Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak Coast Starlight’

Wildfires Disrupt California Service

December 12, 2017

Wildfires in California led Amtrak service to suspend service between Oxnard and San Luis Obispo. Pacific Surfliner trains are operating between Oxnard and San Diego. The Coast Starlight is operating between Seattle and Emeryville, California. Alternate transportation will be provided.

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Pacific Parlour Cars Being Overhauled

December 5, 2017

Amtrak is overhauling its fleet of Pacific Parlour Cars at its Beech Grove shops with many of the former Santa Fe cars being out of service between Jan. 8 and March 14, 2018.

The cars are assigned to the Los Angeles-Seattle Coast Starlight and used as a lounge for sleeping car passengers.

An attendant in the car usually serves as a bartender, provides lunch and dinner, and hosts a wine and cheese tasting each afternoon.

Amtrak said that until the rebuild is completed, Pacific Parlour Car service will only be provided northbound out of Los Angeles on Thursdays and Fridays, and southbound from Seattle on Saturdays and Sundays.

On other days, sleeping car passengers desiring lounge car service will be directed to the train’s Sightseer Lounge, which is available to all passengers.

During the winter travel season, the Coast Starlight typically operates with a transition sleeping/dorm car, two sleepers,  dining car, Sightseer lounge and two to three coaches.

Changes Coming to I-5 Rail Corridor

November 10, 2017

Amtrak will begin using a new station in Tacoma, Washington, that is located in a former Milwaukee Road freight house.

It is one of many changes in the Interstate 5 corridor between Seattle and Portland, Oregon, including the $181.2 million dollar Point Defiance Bypass Route south of Tacoma.

The latter includes 14.5 miles of upgraded tracks between Tacoma and Nisqually, Washington, where the bypass will rejoin the mainline to Portland.

A portion of the upgraded route has its original alignment on former Northern Pacific rails south of the Tacoma Amtrak depot where the tracks climb a 2.85-percent grade to South Tacoma.

Passenger trains are being moved away from the more scenic route along Puget Sound due to freight congestion, tight curvature and a single-track tunnel under Point Defiance. The track was also subject to mudslides.

The new route is also expected to be 10 minutes faster or Amtrak.

Once an additional daily Cascades round-trip in the morning and the evening between Seattle and Portland is launched, Amtrak will have 14 trains in the corridor, including the Seattle-Los Angeles Coast Starlight.

There will be 16 Sounder commuter trains north of Lakewood, Washington, is 16 daily trains which will result in 30 daily passenger trains on the new single track line. The new route is slated to reduce Amtrak passenger times by 10 minutes.

UP Track Work to Disrupt Coast Starlight in Oregon, California; Will Also Affect Select Corridor Trains

October 24, 2017

Union Pacific track work is affecting Amtrak’s Coast Starlight and other western corridor trains in late October and early November.

In California, track work being performed from 10:30 p.m. on Oct.  25 through 10:30 a.m. on Oct.  27 will affect Pacific Surfliner service and the Coast Starlight as follows.

On Oct.  25 Train 785 will operate between San Diego and Oxnard. Bus service will be provided from Oxnard to Santa Barbara and Goleta. Bus service will not be provided at Ventura and Carpinteria.

On 26, Pacific Surfliner trains will operate on the following schedules. These trains will not stop at Ventura and Carpinteria, and bus service will not be provided.

Northbound Nos. 761, 769 and 785 will operate between San Diego and Oxnard. Bus service will be provided from Oxnard to Santa Barbara and Goleta.

Northbound Nos. 763 and 777 will operate between San Diego and Oxnard only. Bus service will be provided between Oxnard and Santa Barbara. Bus service will also be provided to Goleta for Train 777 passengers only.

Northbound Nos. 2763 and 2777 will operate between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

Southbound Nos. 768, 782 and 792 will originate at Oxnard. Passengers boarding in Goleta and Santa Barbara will be provided bus service to Oxnard, where they will board their respective trains.

Southbound Nos. 2774 and 2796 will operate between San Louis Obispo and Santa Barbara. Bus service will be provided between Santa Barbara and Oxnard.

Southbound Nos. 774 and 796 will operate between Oxnard and San Diego only.

The Coast Starlight will detour between Oakland and Los Angeles and will not make stops at San Jose, Salinas, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Simi Valley, Van Nuys and Burbank. Passengers traveling to those destinations are directed to use local travel services.

In Oregon, track work between Klamath Falls and Portland will affect Cascades Service Nos. 503, 505, 506, 508 and Coast Starlight No. 14 as follows:

Train 503 on Nov. 1 through Nov. 8 is canceled between Portland and Eugene. Bus service will be provided at all stations on the route.

Train 508 on Nov. 1 through Nov. 3 will operate between Portland and Seattle only. Bus service will be provided to and from Eugene, Albany, Salem and Oregon City and will connect to Train 508 at Portland.

Train No. 508 will operate as normal on Nov.  4 and 5.

Trains 505 and 506 are canceled between Portland and Eugene will be cancelled. Bus service will be provided at all stations on the route.

Train  will operate between Portland and Seattle only. Bus service will be provided to and from Eugene, Albany, Salem and Oregon City to connect to Train 506 at Portland.

On Nov. 1 through Nov. 8 the northbound Coast Starlight will wait at Eugene up to two hours and 15 minutes.

Passengers connecting from Train 14 to Empire Builder No. 28 at Portland, you will get off the train at Eugene, where bus service will be provided to Portland to board No. 28.

Amtrak to Build New Engine Facility in Seattle

June 15, 2017

Amtrak will build a $28 million locomotive service facility in Seattle to serve two long-distance trains and the state-funded Cascades service.

Construction is expected to begin this month and be completed in two years. The first step will be demolition of the site’s existing buildings, utilities, tracks and other structures.

Workers will then construct a new 31,000-square-foot locomotive shop that will have a new 125-ton drop table being funded by the Washington State Department of Transportation and a 55-ton overhead bridge crane.

Seattle is the western terminus of the Empire Builder from Chicago and the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles. The Cascades trains operate to Portland and Eugene, Oregon; and to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Coast Starlight Disrupted until Mid-May

May 2, 2017

Amtrak has announced that the Coast Starlight will not operate between Sacramento, California, and Seattle through mid-May due to bridge damage on its Union Pacific Railroad route.

Nos. 11 and 14 will run on their normal schedule between Los Angeles and Sacramento, but Pacific Parlour Car service will not be available.

Coast Starlight passengers traveling between Seattle and Eugene are being referred to Cascades trains between those points.

Likewise, Coast Starlight customers traveling between Seattle and Eugene who are connecting to or from the Empire Builder in Seattle or Portland will be re-accommodated aboard the Amtrak Cascades.

Passengers ticketed for travel to or from Chico, Redding, Dunsmuir, California; or Klamath Falls and Chemult, Oregon should contact Amtrak at 800-USA-RAIL for further information and options, as there is no service at these cities.

During the duration of the service disruption, Redmond Airport-Cheult, Oregon, Thruway bus service Nos. 6111 and 6211 are suspended.

Thruway buses 6114 and 6214 will stop at Klamath Falls and Chemult, but there will not be a train connection in Klamath Falls.

The Coast Starlight service disruption was triggered by a UP freight train derailment on April 25 that damaged a bridge near Redding, California.

Amtrak said in a service advisory that UP is repairing the bridge and will restore service.

Coast Starlight Route Temporarily Severed

April 28, 2017

Operations of Amtrak’s Coast Starlight have been disrupted following a derailment of a Union Pacific freight train in the Sacramento River Canyon this week.

UP officials say that it will take up to a month to repair the damage and reopen the route.

The Seattle-Los Angeles Amtrak train continues to operate between Los Angeles and Sacramento, but has been canceled for now between Portland and Sacramento.

The freight train derailment occurred about 12 miles south of Dunsmuir, California, on a bridge.

UP is rerouting trains from Roseville, California, and Los Angeles as far east as Salt Lake City to reach Portland via Pocatello, Idaho.

Higher-priority cargo is being routed on the Feather River Canyon east from Roseville to Keddie, California, and then via the BNSF Inside Gateway route to Klamath Falls, Oregon.

What Made the Coast Starlight Unique

March 10, 2017

In the Superliner era of Amtrak, the western long distant trains have all looked alike and offered pretty much the same service.

Over the years there have been a few tweaks, such as varying menu fare in the dining car by route, but otherwise there are no significant differences among the trains.

One exception has been the Los Angeles-Seattle Coast Starlight. During the 1990s a product line manager for Amtrak had former Santa Fe cars remodeled into the Pacific Parlour Cars that became the train’s signature service for sleeper class passengers.

In June 1999 I was at the Amtrak station in Sacramento, California, waiting for a excursion train to arrive that was being operated for members of the National Railway Historical Society. NRHS was holding its annual convention in Sacramento.

But the first order of business was the arrival of the southbound Coast Starlight. A few of us were standing near a doorway to the Pacific Parloir Car and we asked an Amtrak employee if we could go inside and take a look.

Sacramento is a service stop for Nos. 11 and 14 so we knew we had time. “Sure, come on up,” was the response.

So I got a glimpse inside something that made the Coast Starlight unique.

Amtrak Back on Track in the Northwest

February 11, 2017

Amtrak is expecting to restore service today in Washington State that was disrupted by landslides.

Amtrak logoBNSF, which hosts Amtrak trains serving Seattle and Portland, Oregon, had declared a 48-hour moratorium on rail traffic after the landslides occurred on Thursday.

Affected with the Cascades trains, the Empire Builder and the Coast Starlight.

The Cascades were canceled between Seattle and Portland, but operated north of Everett, Washington, and south of Portland.

Amtrak was providing alternative transportation between Seattle and Everett, but not between Seattle and Portland.

In a related development, BNSF has reopened its Hi Line used by the Empire Builder through Glacier National Park in Montana. That route was closed by avalanches twice this past week.

The line was initially closed on Sunday at Marias Pass, but reopened on Tuesday. Two days later the route was closed again due to avalanches blocking the tracks near Essex, Montana.

Avalanches Halt Empire Builder Again

February 10, 2017

Shortly after it was reopened, the route of Amtrak’s Empire Builder was closed again.

BNSF said that avalanches in Glacier National park closed its Hi Line near Essex.

Amtrak Empire BuilderThe closure came less than 48 hours after the railroad had reopened the line following avalanches that blocks the tracks at Marias Pass.

Railroad officials said warmer temperatures were a factor in causing avalanches because they were creating layers of unstable snow.

Thursday’s westbound Empire Builder was held overnight at St. Paul Union Depot and passengers bound for points between St. Paul and Minot, North Dakota, were taken to their destination buy bus.

Passengers going beyond Minot were to remain on the train. Amtrak said those passengers will be given a refund and taken back to Chicago on Friday.

Two other sections of the Chicago-Seattle/Portland train were to spend the night Thursday in Montana. This includes an eastbound and a westbound section.

Landslides in Washington State resulted in the cancellation of Amtrak’s Cascades service between Seattle and Portland until Saturday.

Also canceled is the Seattle-Los Angeles Coast Starlight.