Posts Tagged ‘Hiawatha Service’

Hiawatha in Northbrook

April 5, 2022

A Hiawatha Service train blasts through Northbrook, Illinois, without stopping on May 20, 1998. City officials have explored establishing an Amtrak stop here. Currently Metra trains stop in Northbook at a station build by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific. Amtrak might be reluctant to stop in Northbrook because it already stops a few miles away in Glenview.

See the Horizon in Glenview

March 26, 2022

Milwaukee-bound Hiawatha Service No. 334 has an all Horizon equipment consists as it prepares to depart Glenview, Illinois. Note the differing liveries of the two coaches. On the point is a GE-built P32-8 locomotive.

Grant Released for 2nd Chicago-St. Paul Train

March 13, 2022

State departments of transportation in Wisconsin and Minnesota have received a federal grant of $31.8 million that will be used toward development of a second Amtrak train between Chicago and Twin Cities.

The funding will used to pay for station and rail segment improvements on a Canadian Pacific route also used by the Empire Builder and Hiawatha Service trains.

The new Chicago-St. Paul, Minnesota, train is expected to begin service by 2024 although officials said it could be sooner.

A news release said the funding will ease rail traffic congestion, modernize some sections of track, and speed the movement of freight trains along the 411-mile route.

Studies have projected a second train between Chicago and St. Paul would draw more than 124,000 passengers during its first year of operation.

The grant funding comes from the FRA’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program.

Trains in the Chicago-St. Paul corridor are expected to depart in the morning and midday.

Profile of an F40 Cabbage

February 24, 2022

Amtrak converted 22 F40PH locomotives into what are officially known as non-powered control unit, but which some referred to as “cabbage cars.” The name was a reference to the fact the units had been converted to cab cars and also had a baggage compartment where the primer mover used to be.

The conversion process involved removing the prime mover and all other engine components, including the head-end power equipment, and adding ballast for weight.

An F40 NPCU could only be used in push-pull mode. Typically, these NPCUs were used in corridor service in the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and in Downeaster service.

No. 90219 began life as F40PH No. 219 in April 1976. It was converted to a NPCU in December 1997. Amtrak’s practice was to add the prefix “90” in front of an F40’s roster number.

The 90219 is shown on a Hiawatha Service train at Sturtevant, Wisconsin, on May 20, 2006.

Hiawatha in Milwaukee

February 10, 2022

P42DC No. 71 will serve as a trailing unit for a Hiawatha Service train that will be departing from Milwaukee in about another hour. The image was made on March 18, 2004, and was scanned from a slide. The view is at the west end of the train shed.

In From Milwaukee

January 30, 2022

An Amtrak Hiawatha Service train reposes at Chicago Union Station after arriving from Milwaukee. When this image was made on May 22, 1998, Hiawatha trains used former F40PH locomotives transformed into non-powered cab cars and P42DC locomotives. The latter pulled trains to Milwaukee from Chicago and pushed them back. Although the F40 cab cars had doors for a baggage compartment, I don’t know if those were ever used on the Chicago-Milwaukee route. I do recall seeing them used on Chicago-Detroit trains for a time .

Pushing Out of Sturtevant

January 17, 2022

Amtrak P42DC No. 128 catches some spring morning sunlight as it pushes Hiawatha Service Train 332 out of Sturtevant, Wisconsin, on May 20, 2006. Chicago-Milwaukee trains over the years have typically operated in push-pull service with a control cab on the south end and a locomotive on the north end. The train is on Canadian Pacific track once owned by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific. The train’s consist is pure Horizon fleet.

One Morning at Chicago Union Station

June 29, 2021

It is Sept. 9. 1995, on the north side of Chicago Union Station. A Hiawatha Service train sits adjacent to the equipment to be used later today for the outbound Empire Builder.

At the time, Hiawatha Service trains were using former Metroliner cab cars. This equipment also was common at the time on the Chicago-Detroit route.

Note the mismatching liveries on the Superliner equipment on the Empire Builder. Amtrak was moving into a new look for its rolling stock and the old and new continued to mix for a while.

Hiawatha Service being Restored May 23

April 28, 2021

Full restoration of Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service will be implemented on May 23.

There will be seven weekday round-trips between Chicago and Milwaukee with an additional Chicago departure on Friday nights.

The Saturday schedule will be seven departures from Milwaukee and six from Chicago. On Sunday there will be six round-trips.

Also being restored are two daily round-trip Amtrak Thruway buses between Green Bay and Milwaukee, with stops in De Pere, Appleton, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Amtrak said this service provides connections to and from Chicago using Hiawatha trains.

Reservations will continue to be required for travel on the Hiawathas and other pandemic safety measure remain in effect.

Amtrak said those with monthly or 10-ride passes must confirm their travel plans using Amtrak RideReserve on the company website or smartphone apps.

Restoration of State-Funded Corridor Services Presents a Mixed Picture

March 27, 2021

Passengers board Amtrak’s Chicago-bound Saluki at Effingham, Illinois, on March 21. The Chicago-Carbondale corridor lost one roundtrip since the COVID-19 pandemic began a year ago

Although Amtrak plans to restore daily service to most long-distance routes starting in late May, the restoration of corridor service cut during the COVID-19 pandemic presents a more mixed picture.

Some states might restore service by summer but that is not guaranteed.

Michigan Department of Transportation Rail Director Peter Anastor said he didn’t known when two suspended Wolverine Service roundtrips between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac) would return.

He indicated it will hinge in part on ridership and revenue trends.

“The CARES Act and the second stimulus bill helped fill the gap caused by fixed costs that stay the same whether you have 10 or 100 riders,” he said.

Michigan also funds the Chicago-Port Huron Blue Water and the Chicago-Grand Rapids Pere Marquette.

Although the Blue Water continued to operate throughout the pandemic, the Pere Marquette was suspended between March and last summer.

Anastor indicated new Venture coaches are expected to be assigned to Wolverine Service this spring, making it the first Midwest corridor train to have the new cars.

On other Midwest corridor routes, Hiawatha Service between Chicago and Milwaukee is expected to increase to seven round trips on May 21.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation Rail Division head Arun Rao said the service expansion will be promoted with an extensive advertising push and increased social media activity.

Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Speegle said his agency will decide in April when some other corridor services will be restored.

IDOT has suspended one round trip on the Chicago-Carbondale route, one roundtrip on the Chicago-Quincy route and two roundtrips between Chicago and St. Louis.

“We anticipate resuming full service no earlier that mid-July; the final decision on that time frame will be made in April, approximately 12 weeks prior to resumption of service,” he said.

Speegle said IDOT will review ridership and revenue numbers for the current service, anticipated costs, and the level of federal support.

Whether a second St. Louis-Kansas City Missouri River Runner will resume operating will depend on how much funding the Missouri legislature approves.

The Missouri Department of Transportation has requested funding for two daily roundtrips but the chair of a House budget committee has proposed funding just one roundtrip.

In the East, New York State has not announced its intentions in regards to restoring any suspended Empire Corridor trains.

Two routes funded by New York, the Maple Leaf to Toronto and Adirondack to Montreal have been suspended due to the U.S.-Canadian border being closed during the pandemic.

Elsewhere in the East, North Carolina will begin a fourth roundtrip starting April 5 in the Charlotte-Raleigh corridor.

Amtrak and the North Carolina Department of Transportation are reinstating a third Piedmont Service roundtrip, making this the first multi-frequency state corridor to be fully restored.

North Carolina reinstated a second and third round trip last August and December, respectively.

Another Downeaster trip to Maine is expected to resume in May after schedules are worked out with Amtrak and host railroad Pan Am Railways.

Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority Executive Director Patricia Quinn said the new schedule will be a little different.

“Instead of just plugging two midday trains back into their old slots, we’re adding a 10:30 a.m. departure from Brunswick, which will turn as a 3 p.m. departure from Boston,” she said.

“Given the change in commute patterns, we decided to try something different, assuming we won’t need two trains leaving Boston for the evening rush hour, but the additional round-trip means we will again have a flex schedule for the late-night train from Boston to accommodate sports fans and concert goers.”

Quinn said weekday and weekend schedules will now be identical.

In the West, one Capitol Corridor roundtrip will on March 29 be extended from Oakland to San Jose.

Capitol Corridor managing director Rob Pagette said there will be a change in departure times based on the way customers now use the trains.

“We’re about at 15 percent of where we were in February 2020 but we are looking to have a more robust service by September,” he said.

“We’ve seen more demand spread throughout the day, and this has allowed us to improve the efficiency of how we use our equipment by (temporarily) going from seven to six consists.”

Pagette said officials will be watching to determine where people are riding after the schedule change to determine where we add back the seventh consist.” An eighth trainset will be added later.

The extended round trip to San Jose will originate in Auburn because there appear to be increasing numbers of “super commuters” who ride 80 miles or more to their jobs.

Ridership trends during the pandemic have shown that if passengers are less likely to travel every day, more will opt for less-costly housing further away from the Silicon Valley.

In the San Joaquin corridor, a fifth roundtrip is expected to be added in in the fall. However, the two round trips to Sacramento aren’t likely to return until early 2021 at the earliest.

Those plans, though, are contingent on ridership stabilizing.

In Southern California, the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency expects to restore one Pacific Surfliner roundtrip between San Diego and Goleta in July or August.

The date of that service restoration is dependant on available funding.

In the Pacific Northwest, the Washington Department of Transportation is eyeing returning two Seattle-Portland roundtrips in mid May.

Currently, the Cascades Service is operating with one Seattle-Eugene, Oregon, round trip.

Officials are considering increasing Portland-Eugene service to two roundtrips.