Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak Coast Starlight’

Track Work to Disrupt Coast Starlight, Pacific Surfliners

September 10, 2019

Scheduled track work between Los Angeles and Chatsworth, California, will disrupt operations of Amtrak’s Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner.

No. 11 will detour between Oakland and Los Angles on Sept. 12-15 while No. 14 will detour between Sept. 14-16.

Both trains are expected to incur delays of up to 60 minutes during the detours.

Both trains will miss the scheduled intermediate stops in San Jose, Salinas, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Simi Valley, Van Nuys and Burbank.

No alternative transportation is being provided to most of those stations with Amtrak saying passengers should use local travel services.

Bus 4011 will connect with Train 11 and operate between Oakland and San Luis Obispo, making intermediate station stops at San Jose, Salinas and Paso Robles.

The track work will affect Pacific Surfliner operations as follows:

Between Sept. 14 and 16 Train 759 will operate as Bus 4859 from Los Angeles to Chatsworth, as Train 759 from Chatsworth to Goleta. Regular connecting bus service will run north from Santa Barbara.

Train 763 will operate as a train from San Diego to Los Angeles, as Bus 4863 from Los Angeles to Chatsworth and as Train 1763 from Chatsworth to San Luis Obispo. Regular connecting bus service will run north from San Luis Obispo.

Train 767 will operate as a train from San Diego to Los Angeles, as Bus 4867 from Los Angeles to Chatsworth, Train 3767 from Chatsworth to Goleta. Regular connecting bus service will run north from Santa Barbara.

Train 777 will operate as a train from San Diego to Los Angeles, as Bus 4877 from Los Angeles to Chatsworth and as Train 1777 from Chatsworth to San Luis Obispo. Regular connecting bus service will run north from San Luis Obispo.

Train 785 will operate as a train from San Diego to Los Angeles, as Bus 4885 Los Angeles to Chatsworth and as Train 1785 from Chatsworth to Goleta. Regular connecting bus service will run north from Santa Barbara.

Trains 1761 will operate as a train from San Diego to Los Angeles, as Bus 4861 from Los Angeles to Chatsworth and as Train 3561 from Chatsworth to Goleta. Regular connecting bus service will run north from Santa Barbara.

Train 1767 will operate as a train from San Diego to Los Angeles, as Bus 4867 from Los Angeles to Chatsworth and as Train 3767 from Chatsworth to Goleta. Regular connecting bus service will run north from Santa Barbara.

No alternate transportation will be provided to missed stations Glendale, Burbank or Van Nuys.

Trains beginning with 35 and 37, buses beginning with 48 and 17 series trains north of Chatsworth, will depart all stations later than the normal train schedule.

Between Sept. 14 to 16 Train 768 will operate as a train from Los Angeles to San Diego, as Bus 4868 from Chatsworth to Los Angeles and as Train 1768 from Goleta to Chatsworth. Regular connecting bus service from the north will connect at Santa Barbara.

Train 774 will operate as a train from Los Angeles to San Diego, as Bus 4874 from Chatsworth to Los Angeles and as Train 1774 from San Luis Obispo to Chatsworth. Regular connecting bus service from the north will connect at Santa Barbara.

Train 782 will operate as a train from Los Angeles to San Diego, as Bus 4882 from Chatsworth to Los Angeles and as Train 1782 from Goleta to Chatsworth. Regular connecting bus service from the north will connect at Santa Barbara.

Train 792 will operate as a train from Los Angeles to San Diego, as Bus 4892 from Chatsworth to Los Angeles and as Train 1792 from Goleta to Chatsworth. Regular connecting bus service from the north will connect at Santa Barbara.

Train 796 will operate as a train from Los Angeles to San Diego, as Bus 4896 from Chatsworth to Los Angeles and as Train 1796 from San Luis Obispo to Chatsworth. Regular connecting bus service from the north will connect at San Luis Obispo.

No alternate transportation will be provided to missed stations Van Nuys, Burbank or Glendale.

Southbound trains beginning with 17 will depart all stations on the normal train schedule. Chatsworth to Los Angeles buses beginning with 48, will depart after the train arrives.

House Committee Chair Holds Round Table Event to Reiterate His Support for Amtrak’s National Network

August 31, 2019

An Oregon congressman held a round table event in his home state this past week to drum up support for Amtrak’s long-distance trains.

Peter DeFazio, the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, reiterated at the event in Eugene, Oregon, his commitment to oppose efforts by the Trump administration to end funding for Amtrak’s national network.

Participants in the event included representatives of Union Pacific, Amtrak, the University of Oregon, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the governor’s office, and two state representatives.

Eugene is served by the state-funded Cascades Service, but also is a stop for the Seattle-Los Angeles Coast Starlight.

“I now chair the transportation committee,” DeFrazio said. “I will have to OK that. I will not be OK’ing the president killing the Coast Starlight.”

Man Arrested For Making Threats Aboard Coast Starlight

August 7, 2019

A California man was arrested on Sunday in Oregon aboard Amtrak’s Coast Starlight after he reportedly made unusual gestures, statements about weapons and threats to passengers and train operating personnel.

The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office said Mason Lira, 25, of Fresno, California, was charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with public transportation.

The Seattle-bound train was delayed for nearly five hours after making an unscheduled stop west of Highway 58 at Odel Lake near Shelter Cove.

Authorities said Amtrak contacted police because Lira was threatening to harm himself and others.

No weapons were found on Lira or his belongings and no injuries were reported.

The train had 272 passengers and 15 crew members aboard.

 

Amtrak Will Match Oregon Grant Bid Effort

August 2, 2019

Amtrak will match a federal grant bid being made by the Oregon Department of Transportation that will be used to improve tracks used by Cascades and Coast Starlight trains.

The passenger carrier will chip in $750,000 toward the project that seeks to reduce delays in the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor.

Oregon’s share would be $1.6 million of the $7.83 million project.
If the $5 million federal grant is awarded it will be used to rebuild the out of service Oregon City industrial track located between Portland and Salem, Oregon. It will create a 5,000-foot siding.

The first phase of the project would include laying new track and ties, and equipping both ends with power-operated switches and switch heaters.
The second phase will involve laying additional track on an adjacent three-mile section between Oregon City and an existing siding to the south.
This will result in five miles of new double-track section between Portland and Salem.

The track in question is located on a seven-mile stretch of Union Pacific’s Brooklyn Subdivision.

ODOT is seeking a U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grants to help fund the work.

Oregon Rail and Public Transit Division Rail Planner Bob Melbo said that under current operations if an Amtrak train is late it must wait at existing passing tracks at Clackamas to the north or Coalca to the south. If a UP freight is already occupying one of those sidings that could further exacerbate the delay.

Melbo says the industrial track was never used as a passing track when Southern Pacific installed centralized traffic control on the line in the 1950s, but converting it to a siding is more cost effective than building a siding elsewhere.

A decision on the grant application is expected later this year.

Oregon Thruway Stop Dropped

May 30, 2019

Effective June 1 the Amtrak High Desert POINT Thruway bus will no longer stop at the Bend River House in Oregon.

In a service advisory Amtrak said buses will continue to stop at the Bend Hawthorne Station, which is 1.7 miles from Bend River House. All traffic in and out of Bend will be at the intermodal facility located at 344 Hawthorne Avenue.

Buses 6111, 6114, 6211 and 6214 will continue to stop at Redmond, Bend (Hawthorne Avenue), Sun River, LaPine and Chemult to connect with the Coast Starlight.

Private Car Trip Celebrates Golden Spike Anniversary

May 8, 2019

In what its organizers have described as likely the last of its kind, four private rail cars are traveling on Amtrak this week as part of the 150th anniversary of the driving of the golden spike in Utah to complete the nation’s first transcontinental railroad.

The cars are Berlin, built by Pullman Standard in 1956 for the Union Pacific; Pacific Union; Cimarron River, built in 1948 as a Pullman sleeping car; and the Milwaukee Super Dome.

Berlin, Pacific Union and Cimarron River are all sleepers.

The cars departed Chicago on May 2 on the Southwest Chief. They transferred in Los Angeles to the Coast Starlight and later transferred to the California Zephyr.

The trip is being sponsored by Altiplano Rail and was marketed as the Golden Spike Rail Tour.

A spokesman for Altiplano Rail told Trains magazine that due to increased Amtrak fees and restrictions on operations of private rail cars “this will likely be one of the last trips we operate.”

Michigan Group Buys Pacific Parlor Cars

March 22, 2019

A Michigan museum and excursion operator has acquired two passenger cars once used as first-class lounges on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight.

Trains magazine reported this week that the Steam Railroading Institute of Owosso, Michigan, bought the former Pacific Parlour Cars, which had been built by Budd in 1956 for the Santa Fe as Hi-Level lounges.

SRI plans to use the car on excursion trains, including its annual North Pole Express holiday trips pulled by 2-8-4 No. 1225, a former Pere Marquette Berkshire-type locomotive.

The cars were reported to be located at Amtrak’s Beech Grove shops near Indianapolis, but are expected to be ferried to Michigan soon.

Trains said that SRI officials would not discuss how much the cars cost other than to say the price tag was fairly high.

SRI officials expect to recoup its investment through ticket sales of Christmas season trips.

The cars are also expected to be assigned to fall foliage specials operating on State of Michigan-own track between Mount Pleasant and Cadillac in early October.

Few changes to the interiors of the cars are expected to be made for now, but officials said the lower-level theater seating might be replaced by washrooms, wheelchair accommodations, coach seating or other uses.

The upper lounge and dining seating upstairs will be used to offer catered meal service.

Van Nuys Station to be Closed

March 15, 2019

Scheduled track work will result in the temporary closing of the Amtrak station in Van Nuys, California, on April 13

The change affects passengers boarding or disembarking from Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight trains.

Passengers are being advised to instead board or disembark at Los Angeles. Hollywood Burbank Airport or Chatsworth

Amtrak said minimal delays are expected during the track work.

Coast Starlight to Resume Operating Full Route

March 3, 2019

The Coast Starlight will resume operating over its full route starting with trains departing Los Angeles and Seattle today (March 3).

The Starlight has been operating only between Los Angeles and Sacramento, California, after host railroad Union Pacific closed the train’s route in Oregon due to heavy snow and fallen trees.

The southbound Starlight had become stranded between Sunday, Feb. 24 and Tuesday, Feb. 26 near Oakridge, Oregon.

Passengers were finally taken back to Eugene, Oregon, after UP crew plowed the rails.

Also affected was Amtrak’s Cascades Service between Portland and Eugene, but it resumed normal operation last Thursday.

Fallen Trees Strand Coast Starlight 3 Days

February 27, 2019

Fallen trees created a chain of events that led to an ordeal for Coast Starlight passengers last weekend that lasted for three days.

The southbound Coast Starlight was halted near Oakridge, Oregon, after trees fell on Union Pacific rails in southern Oregon.

That occurred on Sunday but it wasn’t until Tuesday that the passengers were moved to Eugene with Union Pacific ES44AC No. 5478 pulling the train there.

The lead locomotive of the Starlight struck a tree and became disabled at about 6:19 p.m on Sunday.

Closed highways precluded evacuating the stranded passengers, but the train continued to have head end power for lights and heat for the 184 passengers.

Heavy snow also had to be plowed from nine miles of track before the Starlight could be moved back to Eugene.

Amtrak said during the time the Starlight was stranded it had ample food and beverages and that passengers received complimentary meals.

It is Amtrak’s practice to stock trains with an emergency food supply in the event of a situation such as this.

However, passengers who contacted news media organizations via cell phone reported that the food had run out by Tuesday morning.

The UP rescue locomotive had arrived on Monday night.

“We sincerely regret the extended delay customers on the southbound Coast Starlight experienced due to extreme weather issues while traveling with Amtrak,” said Amtrak Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Scot Naparstek in a statement to Trains magazine.

“With more than a foot of heavy snow and numerous trees blocking the track, we made every decision in the best interest of the safety of our customers during the unfortunate sequence of events.

“With local power outages and blocked roads, it was decided the safest place for our customers was to remain on the train where we were able to provide food, heat, electricity and toilets.”

Naparstek said Amtrak will offer the stranded passengers refunds “and other compensation as appropriate.”

In the meantime, the Coast Starlight that left Los Angeles on Sunday was held at Dunsmuir, California.

Amtrak later sent that train back to Los Angeles with its passengers still on board. It reached Los Angeles at 4:45 a.m. on Tuesday.

The scheduled northbound departure of the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles was cancelled.

Some passengers affected by the service disruption were rebooked on San Joaquins, Pacific Surfliners, Capitols, or Thruway buses.

On Tuesday and Wednesday the Starlight was to operate between Los Angeles and Sacramento, California.

Amtrak Cascades trains did not operate between Portland and Eugene due to a fire on a BNSF bridge over the Columbia River on Tuesday.