Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Cardinal’

Arriving in Crawfordsville

July 6, 2020

Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal is pulling into the Crawfordsville, Indiana, station on Independence Day morning.

On the right is the former Monon passenger station, which today is a banquet facility although it still has a station sign.

The Amshack is down beyond the fenced area and barely visible.

No. 51 has its typical consist of two Amfleet II coaches, an Amfleet food service car, a Viewliner sleeper and a Viewliner baggage dorm car.

About five people got on here on this day.

Back in the 1970s, Amtrak’s Floridian passed by this station, but Crawfordsville was never a scheduled stop for the Chicago-Miami/St. Petersburg train.

Service Cuts Mean Fewer Connections

June 23, 2020

Amtrak’s plans to reduce the frequency of operation of its New York-Miami trains will mean there will be no connections to and from Florida on some days in Washington or New York.

The passenger carrier plans on July 6 to begin operating the Silver Meteor four times a week and the Silver Star three times a week.

It is the first step of a larger plan to reduce operations of all long-distance trains except the Auto Train to less than daily service on Oct. 1.

The Silver Meteor will depart New York Monday through Thursday, and Miami Sunday through Wednesday.

The Silver Star will operate Friday through Sunday southbound and Thursday through Saturday northbound.

The New York-Savannah, Georgia, Palmetto will for now continue to operate daily.

The July schedule changes will preclude connections on some days to Florida from the Capitol Limited, Lake Shore Limited, and Cardinal.

Cross-Florida travel and service to South Carolina’s state capital, Columbia, will only be possible on different days around weekends.

A Trains magazine analysis noted that during May the combined ridership of the Silver Star and Silver Meteor was 7.2 million passenger miles generating $1.4 million of revenue.

That compares to 5.2 million passenger miles and $2.4 million in revenue for all Northeast Corridor trains between Boston and Washington.

In an unrelated development, Amtrak is offering a 20 percent off sale on roomette accommodations for its Auto Train.

The sale is good through June 24 for travel through Aug. 31.

The sale does not apply to any other trains that provide sleeping car accommodations.

Cardinal Grounded in West Virginia Today

June 20, 2020

Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal is shown at Cherry Grove, Indiana, on June 18, 2020. It was operating on schedule.

Amtrak tweeted this morning (June 20) that the westbound Cardinal will terminate in Huntington, West Virginia, with passengers put on a bus for the destinations between there and Chicago.

The Tweet cited unspecified weather issues. An online report on a railfan chat list said there had been flooding in Greenbrier County in West Virginia.

Amtrak had earlier Tweeted that No. 51 had stopped at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, due to a “mechanical issue.”

That was later updated to say the Cardinal would terminate in White Sulphur Springs.

The train had originated in New York on Friday morning and the equipment normally makes a same-day turn in Chicago on Saturdays.

Presumably, No. 50 will originate in Huntington tonight rather than Chicago. However, it turned out that Amtrak had enough equipment to make up the eastbound Cardinal in Chicago and it operated as scheduled.

On Sunday (June 21) the eastbound Cardinal picked up the equipment from the stranded westbound train of a day earlier to take it eastward.

The Amtrak Tweet said the alternative bus service to Chicago would only discharge passengers. No passengers will be picked up by those buses.

Amtrak’s Cardinal Flies on the Old Monon

May 30, 2020

Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal is on the money as it flies along northbound on former Monon Route tracks just south of Linden, Indiana, on a Saturday morning.

About 10 minutes earlier No. 51 had made a station stop at Crawfordsville.

The consist is P42DC No. 45, two Amfleet II coaches, two Amfleet food service cars, a Viewliner sleeper and a Viewliner baggage-dorm car.

The road is old U.S. Route 231. The image was made on May 30, 2020.

Flying Away From Charlottesville

May 21, 2020

Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal is but a few seconds into continuing its trip to Chicago as it leaves the station in Charlottesville, Virginia.

This is one of the few places where multiple Amtrak routes cross at grade level.

The tracks in the foreground are used by Amtrak’s New York-New Orleans Crescent and a Northeast Regional train between Washington and Roanoke, Virginia.

The Crescent and the Roanoke train operate daily whereas the Cardinal only calls upon Charlottesville on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

Train Time in Charlottesville

May 17, 2020

An Amtrak conductor works the baggage car as Amtrak Train No. 51 boards passengers in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Cardinal, which stops in Charlottesville on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, had what was a standard consist in summer 2012 of one P42DC locomotive, a baggage car, a Viewliner sleeper, Amfleet food service car and three Amfleet coaches.

In spring and summer 2020 the Cardinal’s consist had shrunk to a sleeper, two coaches and one food service car.

The consist may be longer on some days between Chicago and Indianapolis when Nos. 50 or 51 are ferrying equipment to and from the Beech Grove shops in suburban Indy.

Travel Downturn Keeping Some Amtrak Fares Lower

March 17, 2020

Aside from fewer people traveling, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Amtrak has meant greater availability of fares at lower levels, an analysis by Trains magazine has found.

The analysis found that coach and sleeping car fares are at their lowest price level on most routes.

Amtrak fares vary depending on demand on a given day. The higher the demand the more likely that fares are to be higher.

Trains reported that passengers who believe they will be able to travel during historic busy travel periods will find sleeping car fares higher than what can be had now but still lower than what those fares would be under normal circumstances when sleeping car rooms are often sold out.

A roomette this summer on the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited can be had for $310, which matches the current adult roomette fare.

On the Chicago-New York Cardinal, roomettes are selling for $595 whereas last year during the summer they sold for $900.

The Cardinal has long had less sleeping car space than other eastern long-distance trains and thus its sleeping car fares have tended to be higher and space is harder to get.

Nos. 50 and 51 typically operate with one Viewliner sleeper although in recent weeks sleeping car space on the route has increased slightly with the assignment of a Viewliner baggage-dormitory car to the train.

The Trains analysis spot check found that a sleeping car accommodation on the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief can be had this summer for $740 whereas it current is priced at $604.

The respective fares for the California Zephyr (Chicago-Emeryville, California) are $685 for the summer versus $547 now and for the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder they are $900 versus $513 now.

The COVID-19 has resulted in sleeping car accommodations being sold out northbound on the Auto Train through March 23 whereas southbound plenty of space is available.

When demand for the Auto Train is strong Amtrak has the option of expanding sleeping car consists from seven cars to eight.

The Auto Train equipment pool includes Amtrak’s only two Superliner sleepers that have only bedrooms on the upper level.

Train Time in Charlottesville

March 3, 2020

Amtrak’s eastbound Cardinal has arrived in Charlottesville and there is much going on here.

At the time this photograph was made in early June 2012, Charlottesville was a crew change point for the operating crews.

The station agent had baggage to load and unload and, of course, passengers boarded and disembarked.

Charlottesville is home to the University of Virginia and college towns tend to generate a lot of business for Amtrak.

The Cardinal only lands here three times a week in each direction on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

Mudslide Grounds the Cardinal

February 16, 2020

Saturday was a rough day for Amtrak trains serving Ohio.

The westbound Cardinal was halted on Friday at Thurmond, West Virginia, due to a mudslide.

The train was moved back east to Prince, West Virginia, and the passengers put aboard buses to continue their journey.

No. 51 did not operate to Cincinnati, Indianapolis or any intermediate points on Saturday.

As a result the eastbound Cardinal that was due to leave Chicago on Saturday night was canceled.

Amtrak Tweeted that alternative transportation was being provided only for passengers traveling between Chicago and Cincinnati.

The Cardinal is next scheduled to operate today westbound and it departed New York on time.

Mechanical issues on Saturday afternoon delayed the departure of the westbound Capitol Limited from Washington for nearly four hours.

No. 29 didn’t arrive in Cleveland on Sunday until 6:17 a.m., making it three hours, 24 minutes late.

It is projected to reach Chicago at 11:40 a.m, but actually arrived at 1:38 p.m., nearly five hours late.

Also on Saturday the westbound Lake Shore Limited was stopped west of Toledo due to mechanical problems.

When No. 49 resumed its journey it was an hour late, which became 3 hours, 28 minutes late by the time it reached Chicago Union Station at 1:18 p.m.

Cardinal Passengers Ride Bus After Train-Truck Crash

December 24, 2019

Passengers aboard Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal on Monday finished their journey by bus after the train’s route was blocked in Lafayette, Indiana, by a grade crossing collision.

Lafayette police said a semi struck a southbound 133-car CSX train at the Wabash Avenue crossing before 5:30 a.m.

The crossing remained closed for 13 and a half hours as workers cleaned up spilled grain and diesel fuel.

The driver of the truck suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene. Police said they do not believe that drugs or alcohol were a contributing factor to the collision.

The driver told police he was unable to stop his truck in time to avoid the collision. He was headed northbound on Wabash Avenue at the time.

Amtrak Train No. 51 was terminated at the station in Crawfordsville, Indiana, located 27 miles south of Lafayette.

Passengers were loaded aboard four buses with three operating non-stop to Chicago and one bus making all local stops.

No. 51 was running 26 minutes late when it reached Crawfordsville. The Cardinal is scheduled to arrive in Crawfordsville at 6:48 a.m. and at Lafayette at 7:36 a.m.