Handling the Holiday Rush on Amtrak

Amtrak trains radiating from its Chicago hub were sold out and some carried extra coaches to accommodate the Thanksgiving weekend crowds, Trains magazine reported.

Additional cars were added to the New Orleans-bound City of New Orleans, but no additional equipment could be spared from the Northeast or West Coast.

Therefore, Amtrak skillfully used crew and equipment scheduling to operate extra sections of some trains.

One set of Horizon equipment operate extra nine round-trips on the Wolverine Service route. An additional Chicago-Quincy, Ill., round-trip ran on Sunday by short-turning the morning end-point arrivals into midday departures.

There were some minor glitches during the holiday travel period. Wednesday eastbound extra No. 356 to Ann Arbor, Mich., lost an hour and a half due to congestion, which delayed westbound No. 359’s departure as well.

Equipment problems in Chicago on Sunday delayed train No. 356’s departure by 39 minutes, but the westbound trip left Ann Arbor on time.

Long loading times at Chicago suburban stops on the first westbound train to Quincy combined with freight and Metra commuter train congestion to create a domino effect of delays throughout the day for extra Nos. 384 and No. 383.

On the Chicago-St. Louis route, No. 300’s schedule from St. Louis was moved up 35 minutes in order to provide enough time for the train set of Amfleet I cars enough time to make a run to Bloomington-Normal, Ill., and back to Chicago before going out as regular train No. 307 at 7 p.m.

On the Pere Marquette route between Chicago and Grand Rapids, Mich., morning inbound train No. 371 operated an hour and a half earlier and No. 370 to Grand Rapids departed later by a same amount of time to enable the set of four Superliners to make a midday round-trip to Holland, Mich. Grand Rapids is 25 miles from Holland, but the trip takes 45 minutes due to the route’s infrastructure.

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