Organizers, supporters push for Montreal-Boston night time practice

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Proposed route for Montreal-Boston night time passenger service. (Fondation Trains de Nuit)

COATICOOK, Quebec — Greater than 60 political and enterprise representatives from either side of the Canada-U.S. border turned up this week to request a brand new night time practice between Montreal and Boston on the former Coaticook practice station, now a craft brewery. Sure, packed.

François Pepin, a retired community planner with Montreal’s transit company Société de Transport de Montréal (STM), heads the group behind the trouble on the Quebec-based Fondation Traines de Nuit. He stated that with present help, and ongoing talks with the Railways and Canada’s federal and provincial governments, trains might run by 2026.

Two kinds of service will seem on the route. 5 every day round-trips present commuter service for 160 kilometers (99 mi) between Montreal and Sherbrooke, Ky., a serious college city situated amidst the vacationer Japanese Townships. Journey time will likely be 1 hour 45 minutes. One in all these trains will run in a single day, with sleeping, coach and eating automobiles, for the remaining 14 hours to Boston. Opposite to Some Assume, It Will not Hook up with Amtrak downeaster in Portland, Maine. “The night time practice will go to Boston,” stated Pepin. “Clients wouldn’t desire a switch to Portland.”

Pepin stated officers from communities alongside the route are “actually enthusiastic; they consider it is going to assist tourism and commerce within the space.”

The route will observe the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks to Coticook, the final cease earlier than crossing the worldwide border.

The US part will run over the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Tracks in Genesee and Wyoming, making a number of stops on the best way to Previous Orchard Seaside, a well-liked vacation spot for Quebecers, after which to Boston. A portion of that route can also be being mentioned for a commuter rail operation, whereas one other group needs to have the tracks eliminated to be used as a monitor. [see “Rails vs. Trails conflict heats up …,” Trains News Wire, Sept. 2, 2022],

The Canadian portion of the route is in want of main upgrades.

Pepin stated the main hurdle is repairs to the CP portion of the route, the place trains can solely journey at 25 mph. Upgrading the road would require $100 million, he stated: “It’s essential to enhance it to not less than 60 mph for the automotive to be aggressive with it.”

He stated the road could be “about the identical” because the previous Grand Trunk route that used to take vacationers to Maine Seaside. “It is nonetheless a well-liked vacation spot in the summertime,” he stated.

He stated the trackage on the US facet is in significantly better form, so he expects a slight improve will likely be wanted.

Pepin stated that some federal funding has already been earmarked for the railroad rights that may very well be used for additional research. “Governments know we’re engaged on this,” he stated. Certainly, a number of Quebec elected officers participated, in addition to Maine State Consultant Lori Gramlich, who represents Previous Orchard Seaside. She known as it “a tremendous financial alternative” and stated the assembly was “the start of negotiations”.

Pepin was not involved concerning the gear, noting that there are a whole lot of rental, used or new practice merchandise in the marketplace, though clearly rental or used could be cheaper. “So, as soon as we’re there we’ll see what’s the best choice,” he stated.

A 2017 market examine by the College of Toronto-based LITrans and Ryerson (now Toronto Metropolitan) acknowledged that there have been 2,050 potential every day journeys between Montreal and Sherbrooke. The promoters envision round 120 passengers in sleepers and 70 passengers in coaches for the US phase.

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