Hiawatha OT Performance Lackluster in January

Harsh weather and commuter train interference led to a lackluster on-time record for the Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha Service in January.

The service, which includes 14 trains a day, had its worst on-time performance in five years with more than a quarter of trains arriving late

Amtrak data showed that 73 percent of Hiawatha trains arrived on time in January, meaning within 10 minutes of scheduled arrival. The last time numbers dipped into that range was in January of 2009, when on-time performance was 71 percent.

Most of the delays last month were due to interference from Metra commuter trains, equipment issues and harsh winter weather, said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari.

The longest Hiawatha delays were two hours on evening trains from Chicago to Milwaukee on Jan. 5 and Jan. 28. Out of the nearly 400 Hiawatha trains that traversed the route, about 14 percent were 30 minutes or more late, and 7 percent were an hour late or longer.

Magliari said January’s performance fell short of Amtrak’s goals and customer expectations, but he also called it an anomaly.

The Hiawathas had an on-time performance of 90 percent or higher a little more than half the time. In 2013, about nine out of 10 Hiawatha trains arrived on time.

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