Posts Tagged ‘BNSF’

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.

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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.

Amtrak to Inspect OKC-Kansas City Route

June 5, 2017

An Amtrak inspection train will operate on June 9 from Oklahoma City to Kansas City, Missouri, as part of a study of expansion of the Heartland Flyer.

The Flyer, which is funded by the states of Oklahoma and Texas, might be extended to Newton, Kansas, to connect with the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief. Currently, the Heartland Flyer runs between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas.

The route to be examined is owned by BNSF and until early October 1979 hosted Amtrak’s Chicago-Houston Lone Star.

The inspection train is scheduled to depart from Oklahoma City at 7:45 a.m. and reach Kansas City at 5:30 p.m. It will pass through the Oklahoma cities of Guthrie, Perry, Ponca City and Ark City; and the Kansas cities of Wichita, Newton, Emporia and Topeka. The train will pause briefly in each of these cities.

Red Tape Delaying Fort Madison Station Move

June 2, 2017

Red tape keeps holding back the movement of Amtrak to the former Santa Fe station in Fort Madison, Iowa.

Amtrak said it is waiting for documents from the Fort Madison City Council. The city council in turn has said it is waiting for approval of the documents from the Iowa Department of Transportation.

However, Fort Madison City Manager David Varley, the process may seem bewildering but it will ensure that the move can be made without any problems. He said, though, that it will be a long process.

“The only update we have is that we just asked for an update,” Varley said. “We had to add some wording in a contract and wanted to get it approved by IDOT, because if we approved it and Amtrak approved it and we sent it to IDOT and said the wording wasn’t quite right we would have to work on it again.”

Varley said he has heard from Amtrak officials, who asked when the contracts would be ready.

“I think they are ready and willing to get going as long as IDOT approves it,” Varley said. “So we are just waiting for approval from IDOT. Then we will take the contracts and put them in agreements with Amtrak and BNSF and we will bring them to city council for approval.”

Once all the approvals are given then IDOT place the project on a bidding calendar.

Varley said he has been told this is the last set of documents the city will have to provide before a final bid date is set.

Fort Madison is the only Iowa station served by the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

Amtrak Conductor Shot in Naperville

May 18, 2017

A conductor working Amtrak’s Southwest Chief was hospitalized on Tuesday with non-life threatening injuries after he was shot on the platform at Naperville, Illinois.

The incident occurred in late afternoon and police were still seeking a motive for the shooting.

News accounts indicated that a Wisconsin man in his 70s was taken into custody in connection with the incident after being tackled and held by passengers.

The man was aboard the train when the shooting occurred.

“The conductor had stepped off the train when the suspect reached through the window and shot him,” said Naperville Police Commander Lou Cammiso.

BNSF and Metra rail traffic was halted at the station while police investigated the crime and passengers aboard the train were put on buses.

 

Operating Issues Plague Amtrak Trains

May 3, 2017

Amtrak long distance trains serving the Midwest have been hit with a long list of woes that have caused service disruptions, detours and cancellations.

The Texas Eagle was forced to detour in southern Missouri after a washout on its route via the Union Pacific’s Iron Mountain Subdivision prompted a detour on the former Cotton Belt route between St. Louis and Polar Bluff, Missouri.

Consequently Nos. 21 and 22 missed the scheduled stop at Arcadia Valley, Missouri, and ran late, arriving in Chicago 11 hours late on Sunday.

The Southwest Chief was delayed by a spring snowstorm between Dodge City, Kansas, and Lamar, Colorado, on Sunday that led to No. 3 being more than 15 hours late arriving in Los Angeles.

BNSF personnel provided grade crossing protecting during whiteout conditions.

A head-on collision of two Canadian National trains at Money, Mississippi, on Sunday caused the City of New Orleans to be terminated en route.

Passengers were taken from bus from Memphis to New Orleans on Sunday and Monday.

Northbound passengers rode a bus from Jackson, Mississippi, to Memphis on both days.

A BNSF derailment on Monday led to the Empire Builder being detoured in both directions. Nos. 7 and 8 were expected to detour on Tuesday over a Union Pacific route between Spokane, Washington, and Sandpoint, Idaho.

Lawrence Expects to Take Ownership of Station

May 2, 2017

The Lawrence, Kansas, city commission will review today an agreement with BNSF that would give the city ownership and control of the Amtrak station later this year.

City officials said BNSF has decided to give up its stake in the former Santa Fe depot and property on which it sits.

The commission had earlier approved a pace with the railroad regarding station ownership.

“It’s very good for us, because we will have significant investment in the building itself and also in the site,” said Assistant City Manager Diane Stoddard. “And for us to be able to control it at the local level long term will be to our advantage.”

The station, which is served by the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief, was built in the 1950s and has received minimal maintenance in recent years.

Lawrence will use a $1.2 million state transportation grant to renovate the building. The city’s contribution is expected to be $160,000.

Under the agreement being considered by the city, BNSF will donate the depot and land to the city. An earlier agreement by which BNSF would lease back or repurchase the station has been dropped.

BNSF officials said that they dropped their demands for a lease back or repurchase clause in order to simply the negotiations.

However, Stoddard said those changes in BNSF’s stance came from the CEO-level of the railroad.

“Donating the land with the building allowed us to streamline the transfer process,” said BNSF Public Affairs Director Andy Williams, adding that the railroad doesn’t anticipate needing the station in the future.

Stoddard also said the elimination of the lease-back provision means the station will be able to be used for various uses during daytime hours when Amtrak is not using it.

“With that no longer in play, it does provide a host of options for the city to consider with regard to the use of the building into the future,” Stoddard said. “Those things will need to be determined over time.”

Track Work Cancels Portland Section of Empire Builder

May 2, 2017

The Chicago-Portland section of the Empire Builder will be affected by BNSF track work in Washington State on Mondays and Tuesdays on May 8 and 9 and on June 5 and 6.

In a service advisory Amtrak said Nos. 27 and 28 will not operate between Portland and Pasco, Washington, and passengers will ride a bus to and from Bingen-White Salmon, Washington; Vancouver, Washington; and Portland.

Westbound passengers will disembark at Pasco, Washington, to board the bus. Eastbound passengers will ride the bus to Pasco and then board their train.

Nos. 27 and 28 will not be serving Wishram, Washington, on the affected dates and alternate transportation is not being provided.

All buses will serve the Amtrak stations in their respective cities and operate according to schedules of Nos. 27 and 28 at those points.

13 Hours Later No. 8 Freed from Snow Bank

March 9, 2017

It took four tries, but an eastbound Empire Builder finally managed to work its way out of a snow drift that had marooned the train and its 111 passengers for nearly 13 hours in North Dakota.

The 25-foot high snow bank stopped No. 8 dead in its tracks five miles west of Rugby at about 7 a.m. on Wednesday.

Westbound No. 7 was delayed 35 miles to the east with 96 passengers aboard.

No. 8 was finally on the move again after BNSF personnel inspected it and determined that it had not suffered any damage.

Railroad personnel used snowplows, skid-steer loaders and freight train engines trying to pull out the Amtrak train from behind. But none of those methods worked.

Thirty workers then dug the train out by hand, removing snow from beneath and between the Superliner cars.

A passenger aboard the stranded train, Miranda Fenner, said the train had power and the cafe and lounge were open so food was available. But many passengers spent the time sleeping.

No. 8 was already running seven hours late due to the weather had left Minot, North Dakota at 6 a.m. Wednesday rather than the scheduled 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday.