Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Texas Eagle’

New Carlinville Station Close to Opening

October 6, 2017

A new Amtrak station in Carlinville, Illinois, is expected to open soon.

A least lease agreement between the city of Carlinville, which owns the building, and Union Pacific, which owns the ground, has been reached.

But the city must work out a lease agreement with Amtrak, but the negotiations have snagged over liability insurance.

“We’re still dilly dallying with the Amtrak lease of the station and the platforms,” said City attorney Rick Bertinetti.” Everything is pretty well getting ironed out in that agreement except for one significant major item that pertains to liability and insurance.”

Bertinetti said he placed language in the lease stating Amtrak would indemnify the city over anything that happens with regard to Amtrak’s use of the platform, its agents, its employees and its passengers.

“We do have a good clause in there as far as indemnity that they have approved,” he said. “Now, we’re just trying to put together what insurances we do have to carry and maintain in effect because of our other agreement to lease the property — the platform in particular — from Union Pacific Railroad.”

Mayor Deanna Demuzio said a meeting has been scheduled with an attorney from Amtrak.

“We hope to get everything finalized very, very soon. This is something we’ve been working on for over a year.”

The Carlinville City Council recently approved a stipulation by the Illinois Department of Transportation for a passenger information display system that will provide passengers with infromation regarding arriving and departing trains.

Bertinetti said the PIDS agreement had to be approved by the council since the displays are improvements to the property and included a grant received by the city.

“We don’t have any monetary obligation here, other than we are the owner,” he said. “We have to carry insurance on it and we’re basically responsible if it gets damaged, vandalized, stolen, something like that. We’ll carry insurance on it, just as we have to carry insurance on the station itself.

Carlinville is served by Amtrak’s Lincoln Service trains and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

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Marshall Station Closed for Construction

September 12, 2017

Due to construction, the Amtrak station in Marshall, Texas, wlll be closed through Sept. 19.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said passengers traveling to Marshall on Texas Eagle No. 21 should disembark at Longview, Texas, and board Thruway Bus 6121 to Marshall.

Those traveling to Marshall on Train No. 22, should also detrain at Longview, but catch Thruway bus 6422.

Passengers originating in Marshall will board Thruway bus 6421 if traveling on No. 21 and Thruway bus 6122 if traveling on Train No. 22. In both cases, passengers will be taken to Longview to board their train.

The station work in Marshall includes construction of a new ADA compliant elevator, ticket office and walkway to the train platform.

Amtrak to Begin Using New Alton Station

September 12, 2017

Amtrak will begin using the new Alton Regional Multimodal Transportation Center on Wednesday.

The facility, which features wide platforms, ample parking, free Wi-Fi, enclosed bicycle lockers, and connections to local transit buses, was built with a combination of federal federal and local funds.

Local buses will also use the center, which is near stores, restaurants, a Hampton Inn, and a Super 8 motel.

The current Alton station is on College Avenue in a depot built by the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad.

Southbound trains will stop two minutes earlier and northbound trains two minutes later than the current published schedule. A formal dedication of the new facility has been set for Sept. 15.

Alton is served by Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service trains and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

Sunset Ltd. Still Suspended to Houston

September 8, 2017

In a service advisory issued on Thursday, Amtrak said that its Sunset Limited is still not operating between New Orleans and San Antonio.

Nos. 1 and 2 continue to operate between San Antonio and Los Angeles.

Amtrak did not give an estimate of when service through flood-ravaged Houston would be restored.

It said it continues to work with BNSF and Union Pacific to restore the service when it is possible to do so. An update will be posted on or before Sept. 12.

Amtrak Thruway Bus Service Routes 6021 & 6022 between Galveston and Longview, Texas, are available as alternate transportation to and from Houston, enabling connections with the rest of the Amtrak national network using the Texas Eagle at Longview.

Group Studies Southern Rail Route

September 7, 2017

A Texas-based group is studying establishment of Amtrak service between Fort Worth, Texas, and Atlanta by filling in a missing link in the route.

The I-20 Corridor Council is seeking to get the states of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi to press for restoration of rail passenger service on a 345-mile stretch between Marshall, Texas, and Meridian, Mississippi.

Marshall is served by Amtrak’s Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle whereas the Meridian is served by the New York-New Orleans Crescent.

The Eagle runs through Fort Worth while the Crescent runs through Atlanta.

Richard Anderson, chairman of the I-20 Council, said passenger service over the link ended more than 50 years ago.

“The concept is to have all three states pushing for this passenger rail service,” Anderson said. “It would benefit all three states — it would benefit the entire South.”

The I-20 Council is seeking to create a direct route from Mississippi to Texas as well as increase service in communities already served by Amtrak.

Anderson said capacity study is under way and depending what it shows, “ . . . we hope that we can get people to sit down at the table.”

Amtrak studied the Meridian-Marshall route in 2015 and concludes that the connection would not require an annual operating subsidy from any of the three states.

However, launching passenger service would require capital investment “to be paid by the states and/or federal government once the capacity study is completed and negotiations occur between Amtrak and host railroads.”

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the passenger carrier is working with the I-20 Council.

“We’re taking this one step at a time and we’re excited at the prospect,” he said. “There is a great group of people in east Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

“There’s a lot of demand for additional services around the country… Because people don’t like doing what I’m doing — talking while driving. They would much rather be talking to you from a train while riding.”

Also backing the proposal is the Southern Rail Commission, which has listed the Meridian-Marshall link as among its top priorities for expanded rail passenger service.

Sunset Limited Still Suspended, Thruways Restored

September 2, 2017

Amtrak said on Friday that the Sunset Limited remains suspended between New Orleans and San Antonio, Texas.

However, Thruway Bus Service Routes 6021 & 6022 have resumed between Galveston and Longview, Texas, via Houston, enabling connections to and from the rest of the Amtrak National Network using the Texas Eagle.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said it is unable to offer alternate transportation between San Antonio and New Orleans, but is working with Union Pacific and BNSF to restore Nos. 1 and 2 when it is possible to do so.

 

Texas Eagle Resumes in San Antonio

September 1, 2017

The Texas Eagle has resumed operating between San Antonio and Fort Worth, Texas.

Passengers had been taken by bus between those two points after rain and flooding from Hurricane Harvey disrupted operations.

Amtrak said on Thursday that the temporary track closures imposed by Union Pacific and BNSF had ended.

Operation of the Sunset Limited between New Orleans and San Antonio remains suspended with no alternative transportation being provided

Amtrak Thruway Buses Routes 6021 and 6022 remain cancelled although the Amtrak station in Houston has reopened.

Sunset Ltd. Now Operating to San Antonio

August 29, 2017

In a service advisory issued Monday afternoon,  Amtrak said its New Orleans-Los Angeles Sunset Limited is now operating between San Antonio, Texas, and Los Angeles.

Flooding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey has resulted in track closures in Texas in Houston and vicinity.

No alternative transportation is being provided on the Sunset route between New Orleans and San Antonio.

The Texas Eagle is operating between Chicago and Fort Worth, Texas, with alternate transportation being provided between Fort Worth and San Antonio.

Amtrak Thruway Buses in central and southern Texas (Routes 6021 & 6022, 8721 & 8722, and 8821 & 8822) remain canceled and the Amtrak station in Houston is closed.

Amtrak Curtails Service Following Hurricane Harvey

August 28, 2017

Amtrak has curtailed some service in Texas in the wake of continued high winds and heavy rainfall from Hurricane Harvey.

The Sunset Limited has been canceled between New Orleans and El Paso, Texas.

Nos. 1 and 2 will continue to operate between El Paso and Los Angeles with no alternative service provided east of El Paso.

The Texas Eagle is operating only between Chicago and Fort Worth, Texas. Some alternative transportation is being provided between Fort Worth and San Antonio, but not west of San Antonio.

The Amtrak station in Houston is closed and Thruway Bus routes 6021 and 6022 are canceled between Galveston and Longview, via Houston.

Bus Service Begins at New Alton Station

August 10, 2017

The new intermodal station has opened in Alton, Illinois, but no date has been set as to when Amtrak will begin using it.

The local transit system in Madison County, Illinois, began using the facility on Aug. 6 and Amtrak expects to begin stopping there within the next few weeks.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the passenger carrier is likely to begin using the new facility in September but first must inspect it and agree to a lease with the City of Alton.

The new station is located at the site of the old city golf course near Homer Adams Parkway and is about two miles northwest of the existing Amtrak station.

Amtrak currently uses the former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio depot at 3400 College Avenue. The 89-year-old station is in danger of being razed once Amtrak pulls out of it.

Union Pacific has offered to give the station away to a group that will move it from the site.

But that will cost at least $150,000 and thus far no one has offered a plan to save the station, said Terry Sharp, president of the Alton Area Landmarks Association.

“Maybe it’ll take bringing the wrecking ball right up against the building to get people interested,” Sharp said.

Alton is served by Amtrak’s Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

Among the features of the new Alton station  are lockers for bicyclists, a pay parking lot and surveillance cameras. Nearby is green space and biking and hiking trails.

City officials hope the 55-acre former golf course site will draw development of new stores, offices and housing.

The project, including associated road improvements, cost about $24 million, which includes the $3.4 million value of the land.

The American Association of Railroaders is planning an outing to mark the end of Amtrak service at the ex-GM&O station and the startup of service at the new Alton station.

“We like to do firsts and lasts related to transportation,” President Rich Eichhorst said, adding that his group’s members rode the last train from St. Louis Union Station in 1978.

Eichhorst believes the last Amtrak train from the Alton GM&O station will be a late-night run from Alton to St. Louis.

The AAR plans to ride from St. Louis to Alton or vice versa or from Alton to Carlinville or the reverse.

The AAR will will sell tickets covering a short train-trip leg and a ride back on its bus with Eichhorst providing commentary.

Tickets are expected to be $25 and limited to 40 people.

Anyone interested  should send a self-addressed stamped envelope to AAR, 9600 Tesson Ferry Road, St. Louis, Mo., 63123, and indicate preference for the last train from the old station or the first train using the new one or both.

Prospective riders should also include their telephone number in case only short notice is given regarding Amtrak’s station change.