Niagara falls ont and Toronto from rochester

Discussion in 'Guest Forum for Amtrak Questions' started by James Crawford, Sep 12, 2019.

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  1. Sep 12, 2019 #1
    Been trying to book train from Rochester to Niagara Falls and when that didn't work I tried one to Toronto. I've done this trip for years where Amtrak train become ViaRail at the border. Now it says it can't find trains and shows Error ID: 138A. Anyone know what the problem is?
     
  2. Sep 12, 2019 #2

    jiml

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    The train is currently a bus on the Canadian side due to bridge repairs.
     
  3. Sep 12, 2019 #3

    jis

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    More precisely it is a bus between Niagara Falls NY and Toronto, making a stop at Niagara Falls ON on the way, and not stopping at any of the other Maple Leaf stations in Canada.

    The stop at Niagara Falls ON is apparently just a service stop for C&I purposes or some such, since I have not found a way to book travel to there. But then again I did not try too hard.
     
  4. Sep 12, 2019 #4

    jiml

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    I'm not sure that the bus is stopping in Niagara Falls, ON, for any reason. My understanding is that from the Amtrak station it heads north on I-190 to the Lewiston, NY - Queenston, ON bridge, where formalities are completed. The Amtrak bridge's vehicle access is restricted to Nexus users and doubling back to the Rainbow bridge, although physically in Niagara Falls, is much longer. Using Queenston - Lewiston shaves quite a bit of time off the trip in both directions. If anyone has anecdotal experience since the bustitution started please share.
     
  5. Sep 12, 2019 #5

    jis

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    I have no idea what they are doing. Their announcement had said that it would stop at Niagara Falls ON. That could also have changed since then.
     
  6. Sep 12, 2019 #6

    jiml

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    Agreed. They just can't get a bus across that bridge and the alternative really doesn't serve the purpose.
     
  7. Sep 13, 2019 #7

    zephyr17

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    I'd be interested in what they are actually doing since I will be going from Toronto to NYP on the very last day of the bustitution (11/2). Monkeying around to get over to the Niagara Falls, ON VIA station when they are not making any of the other Ontario stops doesn't make a whole lot of sense. My understanding is that all local passengers were being referred to GO/Metrolinx services. BTW I booked the trip before the work was announced.

    I'd also be interested in where the bus boards at Toronto Union Station. It is a big place, plus has been under renovation pretty much forever and can be confusing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
  8. Sep 13, 2019 #8

    zephyr17

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    Makes no sense that they'd go to the station just for CBSA customs and Immigration. I doubt they'd just let the bus over the border without doing the normal inspection routine there. I know when the Cascades is bustituted the bus goes through customs and Immigration at the Pacific Highway crossing like any other bus. They don't get to just drive through and head for Vancouver just because the train that it is substituting for does the customs and Immigration at the Vancouver station.

    Could they have a special deal with CBP and CBSA to use the Whirlpool Bridge? It is normally closed to all commercial traffic and is only for NEXUS cardholders. If they did, I can kind of see it, since the respective stations are right next to the bridge. An officer could board at the normal inspection point at the end of the bridge and ride the very short trip to the station where processing would take place, to see that nothing goes awry and keep control. I can't see them doing that if they use the Rainbow Bridge or Queenstown-Lewiston Bridge, though.

    Would really like to see a post from someone who's actually done it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
  9. Sep 13, 2019 #9

    jiml

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    The bridge that Amtrak uses (Whirlpool Rapids) is under construction for repairs, as is the nearby Peace Bridge to Buffalo. Other than trains on the Whirlpool bridge, vehicle traffic is severely restricted and the Customs presence on either side is minimal - certainly insufficient to deal with a busload of people who are not Nexus-approved. The least busy bridge is the Queenston - Lewiston bridge to the north - a route which also cuts almost 30 minutes off the trip by bypassing the whole Niagara region on the Canadian side. Otherwise the bus would have to backtrack to the Rainbow bridge, stop for Customs, then go through downtown Niagara Falls, ON, before joining the route to Toronto several km "downstream" of the other route. In either case a stop at Niagara Falls VIA is not on the route.
     
  10. Sep 13, 2019 #10

    zephyr17

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    Agree with you jiml, going to NF Via station makes no sense at all. As I said, the only scenario where that makes any sense is to use the Whirlpool Bridge, briefly board an officer instead of doing an inspection and proceeding the short distance to the station where the actual inspection takes place. Which is far fetched.

    I actually think someone at Amtrak who wrote the release got confused and they are not going to the NF Via Station or doing CBSA customs and immigratio there. Occam's Razor.
     
  11. Sep 13, 2019 #11

    jiml

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    The problem is that Amtrak and VIA didn't agree/know how this was going to be handled right up until the day before it started. They both had different information. I will also be shocked if the bridge is repaired on schedule. The Peace Bridge has been a one-lane disaster for much longer than originally predicted and I will bet it will be still be that way when I head to Florida for the winter.
     

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