Archive for the ‘Amtrak News’ Category

Dome to Operate on 2 Amtrak Routes This Fall

July 18, 2018

Amtrak will assign a dome car to two eastern routes this fall.

The car, Great Dome No. 10031, is a former Great Northern dome that was built by Budd in 1955 for use on the Empire Builder.

It is now the last dome car on the Amtrak roster.

The car will operate on the Downeaster between Brunswick, Maine, and Boston between Aug. 11 and Sept. 23, and on the Adirondack between Montreal and Albany, New York, between Sept. 27 and Nov. 2.

Seats are unreserved and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Amtrak is encouraging passengers to rotate in and out of the dome to allow more people to experience the view.

More information is available at https://www.amtrak.com/fall-travel-on-the-great-dome-car

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Man Pleads Guilty in CZ Incident

July 14, 2018

The man charged in connection with an October 2017 incident in which the emergency brakes of the eastbound California Zephyr were activated in Nebraska has pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge.

Taylor Wilson, 26, of St. Charles, Missouri, also pleaded guilty to possession of an unregistered weapon, a charge stemming from an FBI search of his home.

Wilson was said to have entered the trailing locomotive  of Train No. 6 and activated the braking system. He was then confronted by the Amtrak operating crew and later arrested by Nebraska authorities.

When the judge presiding in the case asked Wilson why he stopped the train, he responded, “I was high.”

News accounts said Wilson reportedly told investigators he had dropped acid before the incident.

A written plea agreement also noted that Wilson told a sheriff’s deputy that he [Wilson] said he was “going to save the train from the black people.”

Hot Item Added to ‘Fresh and Contemporary’

July 14, 2018

Amtrak has added a hot-meal choice to its lunch and dinner “menu” for sleeping car passengers aboard the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited.

New is a slow-braised beef short rib in a red wine and beer sauce that an attendant will warm for patrons.

It will replace the chilled grilled beef tenderloin salad. Other items will continue to be served cold including the vegan wrap, chicken Caesar salad, and antipasto plate.

There is still only one item available at breakfast and it includes fruit, a muffin, a Greek yogurt parfait, and breakfast bars.

Amtrak removed its full-serving dining service from both trains on June 1 in favor of what it euphemistically described as “fresh and contemporary” dining service.

Passengers can eat the boxed meals in their rooms or in a dining car that serves as a lounge for sleeping car passengers only.

Surfliners Change for Del Mar, Comic-Con

July 11, 2018

Starting July 18 some Pacific Surfliner schedules will change to accommodate passengers traveling to Del Mar racetrack and the Comic-Con being held in the area.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the two events are expected to stimulate heavy ridership between July 21 and Sept. 3.

Amtrak said Train 568 will operate as an extra round trip between Los Angeles and San Diego July 18 through 20.

Train 593 will operate as an extra round trip between San Diego and Los Angeles July 18 through 22.

Train 1568 will operate as an extra round trip between Los Angeles and San Diego July 21 through 22.

Trains 572, 583, 591, 768 and 796 will have schedule modifications on weekends between July 18 and Sept. 3. Specific details are available at Amtrak.com.

Wolverines Get New Schedules

July 11, 2018

Amtrak has changed the schedules of some Wolverine Service trains in an effort to improve their connections with other Midwest trains. The changes are effective July 16.

Train 352 will operate 45 minutes later to allow new connections from Trains 300 (Lincoln Service) and 334 (Hiawatha Service).

Train 353 will operate 45 minutes earlier to allow new connections to Train 393 (Illini).

Train 355 will also begin operating 15 minutes later.

San Joaquins to Stop for Baseball Fans

July 11, 2018

Some Amtrak San Joaquins will made an extra stop on July 22 to accomodate baseball fans attending the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics.

Trains 711 and 718 will terminate and originate from Oakland Coliseum, beyond the normal start and end point of Oakland Jack London Square, to serve passengers attending the Sunday game.

Track Work Affects Downeasters on July 18

July 11, 2018

Track work being done by Pan Am Railways on July 18 will affect operations of Downeaster trains 683, 684 and 688 schedules will be affected on July 18.

Train 683 will terminate at Portland, Maine, with alternate transportation being provide on Thruway Bus 3683 to the missed station stops of Freeport and Brunswick, Maine.

Trains 684 and 688 will originate at Portland with alternate transportation from missed stops being provided by Bus 3684 and Bus 3688.

North Carolina Track Work to Disrupt Service

July 11, 2018

Track work being done by CSX on July 17 in Selma, North Carolina, will affect operations of the Carolinian in both directions and the northbound Silver Star.

Nos. 79 and 80 will operate only between Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, with no alternate transportation being provided between Washington and Raleigh.

No. 92 will depart Miami two hours early on July 16 to avoid the track work window.

In a service advisory Amtrak said passengers needing to travel between the affected cities on July 17 may make reservations on the Palmetto or other Amtrak trains on this date.

Pets Can Now Ride Chicago-St. Louis

July 11, 2018

Pets are now being allowed aboard Amtrak trains in the Chicago-St. Louis corridor.

This includes all Lincoln Service trains and the Texas Eagle.

In a news release, Amtrak, said all of its Midwest routes now allow pets onboard subject to their owners meeting certain rules.

Dogs and cats weighing up to 20 pounds can be transported if they are placed beneath a passenger’s seat.

Reservations are required as well as payment of a $25 fee for the pet.

Pets are only allowed for trips that take no more than seven hours.
Amtrak began carrying pets aboard some trains in 2014 and has since transported more than 5,600 pets on state sponsored trains terminating or originating in Chicago.

New Amtrak Meal Service Getting Mixed Reviews

July 7, 2018

Reports are beginning to circulate online about the “fresh and contemporary” meal service being offered by Amtrak on its Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited.

The cold meal service replaced full service dining on both trains on June 1, resulting in at least 30 Amtrak onboard service employees losing their jobs.

One poster on a railroad chat list described the meal offerings as not as bad as some might have thought they would be.

A similar report said that passengers have engaged in extensive trading of food items from their selection, which comes as a package for dinner and lunch.

Some also have commented about how much packaging each meal requires and how that has strained the storage space in the dining cars now turned sleeping car lounges.

The meals are served in a green bag that passengers are allowed to keep.

After eating, passengers must take their waste, separate it and then place it in large cardboard containers lined with plastic garbage bags.

The boxes the meals are served in are being billed as environmentally friendly.

A note in the boxes says “the balsa wood for these boxes is salvaged from tree stumps leftover [sic] from sustainable logging — so no trees are ever harvested or cut down for this product. No chemicals … harmful toxins. No worrying.”

Passengers get one option for breakfast, the Amtrak Breakfast Bistro Box, which comes with a generous serving of fresh fruit, most of which is melon, banana bread, a blueberry muffin, Greek yogurt topped with organic granola in a parfait, a Kashi honey almond flax chewy granola bar, and a Kind-brand dark chocolate nut and sea salt bar.

The dinner/lunch offerings include chilled grilled beef tenderloin salad, chicken Caesar salads, an antipasto plate (processed meat, olives, pickles, and beans); a vegan wrap (with marinated eggplant, vegetables, and hummus); and a children’s turkey and cheese sandwich plate (with orange segments, a string cheese stick and a coloring book).

All except the vegan wrap and child’s meal also come with salted caramel cheesecake.

Passengers receive unlimited complimentary soft drinks and one complimentary alcoholic beverage.

The diner-sleeping car passenger lounge where the meals are serviced has one Amtrak attendant handing out the meals.

That attendant also fills drink orders and wipes down tables after passengers leave.

There is no linen, silverware, or even paper tablecloths and plastic utensils. One commentator said this has resulted in the dining cars having a sterile appearance.

One lesser commented about aspect of the service change was the institution of giving passengers a complementary Gilbert and Soames toiletry kit that includes shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, body wash, soap, a beauty kit (with nail file, Q-Tips, and bobby pins), a sewing kit, and shower cap.

The showers in the sleeper also now offer flat sandals with pop-up attachments for toes and ankles.