Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s California Zephyr’

Amtrak Long-Distance Trains to Resume Daily Service

March 11, 2021

Amtrak said Wednesday it will reinstate daily service on 12 long-distance routes starting in late May.

Trains on those routes shifted last year to tri-weekly or quad-weekly service in the wake of steep ridership declines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement of expanded service came hours after the U.S. House of Representatives approved a pandemic relief package that contains increased funding for Amtrak.

The legislation also contains a mandate that routes that had daily service until last year resume daily operation and that furloughed employees be recalled.

President Joseph Biden is expected to sign the $1.9 trillion bill on Friday.

Two routes, the Chicago-New York Cardinal and New Orleans-Los Angeles Sunset Limited will be unaffected by the changes because those routes have operated on tri-weekly schedules for years.

Amtrak has already resumed selling tickets for the expanded days of operation on the 12 routes.

Trains returning to daily service on May 24 include the Chicago-Emeryville, California, California Zephyr; Seattle-Los Angeles Coast Starlight; Chicago-Portland/Seattle Empire Builder, and the Chicago-San Antonio-Los Angeles Texas Eagle.

Daily operation returns May 31 for the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited; Chicago-New Orleans City of New Orleans, Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited, and the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

Resuming daily operation on June 7 will be the New York-New Orleans Crescent, New York-Savannah Palmetto, and the New York-Miami Silver Meteor (via Savannah) and Silver Star (via Raleigh).

In a news release, Amtrak said new Viewliner II sleeping cars will be making their debut on the Silver Service trains.

The Auto Train had continued to operate daily and its operations will remain unchanged.

Amtrak will receive $1.7 billion in emergency pandemic aid, which will help fund restoration of daily service on long-distance routes.

California Zephyr in Colorado

January 15, 2021

It is late June 1988. The photographer and a friend had ridden Amtrak’s California Zephyr to Denver to spend a week railfanning Denver & Rio Grande Western lines in Colorado.

They managed to catch Amtrak Nos. 5 and 6 numerous times on the Moffat Tunnel route. In those days three F40PH locomotives was the standard motive power consist.

In the top photograph, No. 6 is cruising along the Colorado River in Byers Canyon. In the middle, No. 5 is coming into Winter Park as it exits Moffat Tunnel. In the bottom image, the westbound Zephyr is at Rollins, Colorado.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Salt Lake City Station Hours Changed

December 1, 2020

Amtrak has temporarily changed the hours that the waiting room at its station in Salt Lake City are open.

Starting Nov. 30, the station will be open will be open on Sunday mornings for Train 6, between 1 a.m. to train departure time. In a service advisory Amtrak said passengers will not have access to the inside of the station or restrooms when it is closed.

The advisory did not give a reason for the change in hours or indicate how long the change would be in effect.

Salt Lake City is served by Amtrak’s California Zephyr.

Rocky Mountaineer Planning U.S. Route in 2021

November 27, 2020

Amtrak will be getting competition over part of its route of the California Zephyr.

Tour train operator Rocky Mountaineer recently announced plans to launch a two-day service between Denver and Moab, Utah, that will begin operating next summer.

Plans are to have 40 departures over 10 weeks between Aug. 15 to Oct. 23.

Passengers will spend the night in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Rocky Mountaineer currently has three rail routes in Western Canada although that service was suspended earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian routes link Vancouver with Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper.  

“The work to find a new route has been underway for several years as we needed to find a special location with many of the same features we have in western Canada — incredible scenery, iconic destinations and the option for an all daytime, multiday journey that is best experienced by train,” said Rocky Mountaineer President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Sammut said in a news release.

The U.S. service will be named Rockies to the Red Rocks. Prices for the U.S. excursions will start at $1,250 per person plus tax.

More information is available at the Rocky Mountaineer website.

Rocky Mountaineer has been in business for 30 years.

Stations in Havre, Holdrege See Changes

October 30, 2020

Amtrak customer service representatives have begun staffing the station in Havre, Montana.

They will assist passengers in making reservations for travel on the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder and with boarding and disembarking from trains.

The station waiting room will be open at all train times.

In a service advisory Amtrak reminded passengers that it is no longer accepting cash for ticket purchases.

Tickets can only be purchased with a credit card, reloadable credit or debit card, or Amtrak gift cards.

In other station news, work has been completed on building a new boarding platform in Holdrege, Nebraska, for the California Zephyr.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said parking arrangements at the station have changed.

Parking is now being provided the city parking lot north of the train station.

The lot can be reached from Third Avenue with an entrance west of East Avenue. The lot is free and has no time limit.

CZ to Resume Stopping at Holdrege

October 10, 2020

Amtrak has a new boarding facility in Holdrege, Nebraska, and the California Zephyr will resume stopping there after an absence of about three months.

Until July, Nos. 5 and 6 had stopped at the former Chicago, Burlington & Quincy station, which is now privately owned.

But Amtrak and the owner of the station were unable to reach an agreement on renovating the station facilities to comply with ADA accessibility standards.

Amtrak spent $2 million to create a new platform, lighting, shelter and parking lot about 63 yards to the east of the previous station.

The Burlington depot, which was built in 1910 has been converted to primarily office space.

Holdrege, located in western Nebraska, served 1,800 Amtrak passengers in 2019.

Denver Ski Train Won’t Operate in 2021

October 1, 2020

Amtrak announced this week is has canceled its Winter Park Express ski train for the 2021 season, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

A joint statement by Amtrak, host railroad Union Pacific and the Winter Park Resort said the train will return between Denver and the ski resort in 2022.

The statement said in lieu of a train a shuttle bus will operate between Fraser, Colorado, which is a stop for Amtrak’s California Zephyr, and Winter Park.

Amtrak’s policy during the pandemic of operating trains at reduced capacity in order to maintain social distancing also was cited in the statement, which said, “it was not possible to operate the train successfully this season.”

Track Work to Disrupt California Zephyr

September 29, 2020

Track work by host railroad Union Pacific on the Moffat Tunnel in Colorado will result in changes to operations of Amtrak’s California Zephyr between Oct. 5 and 12.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said Train 5 will be cancelled during that period with Train 1105 operating in its place between Chicago and Denver.

That train will hold at Denver until 10:05 a.m., 2 hours later than Train 5’s normal schedule and operate on that later schedule at all stations from Denver to Emeryville, California.

Amtrak said that due to the schedule change, on Oct. 6 and 13, there will be no westbound service at Salt Lake City.

Calif. Zephyr Back to Running Through Colorado

August 21, 2020

The California Zephyr resumed on Tuesday operating between Denver and Salt Lake City.

Nos. 5 and 6 had been either detoured or canceled between the two cities over the past week due to wild fires that affected Glenwood Canyon in Colorado.

Union Pacific spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza told reporters that the first freight train to travel through the canyon did so on Monday but was limited to 5 mph.

The Zephyr detoured via UP lines across Wyoming on some days but on other days the train was canceled and no alternative service was provided to the missed stations between Denver and Salt Lake City.

Wildfire Continues to Hinder Calif. Zephyr

August 18, 2020

The route used by Amtrak’s California Zephyr between Denver and Salt Lake City remained closed on Monday due to a wildfire near Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Although Amtrak last week detoured Nos. 5 and 6 via Wyoming it canceled the past fours days service between Denver and Salt Lake City without any alternative service.

News reports indicate that more than 500 firefighters have been battling the blaze, which had burned more than 25,600 acres. Four fires in the state have affected 130,000 acres.

Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon remains closed for 24 miles.