Posts Tagged ‘Boston section of Lake Shore Limited’

New York LSL Passengers Have Limited Cafe Car Service

August 12, 2019

With the restoration of the Boston section of Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited coach passengers riding between New York and Albany, New York, no longer can buy food and beverages between those points.

The cafe car is part of the Boston section, which separates and combines with the New York section at the Albany-Rensselaer station.

The Boston section was suspended for six weeks earlier this year due to CSX track work.

That work was completed in mid July and the Boston section was reinstated. In the interim, passengers bound for points between Boston and Albany-Rensselaer traveled on a bus.

During the suspension of the Boston section, the cafe car, which also accommodates business class passengers, operated between New York and Chicago.

The Rail Passengers Association noted that during the Boston section suspension Amtrak assigned a full table cafe car to Nos. 48 and 49.

But now the cafe car has reverted to a split car with six tables of which at least two are often taken by the crew for their use.

RPA said it is pressing Amtrak to increase the number of tables available for use by coach passengers as well as providing food and beverage service to and from New York.

Boston LSL Section Resumes Ahead of Schedule

August 7, 2019

In case you missed it, Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited has resumed operating between Chicago and Boston.

The Boston section was suspended on May 20 due to CSX track work and reinstated on July 17.

During that time passengers were taken by bus between Boston and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

The reinstatement was made two weeks earlier than planned, Amtrak said in a statement reported by the Boston Globe.

“The temporary suspension of train service was due to scheduled trackwork by our host railroad, CSX. This project did not have onboard components,” Amtrak said.

Amtrak Resumes Serving Springfield Union Station

June 13, 2019

Amtrak has resumed using the Union Station in Springfield, Massachusetts, following the completion of a station renovation project.

In a news release, Amtrak said that features of the station include passenger information display boards, train announcements and a customer service desk that is staffed from 5 a.m. to noon daily.

The depot also serves the CTrail New Haven-Hartford-Springfield line and various bus routes.’

Springfield is served by Amtrak’s Northeast Regional trains, the Lake Shore Limited and the Vermonter.

Amtrak had been using a temporary facility during the station upgrade project.

CSX Track Work Leads to Boston LSL Suspension

May 18, 2019

Track work being performed by CSX will result in the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited being replaced with a charter bus on select dates between May 19 and Aug. 1.

The track work is being done between Sundays and Thursdays. On the affected dates, passengers will be transported by bus between Boston and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

The dates involved are May 19-23, 27-30; June 2-6, 9-13, 16-20, 23-27, 30; July 1-3, 7-11, 14-18, 21-25, 28; and Aug. 1.

Passengers holding tickets on Train 448 for travel beyond Albany, will disembark at the Albany-Rensselaer station and board a bus for stations in Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester and Boston (South Station), Massachusetts on the above dates.

Boarding passengers at these stations will board a bus at the station for Trains 448 and 449.

No alternative transportation is being provided to Framingham, Massachusetts, or to Boston Back Bay Station, both scheduled stops for Nos. 448 and 449.

In a service advisory Amtrak said passengers traveling to or from Back Bay station should take an MBTA or Amtrak commuter train between Boston South Station and Back Bay.

Trains 448 and 449 will operate normally on May 26 (Memorial Day) and July 4 (Independence Day) when the track work will be on a holiday hiatus.

Passengers ticketed for No. 449 from Boston South Station should go to the Amtrak Information Desk for instructions on boarding the buses.

Passengers at Worcester will board the bus at the main entrance in front of the station and not at the bus terminal.

Amtrak said the Boston section will not have business class or sleeping car service during this time.

Boston-Springfield Proposal Gets Boost in Boston

May 9, 2019

A proposal to launch rail passenger service between Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts, got a boost when the Boston City Council approved a resolution in support of the service.

It was the first time the council had expressed support for the service, which would be operated by MBTA.

Council member Matt O’Malley, who offered the resolution, described the proposed service as having the potential to be transformative for both cities.

O’Malley said rail service to Springfield could directly address housing and environmental issues.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is currently studying the proposed service as part of its East-West Passenger Rail Study.

Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited currently operates between the two cities, but does not have a commuter friendly schedule.

LSL Cafe Car Tables Removed for Bike Racks

April 13, 2019

Amtrak has removed two of the six café car tables from the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited in order to accommodate bicycles.

The space where the tables had been located in the Amfleet I café cars has been replaced by four bike racks.

Bicycles on the train had been stored in baggage car, but that car was removed earlier this year.

The café car operates between Chicago and Boston. The New York section of the Lake Shore continues to have a baggage car.

A report on the website of the Rail Passengers Association reported that one table was being used for a condiment display while another was reserved for the operating crew.

That left just eight seats for the six coach car passengers.

Berkshire Flyer Eyes May 2020 Launch

February 10, 2019

An effort to build another generation of visitors to the Berkshire mountains is behind an effort by Massachusetts officials to launch a pilot Amtrak service to western Massachusetts in 2020.

The plan is to have one of Amtrak’s Empire Service trains that now terminates at the Albany-Rensselaer, New York, station continue operating to Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The target market for the service is primarily young couples ages 27 to 47 who live in the New York City metro area who don’t own cars and have a household income of more than $100,000.

“We’d love to see rail as an option for the next generation of Berkshire visitors,” said Jonathan Butler, co-chair of the Berkshire Flyer subcommittee and president and CEO of 1Berkshire, the economic development and tourism agency of Berkshire County.

Butler said another market for the train is older people who might already have a second home in the Berkshires.

The train would operate seasonally on weekends and officials hope to launch it by Memorial Day 2020.

The service would be funded by the State of Massachusetts.

A key to making the project work will be offering transportation for the “last mile” from the train to Berkshires resorts.

That could be anything from car-hailing services to rental cars to taxis and local buses.

The Berkshire Flyer is expected to leave New York City on Fridays at 2:20 p.m., arriving at 6:10 p.m. in Pittsfield.

Return trips would leave Pittsfield on Sundays at 2:45 p.m., arriving at Penn Station at 6:45 p.m.

The pilot program is projected to last 20 weeks and cost the state about $237,000.

Pittsfield is already a stop for Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited between Chicago and Boston.

Another task force is looking at adding passenger rail service to Pittsfield from Boston. It is expected to meet in the spring to consider six possible alternatives for that service.

Berkshire Flyer Group Already Seeking Brand Identity

December 23, 2018

The train isn’t expected to begin until 2020, but members of the Berkshire Flyer committee are already brainstorming ideas for branding the service, transporting passengers who arrive in Pittsfield, and fretting about whether the train will operate on time as it travels CSX tracks.

The Berkshire Flyer is expected to begin seasonal weekend trial service between New York City and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, with funding from the state.

It is expected to make the trip in 3.5 hours and offer a fare of $80 one way.

Trains would depart New York on Fridays at 2:20 p.m. and arriving in Pittsfield at 6:10 p.m.

The Sunday train will depart Pittsfield at 2:45 p.m. and arrive in New York at 6:45 p.m.

Pittsfield is already a stop for Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited between Chicago and Boston and some on the committee are already concerned that the Berkshire Flyer might run late as Nos. 448 and 449 often do.

But the primary issue that the committee is seeking to tackle is transportation for those who arrive from New York by rail.

Pittsfield has limited public transportation, including taxi service and rental car options.

The city of Pittsfield has said it will provide space for Enterprise Rent-A-Car vehicles.

Another option is to make use of such ride-share services as Zipcar, Uber and Lyft.

Berkshire Regional Transportation Authority’s Robert Malnati said the authority has applied for grants to create different routes.

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission member Anuja Koirala also has been examining transportation options and said Transport the People is willing to carry passengers from the Intermodal Center in Pittsfield to other points.

Committee member Jonathan Butler, president and CEO of 1Berkshire, expects ride-share options to increase, saying that during the peak season there is relatively decent Uber service in the more metro areas of the Berkshires during the day.

But one issue is that it is unclear where in the Berkshires most of those riding the Berkshire Flyer will want to go.

The Berkshire Flyer is expected to use existing Amtrak routes, including that of the Lake Shore Limited between Pittsfield and Albany-Rensselaer, New York, and the Empire Corridor into New York City.

Lake Shore Limited State of the Art 2010

December 22, 2018

Amtrak’s westbound Lake Shore Limited rolls through Palmer, Massachusetts, on May 22, 2010, showing the look that it had in the second decade of the 21st century.

No. 449 doesn’t look a whole lot different from its current appearance save for the presence of a Heritage fleet baggage car.

The Heritage baggage car has since been replaced by a Viewliner baggage car that starting in early January 2019 will no longer operate on Nos. 448 and 449.

Boston LSL Section to Lose Check Baggage Service

December 22, 2018

Checked baggage service will end on the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited on Jan. 7, 2019.

That will leave Northeast Regional Nos. 65, 66 and 67 as the only trains serving Boston South Station with checked baggage service.

Affected by the change to Nos. 448 and 449 will be passengers traveling to South Station and stations in Massachusetts in Worcester and Springfield.

Amtrak’s national carry-on baggage policy limits passengers to two bags not exceeding 50 pounds each plus two personal items not exceeding 25 pounds each.

The New York section of the Lake Shore Limited will continue offering checked baggage service between Chicago and New York and at select intermediate stations.