April 4, 2023
by Elise Stefanik
After two years of closure, Amtrak’s Adirondack Line has finally resumed to provide families throughout Upstate New York and the North Country with certainty about their access to transportation.
The Adirondack Line, which includes stops throughout New York’s 21st District, including Plattsburgh, Whitehall, Ticonderoga, Rensselaer, Port Henry, Westport, Fort Edward, and Rouses Point, is a significant economic driver to our region, on which both families and tourists rely.
Just one day after my call with the President of Amtrak and after over a year of my advocacy, Amtrak committed to a date to fully resume the Adirondack Line service after it was closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic.
The North Country and especially our small businesses suffered enough from restrictions due to the pandemic, and I have heard from my constituents about how the closure of the Adirondack Line has impacted our region.
College students from downstate use the Adirondack Line to pursue their education in Plattsburgh, as well as Canadian travelers who use the Amtrak station to access the Plattsburgh airport and tourists wanting a scenic way to experience the beauty of the Adirondacks.
These tourists are vital to our local economy. According to Tourism Economics, in 2020, tourism accounted for 44.7% of employment in Hamilton County, 36.8% in Essex County, and over 16% in the Adirondack region.
I have even heard from Amish families in Essex County that they use Amtrak to visit relatives in Washington County.
Additionally, the Adirondack Line is one of just three U.S.-Canada passenger rail links across the continent. Because Canada is such an important economic partner for the North Country, it is critical to maintain this access between our two countries.
After two years of delays, my constituents did not deserve to wait any longer.
Just as I was relentless in bringing the concerns of New York’s 21st District to the highest levels to reopen the Northern Border and restore travel and commerce, I have been holding Amtrak’s feet to the fire to resume these services.
As we know, the pandemic is over.
When Amtrak decided to reopen the Maple Leaf Line from New York City to Toronto in June, I called attention to how Amtrak was leaving the North Country out of its reopening plans and called on Amtrak to publicly commit to a timeline for reopening full rail operations on the Adirondack Line.
When Amtrak failed to provide a specific date for when it would resume service, in November, I pushed Amtrak to commit to a date before tourist season was in full swing, so families and small businesses in our region can have the certainty they deserve.
Despite repeated calls to action from my office, Amtrak still had not committed to a concrete reopening date.
I will always bring the concerns of New York’s 21st District to the highest levels and went directly to the President of Amtrak to get him to commit to a reopening date for the Adirondack Line.
Just one day after my call with Amtrak’s President and due to my continued advocacy, Amtrak finally committed to a date to resume the Adirondack Line’s service on April 3.
I was proud to deliver this result, so our families can have certainty about their access to transportation and tourists can have this important connection to our region, which will bolster our local economies and small businesses. This past week, I was able to see this result in action as I attended the Adirondack Line first stop through Plattsburgh on its inaugural trip through the North Country since the pandemic.
I look forward to the Adirondack Line continuing to provide New York families with transportation and connecting tourists and our Canadian neighbors to our region for years to come.
See the full store from the Sun Community News here.