Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak western long-distance trains’

Pacific Parlor Cars Being Retired

January 19, 2018

Amtrak is retiring the Pacific Parlour Cars that have been a mainstay on the Coast Startlight between Seattle and Los Angeles.

An Amtrak spokeswoman said the former Santa Fe hi-level lounge cars will be retired after Feb. 4.

The nation’s passenger carrier had said earlier that it would remove the cars from service for about a month to repair them.

Amtrak said retirement of the cars is part of “an ongoing effort to modernize equipment.”

An employee bulletin sent this week said the cars would not return to service “due to safety concerns and the rising cost of maintenance.”

The last Pacific Parlour Car to run in revenue service will leave Seattle on Feb. 4. The last northbound car will leave Los Angeles on Feb. 2.

Pacific Parlour Car service began in the middle 1990s to offer lounge space and food service to sleeping car passengers.

The cars were among the last cars still in service built before Amtrak’s 1971 creation.

Retirement of the Pacific Parlor Cars will leave only a small fleet of Heritage dining and baggage cars in active service.

A Pacific Parlour Car has an attendant who serves lunch and dinner in the car by reservation, using a unique menu separate from that served in the adjacent dining car, and provides an afternoon wine and cheese tasting on both days of the Coast Starlight’s daily overnight journey.

Although initially offered as part of the sleeping car fare, since 2015 the wine and cheese tasting has cost $7 per person for wine plus an extra $5 per person for cheese, and has been open also to Business Class passengers.

Amtrak has not determined if it plans to replace Pacific Parlour Car service by another dedicated lounge and food-service car for sleeping car passengers, or whether any other substitute amenity will be offered.

“Customers will still continue to enjoy the spectacular views from other areas of the train, including the Dining Car and the renowned Sightseer Lounge Car,” Amtrak’s Kimberly Woods told Trains magazine.

It is not clear if Amtrak will attempt to sell the retired Pacific Parlour Cars or scrap them.

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Waiting for His Passengers

January 16, 2018

An Amtrak sleeping car attendant stands on the platform of the north concourse of Chicago Union Station to welcome passengers for his car aboard the westbound Empire Builder.

These tracks were once used by trains of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul and today Amtrak uses the ex-Milwaukee Road route between Chicago and the Twin Cities.

Although boarding of No. 7 began on time, the train will depart late from Chicago largely due to late inbound trains, most notably the Lake Shore Limited. Also being held on this day for connecting passengers were the departing California Zephyr and Southwest Chief.

Sunset Limited Suspended for Track Work

January 9, 2018

The Sunset Limited will be suspended on select dates in January due to track work being performed by Union Pacific between El Paso, Texas, and Los Angeles.

The service suspension also affects Texas Eagle through cars to and from Los Angeles that are conveyed by Nos. 1 and 2 west of San Antonio, Texas.

Alternative service will be not be to stations at Deming and Lordsburg, New Mexico; Benson, Tucson, Maricopa and Yuma, Arizona; and Palm Springs, Ontario, Pomona and Los Angeles, California.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the service suspensions will affect the trains on the following dates.

Westbound to Los Angeles

  • Train 1 will depart New Orleans on January 10 terminating in El Paso on January 11.
  • Train 421 will depart Chicago January 9 terminating in El Paso on January 11.
  • Train 1 will depart New Orleans on January 13 terminating in El Paso on January 14.
  • Train 421 will depart Chicago January 12 terminating in El Paso on January 14.

Eastbound from Los Angeles

  • Train 2 will depart El Paso January 13 terminating in New Orleans January 14.
  • Train 422 will depart El Paso January 13 terminating in Chicago January 15.
  • Train 2 will depart El Paso January 15 terminating in New Orleans January 16.
  • Train 422 will depart El Paso January 15 terminating in Chicago January 17.

Thruway Buses Cancelled between Maricopa and Phoenix

  • Bus 8601 January 11 and January 12
  • Bus 8602 January 11 and January 13
  • Bus 8901 January 11 and January 14
  • Bus 8902 January 11 and January 13

Amtrak Establishes Williams Shuttle

January 9, 2018

Amtrak has established a Thruway shuttle service between Flagstaff, Arizona, and Williams, Arizona, the gateway to the Grand Canyon.

The new service, which accommodates passengers using the Southwest Chief, replaced a now-discontinued station stop at Williams Junction, Arizona.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the shuttle fare is $24 and has a guaranteed connection. The shuttle will stop at the Holiday Inn Express, 1150 W. Cataract Lake Road, in Williams.

Passengers traveling from Chicago and points west on Train 3 to Williams will detrain in Flagstaff and connect to Thruway bus 8953 departing at 10:10 p.m.

Passengers traveling from Williams westbound toward Los Angeles, will take Thruway bus 8853 departing at 8:30 p.m. to connect with Train 3 in Flagstaff.

Passengers on Train 4 traveling from Los Angeles and points east to Williams will detrain in Flagstaff and take Thruway bus 8954 departing at 6:00 a.m.

Passengers traveling from Williams heading eastbound toward Chicago on train 4, will take Thruway bus 8854 departing at 4:15 a.m. to connect with Train 4 in Flagstaff.

 

Wildfires Disrupt California Service

December 12, 2017

Wildfires in California led Amtrak service to suspend service between Oxnard and San Luis Obispo. Pacific Surfliner trains are operating between Oxnard and San Diego. The Coast Starlight is operating between Seattle and Emeryville, California. Alternate transportation will be provided.

Pacific Parlour Cars Being Overhauled

December 5, 2017

Amtrak is overhauling its fleet of Pacific Parlour Cars at its Beech Grove shops with many of the former Santa Fe cars being out of service between Jan. 8 and March 14, 2018.

The cars are assigned to the Los Angeles-Seattle Coast Starlight and used as a lounge for sleeping car passengers.

An attendant in the car usually serves as a bartender, provides lunch and dinner, and hosts a wine and cheese tasting each afternoon.

Amtrak said that until the rebuild is completed, Pacific Parlour Car service will only be provided northbound out of Los Angeles on Thursdays and Fridays, and southbound from Seattle on Saturdays and Sundays.

On other days, sleeping car passengers desiring lounge car service will be directed to the train’s Sightseer Lounge, which is available to all passengers.

During the winter travel season, the Coast Starlight typically operates with a transition sleeping/dorm car, two sleepers,  dining car, Sightseer lounge and two to three coaches.

Texas Eagle to Miss Arcadia Valley This Month

November 9, 2017

Due to Union Pacific track work, the Texas Eagle will be missing its scheduled station stop at Arcadia Valley, Missouri for most of November.

Nos. 21/22 are being detoured between St. Louis and Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and will not be passing through Arcadia Valley between Nov. 9 and 23.

Amtrak said in a service advisory that during this period alternative service will not be provided to or from Arcadia Valley.

Texas Eagle to Detour in Missouri

November 2, 2017

Union Pacific track work in Missouri will send the Texas Eagle on a detour move between Nov. 9 and 23.

Nos. 21/421 and 22/422 will detour between St. Louis and Poplar Bluff, Missouri, via the Chester Subdivision (River Line). Nos. 421/422 are the through cars to/from the Sunset Limited at San Antonio, to/from Los Angeles.

This post was updated to reflect a change in the date that the detour will begin.

UP Track Work to Disrupt Coast Starlight in Oregon, California; Will Also Affect Select Corridor Trains

October 24, 2017

Union Pacific track work is affecting Amtrak’s Coast Starlight and other western corridor trains in late October and early November.

In California, track work being performed from 10:30 p.m. on Oct.  25 through 10:30 a.m. on Oct.  27 will affect Pacific Surfliner service and the Coast Starlight as follows.

On Oct.  25 Train 785 will operate between San Diego and Oxnard. Bus service will be provided from Oxnard to Santa Barbara and Goleta. Bus service will not be provided at Ventura and Carpinteria.

On 26, Pacific Surfliner trains will operate on the following schedules. These trains will not stop at Ventura and Carpinteria, and bus service will not be provided.

Northbound Nos. 761, 769 and 785 will operate between San Diego and Oxnard. Bus service will be provided from Oxnard to Santa Barbara and Goleta.

Northbound Nos. 763 and 777 will operate between San Diego and Oxnard only. Bus service will be provided between Oxnard and Santa Barbara. Bus service will also be provided to Goleta for Train 777 passengers only.

Northbound Nos. 2763 and 2777 will operate between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

Southbound Nos. 768, 782 and 792 will originate at Oxnard. Passengers boarding in Goleta and Santa Barbara will be provided bus service to Oxnard, where they will board their respective trains.

Southbound Nos. 2774 and 2796 will operate between San Louis Obispo and Santa Barbara. Bus service will be provided between Santa Barbara and Oxnard.

Southbound Nos. 774 and 796 will operate between Oxnard and San Diego only.

The Coast Starlight will detour between Oakland and Los Angeles and will not make stops at San Jose, Salinas, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Simi Valley, Van Nuys and Burbank. Passengers traveling to those destinations are directed to use local travel services.

In Oregon, track work between Klamath Falls and Portland will affect Cascades Service Nos. 503, 505, 506, 508 and Coast Starlight No. 14 as follows:

Train 503 on Nov. 1 through Nov. 8 is canceled between Portland and Eugene. Bus service will be provided at all stations on the route.

Train 508 on Nov. 1 through Nov. 3 will operate between Portland and Seattle only. Bus service will be provided to and from Eugene, Albany, Salem and Oregon City and will connect to Train 508 at Portland.

Train No. 508 will operate as normal on Nov.  4 and 5.

Trains 505 and 506 are canceled between Portland and Eugene will be cancelled. Bus service will be provided at all stations on the route.

Train  will operate between Portland and Seattle only. Bus service will be provided to and from Eugene, Albany, Salem and Oregon City to connect to Train 506 at Portland.

On Nov. 1 through Nov. 8 the northbound Coast Starlight will wait at Eugene up to two hours and 15 minutes.

Passengers connecting from Train 14 to Empire Builder No. 28 at Portland, you will get off the train at Eugene, where bus service will be provided to Portland to board No. 28.

NOLA Service Suspended Due to Hurricane Nate

October 9, 2017

Amtrak suspended service to New Orleans on all routes over the weekend due to the approach of Hurricane Nate.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the Sunset Limited would terminate and originate in San Antonio with no alternate transportation available between San Antonio and New Orleans. Trains 1 & 2 normally operate three-days-weekly between Los Angeles and New Orleans.

The Crescent terminated and originated in Birmingham, Alabama with no alternate transportation available between Birmingham and New Orleans.

The City of New Orleans originated and terminated in Jackson, Mississippi, with no alternate transportation available between Jackson and New Orleans.

As of Monday morning, Amtrak had not announced on its website when service to New Orleans and other affected intermediate stations would resume.