Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak eastern long-distance trains’

Amtrak Resumes Serving Springfield Union Station

June 13, 2019

Amtrak has resumed using the Union Station in Springfield, Massachusetts, following the completion of a station renovation project.

In a news release, Amtrak said that features of the station include passenger information display boards, train announcements and a customer service desk that is staffed from 5 a.m. to noon daily.

The depot also serves the CTrail New Haven-Hartford-Springfield line and various bus routes.’

Springfield is served by Amtrak’s Northeast Regional trains, the Lake Shore Limited and the Vermonter.

Amtrak had been using a temporary facility during the station upgrade project.

Daylight in Cleveland for No. 30

June 10, 2019

Even the standards of the usual lateness of Amtrak’s Capitol Limited, for No. 30 to see Cleveland in daylight would take a event of unusual magnitude.

No. 30 is scheduled into Cleveland at 1:45 a.m. Even if the train is one or two hours late it will still see Northeast Ohio in darkness.

But last week one of those unusual occurrences unfolded when a Norfolk Southern intermodal train derailed in Swanton, Ohio, after striking a vehicle on the tracks.

Passengers for the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited rode school buses between Bryan and Toledo, Ohio, to bypass the wreck sight.

The equipment that had arrived in Toledo as No. 29 was turned to become No. 30.

It is shown above passing through Olmsted Falls, Ohio at 2:32 p.m., more than 12 hours after it should have been by here.

On the point is P40DC No. 816. Normally, the long-distance trains through here are assigned P42DC locomotives.

City, County at Odds Over Elyria Train Station

June 7, 2019

The city council in Elyria, Ohio, and the Lorain County Commissioners are at loggerheads over a stalled project to move the Amtrak stop in the city to a former New York Central station.

Now known as the Lorain County Transportation and Community Center, the efforts to make it an Amtrak station date back five years.

City and county officials disagree over why that effort has halted.

Mayor Holly Brinda blames county officials, saying they’ve refused to meet with city and state officials to discuss the project.

However, commissioner Matt Lundy blames Norfolk Southern, saying it has made a number of demands in return for its cooperation.

Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited use NS tracks through Elyria. Both trains stop at an Amtrak-built shelter

“I think it is important for city council and the citizens of Elyria to understand that the city of Elyria is not the reason this project is not moving forward at this time,” Brinda said during a council meeting this week. “On the contrary, the city has gone out of its way to offer assistance, and we are still hopeful the project can be saved.”

She contended that the Lorain County commissioners also “haven’t embraced the help” the city has offered including indemnifying the county against liability.

Lundy said the county is “committed to trying to make the project work.”

However, he said NS wants an open indemnification for an endless period of time.

“That’s something we can’t do. If, God forbid, something should go wrong, then obviously the county would be open to potential litigation and liability,” he said.

Lundy said the county tried to negotiate with NS but is legally forbidden from exposing the county and taxpayers to liability.

Brinda called that false issue, saying she has spoken with the Ohio Rail Development Commission about acting as a neutral third party to assess the station plan and offer assistance.

But that can’t happen without the cooperation of the county she said.

She also said NS said two years ago it was willing to work through the liability issues.

Elyria Law Director Scott Serazin said officials in Toledo and Sandusky have found ways to address the liability issues.

Lundy, though, said the situation in Elryia differs from projects in Sandusky and Toledo.

In Elyria the project design includes a skywalk above the tracks so that passengers would have access to both tracks at the station site.

Lundy said the skywalk is a large liability issue for safety over the tracks, which will have to remain active during construction.

Serazin suggested that the Elyria Community Improvement Corporation could purchase insurance coverage to cover any liability created by the project.

The city has $250,000 available that it said could be spent on the station project while Lorain County has Federal Transit Administration funds, more than $3.6 million in grants and a $2.9 million commitment from Amtrak.

Brinda suggested taking out a “co-insurance” policy to be funded by the city and the county.

Lundy acknowledged that there have been numerous emails, phone calls and letter exchanged about the project and its legal issues. “We have had endless discussions with Amtrak and Norfolk Southern and legally, we can’t do it,” he said.

Brinda and Lundy met last year to discuss the issues but neither could recall when that meeting occurred.

Lundy also contends that Amtrak has been unwilling to make a long-term commitment to serving Elyria.

It has offered a five-year commitment balked at the county’s request for a 25- or 30-year commitment.

“We have been at this for a long time, and it’s not something we’ve taken lightly,” Lundy said. “We looked at every angle possible. We have a responsibility to the taxpayers to not expose the county and the taxpayers to an open liability potential unless we can get the railroad to agree to limited liability . . . it’s a misrepresentation that we didn’t try to make it work.”

Track Work Affects Woburn Service

June 3, 2019

Track work being undertaken by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will result in certain Downeaster trains not stopping at Woburn, Massachusetts, on Saturdays and Sundays through June 23.

Southbound Trains 690, 692, 694, 696 and 698 and northbound Trains 691, 693, 695, 697 and 699/1689 will detour between Boston North Station and Haverhill and skip their schedules stops at Woburn.

Alternate transportation will not be provided to or from Woburn.

Track Work Affects Palmetto Operations

June 2, 2019

CSX track work will lead to an adjustment of the schedules of the northbound Palmetto between Savannah, Georgia, and Florence, South Carolina, for the period June 3-6.

No. 90 will depart from Savannah at 6 a.m., which is 2 hours and 20 minutes earlier than the current schedule.

The train will operate on an earlier schedule to Florence where it will wait for its normal scheduled departure of 11:39 a.m.

FRA Suspends Study of New Petersburg Station

May 28, 2019

Efforts to create a new Amtrak station in Petersburg, Virginia, have stalled after the Federal Federal Railroad Administration suspended work on an environmental assessment of the project.

In a letter sent to the Tri-Cities Metropolitan Planning Organization, the FRA did not explain why work on the study had been suspended, but an FRA spokesman later said the agency would be willing to consider the project at an unspecified later date.

“We have not abandoned plans to evaluate the feasibility of building a new station, and will continue to discuss the next steps with the Tri-Cities MPO,” the FRA spokesman said in a statement.

Amtrak currently serves Petersburg at a station located in Ettrick. That facility was one of three locations under consideration for a new station.

The other locations are the CSX Collier Yard in Petersburg and a former department store in Colonial Heights.

Studies of a new station began five years ago and the FRA had indicated last year that it favored the Colonial Heights location, a former Nichols Department Store because of its proximity to Interstate 95.

Officials have said the station in Ettrick is 74 years old and is located near Virginia State University.

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation had also favored revitalizing the Ettrick station.

Expressing disappointment in the FRA decision, David Hyder, transportation director of the Crater Planning District Commission, said he would welcome the opportunity to revive the new station study.

Petersburg is served by Amtrak’s Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Carolinian and Palmetto.

Bound for Miami

May 19, 2019

Amtrak’s Silver Meteor rushes past the Newark Liberty Airport station without even slowing down.

No. 97 is bound for Miami and assuming it doesn’t lose any significant time en route will be halting at its destination in more than 24 hours.

CSX Track Work Leads to Boston LSL Suspension

May 18, 2019

Track work being performed by CSX will result in the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited being replaced with a charter bus on select dates between May 19 and Aug. 1.

The track work is being done between Sundays and Thursdays. On the affected dates, passengers will be transported by bus between Boston and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

The dates involved are May 19-23, 27-30; June 2-6, 9-13, 16-20, 23-27, 30; July 1-3, 7-11, 14-18, 21-25, 28; and Aug. 1.

Passengers holding tickets on Train 448 for travel beyond Albany, will disembark at the Albany-Rensselaer station and board a bus for stations in Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester and Boston (South Station), Massachusetts on the above dates.

Boarding passengers at these stations will board a bus at the station for Trains 448 and 449.

No alternative transportation is being provided to Framingham, Massachusetts, or to Boston Back Bay Station, both scheduled stops for Nos. 448 and 449.

In a service advisory Amtrak said passengers traveling to or from Back Bay station should take an MBTA or Amtrak commuter train between Boston South Station and Back Bay.

Trains 448 and 449 will operate normally on May 26 (Memorial Day) and July 4 (Independence Day) when the track work will be on a holiday hiatus.

Passengers ticketed for No. 449 from Boston South Station should go to the Amtrak Information Desk for instructions on boarding the buses.

Passengers at Worcester will board the bus at the main entrance in front of the station and not at the bus terminal.

Amtrak said the Boston section will not have business class or sleeping car service during this time.

Track Work to Affect Empire Corridor Trains

April 13, 2019

Track work being undertaken by Metro North will result in schedule changes for Amtrak trains using the Empire Corridor.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said Trains 64, 252, 254, 260, 280, 284 and 290 will arrive between three to five minutes later into New York. Train No. 48 will arrive 12 minutes later into New York while No. 244 will arrive 15 minutes later into New York.

Trains 69, 233, 281, 283 and 295 will arrive between two to five minutes later into Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

No. 49 will arrive 8 minutes later into Albany. No. 253 will depart eight minutes earlier from of New York and arrive 10 minutes earlier into Albany-Rensselaer.

Train 259 will operate 10 minutes later between New York and Albany-Rensselaer.

Seeing the Sunrise in Ohio

March 4, 2019

Your train didn’t get out of Chicago Union Station until 12:33 a.m., making it just over three hours late when its wheels finally began to turn.

So maybe you wanted to sleep in a little the next morning.

By the time you pulled back the curtains from the windows in your Viewliner sleeping accommodations on Train No. 48 it was just after 8 a.m.

The skies were mostly cloudy, but a bit of sunlight was peaking through as the Lake Shore Limited roared through Olmsted Falls in suburban Cleveland.

No. 48 has made some of the time lost leaving Chicago, but not much.

By the time it halted at the Amtrak station next to Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland No. 48 was 2 hours and 51 minutes late.

It would not get much better the rest of the way, reaching New York City at 8:09 p.m. The scheduled arrival time at Penn Station is 6:23 p.m.

Around Utica, New York, No. 48 had dropped down to 3 hours, 15 minutes off the published time card.

As it the practice these days, a continental breakfast is available in the dining car just ahead of the two New York sleepers.

Today’s train has one of those new Viewliner dining cars that are named for state capital cities.

This one is named after the capital of Ohio, Columbus, a city that has not seen a scheduled Amtrak train since the last National Limited snuck out of town on May 1, 1979, on its last day of operation.