In the thread I started in the New England forum regarding the new National Monument there were some points regarding the interest of the current Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, in restoring the VIA Rail's Atlantic
. I encountered this very interesting Los Angeles Times article
from 1987 and wanted to post a link to it here for posterity. According to the article the loss of the Atlantic
was an election issue for Pierre Trudeau, the current PM's father. Pierre Trudeau cut the Atlantic
and the Los Angeles Times attributed his election loss to this policy change in particular. It makes for fascinating reading and the fact that the Trudeau family political history has ties to the fate of this train certainly makes me wonder all that much more what could be in store for the future:
CP Rail's "Atlantic" passenger train became a political issue in Canada's last election. Then-Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau's government discontinued the passenger trains through Maine in November, 1981, as result of a cutback in funding for Via Rail, which, like Amtrack, operates in the red.
In his campaign, Progressive Conservative candidate Brian Mulroney promised that if he were elected prime minister he would restore the "Atlantic" passenger trains. Following his election, the trains were placed back in operation in June, 1985.
There are also some interesting details regarding passenger counts and other common uses for the train by Maine based residents:
The exact publication date for this article is listed as February 11, 1987.
It was around 9 one recent evening, and the westbound "Atlantic"--operated by Via Rail, Canada's version of Amtrack--was light, only six coaches with 60 passengers. The U.S. immigration and customs officials boarded the train to check passengers' documents.
In Maine, the passenger trains stop at Vanceboro, Danforth, Mattawamkeag, Brownville Junction, Greenville and Jackman. People from Maine take the trains to St. John and Montreal to shop and vacation in Canada, where the exchange rate favors Americans.
Many baseball fans in Maine will hop the CP Rail train at night, sleep on the way to Montreal, where the train arrives at 8:30 a.m., take in an afternoon baseball game of the National League's Montreal Expos then catch the evening train home to Maine.