Happening Now

Stefanik Wants Adirondack Answers From Amtrak, CN

June 14, 2024

By Rail Passengers Staff

Summer-season disruptions – again – on Amtrak’s Adirondack between New York and Montreal this week drew the ire of Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY21), who pressed both Amtrak and host railroad Canadian National to provide a full public accounting of why this route continues to suffer from work delays.

Partly under Stefanik’s prodding, Amtrak and CN cut a deal in May to get badly needed track work finally underway, and at the time the railroads announced that the work take place from mid-May through the end of June. That cut into the busy summer season, but still brought service back for part of the summer with the promise that heat-order delays would be a thing of the past.

Now, however, the railroads have abruptly suspended service through September 8, with little or no notice to ticketed passengers and with no alternate transportation arranged, although Greyhound does offer a limited service from Saratoga Springs, NY.

After three years of COVID-related suspension and a full summer shutdown last year due to heat-related track concerns, Stefanik wrote this week in a letter to Amtrak President Roger Harris and CN’s Tracy Robinson that “Instead of making the resumption of service a priority and quickly coming to an agreement on making the improvements needed to ensure the Adirondack Line is fully operational, you continued to delay for almost a year despite the detriment the stoppage of service is to our communities.”

Your professional staff queried Amtrak management about the situation for more details but the railroad was only able to provide a minimal update, telling us that after the initial announcement mechanical staff apparently decided it would be best to absorb a longer delay like last year’s in order to create a more robust and long-term fix for this long-standing problem.

CN is reportedly shuffling some maintenance-of-way crews to focus attention on getting the track into better shape and the hope is that the scope and intensity of this effort will address the problem in a more permanent way.