Posts Tagged ‘Midwest Corridor trains’

Lincoln Service Trains Won’t Resume Until November

October 28, 2022

Two Lincoln Service trains between Chicago and St. Louis that were suspended in September due to equipment shortages will not resume operation until mid-November.

The suspensions affect Trains 300 and 305. They have been suspended since Sept. 17.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said no alternative transportation is being provided for those trains although passengers may ride other trains in the corridor that continue to operate.

The advisory said Train 305 is planned to resume operations on Nov, 17 while Train 300 is planned to resume operating on Nov. 18.

California Accepts Delivery of Venture Cars

October 13, 2022

The California Department of Transportation has accepted from Siemens Mobility 49 Venture cars that will be used for Bakersfield-Oakland/Sacramento San Joaquin trains.

Amtrak will be inspecting the equipment before it is placed in revenue service, which officials said is likely several months away.

Before the cars can begin service, the various parties involved in operating the trains must reach agreements on insurance liability.

The San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority, operator of the San Joaquins, has chosen Herzog Contracting. to service the new equipment at Stockton.

Herzog has a maintenance facility there to maintain equipment for Altamont Commuter Express.

In total Siemens is building 137 Venture cars for use in Amtrak corridor services.

California will have 28 coaches, 14 vending food-service cars, and seven cab coaches.

The vending cars are expected to begin revenue service in 2023 while the cab coaches will begin service by 2024.

Some Venture coaches have already begun operating in corridor services in Illinois, Michigan, and Missouri.

The first of the Venture cars began revenue service late last winter between Chicago and St. Louis but were removed from service due to various mechanical issues.

Venture equipment has since been assigned to Midwest corridor routes in the Midwest.

The Venture cars initially arrived at Amtrak in summer 2020 to begin undergoing testing.

Until Venture food service cars arrive, Amtrak has been assigning Horizon and Amfleet I food service cars to Midwest corridor trains using Venture coaches.

The Venture food service cares being built for Midwest service will have a cafe configuration similar to Horizon and Amfleet food-service cars and will have a business class section.

Midwest Corridor Suspensions Extended

September 20, 2022

Amtrak has extended the suspension of two Wolverine Service trains until Oct. 24.

In announcing the suspensions earlier this month, the passenger carrier had said that Nos. 350 and 355 were being suspended due to lack of crews and equipment.

At the time, the trains were to have been reinstated on Sept. 17.

No. 350 is the early morning departure from Chicago while No. 355 departs Pontiac, Michigan, in suburban Detroit in late afternoon.

Two other Wolverine Service roundtrips are unaffected by the service suspensions.

Service suspensions also remain in effect on two other Midwest corridor routes.

Lincoln Service Trains 300 and 305 remain suspended through at least Oct. 23.

No. 300 is scheduled to depart St. Louis at 4:35 a.m. while No. 304 is scheduled to depart Chicago at 5:20 p.m.

The Chicago-St. Louis route continues to field three other Lincoln Service roundtrips plus the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

Suspended until at least Dec. 5 is the Saluki from Chicago to Carbondale, Illinois, and the Illini from Carbondale to Chicago.

The former departs Chicago in the morning while the latter leaves Carbondale in late afternoon.

The trains were suspended last January due to shortages of operating crews and equipment.

One factor keeping the trains sidelined is the insistence of host railroad Canadian National that all trains on the Chicago-Carbondale route use Superliner equipment.

Until about two years ago, the State of Illinois-sponsored Chicago-Carbondale trains used Horizon and Amfleet equipment.

Other trains in the Chicago-Carbondale corridor include the northbound Saluki, which departs Carbondale in the morning, and the southbound Illini, which departs Chicago in late afternoon.

The City of New Orleans between Chicago and New Orleans also covers the corridor but is operating just five days a week. Nos. 58 and 59 are slated to resume daily operation on Oct. 8.

Staffing, Equipment Still Hinder Midwest Trains

September 3, 2022

Equipment and personnel shortages have continued to hinder Amtrak Midwest Corridor trains, Trains magazine reported this week on its website.

On Aug. 28 lack of an available locomotive engineer forced Amtrak to provide bus service for some passengers ticketed to ride the Chicago to Port Huron, Michigan, Blue Water.

The equipment assigned to the Blue Water for that day was combined with Wolverine Service No. 354 as far east as Battle Creek, Michigan.

The 354 operates nearly two hours later than the Blue Water from Chicago to Battle Creek.

In Battle Creek, the equipment for the Blue Water was separated and operated to Port Huron.

Earlier Amtrak had announced that lack of equipment and personnel prompted it to suspend Wolverine Service trains 350 and 355 through Sept. 16.

Trains reported that the Blue Water of Aug. 28 arrived in Port Huron at 1:03 a.m., about an hour and a half late.

2 Wolverine Service Trains to be Suspended

August 27, 2022

Amtrak Wolverine Service No. 350 gets onto the Michigan Line in Porter, Indiana, en route to Pontiac, Michigan, in February 2022.

Amtrak is citing equipment and personnel shortages for suspending two Wolverine Service trains next week until mid-September.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said Nos. 350 and 355 between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac) would be suspended starting Aug. 29 and continuing through Sept. 16.

No. 350 is the early morning departure from Chicago while No. 355 is the late afternoon departure from Pontiac.

No alternative service is being provided for the suspended trains. Amtrak said Nos. 350 and 355 will resume operating on Sept. 17.

The suspensions will not affect operations of Wolverine Service Trains 351, 352, 353 and 354.

Amtrak has attributed various Midwest corridor service suspensions this summer to a shortage of equipment and personnel.

Among the trains suspended for a few days to more than a week have been the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg between Chicago and Quincy, Illinois; and two Lincoln Service trains between Chicago and St. Louis.

Since January the southbound Saluki and northbound Illini in the Chicago-Carbondale, Illinois, corridor have been suspended and no date has been announced as to when those trains will be restored.

Personnel Issues Hinder Midwest Corridor Trains

August 23, 2022

Amtrak cited a shortage of personnel for combining two Michigan trains on Sunday that operated hours late as a result.

Trains magazine reported on its website that the Blue Water to Port Huron, Michigan, was combined with Wolverine Service No. 354 as far as Battle Creek, Michigan.

The combined train left Chicago at 6:31 p.m., which was 2.5 hours late for the Blue Water and 41 minutes late for No. 354.

By the time the combined train reached Battle Creek at 10:38 p.m., the lateness had stretched to three hours for the Blue Water, which maintained that lateness level to Port Huron.

Amtrak cited “mechanical issues” on its Twitter feed as causing the delayed departures.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told Trains that the situation was aggravated by a shortage of personnel.

It was among the latest of a series of disruptions to Amtrak’s Midwest corridor services that have occurred this summer.

The Trains report noted that the Illinois Zephyr to Quincy, Illinois, was cancelled last week after an employee assigned to the run became unavailable an hour before departure time.

Passengers instead rode buses between Chicago and Quincy. The cancellations stretched out through Friday and affected four runs of the train.

Earlier, Amtrak cited equipment shortages for suspending one Lincoln Service roundtrip between Chicago and St. Louis.

Magliari told Trains that the suspended Lincoln Service trains will be restored on Aug. 24.

Venture Cars Pulled From Service

April 2, 2022

Two Venture coaches are shown in the consist of Lincoln Service Train 301 in Springfield, Illinois, on March 1.

Amtrak has temporarily withdrawn new Venture cars from operation on Midwest Corridor trains due to technical issues.

Trains magazine reported on its website Friday that magnets in the four-seat work tables in the coaches were disrupting operation of smart phones and laptops computers by causing them to shut down. The magnets are used to lock extensions on the tables.

The Trains report said Amtrak is eyeing a short-term fix of affixing brackets that prevent passengers from extending the outer flaps until correct-strength magnets can be installed.

Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Speegle said his agency is working with Amtrak and Seimens, which built the Venture cars, to solve the problem.

IDOT was the lead agency involved in the acquisition of the cars, which also will be used on corridor services in Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Venture cars began revenue service in February on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor.

Thus far only coaches have been delivered from Siemens to Amtrak, although three combination business class and coach class cars are in the process of being accepted.

The combination cars will have 36 business class seats, which is double the number available in existing Horizon and Amfleet equipment used in Midwest corridor service.

Venture cars to be used in California have also arrived in that state but the California Department of Transportation but have not yet been placed into service.

Trains said California officials wouldn’t say why that has been the case..

The article can be read at

Not Charging Today

March 13, 2022

Amtrak’s northbound Saluki had a surprise as it ripped through Arcola, Illinois, on Sunday, Feb. 20. A P42DC was on the point of the Chicago-bound train rather than the usual SC-44 Charger. I don’t know the reason for the motive power substitution. Perhaps the assigned Charger had mechanical difficulties and was swapped out the day before when the equipment went south as the Illini. Note that pulling the train is No. 58, which is the road number for the northbound City of New Orleans, which also uses these same former Illinois Central rails. The train is shown passing the former Illinois Central passenger station in Arcola.

Some Wolverine Service Times to Change

March 4, 2022

Amtrak Wolverine Service No. 350 curves off the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern onto Amtrak-owned track at Porter, Indiana, on Feb. 27, 2022.

Amtrak will modify the schedules of three Wolverine Service trains between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac) effective March 7, 2022.

In a service advisory Amtrak said the scheduled changes are due to planned track work and other infrastructure projects being sponsored on the segment of the route owned by the Michigan Department of Transportation and Amtrak.

Train 350 will originate in Chicago 35 minutes earlier at 6:45 a.m. It is currently scheduled to depart Union Station at 7:20 a.m.

Train 352 will originate in Chicago 55 minutes later at 2:15 p.m. It is now scheduled to depart at 1:25 p.m.

Train 353 will originate in Pontiac 48 minutes earlier at 8:50 a.m. It now departs there at 9:38 a.m.

Times at en route stations will be adjusted accordingly and Amtrak advised passengers to check for the latest arrival and departure times at those cities.

BNSF Track Work to Affect Carl Sandburg

February 12, 2022

Track work being conducted by host railroad BNSF will result in schedule changes to the Chicago-Quincy, Illinois, Carl Sandburg on Feb. 23.

Train 381 will terminate at Galesburg with alternate transportation being provided between Galesburg and Quincy. Train 382 will originate at Galesburg with alternate transportation provided between Quincy and Galesburg.

The Illinois Zephyr will operate that day as normal between Chicago and Quincy.

Thruway bus 3381 will operate on the schedule of Train 381 between Macomb and Quincy, holding at Galesburg for passengers off Train 381. Delays of 10 to 15 minutes can be expected.

Bus 3382 will depart Quincy at 4:30 p.m. and operate 60 minutes earlier than the normal train schedule.