The Maple Leaf service, run by US rail operator Amtrak, connects two of North America's most exciting cities - New York and Toronto. It calls at Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and Niagara Falls, as well as a number of smaller stations along the way. We pick up the train at Niagara Falls.
The Maple Leaf service actually makes two scheduled stops at Niagara Falls - one at Niagara Falls Ontario, the other at Niagara Falls New York State. The Maple Leaf follows the path of the Niagara River south to the city of Buffalo, which stands on the eastern shore of Lake Erie, before turning north-east and heading to Rochester on Lake Ontario. The next stop is the city of Syracuse, the economic hub of the Central New York State area, which takes its name from the Sicilian city of Syracuse. A little further along the line is the city of Rome, whose most famous son is Francis Bellamy, author of the Pledge of Allegiance. Almost as soon as the train leaves Rome it then arrives in Utica, named after the ancient Carthiginian city in Tunisia, which is home to an extraordinarily large Italian-American population.
Continuing the route's European theme, the Maple Leaf service stops in Amsterdam, home of actor Kirk Douglas, and then Schenectady, former home of the American Locomotive Company (ALCO). From the city of Albany, capital of New York State, the railway line turns due south, stopping in Hudson, Rhinecliff-Kingston and Poughkeepsie - the place where Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegram and Morse Code, lived for 25 years. The final stopping point before reaching New York City is the interestingly named Yonkers.