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A proposal to restore passenger-rail service between Vermont and Montreal took a major step forward, as U.S. and Canadian officials signed a long-awaited agreement aimed at improving cross-border travel and security between the two countries, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced yesterday.The cross-border agreement, signed by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Canadian Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney, was needed before discussions could begin on the creation of a pre-clearance facility at Montreal's Central Station and the resuming of Amtrak train service between Vermont and Montreal, Leahy said in a press release.The agreement was negotiated under the Beyond the Border Action Plan approved by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper."This agreement has long been a goal, and a dream, for Vermonters who have fond memories of rail trips to Montreal to enjoy all that its vibrant cultural capital has to offer," said Leahy, who has long pushed for an agreement that would help to restore Amtrak's The Montrealer rail service.The Montrealer line used to run between Washington, D.C., and Montreal, stopping at nine Vermont stations along the route. That cross-border service ended in 1995, when St. Albans became the terminus for the new Vermonter train.The pre-clearance facility at Montreal's Central Station would eliminate the need for the train to stop at the U.S. border to allow the U.S. Customers and Border Protection to inspect passengers.
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