Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Train 748 Schedule to Change for One Day

August 15, 2019

Train 748, which normally departs San Jose at 9:10 p.m. and arrives in Sacramento at 12:14 am, will depart San Jose at 11:17 p.m.

It will depart Santa Clara-Great America Station at 11:30 p.m.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the train will not wait for late passengers, even if the concert runs long.

Amtrak Eastern Long-Distance Trains to Get ‘Contemporary Dining” Service Effective Oct. 1

August 12, 2019

An internal Amtrak memo that was posted on Train had confirmed that all eastern long-distance trains except the Silver Star will adopt the “contemporary dining” model effective Oct. 1.

Full-service dining will be removed from the New York-New Orleans Crescent and New York-Miami Silver Meteor.

The Silver Star is an exception because it does not provide meal service to sleeping car passengers as part of their fare.

The Chicago-New York Cardinal will gain a Viewliner dining car that will serve as a sleeper class lounge car in the same manner as is done on the Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited.

Although the Cardinal has not had meals prepared on board for several years, it did have a more expansive menu than the Lake Shore or Capitol Limited had after both switched to the contemporary dining model last year.

The net effect of the changes is to standardize food and beverage service on eastern long distance trains while reducing the number of on-board employees assigned to the Crescent and Silver Meteor.

The Cardinal and the Chicago-New Orleans City of New Orleans will not have a net loss of on-board jobs, but two of the positions will be reclassified as lead service attendants.

The Crescent will see a reduction of 16 positions while the Silver Meteor will lose 14 positions.

The Amtrak memo said onboard meal preparation will be replaced by a small variety of ready to serve meals that will be included in the sleeper class fare and delivered to the train just prior to origination.

All eastern long-distance trains will have two food service cars, one of which is reserved for the exclusive use of sleeper class passengers. The other is a café car open to all passengers.

Sleeping car attendants will, upon request, continue to deliver meals to passengers in their rooms.

Amtrak also plans to continue the practice of the sleeping car attendant asking passengers shortly after boarding their preferred dining times and giving reservations in 15-minute increments.

The lunch and dinner offerings on all trains will include Asian noodle bowl, red wine braised beef, chicken fettuccini with broccoli, and Creole shrimp and andouille. Dessert is available upon request.

Breakfast is described as a deluxe continental breakfast that includes muffins, yogurt, fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs, cereal, oatmeal and breakfast sandwich.

Sleeper class passengers and business class passengers will each receive one complimentary alcoholic beverage and unlimited soft drinks.

Business class, which is available only on the Cardinal, does not include meals.

The consist of the Cardinal will be one Viewliner baggage car, three Amfleet II coaches, one Viewliner sleeper , one Viewliner sleeper-lounge,  and an Amfleet I café-lounge with 18 business class seats, Amfleet café module and 24 booth seats.

The A end of the café car pointed toward the coaches to reduce foot traffic through the business class section.

The Cardinal onboard crew will continue to be based in New York.

The City of New Orleans will have consist of Superliner equipment, including  two coaches, a baggage-coach, a Cross Country Café that will serve as the sleeper class lounge, a Sightseer lounge that will serve as the café car for the entire train and a transition sleeper.

The Crescent and Silver Meteor will have similar consists of three Amfleet II coaches, one Amfleet diner lite car that will serve as the café car, a Viewliner dining car that will serve as the sleeper class lounge and a Viewliner baggage car. The Crescent will have two sleeping cars while the Silver Meteor will have three.

The assignments mean that Amtrak will have in revenue service at any given time 13 Viewliner dining cars of the 25 that is owns.

The memo also detailed the plans for changes in Auto Train food and beverage service in January 2020.

Complimentary breakfast and dinner for coach passengers will be eliminated in favor of an expanded café car menu sold through a Cross Country Café.

The Amtrak memo said the café car will provide “a festive environment during the trip,” although it is not clear what this is supposed to mean.

Food trucks will be selling meals at the stations in Lorton, Virginia, and Sanford, Florida.

Effective Oct. 1, one coach will be replaced by a sleeping car with additional sleeping cars being assigned during peak travel periods.

Food service for sleeper class will be provided by seasonal menus with variety of entrée selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

There will be a selection of cocktails, beer and wine to go with coffee and soft drinks. Amtrak said that a wine service is also being introduced for sleeper class passengers aboard the Auto Train.

The changes in onboard service aboard the Auto Train will result in 25 onboard service positions being eliminated.

Boston LSL Section Resumes Ahead of Schedule

August 7, 2019

In case you missed it, Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited has resumed operating between Chicago and Boston.

The Boston section was suspended on May 20 due to CSX track work and reinstated on July 17.

During that time passengers were taken by bus between Boston and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

The reinstatement was made two weeks earlier than planned, Amtrak said in a statement reported by the Boston Globe.

“The temporary suspension of train service was due to scheduled trackwork by our host railroad, CSX. This project did not have onboard components,” Amtrak said.

Select Trains to Stop at New York State Fair

August 6, 2019

Between Aug. 21 and Sept. 2, Amtrak’s Empire Service and Maple Leaf trains will make a special daily stop between Rochester and Syracuse, New York, to serve passengers attending the New York State Fair.

Trains 64, 284 and 288 will depart Niagara Falls, Buffalo Exchange Street, Buffalo Depew and Rochester 10 minutes earlier to accommodate the added stop.

Funding Approved for Berkshire Flyer Pilot Program

August 2, 2019

Funding has been approved by the State of Massachusetts for a two-year pilot program to launch Amtrak service from New York City to Berkshire County in Massachusetts.

The Berkshire Flyer has been allotted “not less than $270,000” for its inaugural year, which is expected to start in Spring 2020.

Legislation authorizing the funding also set aside $30,000 for a project manager and $100,000 for marketing the service.

The Flyer is will operate on weekends during the summer season between New York Penn Station and Pittsfield, using the Empire Corridor to Albany-Rensselaer, New York, and the route of the Lake Shore Limited east of there.

One train is expected to operate from New York to Pittsfield on Friday while its counterpart will return to New York on Sunday.

Trains will operate from Memorial Day through Columbus Day weekends with the fare set at $70 each way.

A marketing plan will be created by 1Berkshire, the county’s economic development and tourism council while the Massachusetts Department of Transportation needs to work out schedules and other logistical matters with Amtrak.

Also involved in the planning and implementation of the service will be the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority.

Galesburg Station Upgrades Planned

July 18, 2019

The city council in Galesburg, Illinois, has approved a a contract with a construction company to make improvements to the city’s Amtrak station.

Lockwood Excavating & Construction will be paid $74,200 to improve the south seating area of the station, located at 225 S. Seminary Street.

Funding for the project came from the a grant awarded by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Other improvements that are planned for the station include installation of a new sign, concrete work and a new shade canopy.

Galesburg is served by Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, California Zephyr, Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr.

Independence Day Affects Thruways in California

July 3, 2019
Independence day parades and celebrations will result in Amtrak Thruway bus service missing two stops in California on July 4 due to street closures.
Affected will be Claremont and Solvang, California.
In a service advisory, Amtrak said that in Claremont Thruway Buses 5402, 5410, 5412, 5415, 5417 and 5419 will be unable to access the Claremont stop but Buses 5413 and 5416 will continue to stop at Claremont during late night and early morning hours.
All Thruway service will run normally at the Ontario station located 25 minutes east of Claremont.

Lawmakers Seek Grant Spending Deadline Extension

June 29, 2019

Illinois lawmakers are asking the U.S. Department of Transportation to extend the deadline for use of a federal grant to establish Amtrak service between Chicago and the Quad Cities region of Illinois and Iowa.

The letter was sent by Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, as well as Representative Cheri Bustos.

It came on the heels of a commitment by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to revive the efforts to establish the service, which would terminate in Moline, Illinois.

A recent capital funding bill approved by Pritzker and the state legislature allocated $225 million in state funding for the project.

The federal grant was originally awarded in 2010. The City of Moline has since created a station facility for the train and the Illinois Department of Transportation has held discussions with host railroad Iowa Interstate about infrastructure upgrades needed for the service.

Derailment Disrupts Norfolk Service

June 27, 2019

Amtrak service to Norfolk, Virginia, was suspended after a Norfolk Southern coal train derailed on Tuesday morning.

One pair of Amtrak Northeast Regional Service (Nos. 93 and 94) that normally operated between Norfolk and Boston terminated and originated in Richmond, Virginia.

Another pair of trains (Nos. 84 and 95) were operating between Boston and Washington.

The derailment occurred in Chesapeake, Virginia. There were no injuries.

Resumption of Amtrak service hinged upon the derailment site being cleaned up and the tracks reopened.

Grant to Rebuild Bridge Used by Amtrak

June 16, 2019

A federal grant will be used to repair a bridge over the Mississippi River used by Amtrak trains.

The grant of $28.8 million was awarded by the Federal Railroad Administration to the

Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis to rebuild the MacArthur Bridge over the Mississippi River.

Completed in 1917, the bridge carries Amtrak’s Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle trains and it’s the primary rail crossing of the river at St. Louis.

The work will involve replacement of the main span girders on 677-foot structure.

The project cost of $57.3 million project will also be shared by the five Class I railroads serving St. Louis.

The grant will come from the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program.

The FRA had in 2017 awarded $7.1 million to replace the west approach to the bridge, the Broadway Street Truss.

Officials said the rebuilding will extend the life of the bridge to 2085 and bring the structure up to current standards.