Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Snow, Ice Pile Delay Wolverine Service Train

February 14, 2018

An Amtrak Wolverine Service train struck a pile of ice and snow left close to its tracks, damaging the locomotive and delaying passengers for more than four hours during which the train lacked heat and the restrooms were inoperable.

The incident occurred on Monday evening and involved Chicago to Detroit (Pontiac) Train No. 352.

The train struck ice and snow that a local snow plow crew had left close to the rails near Michigan City, Indiana.

A Chicago radio station said some passengers felt sick and one said she feared losing consciousness during the ordeal.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the train was forced to stop after striking the snow and ice while Amtrak personnel re-aligned the snow plow on the locomotive.

That task took nearly two-and-a-half-hours and during that time the head-end power to the passenger cars was disconnected.

Magliari said that Amtrak police and managers distributed snacks to passengers during the delay and provided what help they could. Two other Amtrak trains using the route were also delayed.

Amtrak will discuss with the unnamed town involved the need to avoid piling snow next to railroad tracks, Magliari said.


Industrial Park Could Spur Added Hiawathas

February 12, 2018

A planned industrial park in Wisconsin may be an impetus for expanding Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service.

The Milwaukee Transportation Review Board will review an idea to add three additional roundtrips for the benefit of the Foxconn Technology Group industrial park, which expected to have a large workforce.

The departments of transportation of Wisconsin and Illinois, along with Amtrak have already been studying expanding the Chicago-Milwaukee service, which is expected to cost $200 million.

The Amtrak station at Sturtevent, Wisconsin, is one to two miles from the $10 billion Foxconn site, which could employ up to 13,000 people.

Cardinal Passengers Were Stranded in Culpepper

February 5, 2018

Somewhat lost in the news about last week’s collision between a chartered Amtrak train carrying Republican congressmen and a garbage truck was what happened to two other Amtrak trains that use the same route.

The westbound Cardinal was halted at Culpepper, Virginia, stranding 90 passengers. Also halted was its eastbound counterpart. Both tri-weekly trains operate on Wednesdays through Virginia.

The collision between the Amtrak special and the truck occurred near Crozet, Virginia. One passenger in the truck was killed and two others injured.

Some of those aboard the Amtrak train suffered minor injuries. The GOP congressmen were en route to a political retreat at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

While many passengers took the delay in stride, several were frustrated that Amtrak wasn’t providing any information. They said they didn’t receive a text, a call or see any information on Amtrak’s website.

A website that tracks Amtrak movements reported that No. 51 departed Clifton Forge, Virginia, 4 hours and 27 minutes late and eventually arrived in Chicago more than eight hours late.

It showed that eastbound No. 50 departed White Sulphur Spring an hour and a half late but has no data for any stations west of there.

Brian Hambrick was headed for Clifton Forge, but said he wasn’t in a hurry.

“I’m just curious how long something like this takes,” said Hambrick, who was returning from New York City after seeing the Grammy Awards on Sunday. “I’m sure the whole Congress element adds a whole other level to it.”

Hambrick laughed and told a reporter, “You never know what the day holds, right?”

Bart Danielson who was returning home to West Virginia, said he rides Amtrak about twice a month.

“I’m eating junk food I normally wouldn’t eat,” he said before adding, “I don’t think the train’s going anywhere soon.”

Amelia Hannah and Chris Wright were headed to Charleston, West Virginia, The couple from Manchester, England, said the delay wasn’t too much of an inconvenience.

“Luckily, we are a bit of carefree,” Wright said. “If we are here for a few hours, we can still get to our hotel and get a good night’s sleep before seeing Charleston.”

Culpeper tourism director Paige Read said some passengers who arranged ride from Uber or a taxi company to finish their trip.

But others visited Culpeper’s shops and restaurants on Davis Street because they knew “they aren’t leaving any time soon.”

The Museum of Culpeper History hosted younger passengers. “A God send,” said Pam Mitchell, a parent of two children, heading home to West Virginia.

“The tourist center here has been very open and welcoming,” one passenger said. “They’ve just been wonderful.”

Mudlsides Close Cascade Route in Washington

January 30, 2018

Due to a mudslide, Amtrak Cascades Service between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Bellingham, Washington, has been suspended until Wednesday afternoon.

Amtrak says BNSF has closed a track on the route, but expects it to reopen by 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday.

Passengers will ride chartered buses to stations affects by the track closure. Train service south of Bellingham to Seattle is unaffected.

Shuttles Begin to Pacific Surfliner Stations

January 17, 2018

Santa Barbara MTD is providing free “last-mile service” from Amtrak stations in Santa Barbara and Goleta to various employers.

The transit agency said the move was in response to a large number of people commuting by rail while Highway 101 is closed due to mudslides.

The shuttle service will operate Monday through Friday until further notice.

The first morning shuttles will hold for the train to arrive. The buses will be marked as “Special Shuttle” and will run on a continuous loop throughout the day.

Illinois Judge Orders Man Who Shot Amtrak Conductor Confined to Secure Residential Facility

January 15, 2018

A judge has ordered the man who shot an Amtrak conductor last year to be confined to a secure residential facility in Wisconsin.

DuPage County Judge Jeffrey MacKay prohibited Edward Klein from leaving the facility in suburban Milwaukee except in an emergency.

Prosecutors said during a court hearing that Klein’s family suggested the facility and a representative of the family said in court that the 80-year-old West Allis resident would be treated and cared for.

Klein had been charged with attempted murder last May after shooting Amtrak conductor Michael Case during a station stop in Naperville of the eastbound Southwest Chief.

Police have said Klein was angry that Case would not let him disembark in Naperville. Amtrak personnel were keeping Klein confined to the train because of his behavior and seeking to make sure that he reached Chicago Union Station and boarded a train for Milwaukee.

Klein has since been released from the DuPage County Jail and driven by police to the Wisconsin facility.

A court had earlier declared Klein unfit to stand trial after doctors determined that he was showing signs of dementia that is suspected to be Alzheimer’s disease.

Case, 46, said he supports how the court resolved the case. “We were ecstatic and we were relieved,” he said. “For us, our idea of justice was that he would get some help and not be able to go out among the general public.”

Case had undergone three surgeries in the wake of the shooting. He said last week in court that he has had some difficult days but bears no ill will toward Klein.

“It doesn’t do me any good,” Case said. “The No. 1 thing is I’m alive. And any day you’re alive is better than every day you’re 6 feet under.”

Brightline to Start Revenue Service Jan. 13

January 11, 2018

Brightline will begin revenue service on Jan. 13 between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach,  Florida.

Fares include a “Try Our Train” fare of $10 per segment for basic service and $15 for Select service with larger seats and snacks and beverages. A segment is one way between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale over tracks of the Florida East Coast.

Service will initially be 10 daily weekday roundtrips and nine on weekends. The end-to-end trip will take 35 minutes with trains leaving as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 11 p.m. Schedules will vary between weekday and weekend service.

In an announcement, Brightline said it expects to expand into downtown Miami in the coming months.

Brightline also said it has shaken up its management team, promoting Patrick Goddard to president in replacement of Chief Executive Dave Howard, who was hired in March 2017.

Trains will operate at a top speed of 79 mph operation on the 67-mile section between Miami and West Palm Beach. Trains are projected to operate at up to 110 mph in the next 133-mile phase of the project to Cocoa Beach.

Pacific Northwest Schedules Modified

January 2, 2018

Amtrak has modified schedules in the Pacific Northwest until further notice.

In service advisory Amtrak said that daily Cascades round-trips are being provided between Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Two additional roundtrips that had been scheduled to go into service on Dec. 18, 2017, have been canceled indefinitely due to lack of equipment.

One Talgo trainset was sidelined after a Dec. 18 derailment while another set has been out of service since a derailment last July.

Cascades service between Portland and Eugene and Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia are unchanged from the schedule that went into effect on Dec. 18, 2017. In addition to these schedules, the Seattle-Los Angeles Coast Startlight will continue to operate to all scheduled stations.

Amtrak continues to use its station at 1001 Puyallup Avenue for all trains.

Amtrak Carried 2,770 From Roanoke

December 18, 2017

During the first 30 days of service, Amtrak boarded 2,770 people in Roanoke, Virginia, which averages to 92 passengers per day.

Service to Roanoke began on Oct. 31 by extending a Northeast Regional train that terminated in Lynchburg, Virginia, to Roanoke.

Amtrak had forecast that ridership at Roanoke during the first year of service would be 38,000, an average of 104 passengers per day.

Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods said the carrier still expects to meet that projection, noting that ridership changes with the seasons.

Trump Meets to Talk Infrastructure Plan

December 13, 2017

News reports said that President Donald Trump met this week with U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster to discuss the administration’s infrastructure proposal.

The administration has proposed using $200 billion in federal funds to leverage $1 trillion worth of infrastructure improvements.

Trump had indicated last month that once a tax bill had passed Congress that his administration would be ready to focus on the infrastructure plan.