Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak extra trains’

Amtrak to Operate Special Train for Solar Eclipse

August 7, 2017

Amtrak will operate a special sold-out train offering passengers the opportunity to make a day trip to Southern Illinois to view the solar eclipse on Aug. 21.

The Eclipse Express sold out within 24 hours, Amtrak said. The train will depart Chicago Union Station at 3 a.m. and arrive in Carbondale, Illinois, at 8:30 a.m. after making an intermediate stop in Champaign-Urbana at 5:05 a.m.

The return trip is scheduled to depart Carbondale at 5:15 p.m., stop in Champaign at 7:55 p.m. and arrive back in Chicago at 10:45 p.m.

The Eclipse Express will not carry pets or bicycles. There will be a café car although it won’t have business class seating.

Due to the middle of the night departure, Amtrak said the overhead lighting in the coaches will be turned off.

Amtrak said it conducted protracted negotiations with host railroad Canadian National to schedule the special, which will operate as Nos. 399 and 398.

Although the eclipse will affect much of the United States, its longest duration of totality will be over Makanda, Illinois, which is located south of Carbondale on the former Illinois Central mainline between Chicago and New Orleans.

The first phase of the eclipse begins at 12:52 p.m., reaching totality between 1:20:07 p.m. and 1:22:44 p.m., with the partial phase ending at 2:47 p.m.

Tickets for the Eclipse Express went on sale in the Amtrak reservation system on Sunday.

Amtrak operates three daily trains between Chicago and New Orleans, but the first of those, the southbound Saluki is not scheduled to arrive in Carbondale until 1:45 p.m.

No. 390 has arrived in Carbondale more than 30 minutes late half the time during the past two weeks.

The travel time of the Eclipse Express is the same as the Saluki even though the special train will make eight fewer station stops.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the special was scheduled so as to not affect the operation of other Amtrak trains serving Carbondale.

Among the events being held in Carbondale is an “Eclipse Day” festival at Saluki Stadium on the campus of Southern Illinois University.

There will also be a Family Fun Zone area and Shadowfest held in Carbondale within walking distance of the Amtrak station.

Many eclipse watchers are also expected to ride the northbound Illini from Carbondale to Chicago. No. 392 has been sold out for several weeks and will have an extra coach.

Passengers riding the southbound Eclipse Express will be given special glasses that are needed to prevent permanent eye damage from viewing the sun in its partial eclipse phase.

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Extra Trains Set for Thanksgiving Travel Period

October 19, 2016

Amtrak said it will offer extra trains between Chicago and points in Illinois and Michigan during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

Amtrak logoIn Illinois, the additional trains will operate between Chicago and Bloomington-Normal, and Chicago and Quincy. All of these trains will operate on Wednesday, Nov. Nov. 23, and Sunday, Nov. 27.

In Michigan, extra trains will operate between Chicago and Ann Arbor on Nov. 23, 26 and 27. Extra trains will also operate between Chicago and Holland on Nov. 23 and 27.

Train No. 309 will depart Chicago at 10:30 a.m. and arrive in Bloomington-Normal at 12:58 p.m., making all intermediate stops served by Lincoln Service trains.

No. 308 will depart Bloomington-Normal at 1:15 p.m. and is scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 3:39 p.m.

Train No. 385 will depart Chicago at 11:30 a.m. and arrive in Quincy at 3:53 p.m.

No. 384 will depart Quincy at 1 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 5:23 p.m. The Chicago-Quincy trains will operate as Carl Sandburg Extra service.

Some regularly scheduled trains will have altered schedules during the holiday period. Lincoln Service train 301 will depart Chicago at 7:30 a.m., a half-hour later than normal, on Nov. 23 and 27.

Lincoln Service train 300 will depart St. Louis on Nov. 23 and 27 at 4 a.m., a half-hour earlier than normal.

Illinois Zephyr No. 383 will depart Chicago on Nov. 23 and 27 at 6:15 p.m., which is 20 minutes later than normal.

In Michigan, the Wolverine Service Extra trains will depart Chicago at 9:30 a.m. and arrive in Ann Arbor at 3:10 p.m., operating as No. 356. Intermediate stops will be made at New Buffalo, Niles, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Jackson.

No. 359 will depart Ann Arbor at 4:05 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 7:47 p.m., making the same intermediate stops as No. 356.

There will no change in schedules for other Wolverine Service trains between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac).

The Pere Marquette Extra will depart Chicago at 10 a.m., operating as No. 372, and arrive in Holland at 2:11 p.m. It will make all intermediate stops also served by the regular Pere Marquette. No. 373 will depart Holland at 3:10 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 5:27 p.m.

There will be no change in the schedule of the daily Pere Marquette.

Amtrak said that during the holiday travel period it will operate every available passenger car in its fleet.

Amtrak Adds Michigan Thanksgiving Trains

November 6, 2015

In cooperation with the Michigan Department of Transportation, Amtrak is adding additional trains on two of its three Michigan corridors.

Wolverine Extra No. 356 will depart Chicago at 9:30 a.m. and make intermediate stops in Michigan at New Buffalo, Niles, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Jackson before arriving in Ann Arbor at 3:14 p.m.

The equipment will turn and become Wolverine Extra No. 359 at 4:05 p.m. to Chicago with the same intermediate stops as No. 356. No. 359 is scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 7:50 p.m.

Nos. 356 and 359 will operate on Nov. 25, 28 and 29.

An extra section of the Pere Marquette will operate on Nov. 25 and 29 between Chicago and Holland, Michigan.

No. 372 will depart Chicago at 10 a.m. and make intermediate stops in St. Joseph and Bangor before arriving in Holland at 2:11 p.m.

The equipment will turn and depart Holland at 3:10 p.m., making the same intermediate stops before arriving back in Chicago at 5:27 p.m.

Amtrak is encouraging passengers to plan for Thanksgiving travel and book their reservations now in order to obtain the best availability and pricing.

The travel days that are most likely to sell out are the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday.

Other than on Thanksgiving Day, morning trains typically have more available seats than those in the afternoon and evening.

Amtrak Adds Service in Illinois for Holiday Travel

November 13, 2014

Amtrak announced that it will operate additional service for the Thanksgiving travel period on the Lincoln Service and Chicago-Quincy, Ill., routes.

Trains will operate on Nov. 30 between Chicago and Bloomington/Normal, Ill., and between Chicago and Quincy corridor, via Galesburg and Macomb.

In order to accommodate the additional round-trip on Nov. 30, train No. 300 will depart St. Louis 35 minutes earlier than usual and train No. 301 will depart Chicago 30 minutes earlier than usual, with both trains operating on a modified schedule that day only.

To accommodate an additional round-trip on Nov. 30, train No. 383 (Illinois Zephyr) will depart Chicago 20 minutes later than usual and operate on a modified timetable to Quincy that day only.

For the full holiday schedule, go to www.amtrak.com.

Extra Wolverine Sections Added for Holidays

December 17, 2013

Amtrak announced on Tuesday that it will offer extra sections of the Chicago-Detroit Wolverine service to handle expected holiday travelers between Dec. 22 and Jan. 3.

No. 356 will depart Chicago Union Station at 9:20 a.m. and is scheduled to arrive in Ann Arbor at 3 p.m. after making stops at New Buffalo, Niles, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Jackson, Mich.

The equipment will return as No. 359, departing Ann Arbor at 4:05 p.m., with a scheduled 7:45 p.m. arrival in Chicago. No. 359 will make the same intermediate stops as No. 356.

Nos. 356/359 will operates on Dec. 22, 26, 27, 29 and 31, and on Jan. 1 and 3.

Amtrak will continue to operate three daily roundtrips between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac) as scheduled during the same period.

Handling the Holiday Rush on Amtrak

December 3, 2013

Amtrak trains radiating from its Chicago hub were sold out and some carried extra coaches to accommodate the Thanksgiving weekend crowds, Trains magazine reported.

Additional cars were added to the New Orleans-bound City of New Orleans, but no additional equipment could be spared from the Northeast or West Coast.

Therefore, Amtrak skillfully used crew and equipment scheduling to operate extra sections of some trains.

One set of Horizon equipment operate extra nine round-trips on the Wolverine Service route. An additional Chicago-Quincy, Ill., round-trip ran on Sunday by short-turning the morning end-point arrivals into midday departures.

There were some minor glitches during the holiday travel period. Wednesday eastbound extra No. 356 to Ann Arbor, Mich., lost an hour and a half due to congestion, which delayed westbound No. 359’s departure as well.

Equipment problems in Chicago on Sunday delayed train No. 356’s departure by 39 minutes, but the westbound trip left Ann Arbor on time.

Long loading times at Chicago suburban stops on the first westbound train to Quincy combined with freight and Metra commuter train congestion to create a domino effect of delays throughout the day for extra Nos. 384 and No. 383.

On the Chicago-St. Louis route, No. 300’s schedule from St. Louis was moved up 35 minutes in order to provide enough time for the train set of Amfleet I cars enough time to make a run to Bloomington-Normal, Ill., and back to Chicago before going out as regular train No. 307 at 7 p.m.

On the Pere Marquette route between Chicago and Grand Rapids, Mich., morning inbound train No. 371 operated an hour and a half earlier and No. 370 to Grand Rapids departed later by a same amount of time to enable the set of four Superliners to make a midday round-trip to Holland, Mich. Grand Rapids is 25 miles from Holland, but the trip takes 45 minutes due to the route’s infrastructure.