Amtrak’s 4 Great Northeastern Routes For Summer Travel
Amtrak is on a roll again. Flush with $66 billion, thanks mainly to the bipartisan infrastructure bill President Biden championed in 2021 for new routes, Amtrak has begun new service and resumed services that were discontinued not only during the Covid pandemic but also as far back as the Eisenhower administration. After decades of inaction, they’ve also outlined plans for city-to-city connections that seem almost incredible. The blueprint for this activity is Amtrak’s Corridor Vision Plan, a highly ambitious 15-year program actively proposing new and restored services that will impact 160 communities nationwide.
In the Northeast alone, there are plans for connecting state capitals with a Boston-Springfield-Albany route and Boston to Concord, New Hampshire service. Amtrak’s ambitions have inspired others like the Montreal-based nonprofit Fondation Trains De Nuit. They have spent five years looking at Montreal to Boston service, envisioning an overnight sleeper train that would stop at cities in Eastern Canada, Portland, and Old Orchard Beach in Maine. Here are some of the recent new and resumed services.
After a three-year hiatus of passenger train service between New York City and Montreal, Amtrak plans to resume service on the Adirondack line on April 3, 2023. Service from New York City as far north as Albany weathered the pandemic, but the link from Albany to Montreal was suspended for three years. Now the service will resume, a memorable 10-hour ride running through some of the most spectacular parts of the Hudson River Valley and the Adirondack Mountains before continuing into Canada and the heart of Montreal.
The Berkshire Flyer
On July 2022, The Berkshire Flyer ran from New York City to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the first time in half a century that the two destinations had been linked by passenger train. Amtrak’s summer-only pilot program will return on Memorial Day until Labor Day. From New York’s Moynihan Station to the bucolic Berkshires is a four-hour trip that opens up the beauty of the Hudson River Valley, with stops at the artsy hipster haven of Hudson, New York, before terminating in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. From bike riding on the nearby Ashuwillticook Rail Trail to hiking up Mt. Greylock, getting a cultural fix at the Mass MoCA art museum in North Adams to visiting the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, there’s plenty to keep you busy. Not to mention sitting on the lawn for a concert at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and enjoying the region’s lakes, mountains, and picturesque towns like Stockbridge. Service resumes on Memorial Day, 2023.
Ethan Allen Express
The seven-and-a-half-hour trip from New York to Burlington, Vermont, one of the most incredible small cities in the country, is an excellent getaway through the spectacular Green Mountains. Burlington is eminently walkable, and pedestrian-only Church Street has cafes, bars, and restaurants. Catch a performance at the Flynn Theatre, and rent a bike to ride the lakeshore path along Lake Champlain. The city enjoys spectacular foliage, and in winter, book a shuttle to a ski resort like Stowe or Sugarbush. This is the first time in 69 years that Burlington, the Green Mountain State’s biggest city, has enjoyed passenger train service.
It’s a 12-hour trip from New York to Toronto on the recently restored Maple Leaf, a spectacular ride through the Hudson River Valley, wine country, and the Finger Lakes region. Canada’s largest city is also its most ethnically diverse. Check out the artsy Distillery District, take a boat tour of the harbor, spend some time at the West Queen West neighborhood’s vibrant street life and cafes, and then head to the elegant Yorkville neighborhood to visit the Royal Ontario Museum. The city is an extraordinary cross-cultural feast from lunch at one of the vendors at St. Lawrence Market to dinner in Koreatown, Chinatown, Greektown, Portugal Village, Little Italy, or Little India.