Amtrak resumes service from NYC to Toronto for the first time since March 2020
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For the first time since March 2020, Americans can once again travel to Canada via Amtrak, thanks to the resumption of service from New York’s Penn Station (NYP) to Toronto’s Union Station (TWO) earlier this week.
Trains are currently operating once daily in each direction via Amtrak’s Maple Leaf train.
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How to book
Northbound trains are scheduled to depart daily from NYP at 7:15 a.m., arriving in Toronto at 7:43 p.m. for a 12 1/2-hour ride. Southbound trains are roughly one hour longer, departing TWO at 8:20 a.m. and arriving in New York City at 9:55 p.m.
Travelers can book tickets for this route directly through Amtrak, which are currently available one-way starting at $134 for coach and $169 for business. However, the prices vary depending on travel dates, with the cheapest fares during the week.
For example, you could book a round-trip ticket from NYP-TWO departing Monday, July 11, for $312.
Amtrak coach seats on long-distance routes, including this one, offer extra legroom, foot and leg rests, window curtains, no middle seat, tray tables, outlets and individual lighting control. Business-class seats offer even more legroom with complimentary non-alcoholic drinks.
Amtrak Guest Rewards members earn an extra 25% bonus points for each business-class ticket booked in cash. TPG currently values Amtrak Rewards points at 2.5 cents each, which is the highest of any award currency.
In conducting a test search for this story, I was unable to view availability using points to book this route, with all Maple Leaf trains marked as “SOLD OUT” through the end of the year. An Amtrak spokesperson confirmed this route does not qualify for points redemption.
COVID-19 requirements to enter Canada
As of June 30, the Canadian government extended current border rules for tourists through at least Sept. 30, 2022, allowing entry to those who are fully vaccinated with a U.S. FDA or World Health Organization-approved vaccine, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. You are considered fully vaccinated if at least 14 days have passed after your final vaccine dose.
Kids ages 5 to 11 are exempt from vaccination requirements if accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult traveler and entry requirements do not apply to those under age 5.
To comply with requirements, travelers age 12 and older should download the ArriveCAN app and upload proof of vaccination, in addition to other mandatory travel information, within 72 hours of their arrival in Canada.
Amtrak passengers must also complete a pre-trip check online or via the app at least 24 hours prior to departure for Canada, where they must attest to being free of COVID-19 symptoms and that they have not been in close contact with someone who recently tested positive.
“Masks are mandatory for all passengers once the train crosses the border,” according to Amtrak. “Masks will need to be worn any time on board in Canada and in Canadian stations.”
For now, Amtrak’s Canadian routes remain limited to Toronto. Amtrak expects to restore service to Montreal and Vancouver in the future, but that date has not been set, per Amtrak.
New Yorkers now have one more option for travel to Toronto. However, flights from both John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA) are currently available to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) for travel next month starting at $326 for nonstop service for a flight time of under 90 minutes.
If you aren’t in the mood this summer to deal with potential flight delays and long airport lines, though, you could book an Amtrak train and enjoy the ride.
Featured photo of a train at Union Station in Toronto by Zou Zheng/Xinhua/Getty Images.
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