Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak Northeast Regional service’

Bristol Eyes Luring Amtrak to Come to Town

April 20, 2017

Public officials in Bristol, Virginia, plan to launch a study of what it would take to entice Amtrak to serve their region.

City officials plan to work with the Community Transportation Association of America in Washington to secure a consulting firm that will undertake a $450,000 economic benefit study of extending Amtrak’s Northeast Regional service from Roanoke, Virginia, to Bristol.

“We’re just about ready to prepare the RFP [request for proposals] for that study, and hopefully it will begin this summer,” CTAA spokesman Rich Sampson said Tuesday. “What we’re hoping our study will do is be a precursor to a second study, by demonstrating the need and the benefits of such a service. DRPT [Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation] would then do a study on the operational feasibility of the service.”

Amtrak expects to begin serving Roanoke later this year by extending a Northeast Regional train that now terminates in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Sampson said the state of Virginia is going to want two years of ridership data of the Roanoke service before it will participate in the Bristol study.

Bristol Mayor Bill Hartley said having Amtrak service would benefit his city in many ways.

“I look at what passenger rail could do for our downtown,” he said. “With two hotels, one hopefully opening this year, and the restaurants and entertainment, the infrastructure is there for people to come and make Bristol more of a destination.”

Some funding for the study will come from a $250,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, a $100,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and $50,000 each from the city and CTAA, with CTAA also providing services as an in-kind contribution.

Once it gets underway, the Bristol study is expected to take six to nine months to complete.

“Virginia is perhaps the leading state right now in investing in new Amtrak service,” Sampson said. “They have three examples of where they have or are going to install new service — the Lynchburg train, the Norfolk train and the extension to Roanoke. Tennessee has not had any state support for inter-city passenger rail, so their level of involvement and interest is uncertain at this point.”

Although Bristol leaders once talked about getting support for service further southward to Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tennessee, and then creating a connecting service to Atlanta and Louisville, those routes won’t be part of the expected study of extending service from Roanoke.

Sampson said that expansion to Tennessee point won’t happen unless rail service first comes to Bristol.

Maine Rail Expansion Study Shelved

April 5, 2017

A proposed study of expanding intercity rail passenger from Brunswick to Bangor, Maine, has been shelved.

The study drew little support from Maine lawmakers other than representatives from Bangor.

Bangor officials were willing to provide $25,000 for the study, but many state lawmakers said they wanted to wait until a study is completed of expanding service from Brunswick to Lewiston-Auburn.

The cost of a study of expanding service to Bangor also hindered support for the study.

In an unrelated development, Amtrak said track work being performed on select weekends through April 23 will result in some trains being canceled between New Haven, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts.

Stations affected include Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin, Hartford, Windsor, Windsor Locks and Springfield.

On April 7 and 21, Northeast Regional Trains 136 and 148 will serve all stations from Washington to New Haven but bus service will be provided at all stations from New Haven to Springfield.

On April 8 and 22, Northeast Regional Trains 140, 143, 146 and 147 will serve all stations between Washington and New Haven. Bus service will be provided at all stations between New Haven and Springfield.

The Vermonter, will operate normally from Washington to New Haven with passengers riding a bus from New Haven that will stop at Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin, Hartford, Windsor Locks and Springfield. At Springfield, customers will board the train to their destination.

The Vermonter will operate normally from St. Albans, Vermont, to Springfield where passengers will ride a bus stopping at Windsor Locks, Hartford, Berlin, Meriden, Wallingford and New Haven. At New Haven, customers will board the train to their destination.

On April 9 and 23, Northeast Regional Trains 143 and 157 will serve all stations from New Haven to Washington. Bus service will be provided at all stations from Springfield to New Haven.

Springfield Union Station to Reopen in June

March 27, 2017

Springfield (Massachusetts) Union Station will reopen on June 24 to serve Amtrak and offer restaurant and shops.

The depot was closed in 1974 but restored as part of a $95 million project that left many of its original features intact.

The station opened in 1926 and hosts the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited, the Vermonter and several Northeast Regional trains.

Congressman Richard E. Neal, who help lead the restoration effort, said during a news media tour that the revitalized station should help increase Amtrak ridership and spur further commercial development.

During the restoration, the station’s terrazzo floors were restored, a new roof was installed, period light fixtures were put into place and eight murals depicting Springfield’s history were hung. A clock was placed in the grand concourse.

“I kicked off my political career here 40 years ago, so [the station] still has great meaning to me and the people of Springfield,” said Neal. “Restoring this station can make Springfield a transportation and commercial center, as well as do a lot of good.”

Winter Storm Leads Amtrak to Shorten Route of Capitol Limited, Cancel Boston LSL Section

March 13, 2017

A severe winter storm that has prompted Amtrak to cancel and reduce service along the Northeast Corridor will also affect some trains operating to the Atlantic Seaboard from outside the region.

The Capitol Limited will not operate on Tuesday (March 14) between Pittsburgh and Washington.

The Lake Shore Limited will not operate between Boston and Albany/Rensselaer, New York.

Amtrak said there will be no Acela Express service between New York and Boston, and there will be modified Acela Express service between New York and Washington.

Northeast Regional service will operate on a modified schedule between Boston and Washington with the routes of some trains shortened and other trains being canceled. This will affect some trains that operate beyond Washington to points in Virginia.

Also operating on modified schedules will be Empire Service, Downeaster Service and Keystone Service trains.