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Amtrak is already planning to add a second daily round trip from Montréal to New York once the customs preclearance facility opens in Montréal. My suggestion is that one of the two trains should run overnight, so that it can capture demand currently dissuaded by the long travel times.

The Montrealer operated as a sleeper train up until it was cancelled in 1995 (my wife and I were booked on it for our honeymoon and had to pivot when it was cancelled a few months before our wedding). Its replacement (the Vermonter) runs as a daytime train, so it could be a challenge to have it revert back to running overnight, as that wouldn't serve Vermont very well (who pays to subsidise the train).

As I mentioned in my previous posts, I'm assuming that pre-clearance facilities are built in Montréal and Toronto before the corresponding overnight services would be introduced. Stopping at the border to clear customs late at night or very early in the morning would probably make the services annoying enough to not be viable.
The Toronto services would therefore be quite far in the future, with Detroit Central station and Niagara Falls Ontario station being higher on the list for pre-clearance facilities.

I just don't see preclearance ever happening in Toronto. It is just too far from the boarder for trains to operate without any other stops in Canada to allow domestic travel. Having said that, I think changing the Maple Leaf to a sleeper train makes a lot of sense, even if they have to stop to clear customs in Niagara Falls. A departure of around 20:00 would allow customs to be cleared by 22:00, still allowing a somewhat reasonable departure from Buffalo. Northbound, arriving at the boarder around 7:30 would still likely allow the train to arrive in Toronto by 9:30.

This schedule would allow the train to be an early morning train to Toronto and NYC and an evening train out of both Toronto and NYC. Having an X configuration with trains to/from Montreal and Boston would further enhance its flexibility.
 
Flash sale at VIA Rail:
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The Montrealer operated as a sleeper train up until it was cancelled in 1995 (my wife and I were booked on it for our honeymoon and had to pivot when it was cancelled a few months before our wedding). Its replacement (the Vermonter) runs as a daytime train, so it could be a challenge to have it revert back to running overnight, as that wouldn't serve Vermont very well (who pays to subsidise the train).



I just don't see preclearance ever happening in Toronto. It is just too far from the boarder for trains to operate without any other stops in Canada to allow domestic travel. Having said that, I think changing the Maple Leaf to a sleeper train makes a lot of sense, even if they have to stop to clear customs in Niagara Falls. A departure of around 20:00 would allow customs to be cleared by 22:00, still allowing a somewhat reasonable departure from Buffalo. Northbound, arriving at the boarder around 7:30 would still likely allow the train to arrive in Toronto by 9:30.

This schedule would allow the train to be an early morning train to Toronto and NYC and an evening train out of both Toronto and NYC. Having an X configuration with trains to/from Montreal and Boston would further enhance its flexibility.
For my part I’m inclined to think that it might be best to give up on the Maple Leaf but set up a good transfer between GO and Amtrak at Niagara (similar to my thought that extending Windsor trains to Michigan Central [with pre clearance ] and returning Amtrak to there would be more reasonable than an actual direct Chicago train)
 
For my part I’m inclined to think that it might be best to give up on the Maple Leaf but set up a good transfer between GO and Amtrak at Niagara (similar to my thought that extending Windsor trains to Michigan Central [with pre clearance ] and returning Amtrak to there would be more reasonable than an actual direct Chicago train)
I experienced both the Maple Leaf customs process and self-connecting from the last Empire train to a FlixBus a few weeks ago and self-connecting was WAY better than going through customs on the Maple Leaf. On the Maple Leaf, it took 75 minutes to get off the train and get back on the train in Niagara Falls...there were also stupid customs forms and baggage checks involved. When I took the Empire on the way back, I was in Canada 20 minutes after getting off the train (with the help of Reddy Bike to get to the Rainbow Bridge). No customs cards or baggage checks...just a few simple questions.

I wish pedestrians were allowed on the Whirlpool Bridge for times when I've wanted to connect from Amtrak to GO or Megabus.
 
For my part I’m inclined to think that it might be best to give up on the Maple Leaf but set up a good transfer between GO and Amtrak at Niagara (similar to my thought that extending Windsor trains to Michigan Central [with pre clearance ] and returning Amtrak to there would be more reasonable than an actual direct Chicago train)
Agreed on Michigan Central, but for Toronto-NYC, I would operate the Canadian intercity trains directly into Buffalo (with a border facility at the Amtrak station downtown), but that of course requires upgrading Toronto-Hamilton-(Welland)-Buffalo to HFR…
 
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Agreed on Michigan Central, but for Toronto-NYC, I would operate the Canadian intercity trains directly into Buffalo (with a border facility at the Amtral station downtown), but that of course requires upgrading Toronto-Hamilton-(Welland)-Buffalo to HFR…
Failing all else I see the case fore that, but actually frequent NFTA Buffalo - Niagara Falls service, be it light rail to some kind of DMU, would be my first choice.
 
As far as night service goes I saw it as part of the entertainment industry - see Leafs/Raptors/TFC and have an option to get back to Montreal or Quebec City without a hotel stay. As someone else noted, hotels are pricey these days. Having an overnight option for Northlander would mean those coming from the north could actually spend an entire day in the City. Does that have to mean dedicated sleeper cabins for services which only run through a single night? Perhaps not. After all, the airline industry routinely operates day and night service without change in equipment.

While this does set up the possibility of quite unsocial hours for some station stops, it occurs to me that this happens on North American LD services on a regular basis. While going to a station at 3am doesn’t seem like my idea of a good time, some people clearly do it because the service represents the best option which suits their needs at the time. Further, the availability of local and regional transit in unsocial hours is increasing in both Toronto and Montreal compared to the days of the services now extinct.
 
As far as night service goes I saw it as part of the entertainment industry - see Leafs/Raptors/TFC and have an option to get back to Montreal or Quebec City without a hotel stay. As someone else noted, hotels are pricey these days. Having an overnight option for Northlander would mean those coming from the north could actually spend an entire day in the City. Does that have to mean dedicated sleeper cabins for services which only run through a single night? Perhaps not. After all, the airline industry routinely operates day and night service without change in equipment.

While this does set up the possibility of quite unsocial hours for some station stops, it occurs to me that this happens on North American LD services on a regular basis. While going to a station at 3am doesn’t seem like my idea of a good time, some people clearly do it because the service represents the best option which suits their needs at the time. Further, the availability of local and regional transit in unsocial hours is increasing in both Toronto and Montreal compared to the days of the services now extinct.
As a frequent skier, having a direct night train from Toronto to Quebec City would be great. I don't want to deal with the stress of driving (driving around Montreal at rush hour is bad enough). Go skiing then a day or two seeing the sights in Old Quebec. Leaves midnight ish - and arrives in Quebec Palais at around 8am.

The latest season of BBC's Race Across the World had teams travel across Canada. In episode 6 teams travel from Manitoulin Island to Quebec with half travelling via Toronto. During the episode team members specifically book an overnight route bus from Toronto to Montreal. If there was such a night service it would make for an exciting episode.
 
As far as night service goes I saw it as part of the entertainment industry - see Leafs/Raptors/TFC and have an option to get back to Montreal or Quebec City without a hotel stay. As someone else noted, hotels are pricey these days. Having an overnight option for Northlander would mean those coming from the north could actually spend an entire day in the City. Does that have to mean dedicated sleeper cabins for services which only run through a single night? Perhaps not. After all, the airline industry routinely operates day and night service without change in equipment.

While this does set up the possibility of quite unsocial hours for some station stops, it occurs to me that this happens on North American LD services on a regular basis. While going to a station at 3am doesn’t seem like my idea of a good time, some people clearly do it because the service represents the best option which suits their needs at the time. Further, the availability of local and regional transit in unsocial hours is increasing in both Toronto and Montreal compared to the days of the services now extinct.
So, doze upright in a seat all night, wander the city all day and go to a game, then doze upright in seat going home? That sounds like fun. Given that passenger rail -all passenger rail, everywhere - is publicly subsidized, I'm not sure a plan that primarily feeds the coffers of billionaire team owners and minimizes the benefit to local businesses, is a good use of public funds.
 
[…] Given that passenger rail -all passenger rail, everywhere - is publicly subsidized, I'm not sure a plan that primarily feeds the coffers of billionaire team owners and minimizes the benefit to local businesses, is a good use of public funds.
Especially when the number of negotiated slots at key bottle necks like Smiths Falls or Coteau is limited to pre-Covid levels and you‘d thus have to sacrifice a day train to free up a slot for any night train…

Was that announced?
The end of the GO service? Of course:
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