Washington, D.C.- Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik sent a letter demanding that Amtrak and the Canadian National Railway (CN) provide a plan of action to avoid a future summer stoppage of service of the Amtrak Adirondack Line.
In June, CN implemented safety restrictions of 10mph, which shut down service when the temperature reached 86 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, citing concerns about the condition of the track. As a result, Amtrak suspended service north of Saratoga Springs for seventy-nine days. Currently, Amtrak and CN have no plan to make the needed fixes to the tracks to avoid a future summer stoppage of service.
“In light of the recent resumption of full passenger service along the Amtrak Adirondack Line, I write to you today to urge Amtrak and Canadian National Railway (CN) to work together to identify the requirements for track improvements along the 43 miles of track owned by CN in order to avoid any further service disruptions due to air temperature. Amtrak and CN must ensure that the Adirondack Line is fully operational by next summer. Without a plan of action, the closure of this past summer will repeat itself, hampering tourism and economic development and further damaging the close relationship between Upstate New York residents and our Canadian neighbors. This is unacceptable,” Stefanik said.
“Both Amtrak and CN had over three years of stopped service time to address any concerns they may have had with the railroad infrastructure. Going forward, Amtrak and CN must work together to outline a plan on the track improvements needed, ensure track conditions are safe for all passengers, and end this continued ambiguity on the availability of service of the Adirondack Line,” Stefanik continued.
“Our small businesses rely on the Adirondack Line to connect tourists and our Canadian neighbors to our region, as well as provide New York families with a critical transportation service. Our communities in Upstate New York and the North Country deserve the certainty of service, which is why shutting down the Adirondack Line during times of hot air temperature is not an acceptable solution. I implore Amtrak and CN to ensure that this service disruption does not happen again and to commit to a detailed timeline to provide certainty for tourists and families throughout Upstate New York and the North Country,” Stefanik concluded.
"It's crucial that the much-welcomed resumption of Amtrak service in our bi-national corridor is quickly followed with a clear plan from Amtrak and CN Rail to make the necessary upgrades in tracks north of the border so we don't face annual summer service stoppages," says Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. "Congresswoman Stefanik's letter is a welcome act in shifting our collective advocacy squarely onto fixing the problem that disrupted service in the first place this year. We're not fully back on track until we have a clear action plan and that falls squarely on CN and Amtrak. Let the push for answers continue!"
Stefanik has been a longstanding advocate for full service of the Amtrak Adirondack Line. Following her continuous advocacy, Amtrak fully reopened the Adirondack Line in April after it was closed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Find the full letter HERE.