Posts Tagged ‘Cardinal’

Hoosier State Ridership Up 11.6% in April

May 11, 2017

The Indiana Department of Transportation reported this week that ridership of the state-funded Hoosier State increased by 11.6 percent in April to 2,034 passengers when compared with the same month last year.

Revenue rose 11.6 percent to $62,099 and the on-time performance since October was 85 percent, including more than 90 percent in March.

The Chicago-Indianapolis route was taken over by Amtrak in March from Iowa Pacific Holdings.

The Hoosier State operates quad-weekly on days that Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal does not run between Indianapolis and Chicago.

Amtrak Takes Over Hoosier State Today

March 1, 2017

Amtrak has announced that it will provide Wi-Fi, business class and a Café Car on the Hoosier State when it takes over the train today (March 1)

It will also assign its great dome car Ocean View to the train for the month of March.

Amtrak logoThe equipment lineup for Nos. 850 and 851 will include 68-seat Horizon fleet coaches and a café car with an attendant that will provide table seating at one end and 14 business class seats at the other.

All cars will have power outlets, reading lights and tray tables  at each seat and free cellular-based AmtrakConnect® Wi-Fi that combines mobile data from multiple carriers along the route.

Business class will provide 2-1 seating with leather seating surfaces, foot-rests and leg-rests.

Passengers booking business class aboard the Hoosier State will receive a 25-percent points bonus for Amtrak Guest Rewards members, complimentary coffee or tea, and use of the Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago, which offers priority boarding.

Ocean View will provide upper level seats for coach passengers on a first come, first served basis at no extra cost. The car was built in 1955 by the Budd Company for the Great Northern Railway.

One-way adult ticket prices for coach service to and from Chicago range from $25 to $48 from Indianapolis, $25 to $47 from Crawfordsville, $23 to $45 from Lafayette, $17 to $30 from Rensselaer and $12 to $22 from Dyer.

Children ages 2-12 are half-fare and discounts are also available for students, seniors, military and others.
The additional charge each way for business class is $21 from Indianapolis and Crawfordsville, $20 from Lafayette and $14 from Rensselaer and Dyer.

Amtrak and Indiana Department of Transportation, which provides some funding for the service, are offering a “buy-one, get-one” fare during March, so two adult passengers can travel for the price of one.

See the Deals tab on Amtrak.com for applicable requirements for fare code V216.

The Hoosier State operates from Indianapolis to Chicago on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and  Friday mornings. It operates from Chicago to Indianapolis on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

The Chicago-New Cardinal operates on days and time slots that the Hoosier State does not operate.

Since July 2015 Iowa Pacific Holdings had provided equipment, on-board service and marketing for the Hoosier State with Amtrak providing operating personnel and maintaining relationships with the host railroads.

IP pulled out of the Hoosier State after INDOT refused its request for additional money to provide the service.

Amtrak Claims Closing Huntington Ticket Office Step Toward Increasing Cardinal’s Frequency

December 22, 2016

Amtrak is attempting to frame the removal of its ticket agent from Huntington, West Virginia, as a move designed to save money so that the Chicago-New York Cardinal might be able to run more frequently than three times a week.

amtrak-cardinalThe last day for the Amtrak ticket agent to work was Wednesday night.

“Every dollar [Amtrak] can retain by taking advantage of technological advances like e-ticketing is a dollar that can go towards giving Huntington daily Amtrak service,” said Amtrak Senior Government Affairs Specialist Charlie Monte Verde in a statement to Trains magazine.

Reiterating what Amtrak personal have said to the news media when ticket agent were removed from other stations, Monte Verde said most tickets are now purchased online or on smart phones.

He described the move to remove the Huntington agent as a business decision.

Oxford City Council Members Meet With Amtrak to Discuss Instituting Station for the Cardinal

December 22, 2016

Oxford city council members met with Amtrak officials this week as part of a continuing campaign to get the passenger carrier to establish a stop in the southwestern Ohio city for the Chicago-New York Cardinal.

amtrak-cardinalProponents of the stop have proposed establishing a station near West Chestnut and South Main streets and are seeking at least $350,000 from the city and Miami University.

The movement to establish the station dates to 2009. That effort fell flat when Amtrak said there was enough demand to warrant the cost of a station.

The Cardinal has passed through Oxford since April 27, 1986, but has never stopped there. The Cardinal once served nearby Hamilton, Ohio, but that stop has since been discontinued.

The nearest station to Oxford served by the Cardinal is Cincinnati.

Efforts to get Amtrak to serve Oxford were renewed in 2015 with proponents pointing to an increase in the city’s population since the previous study.

This time Amtrak encouraged local officials to identify a potential station site. The former Baltimore & Ohio station in Oxford on Elm Street had been razed in 1994.

Amtrak has told Oxford that the carrier will not provide funding for acquiring, building or maintaining of a station.

In naming the West Chestnut and South Main site, Oxford officials have proposed creating a regional transportation hub that would also serve as a bus stop.

The Butler County Regional Transit and Miami University unsuccessfully sought a TIGER earlier this year.

Their current plan is to seek to secure the site and then find funding to pay for the station.

Support for Daily Cardinal Builds in W.Va.

November 29, 2016

Support for daily service by Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal is building in West Virginia, but supporters know that it remains long way off.

Amtrak CardinalAmong those recently supporting increasing the frequency of service of the tri-weekly train is the mayor of Charleston, Danny Jones.

Jones describes himself as train travel enthusiast who travels via Amtrak several times a year.

“It would bring more people through or more visitors if it were seven days a week,” Jones said. “However, “It would still lose money.”

Shortly after a conference was held in Cincinnati this past September to discuss a daily Cardinal, the West Virginia Governor’s Conference on Tourism unanimously passed a motion in favor of daily Cardinal service.

The Cincinnati conference was sponsored by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce.

In the meantime, Mayor Jones is fighting to retain the Amtrak agent at the Charleston depot, which is wedged between MacCorkle Avenue and the CSX railroad tracks.

Jones said some improvements have been made to the stop, including the installation of benches outside and some signs and landscaping around the station.

Braddock Inn on the Cardinal

October 18, 2016

braddock-inn

One of the special treats of photographing Amtrak trains is that on occasion there will be a private car on the rear. Such was the case with the westbound Cardinal departing Charlottesville, Virginia, with car Braddock Inn.

The former Pennsylvania Railroad car is owned by the The West Virginia-based Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society and was built in 1949 as a roomette-sleeper. It was assigned to the Indianapolis Limited through the 1950s.

The Pennsy subsequently rebuilt the car into a 64-seat coach that it named Peter Schhoenberger. In 1963, the car was painted into a silver stainless steel livery and renumbered 1509.

The car would later run in commuter service for Penn Central, New Jersey Transit and Maryland Area Regional Commuter service. MARC restored the car in 1964 to first class service, operating it as a café-parlor car on commuter runs between Washington and Martinsburg, West Virginia.

The Huntington Society purchased the car in 2004 for use on its annual New River Train excursions and other trips on Amtrak trains.

It is shown in July 2012 crossing the Norfolk Southern mainline between Washington and Atlanta.

Maysville Depot Renovation Delayed Until Spring

October 8, 2016

A $500,000 project to renovate the Amtrak station in Maysville, Kentucky, has been delayed until next spring.

Amtrak 4Maysville City Manager Matt Wallingford attributed the delay to Amtrak, adding that the city is disappointed because it had expected the work to be completed by the end of 2016.

Among the improvements that will be made to the station are creating an accessible path of travel from the public right of way to the station; creating ADA-compliant parking spaces with painted striping, signage and bollards; replacement of the walkway serving the second track; installing a new station-based manual lift enclosure; construction of ADA-compliant entrances to building and a new ADA-compliant restroom; and installing platform city identifier signs and ADA-required signage for station and parking.

The city plans to do tuck pointing of the depot exterior, inspecting the roof to ensure that it is in good repair and making cosmetic improvements to the station’s interior and exterior. Wallingford said the scope of the city’s work is dependent on Amtrak’s contribution.

Maysville received last March an $800,000 Transportation Alternative Program grant from the federal government to make improvements to sidewalks and landscaping in the city’s West End, in the area of the depot. The work is part of a Safe Routes to School program.

Wallingford said the city may wait to complete its share of the depot work although that work might begin this year if Amtrak makes its plans available to the city.

Maysville is served by Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal.

Cardinal Conference Sought to Build a Coalition That Will Work Toward Resuming Daily Service

October 7, 2016

What will it take to make Amtrak’s tri-weekly Cardinal a daily train?

That question hung over a public hearing held Sept. 23 in Cincinnati attended by about 100 mostly supportive people.

Amtrak CardinalAlthough a firm answer to the key question wasn’t provided, Amtrak representatives and others did talk about the benefits of a daily train.

Amtrak estimates daily service will result in a 96 percent increase in ridership.

Among the attendees were officials from other regions of the country that have worked to preserve Amtrak service.

Conference organizers said their primary objective in holding the conference was to organize support for increasing service on the Cardinal route.

Among the attendees were representatives of chambers of commerce, the Federal Railroad Administration, colleges, the tourism industry, and elected officials.

Also represented were freight railroads CSX, Buckingham Branch, and Indiana & Ohio. The Cardinal is hosted by the first two of those railroads.

Speaking on behalf of Amtrak was Morrell Savoy, deputy general manager of Amtrak’s long-distance business Line. Other speakers shared their experiences with grassroots-based efforts to restore and enhance passenger rail services.

The Cardinal operated daily until it was discontinued on Sept. 30, 1981, during a budget shortfall.

The late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia succeeded in getting some funding restored and the Cardinal resumed service on Jan. 8, 1982, as a tri-weekly train.

Among the cities served by the Cardinal are Chicago; Indianapolis; Cincinnati; Charleston, West Virginia; Washington; Philadelphia and New York.

Night of Change in September 1995

October 4, 2016

cardinal-in-chicago-in-september-1995

It’s the evening of Sept. 9, 1995. Train No. 50, the Cardinal, is boarding passengers at Chicago Union Station to go to New York for the final time.

It has been more than a decade since the administration of Thomas Downs engaged in a massive Amtrak route restructuring that had it been fully implemented would have wiped out far more service than it did.

As part of that restructuring, Amtrak cut back the eastern terminus of the Cardinal to Washington, D.C., and assigned Superliner equipment to the tri-weekly train.

Later this evening, the Broadway Limited would depart for New York for the last time, leaving Amtrak with just one Chicago-New York train.

You are looking at the last Cardinal to depart Chicago with Heritage Fleet equipment although Amfleet II coaches had been regulars for some time.

The Cardinal would eventually resume going to New York and the Superliner equipment was assigned elsewhere. But on this day, the changes about to occur had the appearance of being permanent.