In an arrangement that reflects the spirit of Thanksgiving, Amtrak is partnering with its Canadian counterpart, VIA Rail Canada, who agreed to provide passenger railcars to make additional seats available and allow more friends and family in the hurricane-impacted Northeast to connect over the holiday.
"VIA Rail has been a true partner, reaching out in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to offer its friendship and assistance in restoring mobility to the Northeast," said Amtrak President/CEO Joe Boardman. "Amtrak is grateful for their generosity and also appreciates the support of New York State [Department of Transportation] in this effort. We know the more seats we have, the more people in the region we can bring together to share the holiday."
The VIA Rail equipment being provided includes 10 coach cars and two dome cars. From November 20 to 27, the Canadian equipment will be used on the New York state-supported Adirondack service operating between Albany-Rensselaer and Montreal. This will allow some Amtrak equipment used on that route to be reassigned adding about 300 seats to trains operating on the Northeast Corridor during the holiday travel period and will result in an additional 60 seats being available on the Adirondack service.
"We're pleased to be part of this creative partnership to provide more seating on Amtrak trains on the Northeast Corridor during the busy Thanksgiving holiday," New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said. "Loaning Amtrak trains from the Adirondack service makes up for some damaged by Hurricane Sandy and helps Amtrak meet its increased ridership levels."
VIA Rail and Amtrak have a long-standing partnership and jointly transport passengers across the U.S./Canadian border, facilitating train transfers between New York and Toronto; New York and Montreal; and Portland, Ore.; and Vancouver, B.C.
Thanksgiving is the busiest travel period of the year for Amtrak and America's Railroad is prepared to accommodate additional passengers with extra trains scheduled in the Northeast Corridor, the Chicago hub, the Pacific Northwest and in California. Amtrak will use every available passenger railcar in its fleet and will operate its special holiday schedule in the Northeast as repairs have been made following Hurricane Sandy.
More than 724,000 passengers traveled on Amtrak trains for the Thanksgiving holiday period in 2011, the most ever for the holiday.