Archive for the ‘Amtrak News’ Category

Track Work to Send Texas Eagle Detouring

August 3, 2021

Track work being performed by host railroad Union Pacific will disrupt operations of Amtrak’s Texas Eagle on Aug. 8.

Trains 22/422 will detour in Texas between Big Sandy and Texarkana. Passengers who would have boarded Train 22 at Longview and Marshall will ride Amtrak Thruway Bus 6122 to Mineola, where they will board Train 22/422.

Passengers scheduled to connect with the train in Longview from Bus 6022, will make their connection in Mineola.

Those scheduled to make the normal connection to Thruway Service at Longview will also connect at Mineola. Thruway Buses 6022 and 6422 will board at Mineola instead of Longview.

Passengers scheduled to disembark at Marshall will instead do so at Mineola and connect with Bus 6422 to Marshall.

Mudslides Block California Zephyr Route

August 3, 2021

Amtrak’s California Zephyr was suspended last weekend on part of its route due to mudslides in Glenwood Canyon near Glenwood, Colorado.

The mudslides also blocked adjacent Interstate 70, which precluded Amtrak from providing alternative transportation between Denver and Grand Junction, Colorado.

Trains already en route on Friday, Saturday and Sunday turned back at Denver and Grand Junction.

Passengers were given the option of returning to point of origin or waiting for the line to reopen.

Those who had not yet departed on their trip were offered assistance with rebooking their trip or receiving a refund of their fare.

A spokeswoman for host railroad Union Pacific said mudslides blocked tracks at 10 locations.

She said workers hoped to get the line open by early Monday but said that was contingent on weather conditions.

An Amtrak spokeswoman said Amtrak considered rerouting Nos. 5 and 6 through Wyoming but was unable to arrange that.

Passengers aboard trains departing on Sunday from Chicago and Emeryville, California, were told their train might not be able to pass through Glenwood Canyon on Monday.

Amtrak Tweeted early Tuesday morning that Train No. 5 was back on the move but running five hours, 35 minutes late due to earlier track closures between Denver and Grand Junction.

Buses to Replace Boston LSL Section

July 21, 2021

Track work being performed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will result in service disruptions to the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited between July 23 and 26.

During that period, Train 448 will terminate at Albany-Rensselaer, New York, with alternate bus transportation provided to the missed stops of Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester and Boston South Station.

No alternate transportation will be provided to the missed stop of Framingham or Boston Back Bay. Those traveling to Back Bay will ride the bus to South Station and take an Amtrak or MBTA commuter train to Back Bay.

Train 449 will originate at Albany with alternate bus transportation provided from Boston South Station, Worcester, Springfield and Pittsfield.

 No alternate transportation will be provided from Boston Back Bay or Framingham.

Back Bay passengers will be given the option of boarding at Boston South Station or traveling on alternate dates.

Passengers at Boston South Station should go to the Amtrak information desk for instructions on boarding the buses.

Passengers at Worcester will board the bus at the main entrance in front of the station. Boarding will not occur at the bus terminal.

Track Works Leads to Wolverine Sked Changes

July 21, 2021

Schedules of Amtrak’s Wolverine Service between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac) will be temporarily change between July 20 and Oct. 31 due to track work being performed by Amtrak and Norfolk Southern.

Train 350 will depart Chicago 15 minutes earlier at 7:05 a.m. and will be scheduled to arrive in Pontiac at 2:46 p.m.

Train 351 will depart Pontiac 7 minutes earlier at 5:43 a.m. and is scheduled to arrive in Chicago 15 minutes later at 10:47 a.m.

Train 354 will depart Chicago at its scheduled time of 5:50 p.m, but be rescheduled to arrive in Pontiac 15 minutes later at 1:17 a.m.

Train 355 will depart Pontiac 7 minutes earlier at 5:28 a.m and is scheduled to arrive in Chicago 15 minutes later at 10:55 p.m.

An Amtrak service advisory said Trains 352 and 353 remain suspended but are expected to resume operation on Sept. 7.

Wolverine Service during the COVID-19 pandemic fell to one pair of trains between Chicago and Pontiac. Service increased to two pairs of trains on July 19.

CN Pledges Better Handling of Amtrak Trains

July 21, 2021

Canadian National pledged on Monday to do a better job hosting Amtrak trains on its network.

During an investor’s call to discuss second quarter earnings, CN CEO J.J. Ruest said his company knows hosting Amtrak service is part of CN’s social license to operate in the United States.

Ruest acknowledged there’s always room for improvement in how CN handles Amtrak trains.

Amtrak and CN have been at odds for years over dispatching and other matters, particularly how Amtrak trains are dispatched between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois.

CN has imposed a minimum axle count on Amtrak trains, forcing them to run with deadhead cars to meet that standard. The two railroads have also clashed over track safety performance issues.

CN managers said during the earnings call that the Montreal-based carrier has an open mind about how to be a better partner with passenger service as well as Amtrak.

That comment might have been aimed in part at criticism of CN’s handling of VIA Rail Canada trains.

CN is seeking regulatory approval in the United States to acquire Kansas City Southern.

The comments made by CN executives were aimed, at least in part, at Amtrak’s opposition to CN plans to place KCS stock into a voting trust while the merger is reviewed.

Opponents of the CN-KCS combination have pointed out that KCS owns a route between Baton Rouge and New Orleans that might be used for future Amtrak service.

During the earnings call, CN executives said it will work with Amtrak to launch that service if funding can obtained for the service.

CN executives said that in the latest Amtrak report car of its host railroads CN was rated as one of the top railroads in terms of service and this is evidence it will continue to work with the U.S. intercity passenger carrier.

Bus Bridge Operating Overnight For Coast Starlight Passengers

July 21, 2021

A fire that damaged a bridge in Oregon used by Amtrak’s Coast Starlight has left passengers having to ride a bus overnight between Sacramento and Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Trains 11 and 14 are operating between Los Angeles and Sacramento, and between Seattle and Klamath Falls.

However, the situation will change between July 31 and Aug. 3, when the bus bridge will be canceled due to track work by host railroad Union Pacific.

The damaged bridge is on UP’s Black Butte Subdivision. The fire occurred June 28 and the bridge isn’t expected to reopen until at least Sept. 1.

At present, Train 11 is operating between Seattle and Klamath Falls, then as Bus 3011 between Klamath Falls and Sacramento and then as Train 1011 between Sacramento and Los Angeles.

Train 14 is operating Train 14 from Los Angeles to Sacramento, then as Bus 3014 from Sacramento to Klamath Falls and then as Train 1014 from Klamath Falls to Seattle.

All of this will change between July 31 and Aug. 3. During that period, trains will operate between Los Angeles and Sacramento but there will be no service north of Sacramento.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said no alternative transportation is being offered between Seattle and Sacramento during that period.

Instead, Amtrak urged Coast Starlight passengers traveling between Seattle and Eugene, Oregon, to ride an Amtrak Cascades service train.

The operating pattern will change again on Aug. 4, when buses will resume operating between Sacramento and Klamath Falls and trains will resume between Seattle and Klamath Falls.

The service advisory said this will remain in effect through Sept. 7.

Checked baggage is not being handled on trains or buses between Eugene and Sacramento. Passengers will be limited to two piece of luggage per person.

Bicycles, pets and checked firearms will not be permitted on Buses 3011 and 3014 between Sacramento and Klamath Falls or on Trains 11 and 1014 between Klamath Falls and Eugene.

Buses 3011 and 3014 will make all intermediate station stops as well as a planned en route rest stop at a Pilot Travel Center with retail vendors offering food and beverages.

A report on the Trains magazine website said Amtrak has temporarily blocked passengers from making reservations for travel on the Coast Starlight at any time during the service disruption.

Those attempting to book travel through Amtrak.com were told that the service was either sold out or “we don’t have train service matching your request.”

An Amtrak spokeswoman told Trains that the blocking of new reservations was being done to ensure that passengers whose travel plans were affected by the service disruption are able to be accommodated.

She would not say when Amtrak plans to resume allowing new reservations to be booked for Coast Starlight travel.

The Trains report said would-be travelers had been able for a time to book travel on the Sacramento-Los Angeles segment where continues to operate with coach and business class cars, sleepers, “traditional” dining service for sleeping-car passengers, and a Sightseer lounge car.

Identical equipment has been assigned to trains operating between Seattle and Klamath Falls.

The Trains report said the blocking of reservations for any city pairs on the Coast Starlight route began early last week.

The Amtrak spokeswoman said Amtrak is working with those who already held reservations aboard Nos. 11 and 14 “to modify their reservation to their liking.”

She said four buses are being used between Sacramento and Klamath Falls with the option to increase or decrease that number as needed.

Vermont Thruway Route Changes Operators

July 21, 2021

There has been a change in operators for some Amtrak Thruway service in Vermont.

The route linking Albany-Rensselaer, New York, and the cities of Manchester and Colchester, Vermont is now being handled by Vermont Translines.

The service was formerly provided by Vermont Shire on a different schedule.

Stops at Curb Cut at Hampton Inn and Equinox Resort stops in Manchester have been removed. Bus stops have been added at Colchester Park and Ride, Burlington Downtown Transit Center, S. Burlington Airport, Ferrisburgh-Vergennes Park and Ride, Middlebury, Brandon, Rutland Marble Valley Regional Transit Center and Wallingford Cumberland Farms.

Thruway Route Changes in Oregon

July 21, 2021

Pacific Crest Thruway has begun a new Highway 97 Connector Service linking the Oregon cities of Klamath Falls, Chemult and Redmond.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said buses 6114 and 6214 will make intermediate stops at Crescent and Gilchrist while buses 6111 and 6211 are cancelled.

Schedule times have been adjusted for both buses.

Amtrak Agrees to Help Develop NYC-Scranton Corridor

July 21, 2021

An agreement has been reached between Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Northeast Railroad Authority to work toward the establishment of intercity rail passenger service between New York City and Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Amtrak said in a news release that it would provide infrastructure assessment and ridership and revenue forecasting estimates of equipment needs and other analysis of the proposed service.

The project review is expected to take about a year to complete and cost $400,000.

The New York-Scranton route was among several new corridors identified by the Amtrak Connect US plan to be developed by 2035.

The route would use the Lackawanna Cut-Off, a dormant dormant right of way owned by the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The proposed service would be three daily round trips that would connect with New Jersey Transit’s Morristown Line at SWIFT Interlocking (Kearny Connection), then on to Scranton via a rebuilt Lackawanna Cut-Off through a connection with the Morristown Line at Port Morris Junction. 

NJT Morristown Line service currently ends at Hackettstown although plans are in place to develop branch line service from Port Morris to Andover Township.

Other work that needs to be completed includes restoring the 1,024-foot Roseville Tunnel located about six miles west of Port Morris Junction.

Amtrak trains to Scranton would require new dual-power locomotives because the segment between Scranton and the Morristown Line will not be electrified.

Passenger trains last used the Lackawanna Cut-off in 1970. Conrail ended freight service there in 1978 and removed the tracks in 1984.

The route is named for the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western.

Estimates of the cost of restoring track between the Roseville Tunnel and Pennsylvania are around $300 million with most of that needed to repair the Hainesburg Viaduct and Delaware River Viaduct.

Advocates of the project hope to obtain funding from an infrastructure bill now being considered by Congress.

2 Piedmonts Canceled Due to Track Work

July 19, 2021

Track work being performed by Norfolk Southern has led to the cancellation of Piedmont Service trains 74 and 75 between July 19 to 22.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said other Piedmont Service trains and the New York-Charlotte Carolinian would not be affected by the track work and would operate as normal.

No alternative transportation is being provided for passengers displaced from Nos. 74 and 75 during the period.

The trains operate between Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina.