Overnight train to NYC: Former MNA hopes he has a sleeper hit
A former Quebec MNA has an idea for a new way to get Montrealers to New York City by rail.
As it stands if you're looking to go by rail you have to do it during the day, frequently with a long stop at the border for customs and immigration inspections.
But Francois Rebello hopes that could soon change.
The former MNA for La Prairie is now a consultant in the rail industry and he thinks having an overnight train would be a big hit, especially for business travel.
"It means that you could leave Montreal in the night and be in New York in the morning. You would have saved your hotel night," said Rebello.
The idea came to mind while he was still an MNA and travelling for work.
"I had to go to New York for different meetings I said how come I cannot sleep on a train? There's no opportunity."
Now Rebello has backing from private investors, and he says there's $10 million on the table.
"The investment is very reasonable. You just need to get the agreement of the railroad and to finance the rail car, the sleeper cars, the dining cars, and go."
He says passengers would board around 8 p.m., then eat dinner and relax before going to bed.
Trains would pull in to Manhattan around 7 a.m.
"We've done a market study that shows that people are getting it. They understand that on a train it's a little bit like a boat cruise. Even if you're travelling you're not in an uncomfortable context."
To make it happen he has to negotiate with CP Rail, CN, and Amtrak.
CTV News contacted CP Rail and Amtrak, both of which declined to comment.
"If they don't make money they will say no. It's the way it works with them. So we need to show them they will make money and the risks are really well managed," said Rebello.
"Since the railroad is already there you know we can run the train now. The track is safe to do what we want to do."
He says if negotiations go his way the train service could be up and running within a year.