Archive for February, 2015

Ex-NYC Depot in Waterloo to Serve Amtrak

February 3, 2015

Waterloo, Ind., will use a $1.8 million federal grant to renovate the former New York Central passenger station for use by Amtrak.

Amtrak currently has a bus top shelter station in Waterloo. The renovated station is expected to begin serving Amtrak passengers in early 2016.

The city received the grant in 2010, but changes to the project almost resulted in the funding being lost.

The historic NYC station will be moved to the southeast corner of Center and Van Vleek streets, which is closer to the existing station platform.

The renovation work will also include the installation of Wi-Fi and a train information board. A new lighted long-term parking lot will also be constructed.

The former station was renovated in 2005 for use as a community center. Half of the depot will continue to be available for community use.

“We just really hope that this is a good boost for our town,” said town manager Tena Woenker. “It’s great for the riders and we want it to be comfortable for Amtrak’s passengers. When they come here, we want it to be a good experience for the visitors and we really want it to be a nice station so we’re very excited that we get to do this for the community,”

Due to its proximity to Fort Wayne, Waterloo has the third largest ridership among Indiana stations.

It annually handles 25,000 passengers and ridership has grown 35 percent since 2009. The population of Waterloo is 2,200.

“We’ve always believed that if we can get this train station to function like it originally was back in the train days in the late 1800s, that’s it’s going to increase Amtrak’s ridership, it’s going to bring better customer service and more people will want to come to Waterloo and spend their money and ride trains,” said David Bolton, President of Waterloo Town Council.

Geoff Paddock of the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association wants to see Amtrak return to Fort Wayne, which Amtrak served until late 1990.

He doesn’t believe the changes in Waterloo will interfere with a proposal to bring Amtrak back to Fort Wayne.

“We (Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association) believe there is a market to serve both stations and our proposal for a Chicago to Columbus stop in Fort Wayne does not interfere with the current line that serves Waterloo,” Paddock said in a statement. “We have always said that there is ridership and a strong market to serve both.”

Trains Canceled in Illinois due to Snow Drifts

February 2, 2015

Drifting snow prompted BNSF to close a part of its Mendota Subdivision in Illinois on Monday, which resulted in the cancellation of some Amtrak services.

Canceled were the eastbound Illinois Zephyr to Chicago from Quincy, Ill., and the westbound Carl Sandburg from Chicago to Quincy.

No alternative transportation was provided to Quincy or the intermediate stop at Macomb, Ill.

Passengers for those trains at stops between Chicago and Galesburg, Ill., were accommodated by the Southwest Chief and the California Zephyr

The evening westbound Illinois Zephyr and eastbound Carl Sandburg were still expected to operate.