Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Illinois Zephyr’

Amtrak’s Illinois Pet Program Made Permanent

April 22, 2015

A trial program allowing passengers to carry pets aboard Amtrak trains in Illinois is being made permanent.

The program allowed small pets aboard the Chicago-Quincy Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg, and the Chicago-Carbondale Illini and Saluki.

Some 200 animals have ridden with their masters without a single complaint or incident.

“I am proud that Illinois is the first state in the country to work with Amtrak to offer this convenient service for pet owners, while also taking into account the considerations of other passengers,” said acting IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “By allowing pets on trains, Amtrak and the Illinois Department of Transportation are making it that much easier for people to experience so many of our great communities throughout the state.”

Ticketing and travel with pets originates throughout the day in Chicago, Carbondale, Champaign, and Galesburg, while the service is only available during afternoon departures in Homewood and Naperville due to staffing.

Reservations are required and a surcharge of $25 is assessed for travel. Dogs or cats up to 20-pounds each are accepted in carriers that can be placed under the seat of each pet owner.

Trains Canceled in Illinois due to Snow Drifts

February 2, 2015

Drifting snow prompted BNSF to close a part of its Mendota Subdivision in Illinois on Monday, which resulted in the cancellation of some Amtrak services.

Canceled were the eastbound Illinois Zephyr to Chicago from Quincy, Ill., and the westbound Carl Sandburg from Chicago to Quincy.

No alternative transportation was provided to Quincy or the intermediate stop at Macomb, Ill.

Passengers for those trains at stops between Chicago and Galesburg, Ill., were accommodated by the Southwest Chief and the California Zephyr

The evening westbound Illinois Zephyr and eastbound Carl Sandburg were still expected to operate.

BNSF Bridge Work to Force Detour of Nos. 3/4, 5/6

October 29, 2014

Due to bridge work by BNSF near Princeton, Ill., during the weekend of Nov. 15-16, the Southwest Chief and California Zephyr will be detouring over the former Santa Fe mainline route between Chicago and Galesburg.

The trains will get back on their original route via the Cameron Connection near Galesburg.

The westbound California Zephyr will operate combined with the westbound Southwest Chief and depart Chicago at 3 p.m., the scheduled departure time for the Chief.

Passengers ticketed aboard the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg, will be transported by bus between Chicago and Galesburg. The trains will operate between Galesburg and Quincy.


Pets Can Ride Amtrak in Illinois Test Project

May 8, 2014

Pets can now ride Amtrak trains in Illinois as part of a pilot program being conducted in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation

Dogs and cats will be permitted aboard the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg, which both operate between Chicago and Quincy, Ill.

Animals cannot weight more than 20 pounds each, advance registration is required and there will be a $25 handling fee will be charged.

“Amtrak is supportive of accommodating pets on trains, and through direct collaboration with the Illinois Department of Transportation and a working group led by U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham of California, we are optimistic a plan can be reached to address the needs and concerns of all our passengers,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman.

The pilot will run between May 5 and Nov. 2.

Amtrak Gets New Route Through Galesburg

January 28, 2014

Some Amtrak trains are getting a new route in Galesburg, Ill., as a result of a congestion relief project on the BNSF.

The railroad has opened a third mainline to the south of the two existing mainlines. This allows freight trainss to bypass the Amtrak station.

However,  Amtrak trains to and from Quincy can no longer use the old curvy route into the station because of the new third track.

Therefore, as a part of a rebuilding of the yard in Galesburg  that added three additional mainline holding tracks, a new route was established for Amtrak’s Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr trains.

Trains heading to Quincy from Chicago still stop on track No. 2, then head west and crossover to the new track No. 3.

Shortly after the crossover, the trains take a switch to the south that loops through the old roundhouse area and connects back to the original route south of the Peoria wye. Total new trackage is just over 0.5 miles.

However, work continues on the yard and it appears that there are plans to extend this track further through the yard. A check of Google Maps for Galesburg has it showing the route’s construction last summer, but not the completed track.

Amtrak Cancels Trains on Monday due to Winter

January 26, 2014

Amtrak announced on Sunday that it has canceled some trains on Monday due to expected severe winter weather conditions.

In a statement, Amtrak said it decided to cancel several Midwest Corridor trains following conversations with its freight railroad partners and state transportation departments that sponsor the services.

In the statement, Amtrak said the cancelations are being made as a precautionary move and will maintain service on all routes. The following  trains will not operate on Monday, Jan. 27:

Lincoln Service Trains 300, 301, 306 & 307. (Trains 302, 303, 304 & 305 and Trains 21/321 & 22/322 will maintain service on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor)

Hiawatha Service Trains 329, 332, 333, 336, 337 & 340. (Trains 330, 331, 334, 335, 338, 339, 341 & 342 will maintain service on the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor)

Wolverine Service Trains 350 & 355. Trains 351, 352, 353 & 354 will maintain service on the Chicago-Detroit corridor)

Illinois Zephyr & Carl Sandburg Trains 382 & 383. Trains 380 & 381 will maintain service on the Chicago-Quincy corridor)

Saluki & Illini Trains 392 & 393 are canceled. Trains 390 & 391 and Trains 58 & 59 (City of New Orleans) will maintain service on the Chicago-Champaign-Carbondale corridor)

No changes are planned at this time for other Chicago Hub Services, including Michigan routes to and from Grand Rapids/Holland and Port Huron/East Lansing, Missouri service between Kansas City and St. Louis and Indiana service to and from Indianapolis.

Passengers who have paid for tickets but choose not to travel due to this service disruption can receive a refund or a voucher for future travel. Some reservations booked online can be modified or canceled on or by using the free Amtrak mobile app.

Passengers are encouraged to call 800-USA-RAIL or visit for Service Alerts and Passenger Notices. Schedule information and train status updates are available at the home page.

Amtrak Restoring Sked, Some Trains Still Idle

January 9, 2014

Amtrak operated its full slate of trains through Northeast Ohio on Thursday morning, although all were running late.

The best performance was turned in by the westbound Capitol Limited, which arrived in Cleveland at 3:10 a.m., 22 minutes late. No. 29 had departed Washington, D.C., 15 minutes late on Wednesday afternoon.

The eastbound Capitol Limited got out of Chicago 1.5 hours late and made it into Cleveland at 4:53 a.m., which was just over three hours off schedule.

The westbound Lake Shore Limited was passing through Ashtabula shortly after 6:30 a.m. on Thursday and Amtrak projected it arriving in Cleveland nearly four hours late. No. 49 departed New York Penn Station three hours late on Wednesday. No. 449 departed Boston South Station on time.

The eastbound Lake Shore Limited was nearly two hours late getting out of Chicago Union Station on Wednesday night. It was projected to reach Cleveland just over two hours late.

Amtrak’s Track a Train showed No. 48 still in Toledo at 6:45 a.m., but the website showed the train as having arrived there at 5:32 a.m and departed at 5:57 a.m.

Nos. 48 and 49 did not depart their origination terminals on Monday or Tuesday.

Although the severe winter weather that saw temperatures dip below zero this week was abating by Thursday morning, Amtrak continued to cancel Midwest Corridor trains while restoring others

The full Hiawatha Service schedule between Milwaukee and Chicago was slated to operate on Thursday, Jan. 9. Cancellations included:
Lincoln Service Trains 300, 301, 304 & 305 are canceled. Trains 302, 303, 306 & 307 and Trains 21/321 & 22/322 will maintain service on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor.
Wolverine Service Trains 352 & 353 are canceled. Trains 350, 351, 354 & 355 will maintain service on the Chicago-Ann Arbor-Detroit-Pontiac corridor.
Carl Sandburg Trains 381 & 382 are canceled. Illinois Zephyr Trains 380 & 383 will maintain service on the Chicago-Quincy corridor.
Saluki Train 391 & Illini Train 392 are canceled. Trains 390 (Saluki) & 393 (Illini) and Trains 58 & 59 (City of New Orleans) will maintain service on the Chicago-Carbondale corridor.
Passengers who have paid but choose not to travel due to this service disruption can receive a

The western long-distance trains were also getting back to normal. The Texas Eagle, California Zephyr and Southwest Chief, all departed Chicago on Wednesday afternoon. Amtrak’s website showed the Empire Builder as having a service disruption.

The westbound Cardinal that had been halted in Indianapolis on Monday finally got out of town on Wednesday, operating as the Hoosier State.

The snow-clogged BNSF line in Illinois that had halted the Southwest Chief, California Zephyr and Illinois Zephyr on Monday, was finally cleared on Tuesday.

Passengers had been transferred to buses on Tuesday morning and taken to Chicago, but the train sets had remained in place.

The equipment for the California Zephyr was backed up to Cameron where it access the tracks of the former Santa Fe mainline and went to Chicago via Joliet and Streator.

The empty Southwest Chief and Illinois Zephyr equipment reached Chicago via the normal route via Aurora.

Trains magazine reported that Amtrak long distance trains carry beef stew in reserve in the event that a train is stranded and all passengers need to be fed. That plan was implemented on Monday night aboard the marooned Chief and California Zephyr.

Amtrak Cancels Trains for Wednesday

January 7, 2014

Amtrak has canceled the following Midwest Corridor trains on Wednesday, Jan. 8:

Lincoln Service Trains 300, 301, 304 & 305.  Trains 302, 303, 306 & 307 and Trains 21/321 & 22/322 will maintain service on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor.

Hiawatha Service Trains 329, 332, 333, 336, 337 & 340 are. Trains 330, 331, 334, 335, 338 & 339 will maintain service on the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor.

Wolverine Service Trains 352 & 353 are cancelled. Trains 350, 351, 354 & 355 will maintain service on the Chicago-Ann Arbor-Detroit-Pontiac corridor.

Illinois Zephyr Train 380 & Carl Sandburg Trains 381 & 382 are cancelled. Train 383 will be the only service on the Chicago-Quincy corridor.

Saluki Train 391 & Illini Train 392 are cancelled. Trains 390 (Saluki) & 393 (Illini) and Trains 58 & 59 (City of New Orleans) will maintain service on the Chicago-Carbondale corridor.

Neither the Lake Shore Limited or Capitol Limited departed from their terminals on Tuesday. both are shown as planning to depart from their respective endpoints on Wednesday. The eastbound Cardinal department Chicago on Tuesday night.

The California Zephyr and Southwest Chief were both canceled westbound on Tuesday, but are slated to depart on Wednesday.

The eastbound Southwest Chief on Monday was already running about two hours late at Galesburg when it encountered massive snowdrifts near Zearing that blocked BNSF’s Mendota Subdivision. Amtrak eventually dispatched buses to evacuate the stranded train.

Also blocked were the eastbound California Zephyr and Illinois Zephyr. Passengers were eventually unloaded from both trains and put on buses. The equipment for the CZ then ran empty to Chicago via the former Santa Fe mainline.

The Illinois Zephyr had been delayed leaving Quincy because the previous night’s train from Chicago arrived more than five hours late.

The westbound Chief and California Zephyr were preparing to leave Chicago were both cancelled on Monday and again Tuesday.

Amtrak canceled at least one frequency in each direction for Monday on all Illinois routes following Gov. Pat Quinn’s state-of-emergency declaration. On Tuesday all service was cancelled on the Chicago-Quincy and Chicago-St. Louis lines until the last departures of the day from each endpoint. The eastbound Texas Eagle was held for open track at St. Louis on Tuesday.

Eastbound Southwest Chiefs were turned to their westbound counterparts at Albuquerque and Kansas City, and the California Zephyr is being turned at Denver to represent the train that never made it out of Chicago on Monday.

Some Midwest corridor services suffered hours-long delays as a result of frozen switches, disabled freight trains, and blocked passing sidings on host railroads.

Thousands of flights at Midwest over the past two weeks have been canceled due to the severe winter weather. Road closures and accidents also hindered or shut down bus service.

EB Capitol Limited in Daylight at Cleveland

January 7, 2014
The eastbound Capitol Limited rolls past Motor Yard in Macedonia, Ohio, near Cleveland on Monday morning. (Photograph by Roger Durfee)

The eastbound Capitol Limited rolls past Motor Yard in Macedonia, Ohio, near Cleveland on Monday morning. (Photograph by Roger Durfee)

The winter weather woes for Amtrak continued on Monday and Tuesday with lengthy delays stretching to eight hours for one train.

Nos. 48 and 49 (Lake Shore Limited) that were scheduled to depart on Monday were canceled due to the severe winter weather.

These trains had experienced delays between 10 and 12 hours in Cleveland over the weekend.

Online reports indicated that the eastbound Capitol Limited was turned at Pittsburgh on Monday morning and the passengers sent beyond by bus.

Presumably, that equipment then became No. 29 for Tuesday. The Amtrak website showed No. 29 as having a service disruption, but the site’s Track a Train feature showed No. 29 as having arrived at the Cleveland Amtrak station shortly after 6:30 a.m.

Eastbound No. 30 departed Chicago Union Station at 11:32 p.m., nearly five hours late. The Amtrak website projected No. 30 to arrive in Cleveland at about 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

On Monday, the westbound Capitol Limited posted the best performance by arriving in Cleveland at 6:04 a.m., which was a mere 3 hours, 22 minutes off its scheduled arrival time of 2:53 a.m.

The eastbound Capitol was not as fortunate. It finally halted at the Cleveland Amtrak station at 9:48 a.m., which was just over eight hours off its scheduled 1:45 a.m. arrival time.

No. 29’s performance deteriorated as it made its way west. It didn’t reach Chicago until 3:03  p.m., more than six hours late.

Eastbound No. 48 arrived in Cleveland at 1:06 p.m., which was 7.5 hours off its scheduled 5:35 a.m. arrival time. The last report on No. 48 on the Amtrak website showed that it arrived in Albany-Rensselaer, N.Y., at 11:25 p.m. Monday

Westbound No. 49 reached Cleveland on Monday at 8:37 a.m., a five hour delay from its scheduled 3:27 a.m. arrival time. It pulled up to the bumper post in Chicago Union Station at 8:43 p.m. Monday, a delay of nearly 11 hours.

No. 49 was given Norfolk Southern locomotive No. 9857 at Toledo because the horn of the lead Amtrak unit was working only intermittedly.

Between having to get a new locomotive and delays due to traffic congestions on NS, No. 49 was delayed in Toledo by four hours.

Elsewhere, blowing and drifting snow in north central Illinois stopped three Amtrak trains headed for Chicago.

An Amtrak spokesman says more than 500 passengers were aboard the trains, which included the Southwest Chief from Los Angeles, the Illinois Zephyr from Quincy, Ill., and the California Zephyr from the San Francisco Bay area.

The trains were halted late Monday near Mendota on BNSF tracks, about 80 miles west of Chicago.

Passengers on the trains were reportedly being fed and kept comfortable by the crew. Amtrak officials are in contact with emergency responders in the event passengers encounter problems.

However, an online report indicated that the Illinois Zephyr was pulled back to Princeton, Ill., where passengers were to be loaded onto buses.

BNSF employees were working to reopen the tracks to get the trains moving.

Amtrak spokesman Marc said two of the trains were stalled in Bureau County and the third was in Knox County.

Magliari said emergency responders are at the trains should they be needed, but so far have been standing by.

Commander Jim Shipp, of the Bureau County, Ill. Sheriff’s Department, told CBS News that he agency has a plan to evacuate passengers if needed.

Magliari said heavy equipment was en route to the scene to free the trains, but he did not have an estimate when the work would be completed.


Holiday Train Added on Chicago-Quincy Route

November 5, 2013

Amtrak has announced that it will offer an extra roundtrip on the Chicago-Quincy, Ill., route on Sunday, Dec. 1, to accommodate Thanksgiving holiday travelers.

No. 385 will depart Chicago at 11:30 a.m. and arrive in Quincy at 3:58 p.m. The equipment will turn and operate as No. 384, departing Quincy at 12:45 p.m. and arrive into Chicago at 5:13 p.m.

The westbound Illinois Zephyr will depart Chicago 20 minutes later than its usual schedule on Sunday, Dec. 1, leaving at 6:15 p.m.

Nos. 384 and 385 will make all scheduled stops normally covered by the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg. Some stations on the route are also served by the Southwest Chief and California Zephyr.

This is the second year for the increased Amtrak holiday service in the Midwest. Amtrak will operate 18 extra sections of the Wolverine Service during the holiday period.

Amtrak said the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday following the holiday are the busiest travel days.

Amtrak carried a record 737,537 passengers during the 2012 Thanksgiving travel period, up 1.9 percent over 2011.