Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak eastern corridor trains’

Third Piedmont to Begin April 5

March 5, 2021

A third Piedmont Service roundtrip will begin operating between Charlotte and Raleigh on April. 5.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation Rail Division said Train 77 will depart Raleigh at 3 p.m., arriving at Charlotte at 6:10 p.m.

Train No. 78 will depart Charlotte at 7 p.m. and arriving in Raleigh at 10:11 p.m.

Salisbury Station to Get Second Boarding Platform

March 5, 2021

A second boarding platform will be built at the Amtrak station in Salisbury, North Carolina.

The city council of Salisbury approved an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the $19.75 million project.

The cost includes right-of –way acquisition to enable expanded freight and passenger service at the station location.

Most of the funding will come from the state with the city chipping in $780,000.

Work is expected to be finished in 2024. Salisbury is served by the Crescent, Piedmont Service and the Carolinian.

Va. Legislators OK Funding for Amtrak Expansion Project

March 5, 2021

Virginia legislators have approved a budget that includes $83.5 million to extend Amtrak service to the New River Valley and the Blacksburg-Christiansburg area.

The figure is a compromise between the $50 million originally approved by the House of Delegates and $137 million approved by the Senate.

As part of the project, a study will be conducted to consider extending Amtrak service to Bristol on the Virginia-Tennessee border.

The state is negotiating with Norfolk Southern on a contract to host the train.

Fido, Fluffy Can Ride Acela on Weekdays

March 5, 2021

Pets are being allowed to travel on more Amtrak Acela trains.

The passenger carrier said dogs and cats weighing up to 20 pounds are being allowed aboard weekday Acela trains.

Passengers bringing a pet aboard must pay $26 for the pet or 800 Amtrak Guest Rewards points.

Pets had been allowed only on weekend Acela trips. Eight pet spaces are now available per train trip.

However, pets will not be allowed in first class or café cars. In a news release, Amtrak said more than 174,000 pets have traveled with their human companions since the pet program began in October 2015.

Virginia Lawmakers OK New Passenger Agency

February 26, 2021

Virginia lawmakers have approved creation of a passenger rail authority that would promote extending Amtrak service to the New River Valley region of the state.

The new service would be achieved by extending an existing Amtrak Northeast Regional train to Christiansburg, Virginia.

The new passenger authority would include government bodies and universities that are expected to share the cost of building and maintaining a station in Christiansburg.

Virginia legislators are still negotiating the funding for the new service.

Gov. Ralph Northam is seeking $50 million for rail passenger service, which is what the House of Delegates has approved. The Virginia Senate has approved $137 million.

Officials expect the cost of starting the service could reach $200 million.

New Portland Station Site Sought, Downeastern Service to Expand by Late May

February 26, 2021

Transportation officials in Maine are searching for a site for a new station to serve Amtrak’s Downeaster trains.

The current station is off the main line used by the trains and reaching it adds 15 minutes to each trip.

Nate Moulton, director of freight and passenger rail services for the Maine Department of Transportation, said the agency has “come to a point where the department is willing to pass the baton on to [the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority] to work on whether we can get a facility located on the main line.”

An MDOT study concludes the best location would be on St. John Street between Congress Street and the entrance to the Veterans Memorial Bridge. 

Patricia Quinn, executive director of the authority, said quick action is needed, as other potential sites have already been developed.

In a related development, Quinn said her agency is looking to restore a fifth Downeaster round trip to Boston by late May.

The additional service was called for in a recently survey conducted by MDOT.

Virginia Governor Seeks $50M for New Amtrak Service

February 18, 2021

A proposal by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam for a $50 million one-time general fund allocation for intercity passenger-rail service has heartened residents of the New River Valley region of the state.

Northam wants to use the funding to establish a rail passenger corridor along U.S. Route 29 and Interstate 81.

The proposal would add a second daily round trip to Roanoke and provide new service to the New River Valley.

If adopted, the plan would extend the current and new Roanoke service to the New River Valley.

Virginia transportation officials say they are negotiating with host railroad Norfolk Southern for the additional service.

The state said the existing Amtrak service to Roanoke has been “very successful,” with ridership increasing from its inception in 2009 to more than 220,000 riders in 2019.

The currentl single daily roundtrip between Washington and Roanoke is covering all of its operating costs through ticket revenue.

A feasibility study found the New River Valley has a population of more than 180,000, including more than 40,000 university students.

Ridership for intercity rail passenger service to the region was projected to draw 80,000 riders.

Rail passenger advocates are seeking to form the New River Valley Passenger Rail Authority to oversee the service.

“Clearly this is a step forward because having an authority for example will allow us to do certain things that we can’t otherwise do,” said advocate Larry Hincker about the governor’s funding request.

The authority would bring the local governments together under a state-recognized umbrella.

Maine Legislatures Eye Bangor Extension of Downeasters

February 18, 2021

A group of Maine lawmakers are seeking funding of a feasibility study to examine extending rail passenger service to Bangor.

The study will review the cost of infrastructure improvements, station locations, and projected ridership if Amtrak’s Downeaster service is extended northeast from Brunswick, the current northern terminus of the route.

Similar study funding proposals have failed, most recently in 2017.

State Sen. Joe Baldacci, one of the leaders of the latest effort, believes the time may be right to try again because the U.S. Department of Transportation has a rail-friendly top administrator in Pete Buttigieg.

New York Express in Lancaster

February 3, 2021

The New York Express is makings its station stop in Lancaster, Pennsylvania July 2, 1995. Although known as Train No. 644, today this train is simply known as Keystone Service.

Service Modifications Continue Today

February 3, 2021

Due to the effects of a winter storm, Amtrak extended service modifications for a third day into Feb. 3.

In a service advisory Amtrak said that the modifications affected Acela service between Boston and Washington; Northeast Regional Service between Boston and Virginia via Washington; and Keystone Service between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, via Philadelphia.

The advisory said passengers affected by the service disruptions were being accommodated on other trains with similar departure times or operating on another day.

Amtrak will waive additional charges for passengers looking to change their reservation during the modified schedule.