Posts Tagged ‘BNSF’

BNSF Derailment Delays SW Chief

January 25, 2021

Amtrak’s Southwest Chief encountered delays on Sunday in Arizona due the derailment of a BNSF intermodal train.

Amtrak said the westbound Chief had halted in Albuquerque due to the derailment near Joseph City, Arizona, 23 miles east of Winslow.

No injuries were reported in the BNSF derailment that sent several double stack well cars off the tracks.

The Amtrak train that was delayed had departed Chicago on Saturday afternoon.

Around noon on Monday Amtrak said on Twitter that Train No. 3 was continuing to hold in Albuquerque until the track ahead could be repaired and reopened.

Montana Passenger Group Names President

January 25, 2021

The newly formed Montana Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority has named Missoula County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier as its first president.

Strohmaier has played a key role in getting the group organized. To date it has held two meetings.

At its most recent meeting, Authority members heard a report that two more counties may join the group, which would give it 14 members.

Also at that meeting, members heard from Amtrak’s director for governmental affairs for the West, Rob Eaton.

During his presentation, Eaton said Amtrak would help the Authority work with potential host railroads Montana Rail Link and BNSF.

The Authority is seeking to restore inercity rail passenger service in southern Montain over a route once served by Amtrak’s North Coast Hiawatha until early October 1979 when it was discontinued in a route restructuring.

Comments Sought on Calif. Project

September 2, 2020

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has issued a revised notice of preparation under the California Environmental Quality Act and a revised notice of intent under the National Environmental Policy Act for the 30-mile Los Angeles to Anaheim Project Section.

The action begins a month-long effort to solicit public views on additional facilities in Colton and Barstow, California, which are needed for project construction and operation.

The Los Angeles to Anaheim section of the network would run parallel to a BNSF-owned rail corridor between Los Angeles and Fullerton, which serves BNSF’s Hobart and Commerce Intermodal Facilities.

The corridor runs through an urban environment also used by Amtrak and Metrolink.

A portion of the BNSF tracks would need to be relocated away from the Los Angeles to the Fullerton corridor.

CHSRA has proposed getting environmental clearance for construction of new freight facilities in San Bernardino County, building a new intermodal facility in Colton and staging tracks in Lenwood, an unincorporated area of San Bernardino County near Barstow.

Written comments should be sent to CHSRA by Sept. 24.

Some Pacific Surfliner Service to Undergo One Day Schedule Change to BNSF Freight Move

May 22, 2020

Amtrak said that a specialized equipment move by freight carrier BNSF will result in a one day schedule change for some Pacific Surfliner service.

On May 24, Train 785 will be canceled. Train 796, which normally operates between Goleta and San Diego, will terminate at Los Angeles.

Thruway Bus 3596 will provide alternate transportation between Los Angeles and San Diego, serving all intermediate stops.

Other schedule changes that day include Thruway Bus 4591 departing Los Angeles at 9:55 p.m., 2 hours and 25 minutes later than normal to connect to Train 593, operating later at all stations from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara.

Bus 5885 will connect to earlier Train 579 at Los Angeles. Bust 5710 will not stop at San Pedro or Long Beach.

BNSF Track Work to Disrupt San Joaquins

May 17, 2020

BNSF track work will result in changes in the operations of the San Joaquins on May 29 and 30.

On May 29, Train 718 will terminate at Wasco, California.

Thruway Bus 5818 will originate at Wasco and provide alternate transportation between Wasco and Bakersfield.

On May 30, Train 711 will originate at Wasco. Thruway Bus 5811 will provide alternate transportation from Bakersfield to Wasco and will depart from all stations from San Diego to Bakersfield 15 minutes earlier than normally scheduled.

Track Work Disrupts Empire Builder

May 15, 2020

Track work being performed by BNSF is disrupting operations of the Empire Builder through May 27.

On Monday through Friday No. 7 will terminate in Spokane, Washington, with alternate transportation being provided to the missed intermediate stations of Edmonds, Everett, Leavenworth, Wenatchee and Ephrata.

Thruway Bus 3007 will operate from Spokane to Seattle connecting from No. 7 at Spokane.

Train No. 8 will originate at Spokane with alternate transportation being  provided to Ephrata, Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Everett and Edmonds.

Bus 3008 will operate from Seattle to Spokane connecting with Train 8 at Spokane.

There will be no track work on Saturdays, Sundays or May 25 (Memorial Day).

California, Texas Rail Development

April 2, 2020

The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission is soliciting public comment on its proposed Valley Rail Sacramento Extension project.

Plans are to expand Amtrak’s San Joaquins and Altamont Corridor

Express services to the greater Sacramento area through the construction of six rail stations and track improvements along the Union Pacific Railroad’s Sacramento Subdivision.

The expansion would two new San Joaquin roundtrips operating on the Sacramento, Fresno and BNSF Railway Stockton subdivisions, as well as an extension of existing ACE service to the proposed Natomas-Sacramento Airport Station.

Work on the UP would involve construction of new stations in Lodi, south Sacramento, Sacramento City College, Midtown Sacramento, Old North Sacramento, and Natomas/Sacramento Airport.

Three public meetings are tentatively set for April and May while written comments are being accepted via email and mail until May 15.

In other developments, XpressWest said it has taken steps to secure private debt funding for its $4.8 billion plan to build a 170-mile high-speed, electric rail line from Southern California to Las Vegas.

The service would be operated by Virgin Trains USA, which operates the Florida intercity rail service Brightline.

XpressWest officials said if the funding is secured, rail line construction could begin later this year with service launching in 2023.

Texas Central said this week its $20 billion high-speed rail project between Dallas and Houston  is now “shovel ready.”

Officials said construction will begin once global financial markets have stabilized and the federal approvals process is complete.

“Our immediate next step is to continue working with our partner organizations and federal and state agencies, led by the Federal Railroad Administration, to finalize our permits,” said Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar. “The current schedule we have from the federal government anticipates that will happen by July 31.”

Aguilar acknowledged there is a chance the project will not proceed on schedule.

“This is one of those moments where we have to acknowledge how small our world really is,” Aguilar said.

“Our engineering partner is in Italy; our operation partner is in Spain; and our technology provider is in Japan. Our financial partners are in those countries, as well as here in the United States.”

He said the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated things in those countries.

Texas Central said it anticipates its project will create more than 17,000 jobs during construction and have a multi-billion-dollar economic impact across the United States.

In the short term, though, it has laid off nearly 30 employees.

Track Work to Affect San Joaquins on Feb. 23

February 19, 2020

Trains 704, 712, 714, 716 and 718 will terminate at Stockton. Passengers will be provided bus service via Buses 4304, 4312, 4314, 4316 and 4318 between Stockton and Merced, making intermediate stops at Modesto and Turlock-Denair.

At Merced, passengers can board their respective 1700-series train to Bakersfield and intermediate stations.

Trains 703, 713, 715, 717 and 719 will originate at Stockton. At Bakersfield, passengers can board their respective 1700-series train to Merced and intermediate stations.

Passengers will be provided bus service via Buses 4303, 4313, 4315, 4317 and 4319 between Merced and Stockton, making intermediate stops at Turlock-Denair and Modesto.

At Stockton, passengers can board their respective 700-series train.

Train and bus schedules from Merced to Bakersfield, Stockton to Sacramento and Stockton to Oakland have been adjusted to depart up to 60-minutes later than normal times.

Development Continues on New Illinois Routes

February 15, 2020

Illinois Department of Transportation officials are continuing planning work to launch Amtrak service from Chicago to Rockford and the Quad Cities region of Illinois and Iowa but much work remains to be completed.

IDOT is seeking to hire a consultant to help manage the projects.

Guy Tridgell, an IDOT spokesman, said planning for service to Rockford is in the early stages.

He said environmental studies need to be completed on the Rockford route along with preliminary engineering and final design before the route can be implemented.

Trains to Rockford are expected to use Metra’s Milwaukee District West Line to Elgin and use a Union Pacific route to Rockford via Huntley and Belvidere.

As for the Quad City route, IDOT has been negotiating with the Iowa Interstate Railroad over infrastructure improvements needed to accommodate two daily round trip passenger trains.

IDOT has reportedly decided to name the service the Quad Cities Rocket.

That name was used by a former Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific passenger train between Chicago and Rock Island, Illinois, that operated until late 1978.

The Quad Cities service would use 50 miles of IAIS track to Moline, Illinois. The rest of the route would use BNSF tracks with a connection to IAIS at Wyanet.

The BNSF route is used by Amtrak’s California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr trains.

A $45 billion capital bill approved last year by the Illinois General Assembly earmarked

$225 million for service to the Quad Cities and $275 million for service to Rockford.

The proposed services have been discussed for several years but were given much lower priority during the administration of former Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Empire Builder Still Disrupted

January 16, 2020

BNSF was still working to reopen its Scenic Subdivision in Washington State that is used by Amtrak’s Empire Builder.

The route has been closed due to downed trees and wires caused by snowslides.

An Amtrak spokeswoman told Trains magazine on Wednesday that the carrier was providing bus service between Seattle and Spokane, Washington. Buses were also being operated for passengers traveling between Spokane and Portland, Oregon.

Olivia Irvin said Amtrak would resume operating west of Spokane when it safe to do and host railroad BNSF give the OK.

The Amtrak website showed that the status of the westbound Builder from Chicago today (Jan. 16) as unavailable due to a service disruption.

The site also shows the same for No. 7 that is scheduled to depart on Friday and Saturday.

The last Empire Builder to operate across the BNSF Scenic Sub ran on Jan. 11.

Trains that originated on or before Jan. 11 headed eastbound were subject to major delays.

No. 8 that left the West Coast on Jan. 10 was delayed for more than nine hours at Leavenworth, Washington, due to weather conditions. Irvin said there were 68 passengers on board that train.