Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak western long-distance trains’

Track Work to Affect Texas Eagle

February 14, 2019

Track work being conducted by Union Pacific will disrupt operations of Amtrak’s Texas Eagle between Feb. 24 and March 10.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that during that time Train No. 21 will detour between Texarkana, Arkansas, and Mineola, Texas, with passengers bound for intermediate stops between those cities riding a bus.

That includes stations in Marshall and Longview, Texas. It also affects passengers riding a thruway bus to Shreveport, Louisiana, that connects with the Eagle at Longview.

Affected passengers will detrain at Mineola and board Amtrak Thruway Bus 6121 to their destination. Bus 6121 will originate at Mineola instead of Longview.

Amtrak said that Train No. 21 may be delayed up to 15 to 20 minutes at Mineola to hold for connecting buses.


Renovated Tomah Station to be Dedicated

February 10, 2019

The newly renovated Amtrak station in Tomah, Wisconsin, will open on Feb. 13 with a dedication ceremony.

That will take place at 4:30 p.m. and be followed by a town hall meeting with a representative of the Wisconsin Rail Passenger Association to discuss the prospects of adding a second Amtrak train between Chicago and the Twin Cities.

The Tomah station was built by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific in the early 1900.

The rebuilding began in 2016 and was interrupted before resuming in September 2018.

Tomah is now served by the daily Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder, which is scheduled to stop there at 11:26 a.m. eastbound and 6:27 p.m. westbound.

The town hall meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at Tomah City Hall.


Man Tried to Commandeer Coast Starlight in California

February 7, 2019

A man police described as intoxicated and shirtless was arrested in California on Monday night after he boarded a locomotive of Amtrak’s southbound Coast Starlight and tried to work the controls.

Dylan Thomas Baldini, 26, of McCloud, California, has been charged by Siskiyou County authorities with hindering the safe operation of a train, public intoxication, trespassing on railroad property, and interfering and hindering the safe and efficient operation of a locomotive, railway car or train.

Police said Baldini climbed aboard the second P42DC locomotive of the train shortly after 1 a.m. as the train was stopped to meet a freight train in an area known as Cantara Loop in Mount Shasta.

Amtrak personnel aboard the train at the time said they stayed away from Baldini because he was acting hostile and they feared for their safety.

Baldini was reported to have repeatedly sounded the train’s horn and tried to place the train into emergency stop mode.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s office said that after he was apprehended Baldini was “exhibiting hostility.”

The Starlight was en route from Seattle to Los Angeles at the time of the incident.

Amtrak to Begin Restoring Service From Chicago

January 31, 2019

Service on Amtrak’s Midwest corridor routes that radiate from Chicago will be canceled today (Jan. 31), but some long-distance trains will be reinstated.

All but one train will be restored by Friday Amtrak said in a service advisory.

Trains were canceled this week after a blast of arctic air sent temperatures plunging below zero and created dangerous wind chills.

Long-distance trains that will resume today include Chicago-Los Angeles (Southwest Chief), Chicago-San Francisco Bay (California Zephyr), Chicago-Seattle/Portland (Empire Builder), Chicago-New Orleans (City of New Orleans), Chicago-San Antonio/Los Angeles (Texas Eagle) and Chicago-Washington (Capitol Limited).

Long distance train that will not originate today include the Lake Shore Limited  (Chicago-New York/Boston) and the Cardinal (Chicago-New York)

On Friday all Midwest corridor services but one to and from Chicago will be restored.

The exception will be Carbondale to Chicago train No. 390 (Saluki), which will be restored on Saturday.

Amtrak Midwest corridor services to and from Chicago to be restored on Frida include Chicago-Milwaukee (Hiawatha Service), Chicago-Quincy (Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr), Chicago-St. Louis (Lincoln Service), and Chicago-Carbondale (Illini and Saluki),Chicago and Indianapolis (Hooiser State), Chicago and Detroit [Pontiac] (Wolverine Service), Chicago and Port Huron (Blue Water), and Chicago and Grand Rapids (Pere Marquette).
Also resuming operation on Friday will be the Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited and Chicago-New York Cardinal.

Passengers holding reservations on canceled trains will be rebooked on other trains without any additional fees.

Sunset in Rawlins

January 30, 2019

Amtrak’s westbound San Francisco Zephyr is making a service stop in Rawlins, Wyoming, which gave me time to get off the train and made a few images.

It is right before sunset on Oct. 25, 1981. I tried to work the sunset into a few angles with mixed results.

I was actually ticketed to Los Angeles via the Desert Wind, which ran combined with the SFZ east of Ogden, Utah.

The Wind is now long gone and the SFZ has been renamed California Zephyr and given a new route that bypasses Rawlins.

Although this trip was not my first experience with Superliner equipment, it was one of my earliest trips on the then-new cars.

Amtrak Cancels Most Midwest Service Due to Cold

January 30, 2019

Amtrak has canceled all trains that are scheduled to originate in Chicago today (Jan. 30) due to subzero temperatures in the Midwest.

This also includes trains that originate elsewhere today en route to Chicago.

Trains that originated on or before Jan. 29 will complete their trip to Chicago. Most of those are long-distance trains.

Amtrak said that all corridor trains will be canceled on Thursday, Jan. 31. Most long-distance trains originating in Chicago are also expected to be canceled on Thursday.

Also being canceled today and Thursday will be long-distance trains bound for Chicago that would be scheduled to arrive on Thursday and Friday.

One long-distance train, the Chicago to Seattle/Portland Empire Builder was canceled on Tuesday due to the severe cold.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told Trains magazine that decision was made in consultation with host railroad BNSF, which handles the train for most of its route.

The only Amtrak trains that will originate in the Midwest today and Thursday will be the two Missouri River Runner round-trips between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Amtrak typically operates 55 trains daily to and from Chicago hub.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said passengers traveling on the affected trains will be able to change their travel to another date without an additional charge.

In a related development, intercity commuter carrier The South Shore Line suspended all service on Wednesday.

The carrier, which operates between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, said a test train encountered “significant overnight wire problems.”

The South Shore said it will evaluate weather and operating conditions and determine later today if it will operate on Thursday.

The severe cold also prompted Chicago commuter railroad Metra to operate today on a modified schedule.

Texas County Seeks Daily Sunset Limited

January 29, 2019

The Jefferson County Commissioners Court in Texas is trying to push for the tri-weekly Sunset Limited to operate daily.

The court voted unanimously to go on record as favoring daily operation of Nos. 1 and 2 in Southeast Texas.

Public officials in San Antonio, Houston and Tucson — all of which are served by the Sunset — have also expressed support for daily service.

The tri-weekly operation of the Sunset Limited has existed since the first day of Amtrak, a relic of less-than-daily service under Southern Pacific.

“I think if they want to make an appeal for more transportation-related opportunities for citizens along the Amtrak route, I’m certainly not going to stand in the way of that progress,” Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said.

Those trying to get daily service by Nos. 1 and 2 have pointed to a growing population base in the states served by the train, including a 22 percent increase between 2000 and 2016.

However, a rail plan issued by the Texas Department of Transportation said that host railroad Union Pacific has told Amtrak it wants $750 million in track rehabilitation and other capital improvements before it will allow Nos. 1 and 2 to operate daily.

Report Examines Effects of SW Chief Bus Bridge

January 19, 2019

Had Amtrak go ahead with its idea to bus passengers over a portion of the route of the Southwest Chief it would have lost $135 in the affected communities a new study has found.

The study, conducted by the University of Southern Mississippi for the Rail Passengers Association said the bus bridge between Albuquerque and Dodge City, Kansas, would have led to $180 million in annual losses.

The report, titled Bustituted: The Socioeconomic Impacts of Replacing Southwest Chief Service Over Raton Pass said the annual $180-million economic loss would be the result of “Permanent Direct Economic Losses” totaling $116.4 million, as well as “Permanent Indirect Losses” of $63.7 million.

Direct losses involve such things as cancelled operating spending, fewer visitors and lost income from those visitors, and higher travel costs for families that live along the Southwest Chief route. The indirect losses would be felt through increased pollution control, highway fatalities, increased highway maintenance and forgone trips.

The report said those losses are more than three times what Amtrak requests from Congress to operate the Southwest Chief between Chicago and Los Angeles.

The full report can be found at

Amtrak to Match SW Chief Route Grant

January 12, 2019

The Rail Passengers Association reported this week that it has learned that Amtrak will provide matching funds for a federal grant to be used to install positive train control on a portion of the route of the Southwest Chief.

The $9.2 million CRISI grant was awarded to the departments of transportation of Kansas and Colorado in partnership with Amtrak and host railroad BNSF.

The grant money will pay for the design, installation, and testing of PTC on about 179 miles of the Chief’s route between Dodge City, Kansas, and Las Animas, Colorado.

The development appears to represent an about face by Amtrak, which had earlier refused to honor its agreement to provide $3 million in matching funds for a $16 million federal TIGER grant won by a New Mexico county for rebuilding the route of the Chief in that state.

The RPA said it doesn’t know the status of Amtrak’s matching funds for the TIGER grant but it continues to lobby the passenger carrier to honor its agreement.

The Southwest Chief operates daily between Chicago and Los Angeles.

UP Track Work to Disrupt Sunset Limited

January 12, 2019

Operations of the Sunset Limited will adversely be affected by track work being performed by Union Pacific between Jan. 17 and March 8.

The service disruptions, which include temporary schedule changes and service cancellations,  will also affect passengers traveling on the Texas Eagle who connect to and from Nos. 1 and 2 in San Antonio.

The track work is being done between San Antonio and El Paso in Texas.

Train No. 1 will operate on its normal schedule from New Orleans to San Antonio. However, it will be rescheduled to leave San Antonio at 2:15 a.m., which is 30 minutes earlier than the normal schedule.

The departure time from Del Rio, Texas, of 7:19 a.m. will be 90 minutes later than scheduled. No. 1 will depart El Paso at 4:47 p.m., three hours later than scheduled.

It will arrive in Los Angeles at 8:40 a.m., 3 hours and 5 minutes later than scheduled.

No. 2 will depart Los Angeles at 7:26 p.m., 2 hours and 34 minutes earlier than scheduled.

The departure time from El Paso has been moved up to 12:51 p.m., which is 2 hours and 44 minutes earlier than scheduled.

No. 2 will rescheduled to leave San Antonio at 6:25 a.m. and operate on its normal schedule from San Antonio to New Orleans.

Between Jan. 17 and Feb. 17 some trips of the Sunset Limited will be canceled.

This includes No. 1, which would have departed from New Orleans on Jan. 21 and 28, and Feb. 4 and 11. No alternative transportation is being provided on the round on the dates that No., 1 is canceled.

Also canceled will be Train No. 2 from Los Angeles Jan. 20 and 27, and Feb. 3, 10 and 17. No alternative service is being provide on the dates that these trains would have operated.

The cancellations also affect No. 1 scheduled to depart from New Orleans on Feb. 18, 25 and March 4.; and Train No. 2 scheduled to depart Los Angeles on Feb. 24 and March 3.

No alternative transportation is being provided for any of those trains.

Amtrak said it will rebook disrupted passengers on other trains without any reservation change charges.