Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

TIGER Grant Sought for SW Chief Route Upgrades

October 11, 2017

Officials in Colfax County in New Mexico are seeking a TIGER grant to upgrade the tracks used by Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

If awarded, it would be the third federal grant used to improve the tracks, which are owned by BNSF.

Four state departments of transportation have pledged $1 million each while Amtrak and BNSF have each pledged $3 million in matching funds. Some local governments have also pledged matching funds.

The $25 million project will rebuild tracks within New Mexico. Previous TIGER grants of $25 million and $12 million were used for track work in Kansas and Colorado.

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Southeast Amtrak Trains Still Suspended

September 13, 2017

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which at last report had been downgraded to a tropical depression, Amtrak service in the Southeast remains suspended

In a service advisory issued Tuesday night, Amtrak said the Silver Star and Silver Meteor between New York and Miami remain canceled through Sept.14.

The southbound Auto Train from Lorton, Virginia, to Sanford, Florida, is canceled through Sept. 14. The northbound Auto Train is suspended through Sept. 15.

The Palmetto from New York to Savannah, Georgia, is canceled through Sept. 13, while its northbound counterpart is suspended through Sept. 13.

 

Most Amtrak Service to SE Still Suspended

September 12, 2017

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Amtrak has continued to suspend service to the Southeast.

The New York-Miami Silver Star and Silver Meteor will remain sidelined through Wednesday.

The southbound Auto Train is canceled through today while its northbound counterpart is suspended through Wednesday.

The southbound Palmetto from New York to Savannah, Georgia, is canceled through today. The northbound Palmetto is  canceled through Wednesday.

The New York-New Orleans Crescent did not operate on Monday.

FRA Favors DC-Richmond Higher Speeds

September 12, 2017

The Federal Railroad Administration is calling for a higher-speed rail approach to upgrading the Washington- Richmond, Virginia, corridor.

In a draft environmental impact statement issued last week, the FRA said the preferred alternative is increasing maximum train speeds from 69 mph to 79 mph between Washington and Fredericksburg, Virginia, and to 90 mph between Fredericksburg and Richmond.

The report estimated this would cost $5 billion in 2025 dollars.

The FRA and Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation are accepting public comments on the report for the next 60 days.

Those comments will be incorporated into the final environmental impact statement.

The 123-mile Washington-Richmond is part of the larger 500-mile Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor that ends in Atlanta.

Sunset Ltd. Equipment Moved from NOLA

August 30, 2017

Amtrak has moved equipment assigned to the Sunset Limited out of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Harvey curtaining operation of the train.

An online report said that the equipment was moved to Chicago on the City of New Orleans. No. 58 had its usual consist plus the cars being ferried from New Orleans.

The Sunset equipment included P43DC Nos. 60, 68 and 4.

Also evacuated were Superline cars 39008, 32053, 37016, 33024, 31012, 34005, 34138, 31018, 34090, 33049, 38062, 32019 and 39017, and Viewliner baggage car 61063.

Sunset Ltd. Now Operating to San Antonio

August 29, 2017

In a service advisory issued Monday afternoon,  Amtrak said its New Orleans-Los Angeles Sunset Limited is now operating between San Antonio, Texas, and Los Angeles.

Flooding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey has resulted in track closures in Texas in Houston and vicinity.

No alternative transportation is being provided on the Sunset route between New Orleans and San Antonio.

The Texas Eagle is operating between Chicago and Fort Worth, Texas, with alternate transportation being provided between Fort Worth and San Antonio.

Amtrak Thruway Buses in central and southern Texas (Routes 6021 & 6022, 8721 & 8722, and 8821 & 8822) remain canceled and the Amtrak station in Houston is closed.

Chicago-Twin Cities Expansion Hearings Planned for September

July 21, 2017

The Minnesota Department of Transportation said this week that it has completed a “purpose and need” statement for a proposed expansion of rail passenger service between Chicago and the Twin Cities.

MnDOT is studying the addition of a second roundtrip Amtrak train between the two metropolitan regions to supplement the daily Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder.

The next step in the review will be a series of public hearings on Sept. 6 at St. Paul Union Depot in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and on Sept. 7 at the La Crosse County Administrative Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Those hearings are part of a process of evaluating alternatives for the project and the needed infrastructure upgrades.

The Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois departments of transportation are working with the Federal Railroad Administration, Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority, Minnesota High Speed Rail Commission and La Crosse Area Planning Committee on the initial planning effort for the proposed TCMC project.

Amtrak to Skip Buffalo Exchange Street on July 23-24

July 21, 2017

Amtrak’s New York-Toronto Maple Leaf and New York-Niagara Falls Empire Service trains will not stop at Buffalo Exchange Street Station on July 23 and 24 due to track work being performed by CSX.

Alternative transportation will be provided between the Exchange Street station and Buffalo-Depew station.

Affected are Trains 63, 64, 281, 283, 284 and 288 on July 23, and trains Trains 63, 64, 280, 281, 283 and 284 on July 24.

Downeaster Service Beat FY2017 Ridership Goal

July 17, 2017

Amtrak’s Downeaster service carried more than 511,000 passengers during fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30. That was an increase over 2016 ridership and 2017 ridership goals by 9 percent.

The route between Boston North Station and Brunswick, Maine, saw its heaviest ridership during July and September 2016 and during January, February, April, and June 2017.

The record for patronage was posted in 2014 when the Downeasters hosted 518,000 passenger trips.

The service began in December 2001 between Portland, Maine, and Boston and was extended to Brunswick in November 2012.

Flooding Cancels Vermonter

July 5, 2017

Flooding in Vermont last weekend forced cancellation of Amtrak’s Vermonter north of Windsor, Vermont.

The flooding was triggered by storms that brought more than 6 inches of rain on Saturday and damaged the roadbed of host railroad New England Central.

New reports said that the northbound No. 55  departed Bellows Falls, Vermont, with the warning to watch for flood damage and to operate at restricted speed.

Track inspectors found washouts and washovers on the train’s route at White River Junction between mileposts 15 and 18.

Amtrak annulled the train at Windsor and passengers were put on buses to complete their journey.

Passengers were still being bused as of early this week.