Archive for the ‘Amtrak News’ Category

Boston LSL Section Disrupted by Track Work

May 10, 2021

Track work being performed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will disrupt operations of the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited through June 17 east of Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

On Monday through Thursday Train 448 will terminate at Albany. Alternate transportation will be 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.

Passengers bound for Boston Back Bay station will be bused to Boston South Station and then take an Amtrak or MBTA commuter train between South Station and Back Bay.

Train 448 also will observe these schedule changes on June 5 and 12, both Sundays.

Train 449 will originate in Albany with alternate transportation provided to the missed stops of Boston, Worcester, Springfield and Pittsfield.

 No alternate transportation will be provided for the missed stops of Back Bay and Framingham.

Passengers traveling from Back Bay have the option of boarding at Boston South or traveling on alternate dates.

At Boston South Station passengers should go to the Amtrak Information Desk for instructions on boarding the buses.

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

Track Work Affects Downeaster Service

May 10, 2021

Track work being performed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is affecting Amtrak’s Downeaster service at Woburn, Massachusetts, on Saturdays and Sundays through June 20.

Southbound Trains 690, 692, 694 and 698 and northbound Trains 691, 693, 695 and 699/1689 will detour between Boston North Station and Haverhill and will not stop at Woburn.

Alternate transportation will not be provided to or from Woburn.

Trains 696 and 697 will detour after May 8 between Woburn and Haverhill with no alternate transportation provided.

LA-Vegas Thruway Service Modified

May 10, 2021

Amtrak has modified its Thruway bus service between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

The buses are now following as outlined below.

A new service operated by Alvand Transportation will travel between Los Angeles and Las Vegas daily, connecting to Pacific Surfliner Trains 579, 580, 763, 768, 777 and 796.

Buses will make intermediate stops at San Bernardino, Victorville and Barstow.

More information is available at http://www.PacificSurfliner.com/Thruway.

NS, Virginia Reach Agreement on New Amtrak Route

May 10, 2021

Norfolk Southern and the state of Virginia recently reached an agreement that will extend Amtrak into the New River Valley region of the state.

The Western Rail Initiative is a $257.2 million project to extend an Amtrak Northeast Direct route beyond Roanoke, Virginia.

The funding includes $38.2 million for acquisition of 28.5 miles of right-of-way and track of the Virginian Line from the Salem Crossovers west of Roanoke to Merrimac in Christiansburg.

Another $219 million in infrastructure investments include improvements to the NS yard in Roanoke; a 7-mile siding from Nokesville to Calverton that will create a continuous two-track corridor for 22 miles from Manassas to Remington; signaling and track upgrades between Salem to Christiansburg; a maintenance facility and passenger platform; and infrastructure improvements along the Route 29/Interstate 81 corridor.

NS has agreed to allow Amtrak to add an additional round-trip train in 2022 between Roanoke and Washington.

Virginia officials said the Roanoke trains will be extended from Roanoke to Christiansburg upon completion of the infrastructure improvements in 2025.

Earlier this year. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation to create the New River Valley Passenger Rail Station Authority.

The agency will assist the commonwealth with the development of passenger rail service in the region.

It will be directed by a board consisting of members of each participating locality and institution of higher education.

The commonwealth plans to partner with the agency to fund the construction of a station building, parking and roadway access for the station.

Acela Trainset Returns to Alstom Factory

May 10, 2021

One of Amtrak’s new Acela trainsets has returned to New York State after completing testing at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado.

The trainset passed through Chicago en route to the Alstom assembly plant in Hornell, New York, where the trainsets are being built.

The trainset has passed through Chicago in February 2020 en route to Colorado for the testing.

Amtrak held a media event in Chicago to mark the return of the Acela trainset..

Beech Grove Fire Appeared to be Intentional

May 8, 2021

Officials have determined that a fire that destroyed two storage sheds at Amtrak’s Beech Grove Heavy Maintenance Facility near Indianapolis appears to have been intentionally set.

James Pierce, operations chief for the Beech Grove Fire Department, said the two buildings that burned and collapsed were not connected.

“We’re very confident that this was an intentionally set fire. Everything points in that direction,”  he said.

The FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Amtrak police are among the agencies investigating.

Federal agencies are involved because of the government ownership of the facility. The fire destroyed structures used to store paint and cleaning supplies.

Amtrak Says Fire Won’t Affect Beech Grove Shop Operations

May 4, 2021

Amtrak said on Monday that a fire that destroyed two storage buildings at its Beech Grove shops near Indianapolis will not affect operations of the shop.

The Amtrak spokesman said no rolling stock or locomotives were damaged by the fire.

Firefighters had reported that they were unable to find a working fire hydrant at the shop site and had to run hoses to a nearby street.

However, the Amtrak spokesman said that while the hydrant on Amtrak property that was closest to the fire was dry, other hydrants at the site were operable.

Investigators continue to investigate the cause of the early Sunday morning fire that destroyed two corrugated structures used to store paint and cleaning supplies.

There were no injuries in the fire, which was reported just after 12:30 a.m. and brought under control by 2 a.m.

Fire Destroys Storage Buildings at Beech Grove

May 3, 2021

Two storage buildings at Amtrak’s Beech Grove Heavy Maintenance Facility in suburban Indianapolis were destroyed by fire on Sunday morning.

Firefighters were called just after 12:30 a.m. and had the blazes under control by 2 a.m. No injuries were reported and no cause of the fire has yet been released.

The corrugated buildings were used to store paint and cleaning supplies.

Lack of a working fire hydrant on the Amtrak property hindered firefighting efforts, forcing firefighters to run hoses from nearby Emerson Avenue and use tanker trucks for water supply.

Video of the scene shows P40 No. 822 in its Phase III livery parked outside the buildings where the fire occurred.

Amtrak Celebrates 50 Years

May 3, 2021

Expanding its network was the theme of the day as Amtrak celebrated its 50th anniversary on Friday at a ceremony in Philadelphia featuring President Joseph Biden.

Amtrak has announced a project to add service in corridors that would add up to 160 communities to its network over the next 15 years.

Amtrak CEO William Flynn said the expansion plan would provide Amtrak service to 47 of the nation’s 50 largest cities while also increasing service in more than half the 50 states.

“America needs a rail network that offers frequent, reliable, sustainable and equitable train service. Amtrak has the vision and expertise to deliver it, now we need Congress to provide the funding for the next 50 years,” Flynn said.

During his remarks, Biden endorsed the Amtrak expansion plan while playing up his proposed $2.3 billion infrastructure program.

“Today we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to position Amtrak, and rail, and intercity rail . . . to play a central role in our transformation of transportation and economic future,” Biden said.

Both the Biden infrastructure plan and the Amtrak expansion will need to win Congressional approval.

The Amtrak expansion plan does not include any new long-distance routes, instead focusing on short-distance corridors that in time would be supported by state and local governments.

Aside from a goal of having the new routes in place by 2035, Amtrak has not provided a timeline to begin initiating the service.

In its federal fiscal year 2022 budget request Amtrak is seeking funding to pay for the capital and initial operating costs of the new corridor services.

CSX, NS Seek Dismissal of Amtrak STB Case Over Gulf Coast Service

April 30, 2021

CSX and Norfolk Southern have asked the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to dismiss Amtrak’s petition asking regulators to force the two Class 1 railroads to allow operation of new Gulf Coast passenger service next year.

The host railroads said Amtrak’s complaint is not “ripe” because they have not refused Amtrak’s proposed service.

In a filing, the two railroads said they want Amtrak to live up to the commitments it made to complete a joint rail traffic controller modeling study to determine the infrastructure that will be required to support the service Amtrak wants to implement.

Amtrak has proposed operating two daily roundtrips between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama.

The filing by NS and CSX also contends that Amtrak has not submitted an environmental and historic report with its STB petition, and that Congress did not give Amtrak any cause of action that could support its demand for an “interim order” allowing it to enter other railroads’ lines to perform preparations for new service before the STB decides whether the new service will be allowed.

Furthermore, the host railroads argued that Amtrak lacks important state support to ensure success of the proposed service.

At the center of the dispute is Amtrak’s withdrawing from a traffic study the host railroads contend must be completed before they will discuss what infrastructure improvements are needed to accommodate passenger service.

For its part, Amtrak contends the railroads hindered completion of the study by changing its parameters as it was being conducted.

The passenger carrier at the time it filed its request with the STB in February said it was seeking to force NS and CSX to demonstrate why they cannot host the proposed service.

In statement released after the host railroads asked the STB to dismiss the case, Amtrak said the matter is being considered by regulators and the intercity passenger carrier “fully anticipate the STB’s process will be both transparent and data driven. We will respond to all filings through that docket.”

At the time that Amtrak went to the STB, an Amtrak spokesman indicated that discussions about instituting the service have been ongoing for five years with no sign of a conclusion in sight.

Amtrak contends that federal law gives it a right of access to the host railroads for the proposed Mobile service.

In the past week, the STB case has also drawn the attention of various Alabama political officials.

Gov. Kay Ivey called for completion of the traffic study, which she said it critical for protecting the economic interests of the Port of Mobile.

Ivey said she wants the STB to order Amtrak to complete the traffic study before considering Amtrak’s application.

The governor’s statement to the STB also said, “Alabama has withheld funding for new Gulf Coast passenger service because of our concern that any economic benefit from new passenger rail service will be outweighed by the potential harm to freight rail service based on the current infrastructure. I am particularly concerned about the impact to the Port of Mobile. . .”

Mobile Port Authority CEO John C. Driscoll also has asked the STB to order Amtrak to complete the traffic study.

Port Officials have long expressed concern that passenger operations will adversely affect CSX freight service to the port.

Driscoll said in his statement that the port authority “does not oppose passenger rail into the City of Mobile, but we do have deep concerns regarding Amtrak’s impact on servicing current freight rail as well as servicing future freight capacity demand in the CSX corridor.”

Until August 2005 Amtrak served Mobile with its tri-weekly Sunset Limited, which operated along the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Jacksonville, Florida.

Operation of Nos. 1 and 2 east of New Orleans was suspended after the route was damaged by Hurricane Katrina.