California Zephyr, Empire Builder Make Shorter Trips Because of Freight Train Derailments

It has been a tough couple of days for Amtrak’s long-distance trains.

A freight train derailment on Canadian Pacific near Watertown, Wisconsin, resulted in the westbound Empire Builder making a detour and passengers making part of their journey aboard a bus.

The derailment of the CP crude oil train occurred on Sunday. Eastbound No. 8 had already passed the derailment site, but westbound No. 7 had just left Chicago.

Nos. 7 reversed course and wound up traveling to La Crosse, Wisconsin, via a BNSF route through Savanna, Illinois.

In La Crosse, the Empire Builder got back on its normal route, but arrived into St. Paul, Minnesota, more than 12 hours late.

Passengers riding today between Spokane, Washington, and Seattle and Portland will ride buses because No. 8 will originate in Spokane.

On Monday, the eastbound Empire Builder was terminated at St. Paul and was to become the westbound train. Passengers rode buses between Chicago and St. Paul.

Also on Monday, a derailment on BNSF in Iowa closed the route of the California Zephyr.

Eastbound No. 6 was terminated at Ottumwa, Iowa, and passengers were taken by bus to their destination. The train was to originate in Ottumwa on Monday night as No. 5.

Amtrak added additional cars to the westbound Southwest Chief that departed Chicago on Monday afternoon to accommodate passengers ticketed aboard the westbound California Zephyr.

At Galesburg, Illinois, passengers for No. 5 were to board buses and travel to Ottumwa to resume their journey by rail.

The extra coaches added to the Chief were to be removed in Kansas City and deadhead back to Chicago on Tuesday.


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