Archive for the ‘Amtrak News’ Category

Palmetto Disrupted by CSX Track Work

May 13, 2022

CSX track work is affecting operations of Amtrak’s Palmetto on weekdays through May 20.

Trains 89 and 90 are canceled on Monday through Thursday with no alternative transportation being provided.

An Amtrak service advisory said passengers should book alternative travel dates or use other Amtrak trains.

On Fridays, Train 89 will operate on an adjusted schedule between Washington and Savannah, Georgia, departing Washington at 10:45 a.m., 45 minutes later than normal.

It will then depart Richmond Staples Mill station at 3:19 p.m., three hours later than normal.

South of Richmond No. 89 will depart all stations between Fayetteville and Savannah 210 minutes later than normal on the affected dates.

Train 90 will depart Savannah at 6:15 a.m., 80 minutes earlier than normal. It will depart Richmond Staples Mill at 4:01 p.m., 40 minutes earlier than normal.

Train 90 will depart Washington at the normal scheduled departure time of 7:10 p.m.

Trains 89 and 90 will operate normally on Saturday and Sunday.

Track Work to Affect Keystones on Weekends

May 13, 2022

Track work will lead to schedule changes to Amtrak’s Keystone Service on weekends starting May 21 and lasting through June 26.

Train 615 will depart Philadelphia at 2 p.m. and operate five minutes later to Harrisburg, arriving at 3:47 p.m.

Train 663 will depart Philadelphia at 11 a.m, operating 10 minutes later to Harrisburg, arriving at 12:55 p.m.

Train 667 will depart Philadelphia at 5 p.m, operating five minutes later to Harrisburg, arriving at 6:50 p.m.

Train 669 will depart Philadelphia at 7 p.m., operating five minutes later to Harrisburg, arriving at 8:50 p.m.

Allentown Thruway Bus Stop Moved

May 13, 2022

Amtrak Thruway buses now have a new stop in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The stop is now at the LANTA Allentown Transportation Center, located at 110 North 6th Street. In a service advisory Amtrak said passengers will board at Gate B or C on North Church Street.

Amtrak Releases Summer Schedule

May 13, 2022

Amtrak officially announced this week its summer schedule, which will include some restorations of suspended services.

The passenger carrier plans to restore daily operation on May 23 to the Lake Shore Limited, California Zephyr, Empire Builder and Southwest Chief.

Also on that date Amtrak will also increase Acela service to 10 weekday roundtrips between Washington and New York City, and nine between New York City and Boston.

Amtrak has increased its Northeast Regional service to close to 80 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels.

This includes 13 roundtrips every weekday between New York and Washington with nine roundtrips on Saturdays and 14 on Sundays.

Keystone Service has also been expanded between Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and New York, while service  on the Hartford Line connecting New Haven and Springfield in Connecticut is fully restored.

Amtrak Creates Apprenticeship Program

May 13, 2022

Amtrak said this week it has created an apprenticeship pilot program to teach skills that could lead to a professional career path in the railroad industry.

The program is being offered to newly hired workers as well as existing Amtrak employees.

In a news release, Amtrak said the curriculum begins with classroom instruction before moving on to hands-on work in a specific trade.

All apprentices will take course work in safety, environmental awareness, personal protective equipment and other areas before meeting their mentors and moving into combined classroom and hands-on instruction for craft-specific training.

The three-year program includes a final exam that if passed will lead to position as mechanics.

Funding for the apprenticeship program is coming from money Amtrak received through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Amtrak said thus far in 2022 it has hired more than 1,500 new employees.

Track Work to Disrupt Some Pacific Surfliners

May 8, 2022

Track work will result in some service disruptions for Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner trains on May 14 and 15.

On May 14 Train 594 will be canceled with alternate transportation being provided on Bus 3594 from Los Angeles to San Diego, serving all missed stops, except San Juan Capistrano.

Also that day Train 595 will be canceled and passengers directed to use Amtrak Thruway Bus 5811 between San Diego and Los Angeles, making all intermediate stops except San Diego Old Town and San Juan Capistrano.

On May 15, Train 562 will be canceled with passengers being directed to take Train 564 which departs Los Angeles at 7:10 a.m.

Also canceled that day is Train 761, between Los Angeles and San Diego. It will operate between Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo. No alternate transportation is being provided between Los Angeles and San Diego.

Berkshire Flyer to Begin July 8

May 1, 2022

The experimental Berkshire Flyer will begin its run on July 8 between New York and Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The seasonal service will operate on weekends during the summer months.

The train is expected to depart Penn Station in New York at 3:16 p.m. on Fridays and arrive at the Joseph Scelsi Intermodal Transportation Center in Pittsfield at 7:12 p.m.

It will make all intermediate New York State station stops in the Empire Corridor including Yonkers, Croton-Harmon, Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff, Hudson, and Albany-Rensselaer.

The return trip is scheduled to leave Pittsfield at 3 p.m. and arrive in New York at 7:05 p.m. Tickets will be placed on sale beginning in May.

Amtrak said in a news release that during the trial run it will evaluate the route’s potential, and identify infrastructure and service changes that may be needed.

Efforts to start New York-to-the Berkshires passenger rail began in 2018 and were promoted by various Berkshire County groups, municipal officials and elected officials.

Eventually, Massachusetts officials want to extend the Berkshire Flyer to Worcester via Springfield.

That would put it on the route now used by Amtrak’s Chicago-Boston Lake Shore Limited.

Massachusetts officials are pushing for the creation of a new rail authority that could seek funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that has been allocated for development of new Amtrak routes.

CSX agreed to provide the train the use of its track between Pittsfield and Springfield as a condition of state support for its efforts to acquire Pan Am Railways.

Officials said extending the Flyer eastward needs more work, including establishing a budget and a timeline for when service might begin.

A 2021 report estimated costs for three alternatives for the project ranging from $2.4 billion to $4.6 billion, and suggested ridership would not be enough to qualify for federal funding.

Biden Nominates 5 to Amtrak Board

May 1, 2022

The Biden administration has nominated five people to serve on Amtrak’s board of directors.

The nominations are subject to approval by the U.S. Senate. All of the current terms on the passenger carrier’s board have expired.

Among the nominees is current board chairman Anthony Coscia and former board nominee Christopher Koos.

Koos is the mayor of Normal, Illinois, which is served by Amtrak’s Texas Eagle and Lincoln Service trains. He was nominated in 2020 but the appointment was never acted upon by the Senate.

Coscia has served on the board since 2010 and became chairman in 2013.

Other nominees include David Capozzi, former executive director of the U.S. Access Board and former national advocacy director for the Paralyzed Veterans of America; Samuel Lathem, retired Delaware State AFL-CIO president and a former autoworker active in a number of civic organizations; and Robin Wiessmann, executive director and chief executive of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

By law Amtrak’s governing board is allocated 10 positions. Also serving on the board are U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner. Senate Republicans can select the other three nominees.

The board is required to include at least two members each from Northeast Corridor, and areas with state-supported routes, and long-distance routes.

Of the five Biden nominees, only Koos resides outside the Northeast. The remainder live in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Auto Train to Run Hour Later Starting May 2

April 27, 2022

Amtrak plans to change the schedule of the Auto Train on May 2.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that the Auto Train will arrive and depart its terminals in Lorton, Virginia, and Sanford, Florida, one hour later. Trains 52 and 53 will be rescheduled to depart at 5 p.m. and arrive at 9:59 a.m. at both terminals.

Check-in for all vehicle types begins at 12:30 p.m. and closes at 3 p.m. Station hour will now be 9:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at both terminals.

The service advisory did not give a reason for the schedule change.

4 Amtrak LD Trains to Resume Daily Service

April 20, 2022

Amtrak will restore daily operation to four long-distance trains the week of May 23, Trains magazine reported Tuesday.

Resuming daily operation will be the Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited, the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief, the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder, and the Chicago-San Francisco Bay California Zephyr.

Starting May 2 Amtrak will end a joint equipment sharing plan involving the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Chief.

Consequently, the Texas Chief will resort to its previous schedule because there will no longer be a need for a long layover in St. Louis to inspect the equipment.

However, Trains reported, the New York-Miami Silver Meteor will remain suspended through Sept. 11. The Chicago-New Orleans City of New Orleans and the New York-New Orleans Crescent also will remain five-day-a-week trains for now.

The Chicago-New York Cardinal will get a marginal boost in capacity when unused sleeping car accommodations in a crew car will begin being sold to the public.

Those accommodations are in a dorm-baggage car that runs on the rear of the train.

The southbound Chicago to Carbondale, Illinois, Saluki, and northbound Carbondale to Chicago Illini will remain suspended through Sept. 11. Both trains were suspended in late January.

The Trains report cited a planning document that it obtained.

That document also indicated there will be additional trains added in the Northeast Corridor.

The document said some train consists are being adjusted to account for lower than expected passenger car availability and continued onboard service worker shortages.

In a statement provided to the magazine, Amtrak acknowledged the additional services and cited increased demand for business and leisure travel.

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