Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak venture cars’

St. Louis-Kansas City Roundtrip Return Pushed Back to Mid-December

December 5, 2022

The return of the second Missouri River Runner roundtrip between St. Louis and Kansas City has been pushed back to Dec. 16.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said an equipment shortage prompted the move.

He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that passenger cars have “been sort of rotating around the Midwest.”

Magliari also said Amtrak has encountered labor shortages that have prompted service suspensions on Midwest routes linking Chicago with St. Louis; Detroit (Pontiac); Quincy, Illinois; and Carbondale, Illinois.

The second St. Louis-Kansas City roundtrip has been suspended since Oct. 24. It was to return on Nov. 16, then Dec. 4.

One central issue causing the service suspensions has been mechanical problems with new Venture passenger cars that Amtrak expected to have in service by now on Midwest corridor routes.

The Post-Dispatch story quoted an Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman as saying the Venture car have ongoing problems with water filtration systems and onboard electronic displays.

Lincoln Service Roundtrip to be Restored

November 17, 2022

Amtrak was expected to restore this week one Lincoln Service roundtrip that had been suspended since mid-September.

No. 300 departs St. Louis at 4:30 a.m. and is scheduled to arrive at Chicago Union Station at 9:39 a.m. No. 305 departs Chicago at 5:20 p.m. and is scheduled to arrive in St. Louis at 10:36 p.m.

Both trains were suspended on Sept. 17. No. 305 was to return today (Nov. 17) while No. 300 would make its first trip on Friday from St. Louis.

At the time of their suspension, Amtrak has cited equipment shortages.

The Chicago-St. Louis corridor was the first Midwest route to be assigned new Venture coaches back in February.

But those assignments proved to be short lived due to a series of mechanical issues involving the cars.

Those issues are slowly being resolved and Venture cars have returned to revenue service on various routes, including the Chicago-Grand Rapids Pere Marquette, where two of the three cars assigned to the train are Venture coaches.

Missouri Service Suspensions Extended Into December

November 17, 2022

Equipment shortages continue to plague Amtrak’s Midwest Corridor services.

The passenger carrier said this week that suspension of one of the Missouri River Rail Runner round trips between St. Louis and Kansas City will last through Dec. 4, ensuring the service will not be restored in time for the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

Trains 311 and 316 were suspended on Oct. 24 and were to have been restored on Nov. 16.

No. 311 departs St. Louis in the morning and then turns back in Kansas City in late afternoon.

The ongoing suspensions mean that the only service between Missouri’s two largest cities is No. 318, which departs Kansas City in the morning and runs through St. Louis to Chicago.

It’s counterpart, No. 319 originates in Chicago and departs St. Louis for Kansas City in mid-afternoon.

An Amtrak spokesman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the continued suspension of Nos. 311 and 319 is due to delays in deploying new equipment, an apparent reference to the Venture equipment Amtrak has assigned to Midwest corridor service in fits and starts due to ongoing mechanical issues with the cars.

Amtrak’s Venture Fleet is Coming Back

October 6, 2022

The last I knew, the new Venture passengers cars built by Siemens for corridor services in the Midwest and on the West Coast had been sidelined due to various mechanical issues.

The cars had begun revenue service in February in the Chicago-St. Louis corridor, but that assignment proved to be brief.

It didn’t take long to discover that some tray table magnets were too strong, that trap-door handles were falling off, that bathroom doors were malfunctioning, and that sliding step extenders were getting jammed with snow.

But last Sunday in Porter, Indiana, I saw evidence that these issues apparently have been resolved and the Venture coaches are back in service.

Shown is above is a three-car Chicago-bound Pere Marquette, which originated in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The consist includes two Venture coaches and an Amfleet food service car. Eventually Venture cafe cars with a business class section are expected to join the fleet.

The train shown above is entering the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern from the CSX Grands Rapids Subdivision. On the point is an SC-44 Charger locomotive, also built by Siemens.

The Chargers are now the standard motive power for Midwest corridor trains. Note how the Venture coaches have a higher profile than Amfleet equipment.

Venture Cars Pulled From Service

April 2, 2022

Two Venture coaches are shown in the consist of Lincoln Service Train 301 in Springfield, Illinois, on March 1.

Amtrak has temporarily withdrawn new Venture cars from operation on Midwest Corridor trains due to technical issues.

Trains magazine reported on its website Friday that magnets in the four-seat work tables in the coaches were disrupting operation of smart phones and laptops computers by causing them to shut down. The magnets are used to lock extensions on the tables.

The Trains report said Amtrak is eyeing a short-term fix of affixing brackets that prevent passengers from extending the outer flaps until correct-strength magnets can be installed.

Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Speegle said his agency is working with Amtrak and Seimens, which built the Venture cars, to solve the problem.

IDOT was the lead agency involved in the acquisition of the cars, which also will be used on corridor services in Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Venture cars began revenue service in February on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor.

Thus far only coaches have been delivered from Siemens to Amtrak, although three combination business class and coach class cars are in the process of being accepted.

The combination cars will have 36 business class seats, which is double the number available in existing Horizon and Amfleet equipment used in Midwest corridor service.

Venture cars to be used in California have also arrived in that state but the California Department of Transportation but have not yet been placed into service.

Trains said California officials wouldn’t say why that has been the case..

The article can be read at

Letter Boards are (Sort of) Back

March 15, 2022

For decades railroads placed their names in the letter boards of passenger cars. Amtrak has never adopted this practice. It has had an on again, off again practice of even naming passenger cars.

The new Venture cars that entered revenue service on Feb. 1 in the Chicago-St. Louis corridor have sort of brought back the practice of letter board names.

Shown are two Siemens-built Venture coaches in the consist of Lincoln Service No. 301 in Springfield, Illinois, on March 1. Note that the Amtrak herald and the name “Amtrak Midwest” have been applied to the letter board area of the car.

Now the question is how long this practice will continue. Although the traditional Amtrak colors of red, white and blue have been incorporated into the car’s design, the dominant color is gray.

First Venture Revenue Run was ‘Soft Opening’

February 4, 2022

Perhaps it was inevitable that something would go wrong during the first revenue service trip of the new Siemens Venture passenger cars in Amtrak Midwest Corridor service.

As reported by Trains magazine, when conductor Erik Newsom tried to make an announcement over the train’s public address system about the significance of the trip, the PA didn’t work properly.

Newsome was later able to advise the passengers of Lincoln Service No. 303 that they were the first revenue passengers for the new equipment.

And technicians were aboard to resolve any other problems that occurred.

The Trains report indicated that the trip on Tuesday (Feb. 1) from Chicago to St. Louis was a “soft opening” with the Illinois Department of Transportation planning an official “grand opening” in mid February.

Lincoln Service trains will be the first to get the new Venture cars before they are assigned to other Midwest routes.

Jennifer Bastian, IDOT section chief of passenger rolling stock said the cars will be placed into revenue service at the rate of eight cars per month, “if Siemens can support getting the coaches ready.”

There are 42 Venture cars in Chicago now with more yet to be released by Siemens.

Bastian said until all of those cars arrive Midwest corridor trains will have a mix of Venture coaches and Horizon or Amfleet food service cars with a business class section.

The Trains article contained photographs of the interiors of the Venture coaches and descriptions of how the cars to be used in Amtrak service differ from those used by Brightline trains in Florida since 2018.

It can be found at