Posts Tagged ‘BNSF’

Heartland Flyer Route PTC Compliant

February 20, 2018

Tracks used by Amtrak’s Oklahoma City-Fort Worth, Texas, Heartland Flyer are in compliance with federal law mandating installation of a positive train control system by the end of 2018.

A spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation said the BNSF rails used by the Flyer has a PTC system.

She made the comment in wake of testimony to Congress by Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson that passenger train service might be suspended on tracks that are not compliant with the PTC mandate.

Amtrak said it has PTC in place on tracks it owns in the Northeast and in Michigan.

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Mudslides Again Halt Cascades Service

February 5, 2018

Amtrak Cascade Service to Vancouver, British Columbia, was disrupted on Sunday morning by mudslides near White Rock, British Columbia.

Although BNSF reopened the route for freight traffic on Sunday afternoon, it requires a 48-hour window before passenger service can resume after a mudslide.

Service is slated to resume on Tuesday between Vancouver and Bellington, Washington. It was the second time that mudslide interrupted Cascade Service north of Seattle in the past week.

An earlier mudslide halted service between Jan. 29 and 31.

Mudlsides Close Cascade Route in Washington

January 30, 2018

Due to a mudslide, Amtrak Cascades Service between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Bellingham, Washington, has been suspended until Wednesday afternoon.

Amtrak says BNSF has closed a track on the route, but expects it to reopen by 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday.

Passengers will ride chartered buses to stations affects by the track closure. Train service south of Bellingham to Seattle is unaffected.

San Joaquins Have Modified Schedules in January

January 18, 2018

Amtrak said that BNSF track work will affect San Joaquins trains and thruway buses through Jan. 29.

Southbound trains will run 5 minutes late between Merced and Bakersfield, arriving in Bakersfield 20 minutes later than scheduled.

Northbound trains will operate 10-12 minutes later between Martinez and Emeryville, arriving in Oakland/Sacramento 20 minutes later than scheduled.

Train No. 703 will depart Bakersfield 10 minutes later, arriving in Stockton 20 minutes later than scheduled and Sacramento 30 minutes later than scheduled.

The following buses from Bakersfield will operate 20 minutes later at all stops.

  • Train 702 – Buses, 5402, 5602, 5702, 5802 and 5902
  • Train 704 – Bus 5804
  • Train 710 – Buses 3410, 3510, 5410, 5710, 5810 and 5910
  • Train 712 – Buses 5412, 5612, 5712, 5812 and 5912
  • Train 714 – Buses 3414, 5414, 5614, 5714, 5814 and 5914
  • Train 716 – Bus 5816

The following buses from Hanford will operate 5 minutes later at all stops.

  • Train 710 – Buses 4010 and 6715
  • Train 704 – Buses 4004 and 6703

The following buses from Emeryville will operate 10 minutes later at all stops.

  • Train 711 – Buses 3311 and 6611
  • Train 713 – Bus 6613
  • Train 715 – Bus 6615
  • Train 717 – Bus 6617
  • Train 719 – Bus 6619

The following buses from Martinez will operate 10 minutes later at all stops.

  • Train 715- Buses 6315 and 6515
  • Train 717- Bus 6417

 

Restoration of Lawrence Station Moves Ahead

December 8, 2017

Restoration of a former Santa Fe passenger station used by Amtrak’s Southwest Chief in Lawrence, Kansas, is moving forward.

The project stalled after the Kansas Department of Transportation received no bids for the work.

However, the Lawrence city council recently approved a resolution directing KDOT to award the restoration work bid to First Construction of Lawrence in the amount of about $1.8 million.

Another $240,000 has been spent on engineering work for the project to restore the station, which was built in the 1950s.

A KDOT grant will pay for 80 percent of the restoration costs while the city will pay up to $409,000 for its share of the project.

That is far more than the $24,000 the city expected to pay when the restoration work was proposed in 2014

A memo written by city staff indicated that the possible sale of historic tax credits and reimbursement from Amtrak for upgrades required by the Americans with Disabilities Act will make up the difference.

BNSF owns the property on which the one-story brick station is located, but has donated the station to the city.

The depot is an example of mid-century modern architecture. The restoration work is expected to be finished in 2018.

Fort Madison Reaches Pacts for New Boarding Platform

November 8, 2017

Officials in Fort Madison, Iowa, have approved three agreements that will make possible moving the Amtrak station to the former Santa Fe depot.

City Manager David Varley said the agreements will provide for construction of a new platform that Amtrak will use once it is completed. The passenger carrier has agreed to pay $150,000 toward the construction costs.

Amtrak also has agreed to pay $400 month in rent to use the recently restored station for 20 years. Amtrak will use 813 square feet of the depot while the city will be responsible for maintenance and repairs.

Varley said the agreements involving the $1.2 million project took a long time to reach because of the multiple parties involved.

“So BNSF will own the platform because it is on their property,” he said. “And then BNSF will lease it to Amtrak. And since we own and operate the depot, and the platform will be attached to the depot, they lease it from Amtrak back to the city. It sounds kind of crazy but it’s because of the ownership of the property.”

Varley said the depot project is a good candidate for funding from hotel-motel tax funds, and recommended a 60/40 percent split of operation costs between the hotel-motel tax and the general fund, respectively.

He estimated that first year operation costs for running the station will be about $50,000, but after some one-time costs, the annual number will drop to about $35,000.

Going with the lower number would mean an annual cost of $21,000 from the hotel-motel tax and $14,000 from the city’s general fund.

Fort Madison is served by the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief and handles about 6,600 passengers annually.

TIGER Grant Sought for SW Chief Route Upgrades

October 11, 2017

Officials in Colfax County in New Mexico are seeking a TIGER grant to upgrade the tracks used by Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

If awarded, it would be the third federal grant used to improve the tracks, which are owned by BNSF.

Four state departments of transportation have pledged $1 million each while Amtrak and BNSF have each pledged $3 million in matching funds. Some local governments have also pledged matching funds.

The $25 million project will rebuild tracks within New Mexico. Previous TIGER grants of $25 million and $12 million were used for track work in Kansas and Colorado.

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.

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.

Illinois Trains Making Detour in Galesburg

July 13, 2017

Amtrak’s Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg are making a 5.7 mile detour in Galesburg, Illinois, due to work on the new Main Street underpass.

As part of that project, a bridge is being built under the BNSF mainline for Main Street and tracks 2 and 3 are removed until at least noon on Friday.

The regular route for Nos. 380, 381, 382 and 383, uses Track No. 2 through the Galesburg Amtrak station, thus making a detour necessary through the Galesburg yard even it is never more than a half-mile away from the normal route.

Using an eastbound train as an example, the detour route begins at Saluda, the south end of the Galesburg yard complex, and takes the lead to the Graham Cut-off Line.

At the Graham Cut-off connection, Amtrak trains continue compass north, passing beneath the Waterman lead to the Graham Cut-off.
North of the underpass, Amtrak stays on the westernmost (compass direction) track, passing west of the hump and immediately east of the locomotive tracks at the Galesburg shops.

Amtrak trains then stay to the west, pass the Prospect Street switch under the West Third Street overpass, and turns northeast to enter the Ottumwa Subdivision mainline at the west end of A-Plant.

At that point, the trains cross over from Track 3 to Track 1 to serve the Amtrak station, which is unusual for these trains. Track 1 is currently the only open track through town on the former Chicago, Burlington & Quincy mainline.