Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited’

The Skyline is Watching

May 10, 2021

The Cleveland skyline watches over a very late westbound Lake Shore Limited as it sits in the station. Dining car Silver Restaurant was built by Budd for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and has carried two roster numbers at Amtrak. The image was made in November 1997.

Track Work to Disrupt Boston LSL Section

March 27, 2021

Track work being performed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will affect operations of the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited on March 28.

Train 448 will terminate at Albany-Rensselaer, New York. Alternate transportation will be provided to Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester and Boston South Station but no alternate transportation is being provided to Framingham.

Passengers traveling to Boston Back Bay station will be bused to Boston South and take an Amtrak or MBTA commuter train to Back Bay.

Train 449 will originate in Albany with alternate transportation being provided from Boston, Worcester, Springfield and Pittsfield.

No alternate transportation will be provided from Back Bay or Framingham.

Passengers originating at Back Bay have the option of boarding at Boston South or traveling another date.

Passengers boarding at Boston South Station should go to the Amtrak Information Desk for instructions on boarding the buses.

Passengers boarding at Worcester will board the bus at the main entrance in front of the station. Boarding will not take place at the bus terminal.

There will be no business class or sleeping car between Boston and Albany on the affected date.

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.

Amtrak Seeking Support for Corridor Service Plan

February 1, 2021

Amtrak officials recently contacted city officials in Ashtabula, Ohio, to discuss making the county seat community a stop for a proposed new Cleveland-New York corridor.

It is not the first time Ashtabula has been talked about as an Amtrak stop.

 A few years ago city officials asked Amtrak to consider stopping the Lake Shore Limited at the former New York City depot.

However, that request yielded nothing and CSX razed the station in 2018.

Judging from the content of a story published by the Ashtabula newspaper, the Star Beacon, Amtrak’s outreach efforts to Ashtabula are part of a larger effort to win political support for a proposal to establish a series of corridor services.

The intercity passenger corridor plan Amtrak is hoping to get Congress to approve would provide seed money for would establish the corridors between major urban areas.

In the case of Ohio, that would be a corridor between Cleveland and New York via Buffalo, and the long-discussed but never developed 3C corridor between Cleveland and Cincinnati via Columbus and Dayton.

Amtrak officials also are talking up the prospect of reviving service between Toledo and Michigan points, a series that existed until April 1995 when it was discontinued as a cost-cutting move.

They also are discussing development of a Chicago-Cincinnati corridor.

Ashtabula City Manager Jim Timonere told the Star Beacon that the corridor development proposal is expected to be contained in legislation creating a new surface transportation law.

Apparently Amtrak is dangling the prospect of being added to its network in front of local government officials in an effort to win their support for the legislation.

 “This stop would be an amazing opportunity not only for tourism here in our area, but to provide another option to our residents who may work in Cleveland or along the route at one of the stops,” he said. “Access to transportation of this magnitude opens up a whole set of opportunities for our area and we will advocate strongly for the passage of this bill.”

Ashtabula would be a stop on the Cleveland-New York corridor. It is unclear if Ashtabula would also be a stop for the Lake Shore Limited.

No. 48 passes through Ashtabula around 7 a.m. while No. 49 comes through around 2:30 a.m.

Currently, Erie, Pennsylvania, is the only stop for Nos. 48 and 49 between Cleveland and Buffalo.

Amtrak was poised to begin stopping the Lake Shore Limited in Dunkirk, New York, in the late 1990s.

Local officials there pushed hard for the stop, putting up fliers in support of it and handing out leaflets seeking to build public support. The community held an Amtrak rally day.

Some Amtrak timetables showed service to Dunkirk to begin on a date to be announced.

However, the proposal fell victim to the breakup of Conrail by CSX and Norfolk Southern and Nos. 48 and 49 never did serve Dunkirk.

All of the corridor proposals that Amtrak officials mentioned in their call to Ashtabula have been proposed in the past but never materialize due to lack of funding.

Amtrak has been telling state and local officials that stand to gain service from these corridors that the passenger carrier will put up the money for some initial capital costs and pay the operating expenses for the corridors for a few years.

But state and local governments would have to absorb those operating costs eventually.

Meeting in a Swirl of Snow

January 16, 2021

Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited meets a westbound CSX manifest freight in Perry, Ohio, during a heavy lake effect snowstorm. The trains are running on the CSX Erie West Subdivision. The freight was stopped due to traffic ahead. Amtrak No. 48 was running a few hours late.

New Buffalo Amtrak Station Opens

November 10, 2020

A ceremony featuring state and local officials was held on Monday to mark the opening of a new Exchange Street Station in downtown Buffalo, New York. 

The station was built on the site of the former 66-year-old New York Central facility of the same name.

The new $29.8 million Amtrak station, though, is elevated, located closer to the street and is twice the size of the depot it replaced.

Amtrak passengers will be able to make connections to local bus and light-rail service.

The low-level platforms of the station were redesigned to comply with Americans With Disabilities Act standards. The station features a covered pedestrian plaza.

The project was overseen by the New York State Department of Transportation.

The station is served by Amtrak’s Empire Corridor trains between New York and Niagara Falls, New York. The New York-Toronto Maple Leaf also stops at the station.

The Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited, however, does not use the tracks passing Exchange Street station.

Crossing Over

October 29, 2020

Amtrak’s westbound Lake Shore Limited had a lot of time to make up when it departed Waterloo, Indiana, on Oct. 8 more than five hours late.

The delay had largely occurred the night before due to a storm near Albany, New York, that left tree limbs on the rails.

The Norfolk Southern dispatcher brought No. 49 into the station on Track No. 2 of the Chicago Line, but crossed it over to Track 1 just west of the station platform.

The image was made shortly before the LSL shifted from daily to tri-weekly operation but it had already begun operating with a reduced consist.

Amtrak to Add Cars for Thanksgiving Holiday

October 16, 2020

Amtrak plans to add additional cars to some trains during the Thanksgiving holiday period, it said this week in a news release.

The passenger carrier urged travelers to book early for holiday travel and noted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic capacity of the trains will be limited to 50 percent of available seats in coach class.

Since early fall Amtrak’s long-distance trains have been operating with sorter consists as the carrier implemented a plan to reduce operation of most of those trains from daily to tri-weekly.

The Lake Shore Limited, for example, is now operating with one New York sleeper instead of two.

Next Round of Service Cuts Begin Oct. 12

October 10, 2020
Amtrak’s westbound Lake Shore Limited arrives in Waterloo, Indiana, on Oct. 8, 2020.

The next round of frequency reductions of Amtrak long-distance trains will be implemented on Oct. 12 when the Lake Shore Limited, Texas Eagle, Coast Starlight and Southwest Chief begin tri-weekly operation.

On Oct. 5 the Capitol Limited, California Zephyr, City of New Orleans and Crescent shifted to operating tri-weekly operation.

The Empire Builder and Palmetto will change to tri-weekly operation on Oct. 19.

Once that changes are made only the Auto Train will operate daily among Amtrak’s long-distance trains.

The Silver Meteor began quad-weekly operation in early July. At the same time the Silver Star shifted to tri-weekly operation.

The New York-Miami trains are scheduled to operate on separate days so as to preserve daily service on some portions of their routes.

Although some congressional leaders and President Trump continue to issue public statements expressing support for another round of COVID-19 pandemic emergency aid, differences in opinion among the parties as to the size of the aid and what would be covered have prevented any deals from being reached.

Rail passengers advocates have sought to lobby to include emergency aid for Amtrak in the next round of pandemic aid and Amtrak is seeking additional funding in federal fiscal year 2021.

The fate of those funding requests remains unclear and Amtrak president William Flynn has warned that further employee furloughs and train service cuts are likely if Amtrak doesn’t get additional funding for FY 2021.

The passenger carrier like other federally funded programs is operating with funding authorized by a continuing resolution that freezes funding levels at FY 2020 levels through Dec. 11.

Rumbling Into Waterloo on Sunday Morning

August 21, 2020

Amtrak’s westbound Lake Shore Limited is about 20 minutes late as it arrives into the station at Waterloo, Indiana, under cloudy skies.

Somehow that seems appropriate given the future of this train. In another two months you won’t be able to board Amtrak on Sunday morning to travel to Chicago.

The westbound Lake Shore will only be arriving in Waterloo, or in Cleveland and Toledo for that matter, on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

Today’s No. 49 has its summer pandemic consist of two P42DC locomotives, a Boston Viewliner sleeper, Amfleet food service car, four Amfleet II coaches, Viewliner dining car that serves as a sleeper class lounge, two New York VIewliner sleepers, a Viewliner baggage car and a deadheading Viewliner sleeper on the rear.

I didn’t count the number of passengers who boarded or disembarked but it was around 10 total.

The train made two stops, one for coach passengers and another to drop off a couple of sleeper class passengers.

And then it was highball and onto the next station in Elkhart, Indiana.