Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Carl Sandburg’

Carl Sandburg to be Disrupted by Track Work

April 5, 2022

BNSF track work in Illinois will disrupt operations of Amtrak’s Carl Sandburg on Wednesday (April 6).

Train 381 will terminate in Galesburg with passengers being provided bus transportation to all stations between Galesburg and Quincy.

Train 382 will originate in Galesburg with bus transportation provided from all stations between Quincy and Galesburg.

The track work will not affect operations of the Illinois Zephyr on this date between Chicago and Quincy.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said Bus 3381 will operate on the schedule of Train 381 between Macomb and Quincy, holding at Galesburg for passengers off Train 381. Delays of 10-15 minutes can be expected.

Eastbound Bus 3382 will depart Quincy at 4:30 p.m. and operate 60 minutes earlier than the normal train schedule.

BNSF Track Work to Affect Carl Sandburg

February 12, 2022

Track work being conducted by host railroad BNSF will result in schedule changes to the Chicago-Quincy, Illinois, Carl Sandburg on Feb. 23.

Train 381 will terminate at Galesburg with alternate transportation being provided between Galesburg and Quincy. Train 382 will originate at Galesburg with alternate transportation provided between Quincy and Galesburg.

The Illinois Zephyr will operate that day as normal between Chicago and Quincy.

Thruway bus 3381 will operate on the schedule of Train 381 between Macomb and Quincy, holding at Galesburg for passengers off Train 381. Delays of 10 to 15 minutes can be expected.

Bus 3382 will depart Quincy at 4:30 p.m. and operate 60 minutes earlier than the normal train schedule.

Illinois Zephyr Launched 50 Years Ago Today

November 4, 2021

The eastbound Illinois Zephyr (left) meets the westbound Carl Sandburg at Mendota, Illinois, on Aug. 6, 2008

As Amtrak prepared to begin operations on May 1, 1971, dozens of communities across the country faced the loss of intercity rail passenger service because the trains serving them had not been chosen to operate under the Amtrak banner.

Among them were the Western Illinois cities of Quincy and Macomb, both of which were served by trains of Burlington Northern. Both cities were stops for the Chicago-North Kansas City American Royal Zephyr and unnamed Nos. 5/6 between Chicago and West Quincy, Missouri. Nos. 5/6 has once been known as the Kansas City Zephyr but was now known informally as the “Quincy Local.”

BN forerunner Chicago, Burlington & Quincy had sought to end the Kansas City Zephyr in late 1967 but 800 people, including 700 college students and their parents had opposed the move, leading the Interstate Commerce Commission to order the train to continue operating between Chicago and West Quincy. Students attending Western Illinois University in Macomb were heavy uses of Burlington passenger trains and the Burlington operated 24 specials a year to accommodate them.

Macomb had no airline service and no direct intercity bus service or interstate highway to Chicago, where many students were from. Quincy College also had a contingent of students from Chicago who took the train to campus.

With the “Quincy Local” set to make its final trips on April 30, 1971, officials of WIU, Quincy College, and the cities of Quincy and Macomb went to court on April 28, 1971, where Federal District Court Judge Joseph Sam Perry issued an injunction ordering BN to continue to operate the “Quincy Local.” The court vacated the injunction on May 10 and the “Quincy Local” was prompted discontinued.

But Quincy College and its allies weren’t through with their fight to preserve intercity rail passenger service to their communities. They filed suit In the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, arguing that the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970, which created the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, as Amtrak is formally known, was an unconstitutional attempt to regulate commerce that is solely intrastate.

A three-judge panel on June 21 disagreed and also rebuffed the argument of the plaintiffs that discontinuance of the “Quincy Local” violated section 403(b) of the 1970 Act, which authorized Amtrak to operate service beyond its initial basic route network if management thought it would be prudent to do so. The court’s decision was appealed and on Feb. 22, 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision of the District Court.

But even as Quincy College and its fellow plaintiffs were in court, legislation had been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly to appropriate $4 million to pay for service to Quincy and Macomb under section 403(b), which enabled state and local governments to request Amtrak service if they agreed to pay two-thirds of the operating deficit.

The bill was approved and the Illinois Zephyr began operating between Chicago and West Quincy, Missouri, on Nov. 4, 1971, with intermediate stops at LaGrange Road in the Chicago suburbs, Aurora, Mendota, Princeton, Kewanee, Galesburg and Macomb.

Service began at Plano on April 30, 1972, while Naperville replaced Aurora as a station stop on April 28, 1985. Service to Quincy proper began April 24, 1983. After flooding damaged the West Quincy station in July 1993, Quincy became the western terminus for the Illinois Zephyr on May 1, 1994.

Service on the Chicago-Quincy route expanded to two daily roundtrips on Oct. 30, 2006, with the inauguration of the Carl Sandburg. The Illinois Zephyr continued its traditional schedule of leaving Quincy in early morning and arriving in Chicago by 10:30 a.m. while departing Chicago in early evening for a 10 p.m. arrival in Quincy.

The Carl Sandburg, which was named for a Pulitzer Prize winning poet and biographer who had been born in Galesburg, was scheduled to depart Chicago at 8 a.m. and arrive in Quincy shortly after noon. The return trip to Chicago left Quincy in late afternoon and arrived in Chicago before 10 p.m.

As it marks its 50th anniversary, the Illinois Zephyr holds the distinction of being Amtrak’s continuously operated state-sponsored train. The Chicago-Quincy route is one of four Midwest corridor routes radiating from Chicago funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The other routes are Chicago-St. Louis; Chicago-Carbondale; and Chicago-Milwaukee, the latter funded in part by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Amtrak to Share Ridership Data With Transit Agency

January 11, 2020

Amtrak will share ridership data to and from its station in Macomb, Illinois, with the McDonough County Public Transportation so the transit agency can better plan Sunday service to the Amtrak station.

MCPT director Nate Cobb said his agency needs those numbers because he has been overestimating how many passengers would need rides once they arrived in Macomb.

That has led to situations in which the agency sent two buses to pick up arriving passengers, most of them students at Western Illinois University, but only a handful of them needed transportation.

On other occasions Amtrak increased capacity of its trains serving Macomb and more bus capacity was needed.

Cobb said he has learned to watch Amtrak fares as a rough gauge as to how many passengers will be arriving and need transportation.

Macomb is served by the Chicago-Quincy Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg.

Macomb Creates Amtrak Tracking Website

November 23, 2019

Macomb, Illinois, has created a special website to track the progress of the Amtrak trains serving the city. It’s similar to the Amtrak status monitors at Chicago Union Station.

“We are proud to be an Amtrak community,” said Mayor Mike Inman. “[The city] will gladly continue to work with Amtrak on these initiatives to improve the service to Amtrak customers.”

The progress tracker is located on the city’s website.

“Amtrak was good to work with on this project and we are glad we could be the first community served by Amtrak to introduce this,” said Macomb City Administrator Scott Coker.

Macomb is served by the Chicago-Quincy Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg.

BNSF Track Work to Disrupt Carl Sandsburgs

November 16, 2019

Train 381 will terminate at Macomb, Illinois, with alternate transportation being provided between from Macomb to Quincy.

Train 382 will originate at Macomb with alternate transportation provided from Quincy to Macomb.

Eastbound Bus 3382 will depart Quincy at 4:30 p.m. and operate 60 minutes earlier than the normal train schedule.

2 Midwest Routes Get Extra Trains at Thanksgiving

November 13, 2019

Amtrak will be operating additional trains on two Midwest Corridor routes during the Thanksgiving travel period.

On the Lincoln Service route a pair of extras will operate between Chicago and Bloomington-Normal, Illinois.

Lincoln Service No. 309 will depart Chicago Union Station at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 27 and Dec. 1 and arrive in Normal at 12:58 p.m.

The equipment will turn and become Train No. 398 scheduled to depart Normal at 1:15 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 3:41 p.m.

Additional Carl Sandburg trains will operate on the same dates between Chicago and Quincy, Illinois.

No. 385 will depart Chicago at 11:30 a.m., using the equipment of inbound regularly scheduled Illinois Zephyr No. 380. No. 385 is scheduled to arrive in Quincy at 3:53 p.m.

The equipment from regularly scheduled Chicago to Quincy Carl Sandburg No. 381 will turn and operate as No. 384, departing Quincy at 1 p.m. and is scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 5:22 p.m.

The equipment that ran to Quincy as No. 385 will become the regularly scheduled Carl Sandburg No. 382, which is scheduled to depart Quincy at 5:30 p.m.

All of the trains are funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Quincy Station Platform Improved

March 29, 2019

Workers have finished raising the height and width of the boarding platform at the Amtrak station in Quincy, Illinois.

The higher platforms will mean that step boxes will no longer be needed to board or detrain.

The project also involved extending the length of the platform, installing new lighting on the platform and creating a structure for the handicap lift.

Amtrak has said future improvements will include improvements to the parking lot.

The station was built in 1985 and serves the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg, both of which operate between Chicago and Quincy.

The station is open daily between 5:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Track Work to Disrupt Carl Sandberg

January 23, 2019

Track work being performed on Jan. 29 will disrupt operations of Amtrak’s Carl Sandburg between Galesburg and Quincy, Illinois.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that Train No. 381 will operate between Chicago and Galesburg on that date, but passengers bound for Macomb and Quincy will ride a bus to their destination.

Train 382 will originate in Galesburg with passengers riding a bus to there from Quincy and Macomb. That bus, numbered 3382, will depart Quincy at 4:30 p.m. and operate 60 minutes earlier than the train.

Metra, BNSF Ripped at Public Hearing

December 12, 2018

A Chicago congressman has accused commuter rail agency Metra and host railroad BNSF of having “failed all to often” to provide reliable service.

The charge was made by U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Illinois, during a public hearing that he described as an effort to force Metra and BNSF to improve service.

“We all understand that problems can occur, but this year the Metra BNSF line has failed all too often. There have been repeated delays, cancellations, broken air conditioners, and other problems,” Lipinski said during the hearing in Western Springs. “I’ve told Metra and BNSF that this is unacceptable and the problems must end.”

Metra CEO James Derwinski and BNSF Vice President for passenger operations D.J. Mitchell told the audience of 80 that their organizations would do their best to address problems on the line.

The BNSF Line between Chicago Union Station and Aurora, Illinois, is the busiest of Metra’s 11 lines, carrying 64,000 riders a day.

The line is also used by Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, California Zephyr, Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg trains.

Metra operates 94 trains on weekdays while BNSF has up to 60 trains a day.