Archive for October, 2018

Track Works Prompts Chicago Detours

October 19, 2018

Several Amtrak trains operating in the Chicago-St. Louis corridor will detour on Sunday (Oct. 21) due to track work.

Workers will be replacing the diamonds at CP Canal where the Indiana Harbor Belt crosses a Canadian National route (nee Gulf, Mobile & Ohio) used by Lincoln Service trains and the Texas Eagle.

Amtrak will detour via the Metra route between Chicago and Joliet, Illinois, that was formerly operated by the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific.

Lincoln Service trains affected include Nos. 300, 301, 302, 303 and 305, as well as the Texas Eagle in both directions.

The trains will operate on their normal route between Chicago Union Station and 16th Street where they will then get on the St. Charles Air Line to reach the former Rock Island route used by Metra.

The track work is not expected to affect Lincoln Service trains 304 and 307, but those trains may detour if work becomes delayed.

Train Capacity to Grow During Thanksgiving Holiday

October 19, 2018

Amtrak will again offer additional capacity for the Thanksgiving holiday travel period to its trains in the Northeast Corridor, and on Midwest and West Coast corridor routes.

The passenger carrier plans to add additional cars to many of those trains.

In the Northeast Corridor, Acela Express and Northeast Regional trains will operate full and extended schedules with additional frequencies and added capacity during the Thanksgiving week.

Additional trains will also be assigned to the Keystone Corridor between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Reservations in advance of travel will be required for all trains.

Reservations will also be required for travel on Hiawatha Service trains between Chicago and Milwaukee between Nov. 20 and Nov. 25.

Additional capacity is planned for the Capitol Corridor, San Joaquin and Pacific Surfliner routes.

Travelers in the Pacific Surfliner corridor must have reservations between Nov. 21 and Nov. 25 while San Joaquin trains will require reservations between Nov. 18 and Nov. 26.

Amtrak Selling Passenger Cars, Locomotives

October 19, 2018

Amtrak has placed for sale 48 pieces of equipment, including locomotives and passenger cars that it has deemed surplus.

The passenger cars for sale include five former Pacific Parlour cars once used on the Coast Starlight, seven Horizon fleet cars, three material handling cars, eight 1700 series baggage cars and two former U.S. Army flat cars.

Locomotives for sale include 12 P40s, eight F40s, and three P42DCs.

Amtrak is soliciting bids for the equipment with the closing date set for Nov. 14.

The equipment is being stored at Amtrak shops in Beech Grove, Indiana; Bear Delaware; and Wilmington, Delaware.

The Horizon fleet cars being sold include one club dinette, one full dinette and five coaches.

New Schenectady Station Opens 2 Weeks Early

October 19, 2018

The new Amtrak station in Schenectady, New York, has opened two weeks ahead of schedule.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Oct. 17 for the $23 million station that is served by Amtrak’s Empire Corridor trains as well as the Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf, Adirondack and Ethan Allen Express.

Funding for the station included $19 million from the state of New York, $3.6 million from the Federal Railroad Administration, $220,000 from Amtrak and $48,000 from the Schnectady Metroplex Development Authority.

It is the third new station in the Empire Corridor to open in the past three years following station openings in Niagara Falls (2016) and Rochester (2017).

Vermont Station Being Rebuilt

October 19, 2018

Work is underway to rebuild the Amtrak station in Castleton, Vermont, to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Castleton station is receiving a new boarding platform, parking stalls, signage, outdoor deck improvements, updates to the public restrooms, hand rails and a disabled-access ramp with access to the station and bake shop.

Castleton is served by Amtrak’s Ethan Allen Express service between New York and Rutland, Vermont.

The rehabilitation is part of a national program to more than 500 Amtrak stations compliant with ADA standards.

Last Day For Amtrak In Indianapolis

October 11, 2018

It’s Oct. 1, 1979, and Amtrak’s National Limited is halting for the final time in Indianapolis.

With the on-time departure of No. 31 in late morning, the capital of Indiana will be without intercity rail passenger service.

But it won’t last for long. About a year later Amtrak launched the Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State and Indy returned to the Amtrak route map.

The Ohio cities of Dayton and Columbus would not be so fortunate. When the National Limited stopped there for the final time, those cities would lose intercity rail passenger service for good.

Amtrak Workers Contend Jobs in Jeopardy.

October 11, 2018

The union representing Amtrak food service workers believes that as many as 1,700 of its members may lose their jobs if Amtrak outsources its food service to a contractor.

Some of the union workers protested that prospect during a rally outside New York’s Penn Station this week.

Transport Workers Union International President John Samuelsen said Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson is “engaged in a slash-and-burn management plan.”

The approximately 100 Amtrak workers also decried Amtrak’s replacement of full-service dining aboard the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited with boxed meals, most of them served cold.

Amtrak acknowledged in a statement that it has cut 14 chef positions, but that all those affected who wanted another position with Amtrak were able to get one.

The Amtrak statement also contended that the change in meal service aboard the Lake Shore and Capitol has been well received by passengers.

Lamy Volunteers Pick Up Slack After Amtrak Agent Left

October 11, 2018

Volunteers have taken over many of the duties once performance by the Amtrak ticket agent in Lamy, New Mexico.

A report published on the Trains magazine website said that the volunteers greet arriving and departing passengers with luggage carts, help with the shuttle to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and offer a clean waiting room stocked with reading material, snacks, and a station cat.

The latter is Harvey, who is named after Santa Fe Railway restaurateur and hotelier Fred Harvey.

Lamy is served by Amtrak’s Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

The station Amtrak uses is owned by the Santa Fe Southern Railway and its CEO Karl Ziebarth told Trains that it views Amtrak service as important for the community’s tourist economy.

The volunteers have been known to go above and beyond the call of duty by going out for pizza for a passenger stranded with children or driving people to Santa Fe who could not be accommodated by the shuttle service.

Texas Central Taps Renfe

October 11, 2018

Spanish company Renfe has been chosen to help operate a Texas high-speed rail service under development.

Texas Central said it has established a partnership with Renfe to operate the proposed service between Dallas and Houston.

Renfe will provide technical advice on design and construction and help Texas Central with operation and maintenance plans.

Another Spanish company, Adif, will help Renfe maintain equipment and signals, and oversee ticketing.

Renfe operates 5,000 trains daily on 7,500 miles of track in Spain.

Track Work to Disrupt Pacific Surfliners

October 11, 2018

Weekend track work will affect operations of Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner service between Oct. 12 and 14, and again between Oct. 19 and 21.

On Oct. 12 and 19 Train 590 will be cancelled and bus service will be provided from Los Angeles serving Oceanside, Solana Beach, Old Town and San Diego.

No transportation will be provided at Fullerton, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine or San Juan Capistrano.

On Oct. 13, 14, 20 and 21 Trains 562, 583, 1565, 1566, 1569, 1572, 1573, 1588 and 1590 will be cancelled with passengers directed to reservations aboard other Amtrak trains.

Train 782 will terminate at Los Angeles and no alternate transportation will be provided from Los Angeles to San Diego. Passengers can make reservations aboard other Amtrak trains.

Train 796 will terminate at Los Angeles. Bus service will be provided for all missed stops.

Southbound Trains 580, 768, 774, 792, 1564 and 1584 will terminate at Irvine with bus service being provided from Irvine to San Diego.

Express buses will operate from Irvine to San Juan Capistrano, Oceanside, Solana Beach, Old Town San Diego and downtown San Diego.

Northbound Trains 591, 595, 763, 777, 785, 1579, 1761 and 1767 will originate in Irvine with bus service being provided from San Diego to Irvine, connecting with these trains except Train 1761).

Express buses will depart from San Diego, Solana Beach, Oceanside and San Juan Capistrano to Irvine.

Northbound buses will depart earlier than their corresponding train. Passengers should contact Amtrak for bus schedules.

Buses will not pick up at Old Town. Those passengers have the option of taking the trolley to San Diego where they can board the buses to Irvine.

No checked baggage will be offered south of Santa Ana during the busing. Bicycles will be accepted on a space available basis.