Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Cardinal’

Manchin Wants Study of Daily Cardinal

June 27, 2021

Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) is pushing for a study of making Amtrak’s Cardinal a daily train.

Nos. 50 and 51 currently operate tri-weekly, departing Chicago on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; and New York on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

Manchin said in a news release that he was able to win approval of a measure to fund the study in the Surface Transportation Investment Act that is being considered by the Senate.

“The language I secured in the Surface Transportation Investment Act will require a study on potential options to restore the Cardinal line daily service, which provides access to and from much of West Virginia, Manchin said in statement.

“This is an important first step towards restoring the Cardinal line and I look forward to reviewing the results of this important study to determine how we can best move forward.”

Two Section Cardinal

June 4, 2021

Amtrak’s Cardinal typically operates with one P42DC locomotive, three Amfleet II coaches, an Amfleet food service car, a Viewliner sleeper and Viewliner baggage-dorm.

But at least once a week it is used to ferry equipment from the Beech Grove shops to Chicago. The equipment being ferried is placed on the head end of No. 51 at Indianapolis Union Station and provides the appearance of two trains having been combined into one.

That was the case on Memorial Day this week when No. 51 passed through Brownsburg, an Indianapolis suburb, with one section consisting of two P42DC locomotives, two Viewliner baggage cars and a Superliner coach. The second section had the consist that No. 51 operated with from Washington to Indianapolis.

The train on this day was operating one hour, 50 minutes late out of Indianapolis.

Equipment bound for Beech Grove is ferried to Indianapolis in combination with Train 50 in the same manner.

2 for Amtrak’s 50th Anniversary

May 3, 2021

I wanted to get out and photograph Amtrak on its 50th anniversary day last Saturday. I began my quest by setting next to the CSX Monon Subdivision south of Linden, Indiana, to capture the westbound Cardinal.

No. 51 was right on the money about 10 minutes past 5, having made a station stop, in Crawfordsville about 12 minutes earlier. It was about a half-hour after sunrise.

Next I motored over to east central Illinois to get the northbound Saluki, a corridor train funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation that originates in Carbondale and travels to Chicago.

No. 390 is shown above taking a signal at Humboldt, Illinois. It, too, was running on time.

None of the equipment seen in these photographs existed in 1971 and most of it had not been created yet as a concept.

The Amfleet coaches and food service car of the Cardinal come closest because Amfleet equipment was based on the design of the Budd Metroliners of the 1960s. Superliner equipment was inspired by the Hi-Level cars of the Santa Fe.

In 1971 EMD E and F units with a handful of passenger equipped geeps, U boats and SDs were the common motive power. It all wore the markings and liveries of its owners.

The Saluki does not normally operate with Superliner equipment, but has since Amtrak reduced the frequency of most long-distance trains last year to tri-weekly.

Starting May 24 Amtrak plans to begin to restore daily service to most long-distance trains — the Cardinal and Sunset Limited are exceptions — so the Superliners now on the Saluki probably will be replaced with Horizon and Amfleet equipment.

But not for long as Amtrak has begun taking delivery of and testing the new Siemens Venture cars and they are expected to begin revenue service later this year.

The long distance trains are also slated to begin receiving Charger locomotives similar to the SC-44 seen above pullking the Saluki albeit with a difference livery.

With Amtrak things are always changing even if it doesn’t always appear that way at first glance.

Funding Set for New Oxford Amtrak Station

March 13, 2021

Funding commitments are falling into place for construction of an Amtrak station in Oxford, Ohio.

The city of Oxford along with Miami University have agreed to spend $700,000 for the station, which will serve the Chicago-New York Cardinal.

The city and university funding will pay for a platform and an unmanned kiosk.

Negotiations are underway with vendors for design and cost estimates.

Located 40 miles north-northwest of Cincinnati, Oxford would become the second Ohio stop for the Cardinal and Amtrak’s eighth station in Ohio.

Nos. 50 and 51 stopped in Hamilton, Ohio, between August 1980 and October 2005.

The Oxford station will be located at 909 South Main St. The Cardinal will stop in Oxford westbound on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, and eastbound on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

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.

Upgraded Boarding Facility Opens in Montgomery

November 7, 2020

A new Amtrak boarding facility has been completed in Montgomery, West Virginia.

The $1.8 facility offers ADA-assessible ramps, a wheelchair lift, and a higher platform for easier boarding.

Plans to upgrade the station began five years ago. City officials said previous Montgomery had a small boarding platform.

Montgomery is served by Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal.

Station Customer Reps Placed in Cincinnati, Charleston, Shelby

October 28, 2020

Amtrak has placed customer service representatives in its stations in Charleston, West Virginia, and Cincinnati to assist passengers booking trips and boarding the Chicago-New York Cardinal.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that the station waiting room in Charleston has been relocated to a trailer due to construction to make the station compliant with ADA standards.

The interim facility will be open for passengers at all train times as will be the station in Cincinnati.

Customer service representatives have also begun working in the Amtrak station in Shelby, Montana, to assist passengers boarding or buying tickets for travel aboard the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder.

Passengers will be unable to buy tickets with cash but must use a credit card, reloadable credit or debit card, or an Amtrak gift card.

Cardinal Flying Through a Hurricane

October 18, 2020

Amtrak’s eastbound Cardinal is passing milepost 479 on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad in Hurricane, West Virginia, on Oct. 18, 1987. The photographer was in Hurricane to photograph the New River Train which in this year was being pulled by former Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765. The distance is measured from Newport News, Virginia.

Photograph by Edward Ribinskas

Amtrak Routes to Benefit from CRISI Grants

September 24, 2020

Several federal CRISI grants were awarded this week that will improve routes used by several Amtrak trains.

A Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grant of $31.8 million grant was awarded to Ramsey County, Minnesota, to be used toward launching a second train between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Chicago,

The funding will be used to complete final design work for infrastructure needed to accommodate the train, as well as construction of track, signal, and bridge improvements.

Matching funds will be provided from Minnesota ($10 million), Wisconsin ($6.2 million) and Amtrak ($5 million.

One existing Hiawatha Service between Chicago and Milwaukee is expected to be extended to the Twin Cities.

The Michigan Department of Transportation will receive $15.6 million to improve pedestrian safety between Dearborn and Kalamazoo on Amtrak’s Michigan Line.

The funding will be used for fencing and other safety enhancements at grade crossings that have a high rate of foot traffic.

Officials said 12 pedestrians have been struck by trains in the past four years and there have been numerous near-misses.

The Washington State Department of Transportation received a $3.7 million for landslide mitigation north of Seattle in a mud slide-prone area near Mukilteo, Washington.

The area hosts 14 passengers and an average of 21 freight trains a day and has seen numerous service interruptions.

The funding will be used in the third phase of a program that began in 2016.

New Mexico Department of Transportation received $5.6 million to rebuild the route over Raton Pass used by Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

The work will include 12.4 miles of welded rail, 14,750 new ties, repairs to two bridges, rock scaling in three locations, and rebuilding of three grade crossings.

Total project cost is $11.5 million and includes $1 million in funding from New Mexico and $4.9 million from Amtrak.

In a news release, Amtrak said the latest CRISI grant is the fifth federal grant that has been awarded for rebuilding the route of the Chief in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico.

In the pending project, work will begin next year to install new ties on a 31-mile section south of Raton Pass and another six-mile segment in New Mexico.

More than 12 miles of bolted rail will be converted to welded rail between Lamy and where Rio Metro’s Rail Runner commuter traffic diverges to Santa Fe.

Although being rebuilt are the decks of two bridges and three grade crossings.

Although it won’t immediately affect any current Amtrak routes, an award of $47.55 million was given to the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the purchase of CSX’s S-Line rail corridor from Raleigh to Ridgeway, North Carolina.

The Buckingham Branch Railroad received $13.67 million to rebuild 70 miles of track, 14 grade crossings and five bridges in Virginia.

The work will also include construction of new drain systems in the Afton tunnel liner to reduce ice buildup; and improvement of clearances in two additional tunnels along the North Mountain Subdivision line between Charlottesville and Clifton Forge, Virginia.

The route is used by Amtrak’s Cardinal.

Mission Accomplished

August 15, 2020

I had had my eye on photographing Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal from this bridge carrying U.S. Route 231 over the CSX Monon Subdivision for several weeks.

But a road construction project had reduced traffic over the bridge to one lane.

The work was completed in early August and that gave me an opportunity.

No. 51 had left Crawfordsville, Indiana, on time but lost about 12 minutes in a CSX work zone before it reached my position.