Jump to content




Photo

Maple Leaf out of Toronto Union Station, what time should I arrive?


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 rms492

rms492

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 180 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 08 August 2016 - 09:03 PM

Hello, I plan on riding the Maple Leaf out of Toronto Union Station on a Sunday morning.

Being that its a Sunday morning, should the station be somewhat not busy?  (as compared to a weekday).

 

I am not familiar with this station, how early should I arrive?  Is it easy to navigate?

 

I believe the train departs at 8:20am.

 

Thanks for any advice concerning Toronto Union Station.



#2 Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 15,493 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin Texas
  • Interests:Passenger Trains/Travel/Sports(except Soccer)/Government-Politics/Reading/Old Buildings
    Movies/Music/Unicorns and Ancient Aliens!

Posted 08 August 2016 - 11:43 PM

Union Station is a large, busy Station, similar in usage to NYP or Chicago Union, that serves VIA, the Subway, Amtrak (Maple Leaf is Amtrak Equipment but uses VIA Crews between Toronto and Niagara Falls, ON where it becomes an Amtrak Train to NYP) and Go Trains and Buses.

I would say you should arrive at least an Hour early (.no checked baggage) and suggest using a Red Cap to board the train since Union Station is hard to get around in if you don't know it well!

I also strongly suggest you ride in Business Class ( it's in a Split Cafe/Biz Class Cat with the nice 2x1.seating and you get priority on clearing US Customs and Immigration @ the Border) though technically VIA doesn't offer Biz Class on this Train, you pay $1 to ride from Toronto to the Border, then whatever the Amtrak upgrade costs from the Border to NYP in Biz Class!

You'll have two tickets, a VIA ticket and an Amtrak ticket. Definitely Worth it!

Edited by Bob Dylan, 08 August 2016 - 11:44 PM.

 
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 
".. I ride on a Mail Train Baby, can't buy a thrill.."--I said that!
 
"..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#3 Everydaymatters

Everydaymatters

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,092 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Just North of Normal, Illinois
  • Interests:Travel, antiques, reading, pinochle, grandkids

Posted 09 August 2016 - 05:23 AM

The cafe is also staffed by the Via crew until the border.  Then they take all of their food off the train and the Amtrak crew gets on the train with all of the Amtrak food.

 

I was getting off the train in Buffalo and figured I would have breakfast on the train.  Word of advice: if you're getting off in Buffalo, get your cafe food while the VIA food is still available.  

By the time the Amtrak cafe attendant slowly got the food out and took a long break, she was finally able to open for business after the Buffalo stop was announced.  I literally hurried and bought food as I was on my way off the train.


Routes Traveled: Desert Wind, Southwest Chief, Missouri Mule, Empire Builder, Capitol Ltd., Lincoln Service, Lake Shore Ltd., Missouri River Runner, City of New Orleans, Cardinal, Silver Meteor, Texas Eagle, Cascades, Broadway Ltd., Acela, Downeaster, Sunset Ltd., Coast Starlight, California Zephyr, Hiawatha, Capitol Corridor, Maple Leaf   74,291 Amtrak miles.  Via Rail Vancouver to Toronto 2775 Miles.

#4 Palmetto

Palmetto

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,336 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Across the Rio Grande from Matamoros, MX

Posted 09 August 2016 - 05:57 AM

Union Station was being renovated in early May, and it was a mess.  Signage was temporary and poor on the lower level.  It may be back to normal by now.  That being said, I would imagine that early on a Sunday morning, things will be calm, both on the streets and at the station. 



#5 Tennessee Traveler

Tennessee Traveler

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 931 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Franklin, TN

Posted 09 August 2016 - 12:06 PM

I rode the Maple Leaf Toronto to Albany, NY early June in Business Class.  I only had one ticket issued by Amtrak.  Amtrak has a separate Customer Service Rep at the ticket counter in Toronto.  Construction was still going on but getting to the gate and boarding was not hard for me, 74 year old.  I don't know about coach but there was plenty of room at the back of the business class card for both my 24 inch bag and my carry on bag.  At the border US Customs did come on board to process everyone and took our passports to process them and then returned the passports to us.  After all of this, they did ask everyone coach and business to get off and go into the customs office while leaving our luggage on train. This was so that they could take K9 dogs through the train to sniff out drugs, etc.  After completing that process, we were allowed to re board the train. All in all, the customs agents were professional and courteous.  

 

I should note that the customs process was performed before entering the Buffalo station at a location just inside the border where a custom's office was located.  With the opening of the new Buffalo station, i don't know if the customs process will continue where I experienced it or at the new station.  

 

As to how early to arrive in Toronto Union Station, I suggest at least an hour since boarding actually begins at least 30 minutes before scheduled departure.  Incidentally, the conductor only processed my ticket one time as we departed Toronto and not twice - once for Via and second for Amtrak so i did not have two tickets for the one trip.



#6 Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 15,493 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin Texas
  • Interests:Passenger Trains/Travel/Sports(except Soccer)/Government-Politics/Reading/Old Buildings
    Movies/Music/Unicorns and Ancient Aliens!

Posted 09 August 2016 - 02:24 PM

US Customs and Immigration is located in the Niagara Falls, NY Station, not Buffalo. ( a new Station,closer to the Border, is being built in Niagara Falls,NY)

The Northbound Maple Leaf does Canadian C&I Check inside the VIA Station in Niagara Falls, Ontario where the Crews change over from Amtrak to VIA.

Good to know that they've gone to a one ticket policy, the Amtrak e-tickets weren't compatible with VIA operations last time I rode last November so I had two tickets.

I still recommend a Red Cap to board in Toronto if you're not familiar with the Station or have Luggage. ( I have boarded various trains here probably 500 times and still use them when I have Luggage).
 
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 
".. I ride on a Mail Train Baby, can't buy a thrill.."--I said that!
 
"..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#7 Dayliner381

Dayliner381

    Train Attendant

  • Newbie
  • Pip
  • 12 posts

Posted 10 August 2016 - 05:05 AM

The renovations that Palmetto noticed in May will not be over anytime soon. They are part of a multiyear project, originally budgeted at CAD 800 million, but the actual cost far exceeding that.

The hoarding and temporary signage in the concourse is due to the closure and rebuilding of the GO Transit Bay Street Concourse at the east end of the building. That began in 2015 upon completion of a brand new GO Concourse on the York Street side, the construction of which involved excavating a new level below the former parking garage. A separate project is to rebuild the platforms and train shed. The renovations to the facade along Front Street is complete, as is the rebuilding of the adjacent subway station.

Torontonians have been living with construction at the station since about 2012, but the finished product will be impressive.

#8 OBS

OBS

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,091 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 11 August 2016 - 07:03 AM

Dayliner, do you know the "projected" completion date? 



#9 NS VIA Fan

NS VIA Fan

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 972 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 11 August 2016 - 04:37 PM

Good video clip here on the revitalization project:

 

http://www1.toronto....00071d60f89RCRD



#10 Dayliner381

Dayliner381

    Train Attendant

  • Newbie
  • Pip
  • 12 posts

Posted 12 August 2016 - 06:45 AM

The projected date for "substantial completion" currently is early 2018. There were delays in the excavation under the station to build the new concourse and retail space. Also the train shed revitization (a separate sub-project) has been complicated by the need to accommodate plans to electrify GO Train service. Electrification requires greater clearances, but the Bush train shed is subject to a heritage designation.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users