Amtrak Just Resumed Service on 3 Scenic North America Train Routes

Just in time for summer, you can now ride the rails to scenic destinations along the East and West Coasts and into Canada.

Railroad tracks from the back of an Adirondack train heading to Montreal, Canada, from New York

Escape to the Adirondacks and beyond this summer.

Photo by Shutterstock

If you’re still looking for ideas on where and how to get off the grid this summer, some enticing options have entered the mix, thanks to three Amtrak routes that are relaunching—two for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic and another that hasn’t seen regular service since the 1940s.

Here are three scenic train rides that Amtrak is reintroducing along the East Coast, West Coast, and into Canada.

Aerial view of Montreal with the Biosphere Environment Museum

Sit back, relax, and let Amtrak take you to Montreal this summer.

Photo by Shutterstock

Adirondack from New York City to Montreal

After more than three years on hiatus, Amtrak’s Adirondack service from New York City to Montreal returned in April.

“Whether you’re experiencing the greatness of New York City, the culture of Montréal, or the beauty of the Hudson Valley and Lake Champlain region, the return of the Adirondack provides customers with a reliable, relaxing, and sustainable way to travel,” Amtrak president Roger Harris said in a statement. “We’re proud to restore service to one of the most popular trains in the Northeast.” Amtrak partnered with VIA Rail Canada to restore the route.

The Adirondack train leaves New York City’s Penn Station daily at 8:40 a.m. and arrives nearly 12 hours later at Montreal’s Gare Centrale at 8:15 p.m., making 17 stops along the way in cities like Albany-Rensselaer, Poughkeepsie, Saratoga Springs, and Schenectady. Going south, the train is scheduled to leave Montreal daily at 11:10 a.m. and arrive in New York at 10:15 p.m. One-way tickets start at $70 each way. Onboard services include Wi-Fi and a café car.

Wahconah Falls in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts cascading along rocks surrounded by trees

Escape the city and head to Wahconah Falls in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts.

Photo by Shutterstock

Berkshires Flyer from New York City to Pittsfield, Massachusetts

For the second summer, Amtrak is piloting a program that whisks travelers from New York’s Penn-Moynihan Station to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for a weekend getaway.

“It’s convenient for people looking to get to the Berkshires without worrying about traffic or paying for gas,” Jason Abrams, a senior public relations manager for Amtrak, told AFAR. “They’ll have Wi-Fi, they’ll be able to walk around and enjoy the scenery from the comfort of the train.”

In a statement made before the first summer season pilot, Amtrak president and CEO Stephen Gardner said the new route offers “a more comfortable and convenient transportation option, that’s also more environmentally friendly, for people traveling between New York City and Berkshire County.”

Along the way, the seasonal Berkshire Flyer train (it runs from May 26 to October 8) will make six stops, including at the popular tourism destinations of Poughkeepsie, Hudson, and Albany. The train has two departures from New York City each week, both on Friday, one leaving at 11:20 a.m. and arriving in Pittsfield at 4:30 p.m. and another leaving at 3:15 p.m. and pulling into the final station at 7:12 p.m. Tickets start at $58 and $45, respectively. Return trips are on Sunday, with one departure from Pittsfield at 3 p.m., arriving at 7:10 p.m. and another leaving at 4:42 p.m., and reaching New York City at 10:15 p.m. Tickets start at $45 and $74, respectively.

Amtrak considers this summer a second pilot season, and if the route proves popular, it will become an Amtrak mainstay. Abrams told AFAR that the last time there was regular service from New York City to Pittsfield was in the 1940s.

Amtrak train in the Cascades mountains surrounded by forest

Along the Cascades route, the views are as stunning as the destinations themselves.

Photo by Shutterstock

Cascades route from Portland to Vancouver

In March, Amtrak resumed direct daily trips between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Canada for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. Along the way, the Cascades Train stops at 12 stations, including the Washington State cities of Seattle, Edmonds, Everett, Stanwood, Mount Vernon, and Bellington.

“By adding staffing and equipment to the region, we can once again offer customers a direct connection between Portland and Canada,” Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner said in a statement.

For nearly 200 miles, the route runs along the Pacific coastline, with near-constant views of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. The journey starts in Portland at 3:05 p.m., reaching Seattle at 7 p.m. and Vancouver, in British Columbia, at 11 p.m. Going south, the train leaves Vancouver at 6:35 a.m., stopping in Seattle at 11 a.m. before reaching Portland at 2:55 p.m.

Bailey Berg is a freelance travel writer and editor, who covers breaking news, trends, tips, transportation, sustainability, the outdoors, and more. She was formerly the associate travel news editor at Afar. Her work can also be found in the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, the Points Guy, Atlas Obscura, Vice, Thrillist, Men’s Journal, Architectural Digest, Forbes, Lonely Planet, and beyond.
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