Pullman No Longer Operating Cars on CONO

Private railcar service on Amtrak’s City of New Orleans as been suspended, but operator Pullman Rail Journeys is optimistic about reaching an agreement with Amtrak to reinstate the service.

Pullman recently notified passengers booked for trips that it would refund their fares because all scheduled trips had been canceled.

“At this point, we are not able to operate Pullman Rail Journeys’ regular service between Chicago and New Orleans, but we are hoping to come to an agreement with Amtrak to resume service,” said Iowa Pacific President Ed Ellis in an interview with Trains magazine.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told the magazine that the railroad was open to negotiations with IP to operate as part of the City of New Orleans

The service had been operating southbound out of Chicago on Thursdays and northbound out of New Orleans on Sundays.

A scheduled trip on New Year’s Eve was rerouted via the Cardinal and Lake Shore Limited through Washington and Boston after flooding resulted in the City of New Orleans being canceled by flooding between Memphis and Carbondale, Illinois.

Pullman began operating its equipment on the back of the City of New Orleans in November 2012.

The cars, which are painted in a livery similar to that of the Illinois Central, featured fares ranging between $600 to $2,200, depending on the type of accommodation the passenger booked. The fares included meals.

When Pullman operated more than two cars, Amtrak assigned an extra locomotive, which drove up the costs of operating the train.

In recent months, Pullman elected to serve meals in a lounge-observation car rather than in a dining car.

The original operating plan was to operate several times per week with up to five cars, including a full-length dome car.

Trains reported that most trips sold out or had limited availability.

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