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$43 Million New Niagara Falls Train Station Opens

Niagara Falls New York Amtrak Station

by Paul Langan - I am surprised I missed the opening of the new Amtrak Niagara Falls New York train station. It is no secret that I have had a life long interest in cross border passenger trains. I have seen the Windsor/Detroit, Sarnia/Port Huron border passenger rail service end in my lifetime. The current state of the last remaining Ontario crossing at Niagara Falls NY and Niagara Falls ON is worth keeping up to date on.

On December 6th the station at 825 Depot Avenue West Niagara Falls NY opened to its first passengers. The station is a blend of new and old and contains the original 1863 Custom House. It has room for retail space and is looking for a vendor to run some food services. Three trains a day currently utilize the station, two Amtrak Empire and the Maple Leaf  (Toronto-New York). Although some are critical of the station and the related expense the city will have to run it, others are more optimistic.

Here is a link to a gallery of photos to the new station.

The key to more frequent and on-time Amtrak trains on the Empire State Cooridor is extensive work on the rail line to get off the freight tracks and on to their own dedicated passenger lines where possible. Work started on second track between Albany, Schenectady NY  in the summer of 2016 as part of federal infrastructure $200 million in funding. This will ease a major Amtrak bottleneck on the Empire State Corridor and reduce travel times by up to 25 minutes. Platforms will also be lengthened and a fourth track added on the Rensselaer train station.

Though much more work and funding is needed along the line, these improvements are positive.

On the Canadian side train service from Niagara Falls, ON is grim with only one train a day (the Maple Leaf). GO Transit only offers bus service and previous seasonal train service now from Niagara Falls but things should change. The provincial Liberal government has announced that commuter passenger rail service from Niagara Falls to Toronto in 2023, so local rail enthusiasts are hopeful.

VIA RAIL has no plans at all and keeping the Maple Leaf train running would be considered a win.