SW Chief, Builder Have Rough Weekends

Heavy snow and a freight train derailment hindered operations this week of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief and Empire Builder.

The Empire Builder in both directions was delayed more than 10 hours after a Canadian Pacific freight train derailed near Tomah, Wisconsin, on Sunday.

No. 8 was already seven hours late when it was held another seven hours in La Crosse, Wisconsin, until the derailment could be cleared. It finally reached Chicago after 9 a.m. on Monday.

No. 7 was held at Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. By the time it passed the derailment site it was 11 hours behind schedule.

The Empire Builders that were to originate on Monday in Chicago and on the West Coast were canceled.

Heavy snow that fell in Flagstaff, Arizona, didn’t lead to any cancellations of the Southwest Chief, but Nos. 3 and 4 encountered delays of two hours fighting their way through the conditions.

Flagstaff received three feet of snow, which officials said was a record for the most snowfall in a single day.

Although not related to the Arizona storm, mechanical issues delayed the departure of No. 3 Friday Chicago on Sunday for 7.5 hours.

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