Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Crescent’

Amtrak Raises Doubts about CN-KCS Merger

July 8, 2021

For years the Southern Rail Commission has talked about instituting intercity rail passenger between New Orleans and Baton Route, Louisiana.

But those efforts have been stymied by the refusal of would-be host railroad Kansas City Southern to allow an inspection train to examine the route or even to talk with the Commission about instituting the service.

The future of the proposed service has become a point of contention in the efforts of Canadian National to acquire KCS, a matter now pending before the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

In an attempt to mitigate concerns that the CN-KCS merger will reduce rail competition in the New Orleans-Baton Route corridor, CN has offered to sell the KCS route between the two cities.

But that offer comes with a catch. CN would retain the right to offer freight service over the route.

Amtrak recently weighed in on the matter by telling the STB in a filing that this would make institution of passenger rail service much more difficult.

The Amtrak filing said CN’s plan is “the equivalent of a homeowner selling their house but reserving the right to continue to live in it.”

Canadian Pacific also wants to buy KCS and has pledged to cooperate with Amtrak in restoring New Orleans-Baton Rouge service.

In a letter to Louisiana Transportation Secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson, CP CEO Keith Creel cited “CP’s proven track record of co-operating and operating passenger trains on its network.”

The letter acknowledged the route need extensive infrastructure work to bring it up to passenger standards, but said, “If we are successful [in acquiring KCS], we would be in a strong position to ensure the level of maintenance is up to a mainline standard that would efficiently support both freight and passenger operations.”

Aside from New Orleans-Baton Rouge service, the SRC also has pushed to create a Dallas section of the Crescent that would operate on KCS tracks west of Meridian, Mississippi, via Jackson, Mississippi, and Shreveport, Louisiana.

The Creel letter said  CP would be committed to reviewing and participating in studies with the goal of introducing a (passenger) train pair in the Meridian-Dallas corridor

However, Creel said that would be contingent on getting the support of Norfolk Southern, which with KCS has a joint venture to improve the route.

The proposed Dallas section of the Crescent would be expected to use Union Pacific tracks west of Shreveport because the KCS roué to Dallas is circuitous.

Sked Change Set for Crescent, Roanoke Train

May 21, 2021

Amtrak will modify the schedules of some trains serving Roanoke, Virginia, and the New York-New Orleans Crescent.

Effective May 29 Train 156 will depart Roanoke 15 minutes later at 8:55 a.m.

The Crescent’s schedule will change on June 6. Train 19 will depart Washington at its current scheduled time and arrive in New Orleans at 9:02 p.m., which is two hours later than the current schedule

En route arrival and departure times will be adjusted accordingly.

Train 20 will depart New Orleans at 9:15 a.m., 2 hours and 15 minute later than the current schedule. It is being rescheduled to arrive in Washington at 1:45 p.m.

Amtrak said Train 20 will leave Washington at 2:42 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 2:12 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Sleeping car passengers will continue to be offered breakfast upon leaving New Orleans and will now be offered dinner upon departing Philadelphia and Trenton.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the changes are being made to improve customer satisfaction and on-time reliability.

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.

Salisbury Station to Get Second Boarding Platform

March 5, 2021

A second boarding platform will be built at the Amtrak station in Salisbury, North Carolina.

The city council of Salisbury approved an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the $19.75 million project.

The cost includes right-of –way acquisition to enable expanded freight and passenger service at the station location.

Most of the funding will come from the state with the city chipping in $780,000.

Work is expected to be finished in 2024. Salisbury is served by the Crescent, Piedmont Service and the Carolinian.

NS Track Work Disrupt Crescent

January 16, 2021

Some passengers on Amtrak’s Crescent will be riding a bus between Atlanta and New Orleans due to Norfolk Southern track work.

Nos. 19 and 20 will not operate between Atlanta and New Orleans on Jan. 20, 27 and Feb. 3, 10 and 12.

The Crescent normally originates in New York on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday and from New Orleans on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

On the days when the trains are not operating between Atlanta and New Orleans, it will either terminate or originate in Atlanta.

Alternative bus service will be provided to Anniston, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Meridian, Laurel, Hattiesburg, Picayuane, Slidell and New Orleans.

On Fridays and Saturdays, Train 19 will operate normally, serving all stations on the route.

Train 20 will operate normally to all stations on Saturdays and Sundays.

Amtrak cautioned that Bus 3020, which is providing alternative service on the days Train 20 is not operating from New Orleans to Atlanta will depart stations earlier than the scheduled train times.

3 Amtrak Stations Now Staffed

December 16, 2020

Customer service representatives have now been assigned to the Amtrak stations in Hammond, Louisiana, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Meridian, Mississippi.

In a service advisory Amtrak said the staff will assist passengers in booking and boarding trains.

Tickets must be purchased using a credit card, debit card or Amtrak gift card. The passenger carrier is not accepting cash for ticket purchases.

The service advisory said the station waiting room will be open for passengers at all train times.

Hammond is served by the Chicago-New Orleans City of New Orleans while Meridian and Tuscaloosa are served by the New York-New Orleans Crescent.

Zeta Prompts Service Cancellations to New Orleans

October 28, 2020

Amtrak has canceled all service to New Orleans due to Tropical Storm Zeta with no alternative transportation being provided.

Affected are the Sunset Limited, Crescent and City of New Orleans.

The Sunset Limited will operate only between Los Angeles and San Antonio, a move that began with the train that departed Los Angeles on Tuesday (Oct. 27).

Train No. 2 will originate in San Antonio on Thursday (Oct. 29).

The Crescent will operate between New York and Atlanta starting with the train that originated in New York on Tuesday.

The next train from Atlanta to New York was to depart on Thursday.

The City of New Orleans has been canceled for the length of its route.

Amtrak said alternative service is being provided between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois, by the northbound Saluki and southbound Illini.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said passengers whose travel has been disrupted should contact it at 800-USA-RAIL.There will be no change or cancellation fees imposed.

Hurricane Delta Leads to Amtrak Service Cancellations to and from New Orleans

October 10, 2020

Amtrak has canceled service due to Hurricane Delta, which made landfall on the Louisiana coast on Saturday morning and is expected to affect New Orleans.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the Sunset Limited that left Los Angeles on Friday will terminate in San Antonio, Texas on Sunday.

The westbound Sunset Limited will originate in San Antonio on Oct. 13 and operate to Los Angeles as scheduled.

No substitute transportation is available between New Orleans and San Antonio.

The Crescent that left New York on Oct. 9 will terminate today in Atlanta with no substitute service being offered between there and New Orleans.

The northbound Crescent will originate in Atlanta through Sunday.

The City of New Orleans was canceled on Friday and Saturday with no substitute service south of Carbondale, Illinois.

Passengers planning to ride Nos. 58 and 59 between Chicago and Carbondale were being accommodated on the northbound Saluki or southbound Illini.

Hurricane Sally Disrupts New Orleans Service

September 15, 2020

Amtrak has canceled service to New Orleans due to Hurricane Sally, with no alternate transportation being provided.

The northbound City of New Orleans that was to depart New Orleans today (Sept. 15) has been canceled.

The southbound Crescent is terminating in Atlanta through today will originate there through Sept. 16.

The eastbound Sunset Limited will terminate in San Antonio today and originate there today as well.


Storms Continue to Disrupt Amtrak

August 27, 2020

Although Amtrak has restored operations of its City of New Orleans, it service suspensions continue for the Sunset Limited, Crescent and Texas Eagle in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.

In a service advisory issued on Thursday (Aug. 27), Amtrak said it will continue the suspension of the Crescent and Sunset Limited to New Orleans for a few more days.

The intercity passenger carrier has also suspended service to Houston and Little Rock for additional days as well.

Nos. 58 and 59 will resume normal operation with the southbound departure of No. 59 from Chicago on Thursday and northbound No. 58 from New Orleans on Friday.

The Sunset Limited continues to operate only between Los Angeles and San Antonio.

Amtrak said Train 2 that is scheduled to leave Los Angeles on Friday will terminate in San Antonio.

Train No. 1 will originate on Sept. 1 in San Antonio. Related Amtrak Thruway Bus services in Texas is suspended through Friday.

No substitute transportation is being offered between San Antonio and New Orleans.

The Texas Eagle scheduled to depart Chicago on Thursday will terminate in  St. Louis. Train 22 will originate in St. Louis on Friday.

The Amtrak Thruway Bus services in Texas are suspended through Friday and no alternative transportation is being offered between St. Louis and San Antonio.

The Crescent continues to operate only between New York and Atlanta through Thursday and part of Friday.

No substitute transportation is being offered between Atlanta and New Orleans.