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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Be prepared when heading north of the border, says Amtrak

Amtrak Dec. 5 announced a procedural change to provide Maple Leaf and Adirondack passengers quicker passage into and out of Canada. Like most time savers, it would require planning ahead.

When passengers book passage on either train, they now are required to submit date-of-birth and citizenship information before tickets may be issued. Amtrak employees would forward the information to border crossing agents, who then would perform the required background checks before the train reaches the border.

"The cooperation of U.S. Customs Service and Immigration and Naturalization Service was critical in establishing the new procedures," said U.S. Rep. Jack Quinn from New York, who was instrumental in advancing the new procedures, in a prepared statement. "The changes will enable Amtrak to operate more efficiently while providing guests with a simpler and faster way to travel across the border."

Amtrak plans to remind passengers to bring appropriate identification or documentation to cross the United States-Canada border.

At travel time, Amtrak would provide passengers on the New York-to-Toronto Maple Leaf or New York-to-Montreal Adirondack trains with baggage tags matching numbered stickers on the back of passengers’ tickets, enabling crossing agents to more easily determine to whom each bag belongs.

Amtrak also plans to advise cross-border travelers of the directions and procedures through English-and-French bilingual signs posted in all Northeast Amtrak stations providing international travel.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/12/2000