Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s California Zephyr’

Amtrak Passenger’s Death Remains Mystery

May 31, 2017

Colorado authorities are still searching for the cause of death of a woman who was found unconscious aboard an Amtrak train in Denver last September.

That has frustrated Denver Chief Medical Examiner Dr. James Caruso, who said, “We sort of feel like we failed. The autopsy for us is the deceased person trying to tell us their story. How’d they end up in our suite?”

What is known is that the deceased is 28-year-old Marina Placencia, of Racine, Wisconsin.

Her death was being investigated by Denver police because Placencia had suffered blunt force trauma injuries.

An autopsy found 35 instances of injuries, including a large number of contusions, bruises, 10 broken ribs and bleeding in her stomach.

Police said Placencia had suffered physical abuse from a boyfriend in Wisconsin.

Witnesses and available public records showed that Placencia bought an Amtrak ticket and traveled from Milwaukee to Denver, changing trains in Chicago.

Tickets show Placencia and her four children were with her on California Zephyr.

A passenger who was not identified in a Denver Post story said that she boarded No. 5 in Holdrege, Nebraska, and didn’t hear any disturbances.

However, as the train approached the Denver station, “over the speaker, I heard somebody saying, ‘Is there a doctor?’” she said.

“I saw her [Placencia] in the aisle on the floor. Nobody was around her. I assumed she had already passed away,”

Paramedics tried to resuscitate Placencia before police arrived.

“They said they were waiting for the detectives and make sure nobody had killed her on the train. Their words not my words. They just wanted to make sure. Have an investigation,” the passenger said.

Caruso told the Post that he has continued to question the case even after the “undetermined” ruling was made of the death.

“There’s all kinds of red flags in the history here,” Caruso said. “We knew that going in. We’d like nothing more than to come up with another manner of death in this case.”

Caruso said he supported the cause of death as unknown because none of the bruises, contusions or broken bones were likely fatal.

However, he didn’t rule out further investigation as new facts become available.

“If new information comes about, I am certainly willing to change my opinion,” Caruso said.

UP Derailment Led to Ski Train Cancellation

March 14, 2017

A Union Pacific derailment resulted in cancellation of the Winter Park Express between Denver and Winter Park, Colorado, last Saturday.

Passengers who had tickets for the March 11 ski train were offered the opportunity to rebook on another ski train, which has two more weekends to operate.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told Trains magazine that about 500 seats had been sold for the trip that was canceled.

The westbound California Zephyr was held for more than four hours at Denver before it was permitted to proceed. It lost another two hours waiting for the tracks to be cleared at the derailment site.

The derailment did not materially affect the eastbound California Zephyr on Saturday. The ski train operated as scheduled on Sunday.

News reports indicate that 10 empty freight cars on a UP train derailed on a curve on the Moffat Subdivision.

Colfax Thruway Bus Stop Moved

February 28, 2017

The Amtrak Thruway bus stop in Colfax, California, is being moved a half block east across the Union Pacific tracks from the Amtrak station to Roy Tom’s Plaza 33 on Grass Valley Street.

Amtrak 4In a service advisory, Amtrak said the temporary change is due to road restrictions preventing buses from accessing the station.

Amtrak trains will continue to stop at the Colfax train station on Railroad Street.

Serving Colfax are the Chicago-Emeryville California Zephyr, and some Capitol Corridor trains.

 

Renovated Sacramento Station Reopens

February 26, 2017

A renovated Sacramento, California, Amtrak station has opened. One goal of the $34 million dollar project was to create within the former Southern Pacific station a celebration of Sacramento’’ past and its future.

Amtrak 4This includes a mural depicting the 1863 groundbreaking of the station as a terminus of the transcontinental railroad.

Some of the station has been devoted to commercial use, including a digital video lab created by the McClatchy Newspapers, publisher of the Sacramento Bee.

Amtrak’s California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin trains use the station, which is connected to the Sacramento’s light rail system.

Amtrak said that in 2015 Sacramento was its seventh busiest station in the country.

CZ Resumes Operating Length of its Route

February 24, 2017

The northern California avalanche threat has subsided so Amtrak’s California Zephyr is back to operating the full length of its route between Chicago and Emeryville, California.

Nos. 5 and 6 had ceased operating early this week west of Reno due to the threat of avalanches on Donner Pass. No. 6 departed Emeryville on Thursday 3.5 hours late. No. 5 was running late as well.

CZ Still Suspended West of Reno

February 24, 2017

Amtrak has again suspended operation of its California Zephyr over a portion of its route due to avalanche threats in Northern California.

amtrak-california-zephyrNos. 5 and 6 are temporarily suspended between Reno, Nevada, and Emeryville, California, due to Union Pacific suspending operating on its Donner Pass line between Colfax and Truckee.

Westbound trains will terminate in Reno while eastbounds will originate there. Service remains unchanged between Chicago and Reno.

Some passengers will be transported by bus between Reno and Emeryville.

Route closures had forced UP to focus traffic on its Donner Pass route and led Amtrak to cancel operation of the California Zephyr west of Salt Lake City for more than a week and half.

CZ Resume Operating Full Length of Route

February 21, 2017

Amtrak’s California Zephyr is back in operation the length of its route after flooding washed out the Union Pacific route used by the train west of Salt Lake City.

amtrak-california-zephyrNos. 5 and 6 had been operating between Chicago and Salt Lake City for more than a week due to freight train congestion and weather related issues.

The congestion had been caused in part by freight traffic being diverted to the Donner Pass route used by Amtrak due to the Feather River Canyon route being knocked out of service following heavy rains.

The Feather River route, which once hosted the original California Zephyr in Western Pacific days, was still being repaired on Tuesday.

But both WP and Southern Pacific routes east of Winnemucca, Nevada are now open.

California Zephyr Temporarily Skipping Roseville Station Stop Due to Union Pacific Track Work

January 31, 2017

Amtrak’s California Zephyr will not stop in Roseville, California, between Jan. 31 and Feb. 3 due to track work being conducted by Union Pacific.

amtrak-california-zephyrIn a service advisory, Amtrak said alternative service will not be provided to or from Roseville.

Passengers are instead directed to use stations in Sacramento or Colfax.

However, Amtrak is providing bus service to replace Train No. 720, which will not stop in Roseville on Feb. 4 and 5.

Passengers ticketed for train 729 are advised that they will board a bus to Sacramento that will depart Roseville at 8:13 a.m., 30 minutes earlier than the scheduled train departure time.

Passengers traveling from Auburn to Roseville are being directed to use the Rocklin station, which is located four miles east of Roseville.

Harsh Weather Hinders Amtrak in the West

January 26, 2017

Adverse weather conditions in California has made travel a challenge on Amtrak’s California Zephyr.

Amtrak logoTrains magazine reported that heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains have resulted in Nos. 5 and 6 operating hours late.

No. 5 that departed Chicago last Friday arrived on Tuesday in Emeryville, California, nearly 12 hours late. It took nearly six hours to travel between Truckee and Roseville, a trip that normally takes 3 hours, 20 minutes.

Consequently, No. 6 was more than five hours departing on Wednesday as workers cleaned and stocked the train with food, beverages and supplies.

Last Monday, No. 6 was eight hours late departing from Emeryville and arrived in Truckee 10 1/2 hours late.

Bad weather has also affected the route of Amtrak’s Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder.

Falling rocks and mud prompted BNSF to close its Fallbridge Subdivision in Washington state, which is used by the Portland section of the Empire Builder. It instead continued on to Seattle with Portland passengers being placed on buses or Amtrak Cascade trains.

Pointing Eastward

January 21, 2017

cz-sac-june-25-1999-02

Amtrak P42DC No. 75 is on the point of the eastbound California Zephyr as it makes its station stop in Sacramento,  California.

This is a crew change point and a new engineer will take the right-hand seat in the cab to man the control of No. 75 ans it, a fellow P42 and an F40PH throttle up to move No. 6 eastward en route to Chicago.

The image was made on June 25, 1999, and was scanned from a slide.