Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Silver Star’

Track Work to Affect Service in North Carolina on July 19

July 13, 2017

Track work in Raleigh, North Carolina, will affect the operation of Amtrak’s Piedmont, Carolinian and Silver Star trains on July 18 and 19.

On July 18, Train 1092 will depart Miami at 9:15 a.m., two hours and 35 minutes earlier than its current schedule, and operate on the earlier schedule through its arrival into Philadelphia at 2:20 p.m.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said Train 92 will wait in Philadelphia until it departs at 5:10 p.m, then operate according to its normal schedule at all remaining stations on the route.

Due to the earlier train departure, the train number for northbound Train 92 departing Miami on July 18 has been changed to Train 1092.

The earlier schedule for the Silver Star will also affect certain Thruway Bus routes.

Thruway Bus 6292 will depart earlier from Lakeland, Florida, while Thruway Bus 6092 will depart earlier from Fort Myers, Florida.

Passengers ticketed on those routes are urged to contact Amtrak for updated schedules by visiting Amtrak.com, using the Amtrak mobile apps or by calling 800-USA-RAIL (800-872-7245).

On July 19, the Carolinian and Piedmont service will be cancelled and no alternative transportation provided. This affects Trains 73, 74, 75, 76, 79 and 80.

Track Work Disrupts Carolinian, Palmetto, Silver Star

May 2, 2017

Track work being performed by CSX will affect operations of the Palmetto, Carolinian and Silver Star on Tuesday and Wednesday.

New York-Charlotte, North Carolina, Nos. 79 and 80 will operate between Raleigh, North Carolina, and Charlotte only. Trains will not operate between New York and Raleigh.

New York-Savannah, Georgia, Nos. 89 and 90 will operate between New York and Washington only. Trains will not operate between Washington and Savannah.

The New York-bound Silver Star will depart Miami four hours earlier at 7:50 a.m. and operated four hours earlier at all intermediate stations as train No. 1192.

Remembering Amtrak’s SDP40Fs

April 17, 2017

Amtrak first new diesel motive power was the SDP40F locomotive built by EMD and which took to the rails in June 1973 between Chicago and Los Angeles.

The big cowl units also initially pulled trains between Chicago and Houston, and on some segments of the route of the Empire Builder.

Amtrak bought 150 of the locomotives and between 1974 and the late ’70s they were ubiquitous on the point of long-distance trains. They also were assigned to some corridor service during that period of time.

Some railroads thought the SDP40F was derailment prone and didn’t want them on their rails. By the late 1970s, E units had made a comeback on some routes, particularly on Conrail, and the SDP40Fs were traded in for new F40PHs.

One of the last strongholds for the SDP40F was between Washington and Florida where they continued to pull trains through the early 1980s.

In this photograph above, it is Dec. 13, 1979, at the Amtrak station in Miami. I am waiting to board the northbound Silver Star and I took the opportunity to photograph No. 645 from the platform.

It would be the last time that I saw an SDP40F in revenue service still wearing the Phase I paint scheme that is still a favorite of mine.

Track Work to Disrupt Atlantic Coast Service

April 5, 2017

Amtrak said the Palmetto, Carolinian and Silver Star will be affected by CSX track work on April 11 and 12.

The New York-Charlotte, North Carolina, Carolinian will operate between Raleigh, North Carolina, and Charlotte only. No trains will operate between New York and Raleigh.

The New York-Savannah, Georgia, Palmetto, will operate only between New York and Washington.

The New York-Miami Silver Star will depart Miami four hours earlier (7:50 a.m.) and operate as Train 1092.

Times at intermediate stations will be four hours earlier as well.

 

CSX Track Work to Affect Palmetto, Silver Star

March 11, 2017

CSX track work will affect operations of Amtrak’s Silver Star and Palmetto on Monday, March 13.

The Palmetto will not operate between Washington and Savannah, Georgia. An Amtrak service advisory did not indicate if alternative transportation will be provided.

The northbound Silver Star will depart Miami on March 12 four hours earlier at 7:50 a.m.

The times at all scheduled intermediate stations to New York will be four hours earlier on March 12-13. No. 92 will operate as No. 1092 during the trip.

Roanoke Station Platform Work Begins

February 14, 2017

Construction began this week on the platform to be used by Amtrak in Roanoke, Virginia. The project is expected to take 300 days to complete.

Amtrak 4Roanoke is expected to gain Amtrak service through an extension of an existing Northeast Regional train. Service will be a daily roundtrip to Washington that departs in the morning and returns in the evening.

Service is projected to begin in October after the station work is completed. The Roanoke station is expected to cost $10.9 million.

The city best known as the former headquarters of the Norfolk & Western Railway, has not had intercity rail service since the Oct. 1, 1979, discontinuance of the Hilltopper.

In other Amtrak station news, work on the Union Station in Raleigh, North Carolina, is reported to be on schedule with half of the project already completed.

The facility will serve Amtrak trains and regional buses.

The capital of North Carolina is the northern terminus of the state-funded Piedmont trains and is also a stop for the New York-Charlotte Carolinian and the New York-Miami Silver Star.

The station will be located at the end of Martin Street on a site that once had an empty warehouse.

Union Station is projected to open in January 2018. The cost of the project is $90 million with the city paying about $15 million and the balance being funded by state and federal grants.

Miami Amtrak Station Platform Built Too Short

January 30, 2017

The opening of Amtrak’s new station near Miami International Airport is not only late, but it has a size problem.

The platform is too short to accommodate the length of the Amtrak trains that will use it.

Amtrak 4Officials in the Florida Department of Transportation say that an engineering error in designing the platform means that the Miami Intermodal Center will not open until late 2017.

“FDOT is in the process of finalizing an operations and maintenance agreement with Amtrak to provide their passenger service at the MIC Central Station,” said FDOT spokesperson Ivette Ruiz-Paz in an email to the Miami Herald.

Ruiz-Paz said Amtrak will continue to use its Hialeah station for the New York-Miami Silver Star and Silver Meteor.

The design error means that the platform at the station is short by about 200 feet. Trains would be forced to block Northwest 25th Street.

Officials say the error was the result of confusion between FDOT and Amtrak. The designers were expecting shorter trains than Amtrak typically operates on the route.

Rather than extend or rebuild the platform, FDOT has decided to live with trains blocking 25th Street and reconfigure nearby streets to accommodate traffic detours.

“A crossing has been developed and constructed from NW 28th St. connecting to NW 37th Ave.,” Ruiz-Paz said. “Other roadway elements have also been added to improve connectivity to the infrastructure.”

Amtrak is one of four rail services at the Miami Intermodal Center, or MIC.

Also using it will be Metrorail, Tri-Rail and the elevated trains to the airport.  There will also be bus terminal and rental car center.

FRA Southeastern Regional Rail Service Study May Lead to Restoring Chicago-Florida Service

January 7, 2017

Discussions about establishing a Jacksonville, Florida, to Nashville, Tennessee, intercity rail corridor are being seen as a precursor for linking Chicago and the Southeast by rail again.

Amtrak 3The discussion is part of the Southeast Regional Rail Plan study being undertaken by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Other routes being discussed include creating connections from existing Amtrak service to Ashville and Wilmington, North Carolina; and the North Carolina and South Carolina beaches and tourist destinations.

The study also is looking at opportunities for other east-west corridors, including those that might connect northward, e.g., Petersburg-Lynchburg, Virginia; Roanoke-Bristol, Virginia;  Knoxville-Nashville, Tennessee; and Nashville- Memphis, Tennessee.

A focus of the study is finding ways to bring service to college towns and their high concentration of frequent travelers.

Amtrak’s Floridian linked Chicago and Florida until being discontinued in October 1979.

There was direct service between Chicago and the Southeast in the middle to late 1980s and the early 1980s when through cars operated on the Capitol Limited and Silver Star via a connection in Washington.

In a related development, Amtrak said it expects to begin service between Lynchburg and Roanoke this fall provided that adequate station facilities are finished in Roanoke by that time.

The service will be funded by the State of Virginia and is an extension of a Northeast Regional service train that now originates in Lynchburg. Roanoke lost Amtrak service on Oct. 1, 1979, when the Catlettsburg (Kentucky)-Washington Hilltopper was discontinued.

The Virgnia Department of Rail is studying funding another train from Washington to Lynchburg that might be extended to Roanoke.

In another development, construction of a union station in Raleigh, North Carolina, recently passed the halfway point and is expected to open in early 2018.

Work began in May 2015 for the $90 million facility that will be served by Amtrak and Go Triangle bus service.

Once completed, Raleigh Union Station will have restaurants and shops and provide a venue for events.

Raleigh is served by the North Carolina-funded Piedmonts between Raleigh and Charlotte, the New York-Charlotte Carolinan, and the New York-Miami Silver Star.

Amtrak Set 2016 Ridership, Revenue Records

October 22, 2016

Low gasoline prices did not prevent Amtrak from breaking revenue and ridership records fiscal year 2016.

Amtrak logoThe passenger carrier hosted about 31.2 million passengers, up 1.3 percent from 2015, and generated $2.2 billion in ticket revenue, up 0.03 percent.

Former Amtrak President Joseph Boardman had earlier this year imposed various cost-cutting measures, saying that Amtrak faced a $167.3-million ticket revenue shortfall compared with the amount originally budgeted.

However, the carrier’s actual performance exceeded the revised downward forecast by 3.3 percent even as it was 4.3 percent off the original FY 2016 projection.

The California Zephyr posted an 11.2 percent increase in ridership and 6.2 percent increase in revenue.

The removal of full-service dining cars and meals included in sleeping car fares on the Silver Star led to a 5 percent decline in passengers and 11.6 percent in ticket revenue.

The Auto Train lost more than 12 percent of its riders and almost 8 percent of its revenue.

Among state-supported corridor trains, a push to complete infrastructure improvements to create higher speed service depressed ridership and revenue of Wolverine Service and Lincoln Service trains due to service cancellations.

The quad-weekly Hoosier State carried about as many passengers in 2016 as it did the previous year, but revenue increased by about $250,000 or 36 percent.

The offering of premium business class service by operator Iowa Pacific was credited with the increase in revenue.

Although Amtrak’s ridership and revenue data do not show passenger mile or revenue per-train mile comparisons, the 15 long-distance trains generated slightly more ticket revenue carrying less than 32 percent of the passengers of the state-supported trains.

This is partly  because the long-distance trains offer such higher-price services as sleeping car accommodations.

Amtrak Trial Includes No Meals With Sleeper Fare

April 20, 2015

In what may be a precursor of things to come, Amtrak said it will conduct a trial period of selling sleeping car accommodations that do not include meals.

Between July 1, 2015, and Jan. 31, 2016, the New York-Miami Silver Star will carry a café-lounge rather than a full-service diner.

Amtrak said sleeping class fares on Nos. 91 and 92 will be 25 and 28 percent lower for Viewliner bedrooms and roomettes.

“Customers have been clear they want more options,” said Mark Murphy, Amtrak senior vice president and general manager responsible for the long-distance trains nationally. “From this summer through early next year, passengers will be able to opt for different service levels between our two daily trains to Orlando and Miami.”

Murphy was referring to how those who travel between New York and Miami aboard the Silver Meteor will still have full-servicing dining and sleeping class tickets will include meals in the fare.

For several years Amtrak has included meals in the price of a sleeping car ticket on all long-distance trains.