Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak western corridor trains’

Capitol Corridor Service to Increase June 7

June 4, 2021

Amtrak service in California’s Capitol Corridor will increase on June 7.

San Jose-Sacramento service will increase from 16 to 22 trips daily, while Oakland-San Jose service will return to the pre-pandemic level of 14 daily trips.

Café Car service also will be reinstated although with a limited menu.

Capitol Corridor service was last increased in June of 2020 when some frequencies cut the previous March during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic were restored.

Some schedules were modified this past March to improve on–time performance and better service the existing travel patterns.

Reservations Required on Pacific Surfliners During Peak Summer Weekends

May 27, 2021

Reservations will be required for travel aboard Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner trains on peak weekends this summer.

The carrier said this will help it manage capacity when more travelers are anticipated.

Among the weekends when reservations will be needed are Memorial Day weekend (May 28-June 1), Fourth of July weekend (July 2-5), the opening weekend at Del Mar racetrack (July 16-19), and Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3-7).

The program allowing use of Metrolink and Coaster tickets on Pacific Surfliners will be suspended on most of these dates, although Amtrak said monthly and 10-ride passes may still be used with a reservation.

Additional dates could be added depending on travel demand.

Cascades Service to Increase May 24

April 28, 2021

Additional Cascades Service roundtrips are set to begin service May 24.

Amtrak will restore three of four Seattle-Portland roundtrips and both Portland-Eugene roundtrips.

For more than a year the corridor has been limited to a single daily Seattle-Eugene roundtrip.

The trains will use a combination of Talgo Series 8 transets owned by the Oregon Department of Transportation and Amtrak owned Horizon equipment.

An additional full-corridor departure will leave Seattle at 7:25 a.m. and return from Eugene at 4:40 p.m., arriving at 11 p.m.

The new schedule has Train 507 departing Seattle at 6:10 p.m. and its equipment leaving Portland the next day at at noon.

The current schedule has a Talgo departing Seattle (No. 505) at 2:20 p.m. and leaving Eugene the next morning (No. 500) at 5:30 a.m. and arriving in Seattle at 11:50 a.m.

State transportation officials had wanted to shift the departure of No. 500 from Eugene to 8 a.m. but host railroads Union Pacific and BNSF would not allow it, Washington Department of Transportation Communications Manager Janet Matkin told Trains magazine.

Because the U.S.-Canadian border remains closed to non-essential travel, Cascades service between Seattle and Vancouver remains suspended.

At present, Amtrak operates a Thruway bus to Bellingham, Washington.

Washington state transportation officials said one Seattle-Vancouver roundtrip could be restored in July.

An official said Amtrak crews are qualified on the route and if the border opens sooner rail service could resume before July.

No date has yet been given as to when Amtrak will resume using the Point Defiance Bypass south of Tacoma.

Officials are eying late summer or early fall but said it is up to host railroad Sound Transit.

The public transit agency conducted testing on the route earlier this year and has been working through a crew qualification process.

Matkin said the Cascades will continue to operate at 50 percent capacity in compliance with Washington and Oregon’s ‘Ride Safe’ Initiatives.

Limited food and beverage service may begin at the same time or soon after the May 24 schedule expansion.

New Charges Set to Debut in Capitol Corridor

April 28, 2021

New environmentally friendly Charger locomotives are being placed in service in the Capitol Corridor in California.

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority said it recently retired two F59 locomotives in favor of the Chargers, which are EPA-certified Tier 4 rated.

The new motive power was funded by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and co-funded by Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District and Placer County Air Pollution Control District through the Carl Moyer Grant Program.

The new units are expected to enter revenue service as early as this week but no later than June 1.

The Chargers were built by Siemens and are said to provide a 90 percent reduction in particulate matter emissions and 80 percent NOx reduction compared to the soon-to-be-retired Tier 2 engines.

The Tier 4 engines are also equipped with electronically controlled, regenerative braking systems that use energy from the traction motors during braking to minimize fuel consumption.

Capitol Corridor Service to Expand June 7

April 28, 2021

Capitol Corridor passenger service will increase on June 7, officials said this week.

The announcement said growing ridership demand, funding support and improving public health conditions are making the expansion possible.

Service will increase to 22 weekday and 18 weekend trips. The current level of service is now 16 weekday and 10 weekend trips.

The schedule change will result in a return to  pre-pandemic service between Oakland and San Jose.

However, officials do not expect complete pre-pandemic schedules to be in effect until sometime in 2022.

Track Work Disrupts Pacific Surfliners, Coast Starlight

April 15, 2021

Various temporary schedule changes will begin April 16 that affect Pacific Surfliner trains and the Coast Starlight due to track projects.

Between April 16 and May 1 the following changes will be in effect.

On April 15, 23 and 30, Train 796 will terminate at Solana Beach with alternate bus service being provided between Oceanside and San Diego on Bus 3284 and 3286.

Bus 3284 will not stop at Old Town but passengers may take the trolley from San Diego. Bus 3286 will drop off passengers at Old Town.

On April 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 and May 1 and 2, Trains 564, 580, 768, 774, 796, 1564 and 1584 will terminate at Solana Beach. Bus service will be provided from Oceanside to San Diego.

Trains 579, 593, 763, 767, 777, 785 and 1767 will originate at Solana Beach. Bus service will be provided from San Diego to Oceanside to connect with all trains.

Northbound buses will depart earlier than train schedules to allow on-time train departure from Oceanside.

Buses will not stop at Old Town but passengers may take the trolley to San Diego and board the Oceanside buses.

On April 17 and 18, track work being performed north of Los Angeles will result in changes to the following Pacific Surfliner Trains.

Train 763 will terminate at Los Angeles with Bus 4863 operating in its place to Oxnard and Train 1763 operating from Oxnard to Goleta. Regular connecting bus service will operate between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

Train 777 will terminate at Los Angeles with Bus 4877 operating in its place from Los Angeles to Oxnard and Train 1777 operating from Oxnard to San Luis Obispo.

Train 785 will terminate at Los Angeles with Bus 4885 operating in its place from Los Angeles to Oxnard and Train 1785 operating from Oxnard to Goleta. Regular connecting bus service will be provided between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

Buses will depart all stations earlier than the normal schedule. Trains traveling north of Oxnard will depart later than the normal schedule.

Train 768 will originate at Los Angeles. In place of Train 768, Train 1768 will operate from Goleta to Oxnard and operate as Bus 4868 from Oxnard to Los Angeles. Regular connecting bus service will be provided between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.

Train 774 will operate as Train 1774 from San Luis Obispo to Oxnard as Bus 4874 from Oxnard to Los Angeles and as Train 774 from Los Angeles to San Diego.

Train 796 will originate at Los Angeles. In place of Train 796, Train 1796 will operate between Goleta and Oxnard and Bus 4896 will operate from Oxnard to Los Angeles. Regular connecting bus service will be provided between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.

No alternate transportation will be provided to the missed stations of Glendale, Burbank Airport, Chatsworth, Simi Valley, Moorpark and Camarillo.

Buses will depart all stations earlier than the normal schedule. Trains traveling north of Oxnard will depart later than the normal schedule.

On April 18 the southbound Coast Starlight that departed Seattle the day before will be cancelled between Oxnard and Los Angeles, missing intermediate stops at Simi Valley, Van Nuys and Burbank.

Bus 4011 will hold at Oxnard for connecting passengers from the Starlight and provide alternate transportation (drop-off only) at Simi Valley, Van Nuys, Burbank and Los Angeles.

Track Work Disrupts Pacific Surfliner Service

April 9, 2021

Track work will affect operations of Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner trains for the period April 9-12.

On April 9 Train 796 will terminate at Los Angeles. Bus service will be provided south to San Diego, serving all missed stops.

On April 10 and 11, Train 796 will terminate at Los Angeles with bus service to all missed stops.

Trains 580, 768, 774, 1564 and 1584 will operate normally to Irvine, where bus service will be provided between Irvine and San Diego.

Express buses will run from Irvine to Oceanside, Solana Beach, Old Town San Diego and Downtown San Diego.

Trains 579, 593, 763, 777, 785 and 1767 will originate in Irvine with bus service being provided between San Diego and Irvine.

Buses will depart Downtown San Diego, Solana Beach and Oceanside earlier than the train schedule to allow time to connect with trains in Irvine.

Buses will not pick up at Old Town San Diego. Passengers can take the trolley to Downtown San Diego to board buses to Irvine.

On April 12, Trains 564, 580, 768, 774 and 796 will terminate at Solana Beach. Bus service will be provided from Oceanside to San Diego.

Trains 579, 593, 763, 767, 777 and 785 will originate at Solana Beach with connecting bus service will be provided from San Diego to Oceanside.

Buses will not pick up at Old Town San Diego. Passengers can take the trolley to Downtown San Diego to board buses to Oceanside.

Likewise, buses will not stop at Old Town. Old Town passengers may use the trolley to connect with the Oceanside buses at San Diego. However, Bus 3286 will stop at Old Town.

Alternate bus service will not serve San Juan Capistrano or San Clemente Pier with the exception of Bus 3596 that will stop at San Juan Capistrano.

Capitol Corridor Schedules Changed

April 6, 2021

Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor Service schedules were changed on March 29. In a service advisory, Amtrak said the following changes have been made.

Train 521 will operate 24 minutes earlier, departing Sacramento at 4:10 a.m. Train 523 will operate 20 minutes earlier, departing Sacramento at 5:10 a.m.

Train 527 will now originate in Auburn at 5:40 a.m. Train 537 will now operate 1 hour and 19 minutes earlier, departing Sacramento at 10:55 a.m.

Train 541 will operate 2 hours and 15 minutes earlier, departing Sacramento at 11:55 a.m, terminating at San Jose. Train 545 will operate 1 hour and 10 minutes earlier, departing Sacramento at 3:55 p.m.

Train 547 will operate 49 minutes earlier, departing Sacramento at 5:03 p.m. Train 723 will operate 15 minutes earlier, departing Sacramento at 5:55 a.m.

Train 729 will operate 6 minutes earlier, departing Auburn at 7:55 a.m. Train 737 will operate 1 hour and 17 minutes earlier, departing Sacramento at 10:55 a.m.

Train 743 will operate 51 minutes earlier, departing Sacramento at 2:55 p.m. Train 747 will operate 1 hour 15 minutes later, departing Sacramento at 6:55 p.m, terminating at Oakland Jack London Square.

Train 520 will operate 8 minutes earlier, departing Oakland Jack London Square at 5:12 a.m. Train 524 will operate 24 minutes earlier, departing San Jose at 6:18 a.m.

Train 528 will operate 20 minutes earlier, departing San Jose at 8:48 a.m Train 532 will operate 1 hour and 15 minutes earlier, departing San Jose at 11:05 a.m.

Train 536 will operate 23 minutes earlier, departing Oakland Jack London Square at 3:12 p.m, terminating at Sacramento. Train 538 will operate 3 minutes earlier, departing San Jose at 3:05 p.m, terminating at Auburn.

Train 542 will operate 12 minutes earlier, departing San Jose at 4:05 p.m. Train 546 will operate 19 minutes later, departing San Jose at 6:05 p.m.

Train 724 will operate 10 minutes earlier, departing San Jose at 8:05 a.m. Train 732 will depart Oakland Jack London Square at 2:12 p.m.

Train 736 will originate at San Jose at 3:05p.m, operating to Auburn. Train 742 will operate 5 minutes earlier, departing San Jose at 5:05 p.m, terminating at Sacramento.

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.

Del Mar Bluffs Repair Cost Put at $10.5M

March 25, 2021

Emergency repairs to the Del Mar Bluffs in Southern California are expected to cost about $10.5 million said the San Diego Association of Governments.

The work will involve construction of a 288-foot seawall and 18 vertical concrete and steel support columns tied into horizontal supports.

The project will seek to stabilize a section of the bluffs that collapsed in February within 35 feet of the tracks used by Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner trains between San Diego and Los Angeles.

Since then Amtrak and Coaster commuter trains have slowed to 15 miles per house past the site. BNSF freight trains are restricted to 10 mph.