Discussion in 'Traveling Members' started by Atlantagaguy, Apr 24, 2016.
Can anyone recommend taking Amtrak from New York City to Montreal? Is it a pretty ride?
It is a long ride. My information is probably way out of date, but maybe not since the tracks are probably still not fixed after 40 years which is when I made the trip, sort of. I took Amtrak from NYC to Montpelier, Vermont--it continues on to Montreal. The train moved along at a leisurely pace--cars and trucks were passing us when the tracks ran parallel to a road. Montpelier, the capital of VT is so tiny that I don't think the train came to a complete stop when I hopped off to find myself in a parking lot surrounded by bushes with no buildings in sight. I don't remember much about the scenery, but I suspect it is pretty--trees, mountains, farms, etc.--what there is in Vermont. I love train travel and wish trains in the US were faster and more like what one finds in the rest of the civilized world. I had a great experience taking Amtrak from NYC to Buffalo NY. That is an excellent option, comfortable, well priced and reasonably efficient--gorgeous scenery through the Hudson valley.
Check out how long it takes from NYC to Montreal and the fare. If you have the time, I'd say go for it, although it might be cheaper to fly.
It's a 11hr ride, Amtrak touts it as "One of the Top 10 Most Scenic Train Rides in the World". Coach seats are only $69, plus I love that number! So I was thinking it might be worth the ride. I also enjoy riding the train. I wish we had a decent service. If you like beautiful trips try the route between Denver and San Francisco.
I have a friend who regularly takes The Adirondack from NYC to Albany. The train runs along the Hudson for much of the journey. He has always wanted to take the part of the route from Albany to Montreal, it goes through the Adirondack mountains and along the shore of Lake Ticonderoga. PBS did a series about American rail journeys back in the 80s or 90s, and The Adirondack was one of the routes covered. Just remember not to book anything time sensitive based on your scheduled arrival time, the trains are often late. Amtrak does not control the rights of way.
I'm a frequent Amtrak user. I would NEVER go coach. It's usually only a few dollars more for business class. Well worth the upgrade.
I agree with you but this route only offers coach from what I see.
My experience has been that on a train the difference between coach and business class is minimal--not like on an airplane where the difference is HUGE. For $69, I'd say do it! It will be an adventure. If I were in NYC, I would do it. The ride between NYC and Albany is gorgeous (that part I know.) I rode 8 hours from NY to Buffalo in coach and it was wonderfully comfortable. I also enjoy taking the train from Seattle to Portland or from Seattle to Vancouver--it is a good deal.
I've recently learned that learned that it depends. When traveling Portland to Seattle, business class got me a reserved seat with discounts to the club car. But on a recent trip from San Diego to Los Angeles, business class did NOT include a reserved seat. And there were no discounts to the club car. Amtak needs to get their shit together and offer the same benefits across all lines.
Back in the mid '80s, I had reason to take several train rides in England. One could choose between 1st and 2nd class. The primary difference I noticed was that in 1st class there were a great many fewer children, which on one trip I remember I would very much have appreciated. Like flying, on short hops it matters little--it is those long hauls where extra comfort is really appreciated. It would be great if they fixed the tracks and offered high speed, high quality service between Portland, OR and Vancouver, BC. The trains themselves are really quite nice--clean, new and comfortable. From Seattle to Portland the train beats a long, boring drive, and who needs a car in Portland?
Took it once and while the scenery was breathtaking (I went in the fall, just as the leaves were beginning to change) it was also very long. The estimated travel time was 8 hours, but it ended up being an 11-hour trip because of border check.
Nowadays, I would rather fly if tickets are inexpensive. Another option are the overnight buses that leave the Port Authority at 11PM and arrives at Montreal around 7AM. It's cheap and you don't lose a day on the road. You do stop 2-3 times though (once to refuel, another to pick up passengers somewhere north of New York, and finally, at border control).
I once took a bus from St. Johnsbury, VT to NYC. Worst 17 hours of my life. Everything that could go wrong did. For the first 2 hours while the bus took us on a scenic tour of mountainous northern Vermont, stopping at every pillar and post, I got to sit directly in front of a teenager with Tourette's syndrome traveling all by himself. I and everyone else on the bus were admirably stoic about it. There was an unanticipated 2 hour layover in Hartford, CT. Have you ever been to downtown Hartford on a Sunday evening? There is nobody there! I checked my luggage in a bus terminal locker and finally found a hotel restaurant where I had a decent dinner. When I went to pick up my bag, I found the bus station closed and locked up for the night--my bag inside. In the wee hours of the morning we arrived in Bridgeport for another hour layover, after which about 40 bedraggled passengers from Boston squeezed on for the remaing ride to NY. The following day, I had to return to the Port Authority bus terminal in midtown to find out how to get my luggage which was still in a locker in Hartford. To my surprise, they took the key in my possession and had the luggage bused back to NY by the next day--the one bright spot in an otherwise horrendous experience. Never again!
I took it once, it was horrible. The train left NYC Penn at 8:00 am and arrived in Montreal at 10:00 pm (custom check time not included for the 7:00 pm arrival time on Amtrak schedule). The custom checking process took several hours on my last trip, 10 passengers were pulled from the train for secondary screening.
If you have the time, it is pretty, especially in the fall. That said the bus is quicker and the border crossing is much faster.
Crossing by car or bus is much faster, and the custom check is quicker. I have never been pulled for secondary screening, when crossing by car or bus. I have crossed several times by train, both times pulled for secondary screening. Also, you have to put your passport info in your Amtrak reservation, when booking. The information is sent to Canadian Customer days before you travel to Canada. The chances of getting pulled for secondary screening is greater.
On a side note, if your denied entry in Lacolle Quebec custom, when you take Amtrak. You're screwed, it's in an isolated area, Amtrak only has one scheduled daily departure train to Montreal. CA Agents will drop you off by the street on the US side of the border (also have to re-clear US custom), where you have to wait for a bus and pay the driver ransom money to get you to NY or wherever. The US Custom Agent will happily call a taxi for you, to get you to closest US city to the border (cost you a lot of money). So, be careful, when taking the Amtrak train to Montreal.
Yes, I took that ride 6 or 7 times since 2010. When you get into upper NY state it's open country, not very well populated. Pretty during the Spring
Summer - now the trees will have shed their leaves. I will caution you that it is a slow ride - about 35 mph - which can get boring - takes about 11 hours
as I recall. Café car on the train. Lots of gay owned places for accommodations in the city and quite a few in the Gay Village. Bathhouses there are
very reasonable, not over-priced as they are here in the states. Montreal is a great city, beautiful, friendly, amazingly clean. I love the city. I hope you
have a great time.
I neglected to add that I never had any difficulty at the border crossing going to Montreal or upon returning to the states. I did witness several
people escorted off the train by the border inspectors. I don't know how those people get anywhere because it is out in the middle of nowhere.
Educate yourself on what you can and cannot take across the border.
LONG and boring ride. The views don't warrant the discomfort and delay. Keep in mind the early part of your ride traveling from New York will be spent in gullies filled with trash.
I second this warning.
Also, remember that Amtrak departs from Penn Station in NYC, arguably one of the worst places known to mankind.
This is also purely anecdotal (as opposed to data-based) evidence, but every time I am scurrying through this small colony of hell in NYC I see huge lines and long delays posted for Amtrak trains.
May the buyer beware.
Being in Massachusetts my options to get to Montréal are rather limited. I can catch a train from Albany - which is about a 2 hour drive from me. Then tack on a long train ride, I guess I'll pass. However, coming from NYC it may be worth it. If you can fly directly from NYC take it...
I can also take a bus, but haven't taken a bus in years, I loathe it. Flights do not run from Logan to Montréal, I'd have to connect to Toronto and then over to Montréal. This leaves me with driving the 5 hours each way.
I'll be back up there this coming weekend, and again for New Years. Last time I was there proved it's worth the 5 hour drive. I just wish there were more convenient options for getting there.
They drop you off at the US Border Crossing Side in Chaplain NY. You can take a cab to plattsburgh NY, Or wait for Greyhound Bus.
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