Posts Tagged ‘BNSF’

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.

Severe Weather Results in Empire Builder Cancellations

January 15, 2020

Some sections of Amtrak’s Empire Builder were canceled this week in the wake of severe winter weather that closed host railroad BNSF in the Pacific Northwest.

Amtrak issued a service alert that the rain that departed Chicago on Jan. 13 would turn at Spokane, Washington. The train departing Chicago on Jan. 14 was also expected to turn at Spokane.

However, a check of the Amtrak website indicated that the depart status for both of those dates was unavailable due to a service disruption.

A later update indicated that alternative service was to be provided for Empire Builder passengers between Chicago and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Amtrak also said in a service alert that alternative transportation is being provided between Spokane and Seattle and Portland.

Trains 7 and 27 scheduled to depart today (Jan. 15) from Chicago have been canceled. The Amtrak website said the status for Nos. 7 and 27 for Jan. 16 to 20 through  is unavailable due to a service disruption.

An online report said Nos. 8/28 did not arrive in Chicago on Jan. 14th and will not arrive today.

A service alert said Nos. 8/28 on Jan. 16 and 17 will originate in Spokane.

The BNSF mainline across Washington State saw heavy snow trigger snowslides and downed trees.

At one point the Scenic Subdivision between Seattle and Wenatchee had more than 250 trees fall across its rails.

Landslide Disrupts Cascades Service

January 8, 2020

A landslide has resulted in Amtrak Cascades service between Seattle and Portland being replaced by buses through Jan. 9.

In a service alert, Amtrak said host railroad BNSF imposed a moratorium on passenger operations on the route until the landslide site can be cleared and the tracks repaired.

The landslide occurred on Tuesday between Tacoma and Lacey, Washington, and has blocked both tracks.

Northbound Cascades originating in Eugene, Oregon, were being held at Portland.

Also terminating in Portland will be the northbound Coast Starlight.

Cascade trains will continue to operate between Portland and Eugene, Amtrak said.

BNSF Idaho Derailment Disrupts Empire Builder

January 4, 2020

Operations of Amtrak’s Empire Builder were disrupted this week due to a derailment of a BNSF freight train in Idaho that closed the carrier’s route to the Pacific Northwest.

The westbound manifest freight derailed on Wednesday evening on BNSF’s Kootenai River Subdivision near Katka, about 10 miles east of Bonners Ferry.

Three locomotives and six cars left the tracks with the lead unit landing in the Kootenai River.

Rescue workers had to use ropes to rescue the crew, but otherwise there were no injures.A rockslide is thought to have caused the derailment.

Amtrak’s Chicago to Seattle Train No. 7 was turned on Thursday at Whitefish, Montana, after it received serving in the BNSF yard.

That included restocking the dining car with food from local grocery stores.

Passengers were taken west of Whitefish on chartered buses.

Trains 8 and 28 were expected to depart Seattle and Portland respectively on Friday as normal. The train that departed Chicago on Thursday was to be held in Whitefish on Friday until BNSF reopens the line.

Track Work to Disrupt San Joaquins in January

December 24, 2019

Track work being performed by BNSF will result in service disruptions to some San Joaquin Service between Jan. 10 and 11, and 17 and 18.

On Jan. 18 and 17, Train 704 will terminate at Wasco with Thruway Bus 5804 originating in Wasco and providing alternate transportation between Wasco and Bakersfield. Train 718 will also terminate at Wasco with Thruway Bus 5818 originating in Wasco and providing alternate transportation between Wasco and Bakersfield.

On Jan. 11 and 18 Train 711 will originate at Wasco. Thruway Bus 5811 will operate through to Wasco, providing alternate transportation between Bakersfield and Wasco.

Bus 5811 will depart all station stops from San Diego to Bakersfield 15 minutes earlier than normally scheduled.

Trinidad Failed to Land BUILD Grant for SW Chief Work

November 23, 2019

A bid by Trinidad, Colorado, for a federal BUILD grant to continue the rehabilitation of the BNSF route used by Amtrak’s Southwest Chief has fallen short.

Trinidad had sought $16 million for the Southwest Chief Route Improvement Project but that application was not approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which recently announced its most recent round of BUILD grants.

Various government entities in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico in recent years have won federal funding to rebuild the route used by the Chief.

It is not clear what the failure of Trinidad to land the grant will mean for the efforts to rehabilitate the route of the Chicago-Los Angeles train.

Several years ago BNSF said it wouldn’t maintain the route in the three states to passenger train speeds because it seldom uses most of it for freight service.

That prompted the 2014 creation of a campaign to save the Chief by landing a series of grants to repair the tracks.

In a related development, Colorado officials are seeking another federal grant to pay for a study of creating a section of the Chief to serve Pueblo and Colorado Springs.

The Southwest Chief currently stops in Colorado in Lamar, La Junta and Trinidad.

Pueblo officials have in recent years sought to have the route of Nos. 3 and 4 changed to serve their city. The Chief currently does not pass through Pueblo.

Pueblo and Colorado Springs have been without intercity rail passenger service since the Santa Fe discontinued a Denver-La Junta connecting train on May 1, 1971.

That train connected with Santa Fe’s Super Chief/El Capitan, which is the ancestor of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

The plan to serve Colorado Springs would in effect reinstate that long ago discontinued connecting service.

That service is seen as part of a larger effort to restore intercity rail passenger along Colorado’s Front Range to as far north as Fort Collins.

The grant application indicates that Colorado section of the Southwest Chief would be designed to potentially connect to a Front Range passenger rail system in the future.

BNSF Derailment Disrupts Illinois Zephyr

November 20, 2019

A BNSF derailment on Tuesday prevented the eastbound Illinois Zephyr from leaving Quincy, Illinois.

The derailment in West Quincy, Missouri, blocked the route the train takes when ferrying from the BNSF yard where the equipment spends the night to the Quincy Amtrak station.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said passengers who had been ticketed to ride Train No. 380 were instead put aboard chartered buses.

He said the buses could not make the same time as the train and passengers would experience delays.

The derailment occurred about 5:30 a.m. and involved 12 cars leaving the tracks, five of them turning over onto their sides.

No hazardous material was involved in the derailment.

The Illinois Zephyr returned to normal operations Tuesday evening.

EB California Zephyr Detours After BNSF Derailment

November 14, 2019

Amtrak’s California Zephyr detoured between Chicago and Omaha, Nebraska, on Wednesday due to a derailment on its BNSF route in western Iowa.

The train operated on the former Chicago & North Western, a line now owned by Union Pacific.

BNSF said the derailment occurred near McPherson about 3:30 a.m.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the eastbound Zephyr passengers detoured on the UP route with passengers taken by bus to missed intermediate stops.

Westbound passengers were expected to ride the Southwest Chief to Galesburg, Illinois, where they would board chartered buses to travel across Iowa.

However, an online report said No. 5 departed Chicago at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.