Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Silver Star’

Silver Star Consists Expanded

January 25, 2022

In suspending the New York-Miami Silver Meteor starting Jan. 24 Amtrak said it would increase capacity as needed on two other trains operating in the corridor.

Trains magazine reported on its website that the New York-Miami Silver Star has been assigned additional coaches and Viewliner sleeping cars.

The Star is now operating with up to five sleeping cars. It normally ran with two. The Meteor, however, typically ran with more cars, including three sleeping cars.

In its report, Trains said the Meteor typically has more cars than its counterpart because the Meteor has more connecting traffic from western and northern cities.

The schedule of the Silver Star, is not conducive to as much connecting business.

The Trains report noted that the additional capacity that has been added to the Silver Star is in contrast with continued less than normal capacity on many other long distance trains.

The Silver Star and Silver Meteor follow different routes through North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia between Selma, North Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia.

The Palmetto, uses the same route as the Silver Meteor and is also continuing to operate daily between New York and Savannah.

The story can be viewed at https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/seeking-the-pricing-capacity-sweet-spot-on-two-florida-trains-analysis/

Looking Good in the Florida Sun

December 14, 2021

It is December 1979 and I’ve made a trip to and from Miami on the Silver Meteor southbound and the Silver Star northbound. In that era the trains on the route were pulled by SDP40F locomotives. No. 645 shown in the top image was assigned to pull the northbound Star out of Miami and I was to make a few photographs of as the train was boarding.

The bottom image was made in Jacksonville, Florida, in July 1977. I had just arrived on the southbound Floridian, which split at Jacksonville into Miami and St. Petersburg sections.

SDP40F No. 638 would lead the Miami section on this day. It parked on a station track when I photographed it.

In this era the Phase I paint scheme was still widely seen although the Phase II livery was already being applied to F40PH and P30CH locomotives.

On the Point in Miami

April 6, 2021

Amtrak SDP45 No. 645 is in position to lead the northbound Silver Star out of Miami on Dec. 13, 1979. At Auburndale, Florida, the Miami section will combine with the St. Petersburg, Florida, section of the Star before continuing its journey to New York.

The New York-Miami trains were among the last in the Amtrak long-distance network to be pulled by SDP40F locomotives.

When this image was made many long-distance runners had been turned over to F40PH and P30CH locomotives.

Track Work Affects Florida Trains

April 6, 2021

CSX track work has resulted in service changes for the Silver Star, Silver Meteor and Virginia corridor service.

Between April 2 and May 5 operations will be affected as follows.

On Friday through Sunday, April 3-May 5, the Silver Star will operate normally between New York and Savannah, Georgia.

Train 81 will depart Savannah at 4:33 a.m., 15 minutes later than normal; Jacksonville, Florida, at 7:29 a.m., 30 minutes later than normal, and will operate this later schedule at all stations between Jacksonville and Miami.

On Thursday through Saturday, April 2-May 1, the northbound Silver Star will operate normally between Miami and Hamlet, North Carolina. Train 92 will leave Hamlet at 6:29 a.m., 15 minutes later than normal; Raleigh, North Carolina, at 9:15 a.m., 30 minutes later than normal, and will operate this later schedule at all stations between Raleigh and New York.

On Monday through Thursday, April 19-May 5, the southbound Silver Meteor will depart Savannah at 6:45 a.m., 5 minutes later than normal, Jacksonville at 9:59 a.m., 25 minutes later than normal and will operate this later schedule at all stations between Jacksonville and Miami.

On Sunday through Wednesday, April 18-May 5, the northbound Silver Meteor will depart Savannah at 7:51 p.m., 20 minutes later than normal; Charleston at 9:42 p.m., 20 minutes later than normal, and will operate this later schedule at all stations between Charleston and New York.

Amtrak Thruway bus schedules 6091, 6097, 6291, 7591/7991 and 7597/7997will be adjusted to reflect later connection times.

The Carolinian, Palmetto and Auto Trains can expect up to 30 minute delays.

CSX Track Work Disrupts Southeast Service

March 19, 2021

CSX track work has affected the operations of several Amtrak trains in the Southeast through April 25.

The southbound Silver Star will on Friday through Sunday depart Savannah, Georgia, at 4:33 a.m, 15 minutes later than normal.

Train 91 will depart Jacksonville, Florida, at 7:29 a.m, 30 minutes later than normal and depart later at all stations between Jacksonville and Miami.

On March 18, 26 and April 2, No. 91 will stop in North Carolina at Selma and Wilson and depart all stations from Raleigh to Denmark, South Carolina, six minutes later than normal, Savannah 21 minutes later than normal and all stations from Jacksonville to Miami 36 minutes later than normal.

The northbound Silver Star on Thursday through Saturday will depart Hamlet, North Carolina, at 6:29 a.m., 15 minutes later than normal.

It will depart Raleigh at 9:15 a.m., 30 minutes later than normal and depart later at all stations between Raleigh and New York.

On March 19 and 26 and April 2, No. 92 will stop at Selma and Wilson and depart Hamlet at 6:29 a.m., 15 minutes later than normal.

It will depart Raleigh at 9:15 a.m., 30 minutes later than normal, Rocky Mount 39 minutes later than normal and operate 37 minutes later at all stations from Petersburg, Virginia, to Alexandria, Virginia, and 35 minutes later than normal from Washington to New York.

The Carolinian will operate between Charlotte and Raleigh on Monday through Thursday between March 29 and April 1.

No alternative transportation is being provided between New York and Raleigh.

On March 16 through March 28 Train 79 will depart Selma at 4:58 p.m., 20 minutes later than normal and operate on that later schedule to Charlotte.

On March 16 through March 28, Train 80 will depart Rocky Mount at 11:40 a.m., five minutes later than normal, Petersburg at 1:21 p.m., 10 minutes later than normal, Richmond Staples Mill at 2:31 p.m., 20 minutes later than normal and operate on this later schedule to Washington.

The southbound Palmetto will operate operate between New York and Washington only on Mondays and Thursdays with no alternate transportation provided between Washington and Savannah.

No. 89 will operate on Saturdays between New York and Savannah, departing Florence, South Carolina, at 5:59 p.m., 15 minutes later than normal.

The northbound Palmetto will operates on Wednesdays and Fridays between Washington and New York, with no alternate transportation provided between Savannah and Washington.

No. 90 will operate between Savannah and New York on Saturdays, departing Richmond Staples Mill at 5:39 p.m., 15 minutes later than normal and operating on a later schedule to Washington.

The train will depart Washington  at its normal time of 8:30 p.m.

The southbound Silver Meteor during the period of March 15 to April 1 will depart Fayetteville, North Carolina, at 1:37 a.m., 15 minutes later than normal, Florence at 3:33 a.m., 20 minutes later than normal and Savannah at 7:10 a.m., 30 minutes later than normal. It will operate on this later schedule at all stations to Miami.

The northbound Silver Meteor during the period of March 14 through March 31 will depart Kingstree, South Carolina, at 10:21 p.m., 10 minutes later than normal, Rocky Mount at 2:29 a.m., 20 minutes later than normal and Richmond Staples Mill at 4:57 a.m., 25 minutes later than normal. It will operate on this later schedule at all stations to New York.

The Auto Train is expected to be delayed by 20 minutes in each direction.

Sleepers to Return to Boston-Washington Route

March 14, 2021

Sleeping car service is returning between Boston and Washington on the Northeast Corridor starting April 5.

The Viewliner sleepers will operate on Trains 66 and 67 with a scheduled running time of nine to 10 hours depending on the direction and the day of the week of travel.

No. 67 operates as Train 65 on Friday and Saturday nights.

Passengers will receive a complimentary continental breakfast box in the evening and may either go to the train’s cafe car for coffee and juice in the morning or have the car’s attendant deliver it to their rooms.

Amtrak also will offer passengers one complimentary alcoholic beverage.

Passengers will be able to make use of first-class lounges in Boston and Washington.

However, the lounge in Philadelphia will be unavailable and New York passengers will need to board through Penn Station because the Moynihan Train Hall and its Metropolitan Lounge are closed overnight.

The Northeast Corridor has always had sleeping cars operating on long distance trains that continue beyond Washington.

But sleeping car service between Boston and Washington has been absent since 2003.

For many years Amtrak offered an overnight train between the two terminals named the Night Owl. That train had a New York-Washington “Executive Sleeper” that was dropped off or picked up at Penn Station.

That service ended when Amtrak ceased using Heritage Fleet sleepers.

Starting in 1997, the Boston-Washington sleepers operated south to Newport News, Virginia, when he train was renamed the Twilight Shoreliner.

Amtrak officials have said the resumption of sleeping car service between Boston and Washington is being made possible by the assignment of Viewliner II sleepers to the Silver Star and Silver Meteor between New York and Miami.

Sleepers that had been operating in Silver Service have been reassigned to the Northeast Corridor.

The intercity carrier said it has enough Viewliner II sleepers to cover the resumption of daily service on the New York-Miami run in late spring.

Viewliner II sleepers have already been introduced on the New York Miami route and will be maintained at the Hialeah Maintenance Facility in Miami.

Currently the Silver Service trains are running with just one Viewliner II sleeper, Amtrak plans to soon increase that to two of every three sleepers on each train.

Train 66 is scheduled to depart Washington nightly at 10 p.m., arriving in New York at 1:55 a.m. and Boston’s South Station at 7:58 a.m.

No.  67 leaves Boston Sunday through Thursday at 9:30 p.m. It arrives in New York at 2:30 a.m. and Washington at 7 a.m.

On Fridays and Saturdays No. 65 runs on a slightly different schedule.

Amtrak said fares between Boston and Washington for one person in a roomette could be as low as $288.

Amtrak Daily Service Also Will Bring Some Service Enhancements

March 13, 2021

The restoration of daily operation to most of Amtrak’s long-distance trains starting in late May will also coincide with a spiffing up of some amenities aboard those trains.

Some long-distance trains are expected to see the return of traditional dining car service.

The intercity passenger carrier said new Viewliner II sleeping cars will be assigned to the Silver Meteor and Silver Star between New York and Miami.

The Auto Train sleeping cars will receive new and what Amtrak described as upgraded bedding, towels and linens. These will be provided to other long distance trains with sleeping car service during the summer.

Eastern trains assigned Amfleet II coaches will get new seating cushions, carpets, curtains and LED reading lights.

Amtrak said cars that went through a multi-year interior renovation program for Superliner and Viewliner I equipment, which includes new seating cushions, carpets and curtains, will enter revenue service this summer.

Although no date was given, new ALC-32 Siemens Charger locomotives will begin pulling long-distance trains this year.

They will replace the ubiquitous P42DC units that have been maintays since the middle 1990s.

The Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station in New York will get a new Metropolitan Lounge for sleeping car passengers.

Unspecified enhancements will be made to the Auto Train.

It also remains to be seen how Amtrak will handle the restoration of traditional dining car meals.

Roger Harris, Amtrak’s executive vice president and chief marketing and revenue officer, said the carrier needs to work through the health implications of dining car operation.

“Communal dining is probably a non-starter for now, and you can work backward through food preparation and delivery,” he said.

Harris did not say which trains would receive traditional dining service. Well before the COVID-19 pandemic began Amtrak had ended full-service dining car service on all eastern long-distance trains except the Auto Train.

Traditional dining aboard the western long distance trains ended early in the pandemic in favor of serving prepackaged meals.

“It’s important to figure this out because it involves the recall of employees for the daily service this summer, so it’s a rather intertwined process,” Harris said. “There will be some food service decisions in the coming months but there will be further developments in the next year, as we get our new team really focused on this.”

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.

Silver Star Meet in Alexandria

December 30, 2020

It is July 7, 1973, in Alexandria, Virginia. Amtrak’s southbound Silver Star is dead on the main due to locomotive trouble.

In the foreground is its northbound counterpart, No. 82. This is still the rainbow era so some of the motive power wears Amtrak markings and some still has the liveries of a former owner.

No. 82 has E8A 238 (former Seaboard Coast Line, ex-Atlantic Coast Line), E8B 373 (former Union Pacific) and E8A 247 (former SCL, ex-Seaboard Air Line).

On No. 81 is E8A 234 (former SCL, ex-ACL), SCL E7A 557, E8A 218 (former Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac) and E9A 412 (former Union Pacific).

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Amtrak Memories From a July 1993 East Coast Trip

September 29, 2020

In July 1993, the photographer and a friend ventured East from their homes in Northeast Ohio on a photography expedition.

Among their stops were Princeton Junction, New Jersey, on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. They also stopped on their way home at Horseshoe Curve and caught Amtrak’s Broadway Limited.

Much has changed with Amtrak’s motive power since then. In the early 1990s Northeast Corridor trains were still pulled by AEM-7 locomotives and long-distance trains outside the corridor were handled by F40PH locomotives.

In the top photograph the Silver Meteor comes thundering by Princeton Junction, led by a GE E60 electric engine.

Next up the Pennsylvanian makes an appearance hauling a deadheading slumbercoach.

The last image from Princeton Junction shows the Silver Star.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas