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Timetable Nostalgia: Customs Headaches?

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Today when a single border crossing on the Maple Leaf or Adirondack can be a nightmare.....I wonder how Customs handled these with three border crossings on a single run!

 

Canadian Pacifics Alouette and Redwing from Montreal to Boston....crossed into the US from Quebec to serve Richford, Vermont......back into Canada at Glenton QC and finally back into the US again at North Troy VT.

 

After the through service to Boston (jointly operated with B&M) ended......a CP RDC Dayliner from Montreal to Newport VT, St. Johnsbury and Wells River lasted until 1965.

 

Timetables below: 1956 and 1965

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Canadian National #34-20 from Winnipeg to Port Arthur and Duluth:.......crossed into the US at Warroad, Minnesota....back into Canada at Rainy River, Ontario......then at Fort Frances ON split with #20 crossing back into the US again at International Falls MN with a through coach and sleeper continuing onto Duluth via the DW&P

 

Eventually the Duluth train became an RDC requiring a change at Fort Francis, Ontario......and the Winnipeg to Port Arthur (today's Thunder Bay) train now also an RDC Railiner lasted into the VIA era.

 

Timetables below: 1956 and 1977

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There were also these runs with two border crossing each way:

 

New York City and Buffalo to Detroit on 250 miles of New York Central (later Penn Central then Conrail) track across southern Ontario. Multiple trains a day, some with sleeping cars only and running in several sections. Hundreds of passengers passing thru Canada between US destinations and probably most not even realize they were in Canada.

 

Amtrak eventually added a train between Buffalo and Detroit: the Empire State Express.....later renamed the Nagara Rainbow that lasted 'till 1979.

 

Timetables: 1956 and 1977

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Canadian Pacifics Atlantic Limited between Montreal and Saint John (and later VIAs Atlantic through to Halifax) on 200 miles of CP track across the State of Maine.

 

Timetable: 1956 and 1985

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Outstanding copies of old timetables....love it...thanks for posting!

 

I have been on the Atlantic Limited across Maine as a CP train, prior to VIA Rail; and the Empire State Express/Niagara Rainbow across Ontario, in the Amtrak era.

 

In both cases, as through passenger, we were not even bothered by customs and immigration officials. There was a car designated for those not going thru, and only those passengers were examined, IIRC. I believe there were inspector's on board the train to insure compliance.

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Yep, I too rode on the Niagara Rainbow across Ontario and slept all the way, never saw a LE official, American or Canadian.

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There were different procedures in handling the "Atlantic" over the years. When it was a Canadian Pacific operated train there was usually just a cursory inspection of coach passengers by US Customs. Sleeping car passengers were just left alone. The trains made several stops in Maine: Vanceboro, Danforth, Mattawamkeag, Brownville Jct., Greenville and Jackman. Local passengers were even handled between US stops but anyone boarding in the US and going to Canada was checked by Canada Customs when the trains reached McAdam New Brunswick or Megantic, Quebec. This was the same procedure when VIA took over and extended the Atlantic through to Halifax in Oct. 1979 and was still in effect when the Atlantic was first discontinued in Nov. 1981.

 

When the Atlantic was reinstated in June 1985 there was a whole new set of rules: Now US Customs/INS insisted everyone would be inspected. Even the Sleeping Car passengers were woke eastbound at 3am ET in Jackman, Maine. Westbound wasn't as bad: 9pm ET (10pm AT) at Vanceboro. The trains were running long and full so there were major delays.

 

It took a couple of years of negotiations but eventually the train was "Sealed" across the US with a metal "Tag" being placed on all doors except in the one car where the US Customs Inspector rode and only checked those getting off in the US. The Atlantic was discontinued in December 1994.

 

I rode the Niagara Rainbow from Detroit to Fort Erie in November 1977. Canada Customs came aboard in Windsor to question anyone getting off in Canada but I don't believe Americans "Just passing through" were inspected......probably just a head-count. Passengers getting off or on in Canada had to remain in the last car and I remember that the attendant from the snack car would come back every so often to take our food orders. I got off in Fort Erie but anyone in that last car who got on in Canada and continuing onto US points....would have been inspected by US officials in Black Rock NY (Buffalo).

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It took a couple of years of negotiations but eventually the train was "Sealed" across the US with a metal "Tag" being placed on all doors except in the one car where the US Customs Inspector rode and only checked those getting off in the US. The Atlantic was discontinued in December 1994.

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I'm trying to picture in my head the metal tag you are referring to. Was it something that prevented opening the vestibule doors, or the door into the vestibule. In the event of a derailment I would think this could be a major issue.

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I can't say for sure, as I don't remember them....but I would imagine it was just some sort of "seal" that could easily be broken, but would show that it was broken, under later inspection.

If that had ever happened, I'm sure they would then thoroughly investigate everyone and everything on board at the border...

When Amtrak still carried mailbags and bulk mail container's in baggage cars, when the car was fully loaded, the postal clerk would put those thin metal strap-seals on all of the doors, if the car was not to be worked enroute....

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I can't say for sure, as I don't remember them....but I would imagine it was just some sort of "seal" that could easily be broken, but would show that it was broken, under later inspection.

If that had ever happened, I'm sure they would then thoroughly investigate everyone and everything on board at the border...

When Amtrak still carried mailbags and bulk mail container's in baggage cars, when the car was fully loaded, the postal clerk would put those thin metal strap-seals on all of the doors, if the car was not to be worked enroute....

Yup....just a metal fastener they would loop through the door handle. Customs could see if it had been tampered with but would easily break if a door had to be opened in an emergency.

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