In an urgent letter to Amtrak, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara is calling for the restoration of Adirondack Service. Recently, the Canadian National Railroad (CN) delivered an abrupt announcement to Amtrak, imposing a restrictive 10 mph speed limit on their tracks in Canada whenever the air temperature exceeds 86 degrees Fahrenheit. In response, Amtrak recently canceled service north of Rensselaer.
In the letter, Santabarbara noted that the CN territory has previously been a source of disputes between Amtrak and CN pertaining to track conditions, responsibility for funding track maintenance and the minimum required operating speed for the Adirondack service. While it is not uncommon for freight railroads to implement speed restrictions during high-temperature situations or significant fluctuations in temperature due to rail expansion and contraction, according to the Empire State Passengers Association (ESPA), it seems the CN's requirements go well beyond common practices.
ESPA shares the sentiment of Santabarbara and many in the community, aiming for a swift resolution to the CN/Amtrak dispute and the resumption of service to Montreal. “It is crucial for Amtrak to maintain operations on the Adirondack route, at least as far as Saratoga Springs,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. “As the peak summer travel season approaches, losing 50% of our train service would have a severe impact on local tourism, travelers, and businesses here in the Capital Region.”
According to Santabarbara, the existing northbound Adirondack train could continue its operation to Saratoga Springs, where it can sit during the day before returning southbound in the existing Adirondack time slot or potentially a slightly earlier departure time. (The current southbound train departs Saratoga at 6:02 AM and arrives at NY Penn at 10:15 AM).
Train cancellations have already been noted in the Amtrak reservation system indicating a disruption of service in the Capital Region. In the letter to Amtrak, Santabarbara is urging that all concerned parties engage in dialogue and take immediate action to ensure the continuation of the Adirondack service to Saratoga Springs and potentially Plattsburgh, until a resolution is reached with Canadian National.
“Amidst the disruption of Amtrak’s Adirondack service, I urge Amtrak to prioritize the needs of our communities,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. “It is essential that service continues at least to Saratoga Springs, ensuring our region doesn't lose 50% of vital train connections during the peak summer season. Together, let's advocate for a prompt resolution to the CN/Amtrak dispute and the restoration of full service to benefit New York's residents and visitors.”