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Originally Posted by RCDC View Post
The Amtrak Vermonter leaves NYC but only goes to St. Albans Vt. (beautiful scenery along the way); you disembark and proceed the rest of the way via bus. This bus stops at the Customs and Border facility on US I-89 / Can Hwy 133 then proceeds to downtown Montreal, and coming back it's the same. Unless they plan on building and staffing customs offices, this doesn't seem in any way feasible.
Use the existing Amtrak route between Montreal and New York. I have taken it. The problem with route is the terrible condition of the track north of Albany, which means trains have to run slowly.
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  #6  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2019, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
Use the existing Amtrak route between Montreal and New York. I have taken it. The problem with route is the terrible condition of the track north of Albany, which means trains have to run slowly.
Well, the Vermonter goes to and from DC...anyway that was a while ago, I didn't know about the other route so scratch my previous concerns.
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  #7  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2019, 2:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
Another question- Where is this train stopping in NYC? Penn is at capacity most of the day and probably isn't an option. Metro North has capacity at Grand Central, but are they amenable to another user?
Penn seems unlikely since I doubt Amtrak or the MTA wants a private operator clogging up their ops anywhere even close to peak, also only a couple platforms can be reached from the Empire Connection IIRC. GCT seems more probable given its multitude of platforms/tracks which would make it easier to service and store the train.
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  #8  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2019, 4:50 PM
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Well, the Vermonter goes to and from DC...anyway that was a while ago, I didn't know about the other route so scratch my previous concerns.
The Vermonter used to run to Montreal and I have read that there were issues with the track between St. Albans and the Canadian border. Apparently, money has been spent on repairing that track but no further word on restoring service to Montreal.

The current train, the Adirondacks, runs on the west side of Lake Champlain through Plattsburgh NY.

I would welcome additional service between Montreal and New York. When I took it, the connections did not work on the return trip through Montreal. This may be resolved if VIA HFR receives funding.
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  #9  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2019, 9:42 PM
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I wouldn't bother. It's still far too long for such a short distane on that "train". Many people hate sleepers, trains are noisy.
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  #10  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2019, 10:45 PM
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Totally a waste of money and probably doomed to failure. When you can fly in 1 hour or even drive faster, a sleeper is just a ridiculous idea. Who wants to sleep on an uncomfortable noisy train with a typical bumpy american ride (freight tracks anyone?) Not many I'll wager.
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  #11  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2019, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanview View Post
I wouldn't bother. It's still far too long for such a short distane on that "train". Many people hate sleepers, trains are noisy.
Sleeper trains in China aren't particularly noisy. I don't mind taking them from time to time, as they do have advantages over flying or HSR - namely, that you can arrive in the destination city first thing in the morning, and you don't have to worry about a hotel for that night.
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  #12  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2019, 12:35 AM
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Sleeper trains in China aren't particularly noisy. I don't mind taking them from time to time, as they do have advantages over flying or HSR - namely, that you can arrive in the destination city first thing in the morning, and you don't have to worry about a hotel for that night.
Can't really compare China's new railways with antique, bumpy American freight-shared lines.
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  #13  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2019, 12:57 AM
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Lightbulb

You all have forgotten a very important point why a sleeper train between Montreal and New York City is not going to happen! The towns and cities in between are not going to attract as many passengers in the middle of the night as they would during the middle of the day.
Just look at recent ridership data for the Adirondack.
https://www.railpassengers.org/site/...es/3454/40.pdf
Albany-Rensselaer 4,802
Croton-Harmon 2,855
Fort Edward 4,450
Hudson 1,436
Montreal 73,872
New York 97,350
Plattsburgh 13,325
Port Henry 2,395
Port Kent 521
Poughkeepsie 3,012
Rhinecliff 900
Rouses Point 1,276
St. Lambert 1,086
Saratoga Springs 17,398
Schenectady 8,518
Ticonderoga 2,246
Westport 5,626
Whitehall 1,776
Yonkers 2,476
Top city pairs by ridership, 2017
1. Montreal, QC - New York, NY
2. New York, NY - Saratoga Springs, NY
3. New York, NY - Plattsburgh, NY
4. Albany-Rensselaer, NY - Montreal, QC
5. New York, NY - Westport, NY
6. New York, NY - Schenectady, NY
The data listed above is specifically for the Adirondack trains and not other Empire Service trains.
While Montreal to New York is the top city pair, other city pairs with New York are higher than the next city pair with Montreal. Any night sleeper train will probably scare passengers away from the intermediate cities and get significantly lower low ridership in the middle of the night.
I do not think the politicians from New York State, especially from Upper New York, will be as willing to subsidize higher loses for a poorly time train. And make no mistake, New York State is subsidizing this train, no one from Canada is.
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  #14  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2019, 2:32 AM
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Originally Posted by aquablue View Post
Can't really compare China's new railways with antique, bumpy American freight-shared lines.
In most cases, Chinese sleepers don't run on the newly built HSR lines - they run on the much older conventional rail lines.
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  #15  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2019, 4:46 PM
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For a weekend trip, there are the following options:

Drive
- CAD 100 in gas return
- CAD 100 for parking for a weekend
- CAD 180 for two nights at a hostel dorm (and double for a hotel room)
- 6h of daylight hours per way
TOTAL: CAD 400 - 500


Fly
- CAD 300 for a return (via YYZ) or CAD 370 (direct)
- CAD 180 for two nights at a hostel dorm (and double for a hotel room)
- 4h-6h30 daylight hours per way (2h to get to the gate, 4h via YYZ/1h30 direct, 0h30 to get from the airport)
TOTAL: CAD 500 - 750


Overnight train
- CAD 400 round
- CAD 90 for one night at a hostel, double for a room
- No daylight hour travel
TOTAL: CAD 500 - 600


To be honest, looking at it this way, I might actually be tempted to use the overnight train for a weekend trip. It's financially competitive, and I'd definitely pay a little more to have a full weekend in the city and to not have to have it bookended by exhausting daytime travel. Just showing up, falling asleep, and waking up at my destination sounds great.

That said, it becomes harder to justify when you're travelling with two people;
Driving: $600 - 900
Flying : $1000 - 1500
Train : $100 - 1200
I might still do it then just to avoid the drive and to have a more pleasant weekend without those rough quarter-day drives and midnight arrivals. But once you get to three people or a family, it's just hard to justify it. This is a problem for transit options more generally.

If they could get down to Thello prices ($100-200 for a basic bunk in a shared room), then it'd be a no-brainer. But as it is, it still makes sense for a single traveller and for driving-averse couples. And it would always be a better option than flying.

One more point; as LRT's friend mentioned, the current train arrival time means that you can't catch connections to Ottawa or Quebec City. An 8pm departure would mean that I could leave Ottawa after work and make the connection to NYC, and catch a morning train on my way back. It's the same on the NYC end, where you could connect to Boston, Philadelphia or DC. It increases the usefulness of the service, making significantly more arrival/departure options possible.
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  #16  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2019, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Aylmer View Post
For a weekend trip, there are the following options:

Drive
- CAD 100 in gas return
- CAD 100 for parking for a weekend
- CAD 180 for two nights at a hostel dorm (and double for a hotel room)
- 6h of daylight hours per way
TOTAL: CAD 400 - 500


Fly
- CAD 300 for a return (via YYZ) or CAD 370 (direct)
- CAD 180 for two nights at a hostel dorm (and double for a hotel room)
- 4h-6h30 daylight hours per way (2h to get to the gate, 4h via YYZ/1h30 direct, 0h30 to get from the airport)
TOTAL: CAD 500 - 750


Overnight train
- CAD 400 round
- CAD 90 for one night at a hostel, double for a room
- No daylight hour travel
TOTAL: CAD 500 - 600


To be honest, looking at it this way, I might actually be tempted to use the overnight train for a weekend trip. It's financially competitive, and I'd definitely pay a little more to have a full weekend in the city and to not have to have it bookended by exhausting daytime travel. Just showing up, falling asleep, and waking up at my destination sounds great.

That said, it becomes harder to justify when you're travelling with two people;
Driving: $600 - 900
Flying : $1000 - 1500
Train : $100 - 1200
I might still do it then just to avoid the drive and to have a more pleasant weekend without those rough quarter-day drives and midnight arrivals. But once you get to three people or a family, it's just hard to justify it. This is a problem for transit options more generally.

If they could get down to Thello prices ($100-200 for a basic bunk in a shared room), then it'd be a no-brainer. But as it is, it still makes sense for a single traveller and for driving-averse couples. And it would always be a better option than flying.

One more point; as LRT's friend mentioned, the current train arrival time means that you can't catch connections to Ottawa or Quebec City. An 8pm departure would mean that I could leave Ottawa after work and make the connection to NYC, and catch a morning train on my way back. It's the same on the NYC end, where you could connect to Boston, Philadelphia or DC. It increases the usefulness of the service, making significantly more arrival/departure options possible.
Allowing train connections to Ottawa and Quebec City adds another 2 million + to the available market, so upwards of 6 million people at the Canadian end.
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  #17  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2019, 12:08 AM
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aylmer View Post
For a weekend trip, there are the following options:

Drive
- CAD 100 in gas return
- CAD 100 for parking for a weekend
- CAD 180 for two nights at a hostel dorm (and double for a hotel room)
- 6h of daylight hours per way
TOTAL: CAD 400 - 500


Fly
- CAD 300 for a return (via YYZ) or CAD 370 (direct)
- CAD 180 for two nights at a hostel dorm (and double for a hotel room)
- 4h-6h30 daylight hours per way (2h to get to the gate, 4h via YYZ/1h30 direct, 0h30 to get from the airport)
TOTAL: CAD 500 - 750


Overnight train
- CAD 400 round
- CAD 90 for one night at a hostel, double for a room
- No daylight hour travel
TOTAL: CAD 500 - 600


To be honest, looking at it this way, I might actually be tempted to use the overnight train for a weekend trip. It's financially competitive, and I'd definitely pay a little more to have a full weekend in the city and to not have to have it bookended by exhausting daytime travel. Just showing up, falling asleep, and waking up at my destination sounds great.

That said, it becomes harder to justify when you're travelling with two people;
Driving: $600 - 900
Flying : $1000 - 1500
Train : $100 - 1200
I might still do it then just to avoid the drive and to have a more pleasant weekend without those rough quarter-day drives and midnight arrivals. But once you get to three people or a family, it's just hard to justify it. This is a problem for transit options more generally.

If they could get down to Thello prices ($100-200 for a basic bunk in a shared room), then it'd be a no-brainer. But as it is, it still makes sense for a single traveller and for driving-averse couples. And it would always be a better option than flying.

One more point; as LRT's friend mentioned, the current train arrival time means that you can't catch connections to Ottawa or Quebec City. An 8pm departure would mean that I could leave Ottawa after work and make the connection to NYC, and catch a morning train on my way back. It's the same on the NYC end, where you could connect to Boston, Philadelphia or DC. It increases the usefulness of the service, making significantly more arrival/departure options possible.
I really appreciate monetary costs for the various options available to you, but where did you get or how did you arrive at those numbers? I hope it is more than just your opinion!

Again, as I seem to have to repost every one of my responses lately, who is going to pay the subsidy for your sleeper train? Canada will not, Amtrak will not, and New York will not.

Looking at the data I posted in an earlier thread, just check out three of them again:
New York 97,350 passengers
Montreal 73,872 passengers
and Albany 4,802 passengers
Assuming the worse case, that every Albany passenger started or finished their trip in Montreal, and all the remaining Montreal passengers are associated with New York, that still leaves the remaining 28,280 New York passengers going to the remaining cities on the route.
Some math 73872 - 4802 = 69070
97,350 - 69,070 = 28,280
Remember, that is the worse possible case. For each and every passenger not going to either of these two locations from Montreal, doubles those going to the other cities along the route.
Whether it is just 28,280 or more than that, they are passengers that will not get on this train at midnight, 1, 2, 3, or 4 am at the same numbers as they will at noon, 1, 2, 3, or 4 pm.

The shortest train length in miles and hours Amtrak uses sleeper cars on from New York City is the Lake Sore Limited, at 959 miles and 19-20 hours.
The longest train length for an Amtrak train from New York City without a sleeper car is the Palmetto at 829 miles and 15-16 hours
The Adirondack train length between New York City and Montreal in 381 miles and 10-11 hours.
FYI, all the data I used on this thread can be found on Amtrak’s web site.
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  #18  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2019, 4:07 PM
Crawford Crawford is offline
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Originally Posted by electricron View Post
You all have forgotten a very important point why a sleeper train between Montreal and New York City is not going to happen! The towns and cities in between are not going to attract as many passengers in the middle of the night as they would during the middle of the day.
Obviously a Montreal-NYC train is reliant on Montreal and NYC, not the mostly empty wilderness in-between. I doubt any such train would even make stops, as that would hurt ridership by lengthening the route time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by electricron View Post
And make no mistake, New York State is subsidizing this train, no one from Canada is.
NY State wouldn't subsidize this train. That makes no sense. This is a Montreal entrepreneur, and Quebec is the primary beneficiary. If anything, the state-controlled MTA probably doesn't want this train, as they don't want private users clogging overburdened downstate capacity. Even at GCT, there are certain congestion points where outside users make life more difficult for commuters.

I do wish NY State and Quebec would work on fixing the rails through the Adirondacks, though.
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  #19  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2019, 5:13 PM
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Originally Posted by electricron View Post
I really appreciate monetary costs for the various options available to you, but where did you get or how did you arrive at those numbers? I hope it is more than just your opinion!
What is this, my thesis defence? I just googled a few weekends in September as if I were heading there myself to get prices and travel times. You can find my detailed methodology in Annex 3.

Your responses all have to do with the feasibility of the train. I've got no opinion or insights about that. I'm just telling you how I, as a tourist, would make decisions if this train were in service.
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  #20  
Old Posted Aug 27, 2019, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
I assume they mean $400 CAD for the train ride, not one-way, which is certainly competitive with flights. A $300 USD fare is reasonable, IMO.

But we'll see if this is implemented. The current Amtrak service isn't practical for most travelers, and it's kind of a joke to have such poor service between the two most transit-oriented metros in U.S.-Canada.

Another question- Where is this train stopping in NYC? Penn is at capacity most of the day and probably isn't an option. Metro North has capacity at Grand Central, but are they amenable to another user?
The most transit-oriented metro in Canada is Toronto. Montreal is a close second.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aylmer View Post
For a weekend trip, there are the following options:

Drive
- CAD 100 in gas return
- CAD 100 for parking for a weekend
- CAD 180 for two nights at a hostel dorm (and double for a hotel room)
- 6h of daylight hours per way
TOTAL: CAD 400 - 500
Don't forget the cost of car maintenance, which is usually at least half the cost of gas for each kilometre driven. Most people ignore that, but it's still a very real cost that you don't incur if you leave the car at home.
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