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You'd Be Able To Take A Glamorous Overnight Train From Montreal To Boston Under This Plan

Will we FINALLY get a Montreal-Boston train?

Boston skyline with Fenway park in the foreground.

Boston skyline with Fenway park in the foreground.

One day, it might be possible to take a train from Montreal to Boston. As the Montreal Gazette first reported, a group is lobbying for the creation of an almost 14-hour overnight train between the two metropolises with service to minor cities, towns and tourist destinations throughout southern Quebec and northern New England along the way.

A proposed route map shared with MTL Blog shows additional stops in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu; Magog; Sherbrooke; Coaticook; Island Pond, Vermont; Berlin, New Hampshire; Bethel, Portland, and Old Orchard, Maine, among others.

The group, Fondation Trains de nuit, advocates for expanded passenger rail service in northeastern North America and, since 2013, has been exploring the possibility of express service between Montreal and Sherbrooke and overnight service to New York and Boston, organization president François Pepin told MTL Blog via email.

So why a 14-hour ride instead of a high-speed train? Money — and showmanship.

Proposed route for an overnight train from Montreal to Boston.Proposed route for an overnight train from Montreal to Boston.Courtesy of Fondation Trains de nuit

"The project presented requires a minimum of investment compared to a fast train," Pepin said. "We are talking about an investment of about $100 million for a fast train between Montreal and Sherbrooke by improving existing tracks and then an overnight train to Boston using existing tracks."

He estimated that a TGV-style (train à grande vitesse) service would cost five times that in part because it would require the construction of its own dedicated tracks, whereas the proposed Montreal-Boston train would share freight lines.

Pepin also underlined the glamour of overnight trains. He imagines a restaurant car, sleeping cars and onboard entertainment. Inspiration photos shared with MTL Blog portray an almost cinematic experience with high-end dining and private cars with generous fenestration and dazzling views of the passing landscape.

To make this a reality, Fondation Trains de nuit next has to work to calculate the investments it needs (especially, Pepin said, for the Sherbrooke to Boston segment) and negotiate passage with the companies that own the tracks it would need to use.

Pepin said the organization is aiming to finance the Montreal-Boston project with both private and public funds.

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