Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak in North Carolina’

Changes Made to NC Connector Service

May 21, 2021

The Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation has modified some NC Connector service between High Point and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

PART will incorporate Route 1 and Route 3 to allow connections between High Point and Winston-Salem.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said passengers will need to transfer at PARTs Coble Transportation Center in Greensboro from one route to another, depending on direction of travel.

Passengers boarding at the Winston-Salem Clark Campbell Transportation Center or Winston-Salem State University will board PART Route 1 schedule service to the Coble Transportation Center.

Upon boarding, the driver will verify travel document and issue a PART Paper Token. The Winston Salem State University stop has been relocated just north of the current stop to Union Station.

When arriving at Coble Transportation Center, passengers will use the PART Paper Token to transfer onto PART Route 3 schedule service that will proceed to the High Point Train station.

Westbound passengers coming from Piedmont and Carolinian trains will need to collect a PART Paper Token from a station agent before proceeding on PART Route 3 schedule service to Coble Transportation Center.

When arriving at Coble Transportation Center, passengers will use the PART Paper Token to transfer onto Route 1 schedule service that will proceed to the Winston-Salem Clark Campbell Transportation Center and then Winston-Salem State University.

Route 1 connections at the Winston-Salem Clark Cable Station are at the L-1 slip located on the side of WS Depot facility on North Liberty Street.

At Winston-Salem University,  Route 1 connections are located at the PART Bus Stop sign in front of the Union Station building. Passengers have three routes to connect to campus.

At the High Point Terminal,  Route 3 connections are at the High Point Terminal Outer Slip.

Restoration of State-Funded Corridor Services Presents a Mixed Picture

March 27, 2021

Passengers board Amtrak’s Chicago-bound Saluki at Effingham, Illinois, on March 21. The Chicago-Carbondale corridor lost one roundtrip since the COVID-19 pandemic began a year ago

Although Amtrak plans to restore daily service to most long-distance routes starting in late May, the restoration of corridor service cut during the COVID-19 pandemic presents a more mixed picture.

Some states might restore service by summer but that is not guaranteed.

Michigan Department of Transportation Rail Director Peter Anastor said he didn’t known when two suspended Wolverine Service roundtrips between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac) would return.

He indicated it will hinge in part on ridership and revenue trends.

“The CARES Act and the second stimulus bill helped fill the gap caused by fixed costs that stay the same whether you have 10 or 100 riders,” he said.

Michigan also funds the Chicago-Port Huron Blue Water and the Chicago-Grand Rapids Pere Marquette.

Although the Blue Water continued to operate throughout the pandemic, the Pere Marquette was suspended between March and last summer.

Anastor indicated new Venture coaches are expected to be assigned to Wolverine Service this spring, making it the first Midwest corridor train to have the new cars.

On other Midwest corridor routes, Hiawatha Service between Chicago and Milwaukee is expected to increase to seven round trips on May 21.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation Rail Division head Arun Rao said the service expansion will be promoted with an extensive advertising push and increased social media activity.

Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Speegle said his agency will decide in April when some other corridor services will be restored.

IDOT has suspended one round trip on the Chicago-Carbondale route, one roundtrip on the Chicago-Quincy route and two roundtrips between Chicago and St. Louis.

“We anticipate resuming full service no earlier that mid-July; the final decision on that time frame will be made in April, approximately 12 weeks prior to resumption of service,” he said.

Speegle said IDOT will review ridership and revenue numbers for the current service, anticipated costs, and the level of federal support.

Whether a second St. Louis-Kansas City Missouri River Runner will resume operating will depend on how much funding the Missouri legislature approves.

The Missouri Department of Transportation has requested funding for two daily roundtrips but the chair of a House budget committee has proposed funding just one roundtrip.

In the East, New York State has not announced its intentions in regards to restoring any suspended Empire Corridor trains.

Two routes funded by New York, the Maple Leaf to Toronto and Adirondack to Montreal have been suspended due to the U.S.-Canadian border being closed during the pandemic.

Elsewhere in the East, North Carolina will begin a fourth roundtrip starting April 5 in the Charlotte-Raleigh corridor.

Amtrak and the North Carolina Department of Transportation are reinstating a third Piedmont Service roundtrip, making this the first multi-frequency state corridor to be fully restored.

North Carolina reinstated a second and third round trip last August and December, respectively.

Another Downeaster trip to Maine is expected to resume in May after schedules are worked out with Amtrak and host railroad Pan Am Railways.

Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority Executive Director Patricia Quinn said the new schedule will be a little different.

“Instead of just plugging two midday trains back into their old slots, we’re adding a 10:30 a.m. departure from Brunswick, which will turn as a 3 p.m. departure from Boston,” she said.

“Given the change in commute patterns, we decided to try something different, assuming we won’t need two trains leaving Boston for the evening rush hour, but the additional round-trip means we will again have a flex schedule for the late-night train from Boston to accommodate sports fans and concert goers.”

Quinn said weekday and weekend schedules will now be identical.

In the West, one Capitol Corridor roundtrip will on March 29 be extended from Oakland to San Jose.

Capitol Corridor managing director Rob Pagette said there will be a change in departure times based on the way customers now use the trains.

“We’re about at 15 percent of where we were in February 2020 but we are looking to have a more robust service by September,” he said.

“We’ve seen more demand spread throughout the day, and this has allowed us to improve the efficiency of how we use our equipment by (temporarily) going from seven to six consists.”

Pagette said officials will be watching to determine where people are riding after the schedule change to determine where we add back the seventh consist.” An eighth trainset will be added later.

The extended round trip to San Jose will originate in Auburn because there appear to be increasing numbers of “super commuters” who ride 80 miles or more to their jobs.

Ridership trends during the pandemic have shown that if passengers are less likely to travel every day, more will opt for less-costly housing further away from the Silicon Valley.

In the San Joaquin corridor, a fifth roundtrip is expected to be added in in the fall. However, the two round trips to Sacramento aren’t likely to return until early 2021 at the earliest.

Those plans, though, are contingent on ridership stabilizing.

In Southern California, the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency expects to restore one Pacific Surfliner roundtrip between San Diego and Goleta in July or August.

The date of that service restoration is dependant on available funding.

In the Pacific Northwest, the Washington Department of Transportation is eyeing returning two Seattle-Portland roundtrips in mid May.

Currently, the Cascades Service is operating with one Seattle-Eugene, Oregon, round trip.

Officials are considering increasing Portland-Eugene service to two roundtrips.

3rd Piedmont Service RT To be Reinstated

March 27, 2021

Amtrak in cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Transportation will restore the third daily Piedmont Service roundtrip on April 5 in the Charlotte-Raleigh corridor.

In a news release, Amtrak said this will restore Piedmont Service to its pre-pandemic level.

The state also funds a fourth pair of trains in the corridor, the Charlotte-New York Carolinian.

Intermediate stops include Cary, Durham, Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Salisbury and Kannapolis. 

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.

Bus Schedules Change in North Carolina; Buses Replace Trains to Atlantic City

October 22, 2020

Eastern North Carolina Thruway Service changed on Oct. 20 at certain cities with the changes in effect through Aug. 20, 2021.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said buses 6089 and 6090 are suspended while Buses 6189 and 6190 are canceled on Tuesdays.

Bus service is suspended at Goldsboro, Kinston, Havelock, Morehead City and Swansboro.

Bus service will continue at Wilmington, Jacksonville, New Bern, Greenville and Wilson.

In an unrelated development New Jersey Transit will substitute buses for trains on weekends between Philadelaphia (30th Street Station) and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The bus substitutions will continue through Dec. 18 due to work on the Delair Bridge. The work will affect rail service between 4 a.m. on Saturdays and 6:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Passengers boarding at 30th Street station will board the bus on JFK Boulevard across from the station’s 30th Street entrance. The bus will depart at the scheduled train time.

Those traveling on a bus to 30th Street Station will disembark on  the driveway on the 30th Street side of the station right outside the doors.

Piedmont Roundtrip to be Restored

August 7, 2020

Amtrak will restore operation of one roundtrip of the state-funded Piedmont Service in North Carolina on Aug. 10.

The service, which is funded by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, had been suspended in May due to declining ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online reports indicated that Nos. 73 and 76 will return using Amtrak equipment of a P42DC locomotive and Amfleet coaches.

Currently the only Amtrak service between Raleigh and Charlotte is the Carolinian, which operated between Charlotte and New York and is also funded by NCDOT.

In a news release, NCDOT said passengers will be required to wear facial coverings in stations and on trains.

The capacity of the trains is being limited in order to enable physical distancing.

NCDOT rail division spokeswoman Katie Trout said Piedmont service is returning due to a uptick in ridership in the Raleigh-Charlotte corridor.

Trout said demand for rail travel in North Carolina had dropped 95 percent by mid-April but has since rebounded.

The Carolinian, she said, is now operating at 50 percent of its 2019 ridership.

“We are seeing a growing demand for service as folks look to safely get back out,” she said.

Before the pandemic struck last spring NCDOT and Amtrak had operated three Piedmont Service roundtrips between Raleigh and Charlotte.

That fell to one roundtrip in late March when the Carolinian also was suspended.

In May, the Carolinian was reinstated and the last Piedmont Service still running was dropped.

Amtrak Thruway to Serve New N.C. Transit Hub

July 15, 2020

A new transit hub being built in Jacksonville, North Carolina, will be served by Amtrak Thruway buses

The 15,000-square foot facility will also serve local public transportation buses and Greyhound.

The hub is under construction and being funded by $8.9 million in federal and state funds and $1.1 million in local funding.

It is being described as the city’s first building designed to house many public transportation services to be “heavily resistant” to hurricanes.

Jacksonville is located on a Thruway route that links with Amtrak’s Palmetto and Carolinian at Wilson, North Carolina.

Piedmonts to be Suspended, Carolinian Reinstated

May 15, 2020

Amtrak’s Piedmont Service trains 75 and 76 will be suspended after their trips on May 17 because the North Carolina Department of Transportation is trying to save money.

Piedmonts 73, 74, 77 and 78 had been suspended earlier due to ridership declines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NCDOT officials said tax revenue is down sharply during the pandemic and the agency has been forced to trim spending.

However, service between Charlotte and Raleigh won’t vanish completely.

The New York-Charlotte Carolinian will resume operating on May 18 but will operate only between Charlotte and Raleigh.

NCDOT Director of the Rail Division Jason Orthner said the state hopes that resumption of service by the Carolinian to New York will happen sometime in June.

However, the Amtrak reservation system shows the Carolinian as operating north of Raleigh starting June 1.

Currently Piedmonts 75 and 76 are the only intercity rail service between Charlotte and Raleigh.

Orthner said suspending Piedmont Service will save NCDOT about $13,000 a day, primarily due to not operating the state-owned locomotives and passenger cars.

The equipment used on the Carolinian is owned by Amtrak.

He said NCDOT continues to pay Amtrak provide passenger rail service in North Carolina during the pandemic, though at a 20 percent discount because of a subsidy provided through the CARES Act.

How long the Piedmonts are suspended will depend on how long the pandemic lasts and when state finances improve.

“We don’t have a definitive timeframe yet,” Orthner said.

NCDOT is projecting a loss of $300 million less in revenue than expected in March, April and May, and forecasts losses will be higher in the coming year.

Officials have attributed the revenue loss to falling taxes collected from the fuel sale and fewer fees being paid to the Division of Motor Vehicles.

Under normal circumstances Amtrak operates four roundtrips between Charlotte and Raleigh per day, all funded by the state.

Carolinian to be Temporarily Suspended

April 5, 2020

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has further reduced the number of Amtrak trains that it is sponsoring during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective April 6 the Carolinian, which operates between Charlotte and New York, will be suspended.

The suspension will last through at least May 4.

The department had earlier reduced Piedmont Service between Charlotte and Raleigh.

There will now be just one pair of Piedmonts, Nos. 75 and 78, operating between April 6 and May 4.

A news release from the department said Amtrak is waiving change fees on all existing reservations until May 31.

Passengers can modify their trip on Amtrak.com​, or find their reservation on the home screen in the Amtrak app. To cancel a reservation with no fee, passengers must call 800-BY-TRAIN and speak with an agent (not available via Amtrak.com or the app).

Track Work to Dispute Carolinian, Piedmonts

October 26, 2019

Norfolk Southern track work will disrupt operations of some Piedmont and Carolinian trains on Oct. 29.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said Piedmont Service Trains 74, 75, 76 and 77 will be cancelled and alternate transportation will not be provided.

The Carolinian from Charlotte, North Carolina, to New York, will originate at Raleigh, North Carolina.

No alternate transportation is being provided between Charlotte and Raleigh.

All other Carolinian and Piedmont trains will operate normally on Oct. 29.