Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Texas Eagle’

Track Work to Affect Texas Eagle

February 14, 2019

Track work being conducted by Union Pacific will disrupt operations of Amtrak’s Texas Eagle between Feb. 24 and March 10.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that during that time Train No. 21 will detour between Texarkana, Arkansas, and Mineola, Texas, with passengers bound for intermediate stops between those cities riding a bus.

That includes stations in Marshall and Longview, Texas. It also affects passengers riding a thruway bus to Shreveport, Louisiana, that connects with the Eagle at Longview.

Affected passengers will detrain at Mineola and board Amtrak Thruway Bus 6121 to their destination. Bus 6121 will originate at Mineola instead of Longview.

Amtrak said that Train No. 21 may be delayed up to 15 to 20 minutes at Mineola to hold for connecting buses.

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Projects to Benefit Amtrak Routes

February 9, 2019

Amtrak stands to benefit from some of the railroad improvement  projects that recently won federal grant funding.

The Federal Railroad Administration said this week that it will award more than $56 million in grants, covering 18 projects in 16 states as part of the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program.

In Florida, the installation of supplemental safety features at 48 grade crossings will benefit the Virgin Trains USA route between West Palm Beach and Miami.

Officials said the work is expected to cut the number of grade-crossing violations by keeping motorists and pedestrians from trespassing as trains approach.

Amtrak’s Lincoln Service trains and the Texas Eagle will see a trip time reduction of three minutes due to a reconfiguration of the Lenox Interlocking in Mitchell, Illinois, located 16 miles northeast of St. Louis.

The project is expected to provide operating flexibility at a junction of four rail lines used by six railroads operating 46 trains per day.

In St. Louis, funding was awarded to replace the Broadway Truss of the Terminal Railway Association of St. Louis’ MacArthur Bridge across the Mississippi River.

The bridge is more than 100 years old and serves as the nation’s second longest railroad bridge. The work will work will increase horizontal clearance of the bridge, which is used by Lincoln Service trains and the Texas Eagle.

In New York, replacement of timber bridge decks with ballast decks on three bridges on the Hudson Line in Dutchess and Columbia counties will eliminate current speed restrictions and allow for future 110-mph operation.

Twenty-six Amtrak trains per day use these bridges, including the Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf, Ethan Allen Express, Adirondack and Empire Service trains.

Work will be performed in Vermont to stablize slopes along an 80-mile section of the New England Central Railroad used by Amtrak’s Vermonter.

The project will lead to the elimination of slow orders that have resulted in 216 hours of annual passenger delays and 520 hours of freight delays as well as decreasing safety risks.

A second second platform, elevator towers, and an overhead pedestrian bridge will be built at the Milwaukee Airport Amtrak station, allowing passenger trains to use both tracks and ease congestion resulting from the current single-track configuration for passenger service.

The station is used by Hiawatha Service trains.

Polar Vortex Leading to Midwest Cancelations

January 28, 2019

A Polar vortex that is bringing extreme cold to the Midwest has prompted Amtrak to modify its service on Midwest corridor routes radiating from Chicago.

Most of the changes are effective between Jan. 29 and 31.

The carrier said it will operate four round trips between Chicago and Milwaukee: Nos. 330, 331, 334, 335, 338, 339, 341 and 342. Nos. 329, 332, 333, 336, 337 and 340 will be cancelled.

Chicago to Carbondale No. 393 will be cancelled Jan. 28-30 while Carbondale to Chicago No. 390 is cancelled Jan. 29-31.

The City of New Orleans will continue to operate as will Nos. 391 and 392.

Chicago-Detroit (Pontiac) Nos. 351, 352, 353 and 354 will operate but Nos. 350 and 355 are cancelled on Jan. 29-31.

In the Chicago-St. Louis corridor, Nos. 301 and 304 are cancelled between Jan. 29 and 31. All others Lincoln Service trains as well as the Texas Eagle will continue to operate.

There will be no cancellations on routes linking Chicago with Quincy, Illinois; Grand Rapids, Michigan, or Port Huron, Michigan.

In a service advisory Amtrak said it expects the winter storm to reduce travel demand, but it was also acting out of “an abundance of caution.”

Amtrak said passengers holding reservations on the affected trains will be able to change their reservations for travel on other trains, including on other days, at no charge.

CN Derailment Hinders Amtrak in Chicago

January 15, 2019

Amtrak trains in the Chicago-St. Louis corridor faced delays, cancellations and detours following a derailment near Willow Springs, Illinois, of a Canadian National freight train on Monday morning.

Two Lincoln Service trains, Nos. 300 and 301, were canceled while the Texas Eagle and six Lincoln Service trains detoured between Chicago and Joliet on Metra’s Rock Island District.

Also scrapped was Metra Heritage Corridor service between Chicago and Joliet.

CN spokesman Jonathan Abecassis said five freight cars ended up on their side during the derailment.

A car carrying a plastic resin was leaking, but hazardous materials were involved and railroad officials said there was no public danger.

UP Track Work to Disrupt Sunset Limited

January 12, 2019

Operations of the Sunset Limited will adversely be affected by track work being performed by Union Pacific between Jan. 17 and March 8.

The service disruptions, which include temporary schedule changes and service cancellations,  will also affect passengers traveling on the Texas Eagle who connect to and from Nos. 1 and 2 in San Antonio.

The track work is being done between San Antonio and El Paso in Texas.

Train No. 1 will operate on its normal schedule from New Orleans to San Antonio. However, it will be rescheduled to leave San Antonio at 2:15 a.m., which is 30 minutes earlier than the normal schedule.

The departure time from Del Rio, Texas, of 7:19 a.m. will be 90 minutes later than scheduled. No. 1 will depart El Paso at 4:47 p.m., three hours later than scheduled.

It will arrive in Los Angeles at 8:40 a.m., 3 hours and 5 minutes later than scheduled.

No. 2 will depart Los Angeles at 7:26 p.m., 2 hours and 34 minutes earlier than scheduled.

The departure time from El Paso has been moved up to 12:51 p.m., which is 2 hours and 44 minutes earlier than scheduled.

No. 2 will rescheduled to leave San Antonio at 6:25 a.m. and operate on its normal schedule from San Antonio to New Orleans.

Between Jan. 17 and Feb. 17 some trips of the Sunset Limited will be canceled.

This includes No. 1, which would have departed from New Orleans on Jan. 21 and 28, and Feb. 4 and 11. No alternative transportation is being provided on the round on the dates that No., 1 is canceled.

Also canceled will be Train No. 2 from Los Angeles Jan. 20 and 27, and Feb. 3, 10 and 17. No alternative service is being provide on the dates that these trains would have operated.

The cancellations also affect No. 1 scheduled to depart from New Orleans on Feb. 18, 25 and March 4.; and Train No. 2 scheduled to depart Los Angeles on Feb. 24 and March 3.

No alternative transportation is being provided for any of those trains.

Amtrak said it will rebook disrupted passengers on other trains without any reservation change charges.

Expanded Hours Coming to Alton Station

December 23, 2018

The hours of operation of the Amtrak ticket office in Alton, Illinois, will expand on Dec. 31.

The office will be open daily between 7 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. Passengers will have access to the waiting room between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The expanded hours were part of a realignment of Amtrak staffing in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation and City of Alton, which owns the Regional Multimodal Transportation Center.

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

Track Works Prompts Chicago Detours

October 19, 2018

Several Amtrak trains operating in the Chicago-St. Louis corridor will detour on Sunday (Oct. 21) due to track work.

Workers will be replacing the diamonds at CP Canal where the Indiana Harbor Belt crosses a Canadian National route (nee Gulf, Mobile & Ohio) used by Lincoln Service trains and the Texas Eagle.

Amtrak will detour via the Metra route between Chicago and Joliet, Illinois, that was formerly operated by the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific.

Lincoln Service trains affected include Nos. 300, 301, 302, 303 and 305, as well as the Texas Eagle in both directions.

The trains will operate on their normal route between Chicago Union Station and 16th Street where they will then get on the St. Charles Air Line to reach the former Rock Island route used by Metra.

The track work is not expected to affect Lincoln Service trains 304 and 307, but those trains may detour if work becomes delayed.

Texas Eagle P42 Catches Fire After Crash

August 23, 2018

The Texas Eagle caught fire this week after being involved in a grade crossing accident near Longview, Texas. No injuries were reported aboard the train.

The westbound Eagle struck a pick-up truck that was being towed. News reports indicated that a towing strap broke and No. 21 hit the pick-up at about 15 to 20 mph.

The head-end crew saw the truck stalled on the rails and had slowed the train from 60 mph when the crash occurred.

After the collision, the pick-up was dragged about 200 yards. It and the locomotive caught fire, prompting the crew to evacuate the train.

A Harrison County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said the fire was intense enough that it “melted the front of the train.”

Amtrak said the 145 passengers and crew members on board were taken by school buses to an area church to wait for chartered buses that took them to their destination.

New Platforms in Use in Carlinville

August 13, 2018

New platforms at the Amtrak station in Carlinville, Illinois, are now in use.

In a service advisory Amtrak said its trains can arrive and depart on the west or east platform so passengers should check the station information displays and listen for announcements to know where their train will be arriving or departing.

Passengers are urged to use caution when crossing between platforms on the north ends where the sidewalk and Illinois Route 108 (West Main Street) cross the tracks.

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

Advocates Working to Save, Promote Trains

August 1, 2018

Motivated by fears that Amtrak is laying the groundwork to eviscerate its long-distance trains network, some rail passengers advocates are going to battle to save their favorite train.

Mark Meyer, a member of the Rail Passengers Association created a website to advocate on behalf of the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder.

Such efforts long predate the appointment of Richard Anderson as CEO of Amtrak.

Back in the 1990s passengers advocates established The Texas Eagle Marketing and Performance Organization to fight efforts to discontinue the Chicago-San Antonio train.

Since 2011, ColoRail has been fighting on behalf of the Southwest Chief.

Jim Souby, president of ColoRail, told Trains magazine that these grassroots efforts can be critical to saving service.

“These local folks have the ears of their legislature and congressional leaders and that makes all the difference,” Souby said.

Websites created by groups advocating on behalf of specific trains also are used to promote them by trying to drum up patronage along the route.

Meyer told Trains that he created his website because does not believe Amtrak is doing enough to market the Empire Builder.

He plans to spotlight every town served by the Builder as well as provide a history of the train and ways for people to connect with members of Congress to let them know how important the train is to them.
“Someone needs to promote the (long-distance trains) and explain what they do and why they’re needed,” Meyer said.

The TEMPO website has long done the same thing.

Dr. William Pollard of Conway, Arkansas, said every passenger who sees the website and decides to ride the train is a potential advocate for the Texas Eagle and other long-distance trains.

A veteran of many battles for Amtrak funding, Conway said most of those fights have been with Congress. But now advocates find themselves fighting Amtrak itself.