Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak trains’

Texas Eagle Delayed 10 Hours En route to St. Louis

May 24, 2017

A detouring Texas Eagle this week got stuck behind a disabled freight train on Monday in Tuscola, Illinois, and wound up being delayed 10 hours.

The westbound Eagle had departed Chicago on time and was detouring over the former Chicago & Eastern Illinois route of Union Pacific due to track work being done on its regular route via Springfield, Illinois.

No. 21 did not arrive in St. Louis until 3:30 a.m. An Amtrak spokesperson said that a two-hour delay was expected, but not a 10-hour one.

“We were alerted by Amtrak that there might be some delays because apparently there is work on the track,” said passenger Janelle Jones. “Our first delay was about a three-hour standstill. They kept us pretty apprised of what was going on, they let people off the train for a smoke break and what not.

“Then we traveled for about an hour and then we stopped for another three hours. There was a lot of communication at that point that we were gonna get started as soon as possible. We rolled for about five minutes and then the communication stopped and we were at a standstill for another three hours. No one would tell us why we weren’t moving. Apparently, the crew had to switch out because they had been on board for 12 hours, so they were tired.”

Amtrak officials could not say when crew change occurred.

Jones said the café car was open until about 10 p.m.. “There were some hungry people on the train,” Jones said.

 

Amtrak Conductor’s Condition Upgraded to Serious

May 24, 2017

The condition of the Amtrak conductor who was shot last week in Naperville, Illinois, has been upgraded from critical to serious.

Doctors said that Michael Case, 45, of Homewood, Illinois, remains in Edward Hospital in Naperville after being shot in the abdomen and suffering what they described as “very significant intestinal injuries.”

Case was shot with a single bullet from a .38-caliber revolver and faces a long recovery time. He was working on the eastbound Southwest Chief at the time.

The doctors said Case suffered injuries to his pancreas and a region of the intestines called the duodenum, but many of the major blood vessels in the area were not harmed, which should aid his recovery.

Edward Klein, 79, of West Allis, Wisconsin, has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery in connection with the shooting.

Klein will next appear in DuPage County court on June 12.

A Late Lake Shore Limited

May 24, 2017

Sometimes you are just not in the right position to get a good photograph. Such was the case when I “caught” Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited passing through Willoughby, Ohio.

I didn’t know it had not come through yet, that it was running 1 hours, 28 minutes late. I might have known that had I checked on its status with Amtrak. But I didn’t.

The appearance of No. 48 caught me by surprise and the best I could do was get this image looking down Erie Street.

PennDot Might Sponsor Buses Before Amtrak Service Expands from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh

May 23, 2017

As the Pennsylvania Senate considers approving legislation designed to increase Amtrak service to Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is eyeing sponsoring bus service until Amtrak service can be expanded.

The state funds the Pittsburgh-New York Pennsylvanian and is considering funding additional Amtrak service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The Senate Transportation Committee recent voted unanimously in favor of a nine-month review study into adding two more passenger trains between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. The full Senate is expected to vote on the study proposal by the end of June.

The study would be conducted within nine months by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee.

The resolution also calls for looking at the prospect of adding service between Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

A number of steps would need to be taken before the service could become a reality, including making improvements to the Norfolk Southern tracks that the trains would use and negotiating agreements with Amtrak and NS. The route to be used is a busy NS freight line.

Western Pennsylvania interests have long noted that since 2000, the state has invested $400 million to increase passenger service between Harrisburg and Philadelphia from six trains to 14.

PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick said the agency welcomes the review of what it would take to increase passenger service but that earlier studies have shown it would cost $3.75 million to $6 million to add one more passenger train, plus capital improvements estimated at $100 million in 2005.

Kirkpatrick said that in other regions of the country bus service has been paired with Amtrak service.

He said a dedicated bus could connect western Pennsylvania cities with Amtrak’s Keystone Service in Harrisburg to New York and Philadelphia.

Signs Point to Shift to Grand Central for Amtrak

May 22, 2017

Amtrak has yet to comment on reports that it plans to shift some Empire Corridor trains this summer to New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, but there are increasing signs that it will happen.

Gary Prophet of the Empire State Passengers Association told New York radio station WCBS that he has spoken with Amtrak train crews who said they are being trained to operate on the route to Grand Central Terminal.

A New York state legislator who represent the Albany, New York, area, said Amtrak using Grand Central is a real possibility.

“The fact that there’s ongoing discussion and communication . . . indicates that it’s still very much in play,” he said.

Amtrak President Charles “Wick” Moorman didn’t address using Grand Central in speaking to a state legislative panel last week, but said that “for perspective on this, Grand Central Terminal handles only roughly two-thirds the number of daily trains on double the number of train tracks, compared to Penn Station.”

Amtrak has announced that it plans to conduct a track repair project at New York’s Penn Station this summer and that during that work 25 percent of the station’s track capacity will be out of service. That project will begin on July 7.

Penn Station handles 1,300 passenger trains a day. Amtrak has not used Grand Central Terminal since 1991.

S.W. Chief Conductor Reported in Critical Condition, Charges Pending in Shooting

May 18, 2017

The Amtrak conductor wounded in a shooting in Naperville, Illinois, on Tuesday was still in critical condition authorities said Thursday afternoon.

The conductor of the Southwest Chief was identified as Michael Case, 45, of Homewood, Illinois. He was being treated at Edward Hospital in Naperville.

Authorities have taken a suspect into custody but have yet to identify him other than being a man in his 70s from Wisconsin.

Case underwent surgery on Wednesday morning to treat wounds that he suffered in his torso. The shooting occurred after he stepped down to the platform during a scheduled station stop for Amtrak train No. 4.

Police said that Case and a passenger had gotten into an argument before the shooting occurred.

Reports indicate that the suspect shot the conductor from aboard the train. Other passengers restrained the suspect until police arrived.

Naperville police Cmdr. Lou Cammiso said officers have interviewed witnesses and reviewed surveillance footage at the station. Charges are expected to be filed by the DuPage County prosecutor’s office.

“The suspect was on the train; the victim was off the train,” Cammiso said. “Not knowing the intention of the suspect, not knowing what further acts he was capable of, I think it was key that the other passengers did restrain him for police. I think that possibly could have saved lives.”

According to police, the suspect fired one shot during the incident.

A passenger, Mike Leming, of Lake Forest, California, was en route to Chicago where he planned to connect with an Amtrak train to Boston.

He said the argument that preceded the shooting had to do with luggage.

Amtrak officials said over the station’s public address system that police needed to interview passengers who possibly saw something before they could leave.

The announcement said the priority was to get buses for passengers seeking a connecting ride to Cleveland, then “sleepers,” and then everyone else. No. 4 was running two late at the time of the Naperville stop.

“With the assistance of the assistant conductor and several passengers, a suspect was taken into custody by the Naperville Police Department without further incident,” said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. “This senseless and random act of violence is under investigation, and [Amtrak police are] working closely with local law enforcement personnel.”

The Southwest Chief had 239 passengers aboard when it arrived in Naperville and the train was delayed another three hours while police investigated the shooting.

Magliari said Amtrak held connecting passengers at Union Station until passengers from No. 4 could arrive.

He would not speculate about whether Amtrak will change its security procedures.

The passenger carrier prohibits firearms in carry-on baggage along with such other items as archery or martial-arts equipment, corrosive chemicals, hoverboards, flammable liquids or gases and sharp objects such as scissors, nail clippers, corkscrews and razors.

Discounted Tickets Will No Longer be Sold Aboard Carolinian, Piedmont Trains Effective June 5

May 18, 2017

Amtrak said this week that effective June 5 that discounted fares will no longer be sold aboard the Carolinian or Piedmont trains.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that only the full undiscounted, unrestricted fare will be available for purchase and that conductors will only accept cash payments on board the train.

All Piedmont and Carolinian trains are reserved trains and seating on reserved trains is only guaranteed with a reservation.

Amtrak said passengers wishing to pay with with credit cards can make reservations and obtain eTickets at Amtrak.com, by using the Amtrak mobile apps, or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).

eTickets can be printed at home or displayed using a smartphone. Tickets can be purchased with a credit card at stations with Quik-Trak kiosks and at Amtrak ticket offices.

Amtrak Conductor Shot in Naperville

May 18, 2017

A conductor working Amtrak’s Southwest Chief was hospitalized on Tuesday with non-life threatening injuries after he was shot on the platform at Naperville, Illinois.

The incident occurred in late afternoon and police were still seeking a motive for the shooting.

News accounts indicated that a Wisconsin man in his 70s was taken into custody in connection with the incident after being tackled and held by passengers.

The man was aboard the train when the shooting occurred.

“The conductor had stepped off the train when the suspect reached through the window and shot him,” said Naperville Police Commander Lou Cammiso.

BNSF and Metra rail traffic was halted at the station while police investigated the crime and passengers aboard the train were put on buses.

 

Texas Eagle to Detour in Texas May 24-June 21

May 16, 2017

The detours just keep coming for Amtrak’s Texas Eagle. Nos. 21 and 22 will detour in in Texas between Longview and Taylor starting May 24 and extending through June 21.

Passengers at intermediate stations will begin or end their journey on a chartered bus.

The buses will travel southbound from Longview and northbound from Austin.

The Eagle will not be serving Dallas or Fort Worth, but will be using a freight-only route that will be faster than the train’s normal route.

No. 21 will use a former Cotton Belt route between Big Sandy and Tyler, then a former Southern Pacific route to Corsicana, then the former Texas & New Orleans to Hearne, Texas, before getting on the former Missouri Pacific west to Taylor.

No. 22 will use the ex-MoPac from Taylor to Longview via Hearne, Buffalo, Palestine and Jacksonville.

“This detour will provide the opportunity for some unusual mileage for rare mileage fans,” Amtrak said in an email sent to ticketed passengers affected by the Texas detour.

No. 21 will depart all stations between Chicago and Longview one hour later than scheduled, but is expected to resume its regular schedule at Taylor.

No. 22 will operate on its regular schedule from San Antonio to Taylor, but run an hour earlier from Longview to Chicago.

The detour has been prompted by extensive track work by Union Pacific between Longview and Dallas.

The Texas detour will come on the heels of a detour between Chicago and St. Louis between May 16 and May 23, although No. 22 will use the detour route through May 24.

That rerouting involves the former Chicago & Eastern Illinois passenger route via Pana and Villa Grove, Illinois.

Hoosier State Ridership Up 11.6% in April

May 11, 2017

The Indiana Department of Transportation reported this week that ridership of the state-funded Hoosier State increased by 11.6 percent in April to 2,034 passengers when compared with the same month last year.

Revenue rose 11.6 percent to $62,099 and the on-time performance since October was 85 percent, including more than 90 percent in March.

The Chicago-Indianapolis route was taken over by Amtrak in March from Iowa Pacific Holdings.

The Hoosier State operates quad-weekly on days that Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal does not run between Indianapolis and Chicago.