Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak trains’

Track Work to Affect NB Illini, NB CONO

March 16, 2018

On Monday through Friday of each week starting March 22 and extending through May 4, Amtrak’s northbound Illini will operate 30 minutes later at all stations en route due to track work being performed by Canadian National. Train 392 will operate on its normal schedule on Saturdays and Sundays.

Although it has not yet been announced, CN track work will also affect the schedule of the northbound City of New Orleans starting April 4.

No. 58 will begin departing New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal at 10:45 a.m., which is three hours earlier than the normal schedule. The train will be scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 6 a.m.

The revised scheduled will remain in effect through May 8 with the normal schedule resuming the next day.


Downeaster Service Disruption Set in April

March 13, 2018

Amtrak said that track work being performed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will result in some Downeaster trains missing their scheduled stops in Woburn, Massachusetts, on April 14 and 15.

Southbound Trains 690, 692, 694, 696 and 698 and northbound Trains 691, 693, 695, 697 and 699 will detour between Boston North Station and Haverhill and will not stop at Woburn.

Alternate transportation will not be provided to or from Woburn.

Pa. Trains Need Reservations for Easter Travel

February 28, 2018

Amtrak will require reservations for travel aboard the Pennsylvanian and Keystone Service trains for travel during the Easter travel period of March 29 to April 2.

In a service advisory, the passenger carrier said monthly and 10-ride tickets will be accepted on these dates.


Track Work to Affect Pacific Surfliners

February 28, 2018

Track work being performed by the North County Transit District will affect Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner Service on weekend between March 2 and11.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that on March 2 and 9 that Train 590 will be cancelled and bus service will provided Los Angeles to San Diego.

Intermediate stops will be made at Oceanside, Solana Beach, Old Town and San Diego, but not at Fullerton, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, San Juan Capistrano, Carlsbad Village and Sorrento Valley.

On March 3, 4, 10 and 11 Trains 562, 565, 572, 573, 583, 1566, 1567 and 1588 will be cancelled and passengers are being directed to ride other Amtrak trains that will operate.

Train 782 will operate normally to Los Angeles, but no alternate transportation will be offered between Los Angeles and San Diego. Passengers can make reservations aboard other Pacific Surfliner trains.

Train 796 will operate normally to Los Angeles with bus service will be provided for all missed stops, except Carlsbad Village and Sorrento Valley.

Trains 564, 580, 584, 768, 774 and 792 will operate normally to Irvine, where bus service will be provided from Irvine to San Diego. Express buses will run from Irvine to San Juan Capistrano, Oceanside, Solana Beach, Old Town San Diego and downtown San Diego only.

Trains 579, 591, 595, 763, 769, 777, 785 and 1761 will originate in Irvine. Bus service will be provided from San Diego to Irvine to connect with the trains listed above with the exception of Train 1761. Buses will depart downtown San Diego, Solana Beach, Oceanside and San Juan Capistrano earlier than the train schedule to allow time to connect with trains in Irvine.

Amtrak advises passengers for Old Town San Diego to take the trolley to downtown San Diego to board buses to Irvine.

Bus service will not be provided to connect with Train 1761 and Metrolink will honor Amtrak tickets between San Juan Capistrano and Los Angeles.

Checked baggage service is not available south of Santa Ana on these dates.




Station Stop in Greewood

February 17, 2018

Greenwood, Mississippi, is one of that places that has intercity rail passenger service because of Amtrak.

When Amtrak began service on May 1, 1971, it had been several years since a scheduled passenger train had halted in Greenwood.

It would remain 24 years before that would occur again. But thanks to a rerouting of the City of New Orleans between Chicago and New Orleans, Greenwood would join the Amtrak network.

No. 59 is shown at Greenwood during its station stop in March 2012.

Missouri Man Who Halted CZ Pleads Not Guilty

February 15, 2018

A Missouri man who is charged with terrorism after he stopped an Amtrak train in Nebraska last year may not have been mentally aware of what he was doing, his attorney said after entering a not guilty plea for his client in court.

Attorney Jerry Sena of Omaha, Nebraska, said his client did not “knowingly intend” to disable the train, as the criminal charges state.

Taylor M. Wilson, 26, of St. Charles, Missouri, has been accused by federal authorities of entering the trailing P42DC of the California Zephyr on Oct. 23 and activating the emergency brakes in the early morning hours near Oxford, Nebraska.

If convicted, Wilson could face penalties of up to life in prison.

Federal authorities allege that Wilson was behaving erratically when confronted by Amtrak personnel.

Reportedly, Wilson goaded them with profanities, wrestled with them, reached for his waistband and claimed to be the conductor.

Police found Wilson was carrying a fully loaded .38-caliber handgun; a “speedloader,” which enables rapid reloading of bullets; and a backpack containing three more loaded speedloaders, a box of .38 ammunition; a fixed-blade knife; tin snips; scissors; and a respirator-style face mask.

After saying in court that Wilson might not have known what he was doing in the locomotive cab, Sena was asked what Wilson was trying to do.

Sena said that was another question. The attorney also contended that Wilson is not a member of any white nationalist group and has untreated mental issues.

Police who searched Wilson’s apartment in Missouri have said in court documents that they found a hidden compartment holding a tactical vest, dozens of rounds of ammunition and “white supremacy documents and paperwork.”

On Feb. 1, a federal grand jury in Missouri indicted Wilson on four additional weapons charges related to that search, including in connection with Wilson’s alleged ownership of an illegal submachine gun.

U.S. Federal Magistrate Cheryl Zwart has rules that Wilson will stand trial on April 16. Wilson is being held at the Saline County Jail.

Marfa Seeks to be Sunset Limited Stop

February 12, 2018

Amtrak is considering establishing a stop in Marfa, Texas, for its New Orleans-Los Angeles Sunset Limited that would supplant a long-time station in Sanderson.

The move, if done, would be the culmination of a campaign by San Antonio resident Bruce Flohr.

Flohr, a former Southern Pacific manager, has been pushing for the stop in Marfa because he said the station in Sanderson is underused.

He said that Amtrak Vice President Bob Dorsch told him in a letter that the passenger carrier would look into the proposal in its long-term plan but would make no decision in the next two to five years.

In a follow-up letter, Dorsch said the decision will now be made by the end of this summer.

“After we looked at the info from [Flohr], we’ve started an analysis of the stop. It seems to make sense and is something we’ll definitely look into,” Dorsch said. “It’s one of the things we have in deep discussion.”

Flohr became interested in the matter after taking Amtrak No. 1 from San Antonio to Alpine, Texas.

He actually was traveling to Marfa.  “Nobody got on or off in Sanderson. The stop lasted for around 28 seconds,” Flohr said. “There’s also no platform, no building, no outdoor lighting, nor is it in compliance with the [Americans With Disabilities Act]. There would definitely be a demand for a stop in Marfa. It’s not that complex of an issue.”

The former SP depot in Sanderson was razed in October 2012.

Creating a stop in Marfa will need local financial backing to build a platform that meets ADA and other federal requirements.

Flohr said Marfa residents need to write letters to Amtrak, Union Pacific and elected officials to lobby for the stop.

“Now is the time for you all in Marfa to take action. I encourage everyone to write to [congressman] Will Hurd. Government agencies tend to react a whole lot more if they hear from elected officials,” he said.

Marfa has sought an Amtrak stop before with no success. In 2011, former Marfa Tourism director Terry “Tex” Toler led a campaign to get Amtrak to stop there.

Texas Eagle Detouring in Texas

February 9, 2018

BNSF track work had Amtrak’s Texas Eagle making a detour this week in Texas that missed station stops in Cleburne and McGregor.

The detour between Fort Worth and Temple was to last through Feb 9. In a service advisory, Amtrak said passengers could board at Fort Worth or Temple or seek alternate travel dates. Delays of 60 to 120 minutes are expected on the detour route.

Another Texas detour for Nos. 21 and 22 will begin next week due to Union Pacific track work. That will affect the Eagle between Longview and Taylor between Feb. 14 and March 11.

Trains 21/421 and 22/422 will not make stops at Mineola, Dallas, Fort Worth, Cleburne, McGregor and Temple. Bus service will be provided to and from these stations.

Passengers traveling to those intermediate points on Nos. 21/421 will disembark in Longview to board a bus to continue their journey.

Outbound passengers from these cities will also board a bus to Austin where they will transfer back to the train traveling to San Marcos, San Antonio and all stops west.

Passengers traveling on Nos. 22/422 for the missed intermediate stops will disembark in Austin to board a bus to their destination.

Outbound passengers from these cities also will board a bus to Longview where they will transfer back to the train traveling to Chicago and all intermediate points.

Passengers aboard Train 22/422 going to Mineola who board prior to Taylor will remain on the train to Longview for shuttle service back to their destination.

In a service advisory Amtrak said sleeping accommodations can be made on the Texas Eagle between Chicago and Longview and between Austin and San Antonio. Those seeking sleeping car travel should book a room to/from Austin or Longview.

CSX Employee Gave Wrong Info About Switch

February 7, 2018

A Jacksonville, Florida, newspaper reported on Tuesday that incorrect information provided by a CSX employee helped lead to a head-on collision early Sunday morning between a CSX auto rack train and Amtrak’s Silver Star.

Two Amtrak employees were killed in the collision in Cayce, South Carolina, and 116 were injured.

The Jacksonville Business Journal said it based its report on CSX records that it obtained and a source the newspaper did not name.

Those documents show that Amtrak’s New York to Miami No. 91 had stopped five miles before the collision site.

At the time, the signal system in that area had been off since 8 a.m. on Saturday as work progressed to install positive train control.

After a CSX conductor at the site informed the dispatcher that a manual control switch had been moved back into its normal position, the dispatcher cleared the Amtrak train to proceed.

However, the switch had not been restored and Amtrak No. 91 was routed into the path of the parked auto rack train, which did not have a crew on board at the time of the collision.

With the signal system turned off, dispatchers were governing movement in the area with track warrants.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt has told reporters during press briefings that the CSX auto rack train had backed into the siding after working at an auto facility.

Sumwalt said investigators discovered that the switch that had been opened to enable the CSX train to move into the siding was locked with a padlock in the open position.

Amtrak No. 91 had 149 passengers and eight crew members on board at the time of the crash.

Signal System Had Been Turned Off to Install PTC

February 6, 2018

Some news accounts of the head-on collision between an Amtrak train and a CSX freight train in South Carolina early Sunday morning mentioned that the signal system in place on the line had been turned off.

There was a reason for that. CSX crews were working to cut in a positive train control system on the route, the same system that National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said might have prevented the crash.

During a news conference on Monday afternoon, Sumwalt said Amtrak’s southbound Silver Star was operating with track warrants in temporarily dark territory.  See a post below for an account of the final seconds before the crash.

Crews for Amtrak and CSX were in verbal contact with the dispatcher controlling that stretch of track where the work was being performed, which is the Columbia Subdivision of the Florence Division.

Sumwalt said NTSB investigators have thus far not found any problems with the track where the collision occurred in Cayce, South Carolina.

Earlier NTSB news briefings said that a switch had been left aligned to route Amtrak train No. 91 into the path of the CSX auto rack train, which was sitting on a siding without a crew onboard.

The collision, which destroyed Amtrak P42DC No. 47 and CSX AC44CW Nos. 130 resulted in an Amtrak engineer and conductor being killed.

Sumwalt said the NTSB inquiry will be broader than the mechanics of how the crash occurred.

“It is very important that we look at each of these incidents in isolation to determine if there are systemic issues,” Sumwalt, making reference to other incidents involving Amtrak in recent months. “Last Wednesday, it was a garbage truck that was on the track. We aren’t sure what happened here [and] why that switch was lined for the siding. We do look at safety culture issues and we did a report in October.”

That report, which reviewed an April 2016 incident in the Northeast Corridor in Pennsylvania that left two Amtrak maintenance of way workers dead, was critical of Amtrak’s lack of an effective safety culture.