Customs Inspections Improved for Amtrak

Congress has approved legislation designed to speed up Amtrak service between the United States and Canada by authorizing U.S. Customs to pre-clear passengers before they reach the border.

Amtrak logoThe bill would apply to Amtrak a practice already in place at some Canadian airports whereby airline passengers bound for the U.S. clear customs before boarding their plane.

Under current practices, Amtrak trains must stop shortly after reaching the United States and customs agents board the train to screen passengers.

Officials say that the border checks on Amtrak trains add an extra hour to the travel time.

The legislation passed by Congress expands the pre-clearance program to include train stations in Canada and passengers would clear customs before boarding their train.

The legislation was pushed by members of Congress and the Senate from New York state.

New York officials are hoping that the Canadian parliament will approve similar legislation allowing its customs officials to work at stations in the U.S.

Expected to benefit from the new practices are the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf and the New York-Montreal Adirondack.

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