Archive for October, 2018

Office Tower Planned at CUS

October 30, 2018

A new office tower is being planned for Chicago Union Station along with using some unused areas near the station’s Great Hall.

The office tower will be constructed on Amtrak-owned land south of the depot.

Amtrak officials said money earned from development of the office building will be used for additional station improvements.

This will include reopening upper floors of the station’s headhouse, building a new entrance from Clinton Street, making Americans with Disabilities Act improvements, and opening areas of the station that have been closed to the public for decades.

Riverside Development will build the new office tower, which will have 1.5 million square feet and stand 50 stories high.

A 1.5-acre public park will be developed on the site of a parking garage that the developer plans to buy from Amtrak.

Last Night for the Broadway Limited in Chicago

October 28, 2018

In its final years, Amtrak’s Broadway Limited was the last train of the day to depart Chicago Union Station from the south boarding gates.

That was a far cry from its glory days during under the Pennsylvania Railroad when its department was late afternoon and much more heralded.

It is Sept. 9, 1995, and No. 41 is departing Chicago for the final time. Tomorrow Nos. 40 and 41 will be discontinued between Pittsburgh and Chicago and renamed the Three Rivers east between Pittsburgh and New York.

Study Favors Chicago-Fort Wayne Service

October 28, 2018

A preliminary study has determined that intercity rail passenger service between Fort Wayne and Chicago is possible between 2026 and 2030.

The study estimated the trains on the route could carry between 387,000 and 765,000 passengers a year by 2035.

Ridership will hinge on the average train speed and number of trips offered. The study examined various scenarios ranging from a top speed of 79 mph to 101 mph.

Although the study looked only at the segment between Chicago and Fort Wayne, that corridor is part of a larger route between Chicago and Columbus, Ohio, via Valparaiso, Gary, Plymouth, and Warsaw in Indiana, and Lima in Ohio.

The route between Chicago and Lima would follow or run parallel to the former route of Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Broadway Limited, which was rerouted away from those cities in late 1990.

The study, conducted by consulting firm HNTB, determined that the estimated capital costs are about $898 million for 79-mph service and $1.2 billion for 101 mph.

East Lansing Agent Service Ends Monday

October 28, 2018

The Amtrak agent in East Lansing, Michigan, will be removed effective Oct. 29.

Amtrak said passengers boarding or people meeting detraining passengers from the Chicago-Port Huron, Michigan Blue Water will continue to have access to the station’s waiting area and restrooms each day.

The access for westbound Train 365 will begin at 7 a.m. while access for eastbound Train 364 will state at 8 p.m.


North Carolina Amtrak Disruptions Set

October 28, 2018

Track work being performed by Norfolk Southern and North Carolina Department of Transportation will affect Carolinian and Piedmont service on select dates between Oct. 29 and Nov. 15.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said service will be affected between Oct. 29 and Nov. 1,  between Nov. 5  and Nov. 8, and betwen Nov. 12 and Nov. 15

Train 80 will depart Charlotte at 5:45 a.m. and operate one hour earlier at all stations between Charlotte and Cary.

At Raleigh station No. 80 will hold until the normal scheduled departure time of 10:13 a.m.

Trains 75 and 76 between Charlotte and Raleigh will be cancelled with no alternate transportation provided.

Train 74 operate between Charlotte and Burlington only with alternate transportation being provided between Burlington and Raleigh, stopping at Durham and Cary.

Bus 3074 will depart Burlington, Durham, Cary and Raleigh at the normal times. Bus 3074 will remain at Burlington for Train 74’s customers.

Train 77 will operate between Burlington and Charlotte only.  Alternate transportation will be provided on Bus 3077 for intermediate stops at Cary and Durham.

Bus 3077 will operate 30 minutes earlier between Raleigh and Burlington, departing Raleigh at 2:30 p.m.

All trains will operate normally Nov. 2 through Nov. 4, and between Nov. 9 and Nov. 11.

CZ Route Truncated Today

October 28, 2018

Track work being performed by Union Pacific today (Oct. 28, 2019), will affect operations of Amtrak’s California Zephyr.

Train No. 5 will operate between Chicago and Reno, Nevada, only.

Amtrak said alternate bus transportation will be provided between Reno and Emeryville, operating on the normal schedule of train 5.

The buses will serve the missed stops of Truckee, Colfax, Roseville, Sacramento, Davis, Martinez and Richmond.

Train 6 will operate from Reno to Chicago only with alternate bus transportation provided on the schedule of No. 6 at Truckee, Colfax, Roseville, Sacramento, Davis, Martinez and Richmond.

Study Looks at Upgraded Oregon Service

October 28, 2018

A draft environmental impact statement has been released for a proposed expansion of intercity rail passenger service in Oregon between Portland and Eugene.

The study by the Oregon Department of Transportation described two alternatives for the 125-mile service.

One proposal is to follow the existing Amtrak Cascades route while the other envision ns a a new route between Springfield and Oregon City along Interstate 5.

ODOT and the Federal Railroad Administration favor the first option.

Five public hearings are being held this month and in early December on the environmental document.

Following the conclusion of those hearings, ODOT and the FRA will choose a final preferred alternative.

Getting a Better View

October 19, 2018

An Amtrak car attendant perches on the step box as he looks down the platform at Jackson, Mississippi, during a station stop for the northbound City of New Orleans.

Jackson is one of the busiest stops for Nos. 58 and 59, but most of the passengers in the distance are boarding one of the coaches and not holding sleeping car tickets.


East Lansing Ticket Office Closing Oct. 29

October 19, 2018

Amtrak will remove its ticket agent from the East Lansing, Michigan, station on Oct. 29.

A caretaker will continue to open the waiting room at the station.

Passengers will be able to buy tickets from a self-serve kiosk at the station or make reservations at, on the Amtrak mobile app, or by phone at 800-872-7245.

East Lansing is served by the Chicago-Port Huron, Michigan, Blue Water. It also as connecting bus service to Amtrak’s Wolverine Service trains that operate between Chicago and Detroit.


San Joaquin Service Being Disrupted Oct. 21

October 19, 2018

Due to BNSF track work San Joaquin No. 704 will operate on Oct. 21 only between Sacramento and Fresno, California.

The train ordinarily operates between Sacramento and Bakersfield.

Alternate transportation will be provided from Fresno to Bakersfield, making the missed intermediate station stop at Hanford.

Passengers should board Buses 4704 from Fresno, 5804 from Bakersfield, Bus 3904 to Stockton.

No alternate service will be provided at Corcoran or Wasco.