Posts Tagged ‘Missouri Amtrak service’

Missouri River Runner Service to Increase

June 4, 2021

The State of Missouri of Missouri will use pandemic relief funding to help pay for restoration of a second Missouri River Runner roundtrip between St. Louis and Kansas City.

The additional service will begin on July 19 and bring the corridor up to pre-COVID-19 pandemic service levels.

State officials said the second roundtrip will operation for the remainder of 2021.

“We appreciate the General Assembly and Gov. [Mike] Parson providing necessary resources for the Amtrak Missouri River Runner service in the state’s budget as well as the additional COVID relief funds enabling us to restore this important transportation service to Missourians,” Missouri Department of Transportation Director Patrick McKenna said in a statement.

McKenna said his agency will review in the fall whether the federal transportation budget will enable the state to continue to support two daily round-trip service.

McKenna said his agency will review in the fall whether the federal transportation budget will enable the state to continue to support two daily round-trip service.

The second roundtrip was suspended in March 2020. Even before that had occurred, Missouri legislators had been debating whether to cut the state’s Amtrak funding to support just a single daily roundtrip.

A provision in the state budget bill mandating single daily ser ice was removed by the Missouri Senate so that MoDOT and Amtrak could begin discussions about a restoration of double daily service.

Missouri River Runners May Resume on Saturday

May 6, 2017

Amtrak expects to resume service on Saturday between St. Louis and Kansas City after Union Pacific reopened its route between the two cities.

UP also said it has restored service on the line used by the Texas Eagle between St. Louis and Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

“As water levels recede in several areas, we have made significant progress restoring service to flood-impacted rail lines on our network,” UP said in a service advisory. “Service has been restored between St. Louis and Jefferson City, Missouri; and between St. Louis and Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

Flooding from heavy rains washed out tracks and also caused mudslides during the past week.

The Missouri River Runners between St. Louis and Kansas City were replaced by buses during the service disruption.

Flooding Cancels Missouri River Runners

May 4, 2017

Flooding in Missouri has prompted Amtrak to substitute buses for the Missouri River Runner service between St. Louis and Kansas City.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the twice-daily roundtrips Runners are expected to be sidelined until Saturday due to flooding that has closed the Union Pacific route used by the trains.

Amtrak is chartering buses to replace the canceled trains but service may be unavailable to some cities due to local road closures and/or bus availability.

The buses are also unable to fully match the Amtrak schedules, Amtrak said in the advisory.

It was the second time this week that flooding in Missouri has disrupted Amtrak service. The Texas Eagle has been forced to detour between St. Louis and Poplar Bluff due to flooding along it regular route.

Union Pacific said in a service advisory that the Meramec River near St. Louis is rising rapidly, leading to additional flooding and cutting off rail access from St. Louis to Jefferson City, Missouri. Several areas of track are currently underwater, with water levels continuing to rise as additional rain is forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.

“Service remains suspended between St. Louis and Poplar Bluff, Missouri; and Mt. Vernon and Chester, Illinois. Work to repair damage caused by washouts and mudslides along these areas of track continues where it is safe to do so,” UP said in its advisory.

Multi-Ride Ticket Limits Extended in Missouri

August 16, 2016

The 10-ride ticket policy for travel on the St. Louis-Kansas City Missouri River Runner service has been changed to allow passengers a longer period of time to use their tickets.

Amtrak Missouri River RunnerA 10-ride ticket purchased on or after Aug. 15 will be valid for 180 days, which is triple the limit of previous tickets.

All multi-ride Tickets are refundable and exchangeable prior to first use, but they are not transferable.

These tickets can be purchased at Amtrak.com, using Amtrak’s mobile apps or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).

MoDOT Gets Kansas City PTC Bill Lowered

February 10, 2016

Union Pacific and the Missouri Department of Transportation have reached an agreement about the division of costs for installing positive train control in Kansas City on the route that hosts Amtrak’s Missouri  River Runner trains.

The agreement cuts the cost that MoDOT will have to pay to install the federally-mandated safety system that is expected to cost $32 million in the Kansas City region.

Amtrak Missouri River RunnerMoDOT’s share had been put at $18 million, but officials said that number has been reduced to $7 million.

That occurred after transportation officials conducted a study that found that freight trains carrying hazard materials are heavy users of the track in Kansas City used by Amtrak.

Eric Curtit, the railroads administrator at MoDOT, said freight railroads therefore will pay more of the costs for the PTC system that initially had been assessed to MoDOT and Amtrak.

“We argued that we should not have to bear the full (cost) given the amount of hazardous material moving through the area,” he said.

At one point last year, Amtrak had threatened to cease operating its St. Louis-Kansas City trains because it said it could not afford its share to install PTC in either city.

MoDOT said the agreement on sharing the PTC costs in Kansas City means that the River Runner service will continue uninterrupted.

“We’ve reached a working agreement that’s fair to all parties,” Curtit said.

Missouri state senator David Pearce said the agreement will allow MoDOT to pay its share of the PTC costs over several years.

Curtit noted that federal law requires all rail routes hosting hazardous cargo to have a PTC system in place.

The cost to install PTC in St. Louis is expected to be lower than it is in Kansas City, but cost estimate has not yet been determined.

“They’re not as far along as Kansas City,” Curtit said.

Union Pacific will pay all costs of installing PTC on track that lies outside the Kansas City and St. Louis metropolitan areas.

“There’s a huge cost between Kansas City and St. Louis,” Curtit said, saying that the total cost for PTC installation statewide is estimated at $62 million.

Railroads have until 2018 to install and turn on their PTC systems. UP has said that it expects to meet that deadline.

STL-KC Trains Suspended Due to Flooding

January 1, 2016

Flooding has led Amtrak to suspect operation of the Missouri River Runner trains between St. Louis and Kansas City.

Passengers were being bused between the two cities although service between Kansas City and Jefferson City was expected to resume on New Year’s Day.

Not all of the scheduled stops for the River Runner are being served by the chartered buses, Amtrak said.

Union Pacific, which owns and operates the track used by the River Runners said that 70 trains in the St. Louis area are being held or rerouted due to the flooding.

UP lines are out of service due to high water between Jefferson City and St. Louis and between St. Louis and De Soto. In Illinois, UP lines are out of service between Mount Vernon and Percy, and between Springfield and Nelson.

Amtrak Says PTC Threatens Future of 2 Routes

June 19, 2015

Amtrak officials have told a Senate committee that it might have to end or reroute the Southwest Chief and Missouri River Runner trains because of high costs to install positive train control technology on two terminal railroads.

The railroads in question are the Kansas City Terminal, which all of the trains use, and the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, which is used by the River Runner trains.

Amtrak Vice President of Operations D.J. Stadler said as Class III railroads they are exempt from the federal PTC requirement unless the track is used by passenger trains.

“Because they’re considered Class III, the PTC requirement is triggered by the operation of passenger trains,” Stadler said. “These hosts have maintained that because Amtrak’s trains trigger the PTC requirement, Amtrak is responsible for the cost of PTC installation, which amounts in the case of KCT to $30 million.”

Stadler said Amtrak can’t afford that cost and neither can the state of Missouri

Amtrak has told KCT that Amtrak service over the KCT track will end by the end of 2015 unless the parties come up with an alternative

“We do not wish to cease service, but if this issue is not resolved soon, it could end in either the rerouting or termination of the Southwest Chief and the River Runner,” he said.

The Senate committee hearing was focused on PTC installation and held in reaction to a May 12 Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia on a portion of track where PTC has not yet been implemented.

In 2008, Congress mandated the PTC requirement in passenger-rail safety legislation. Railroads are facing a Dec. 31 deadline to implement PTC technology.

Many railroads have said they won’t be able to meet that deadline, although Amtrak has said it will have PTC implemented on the Northeast Corridor by then.

The Southwest Chief travels between Chicago and Los Angeles. The Missouri River Runner travels between St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri.

PTC Payment Dispute Threatening to Disrupt Amtrak’s St. Louis, Kansas City Service

February 4, 2015

A dispute over who should pay for installation of positive train control on two terminal railroads is threatening the future operation of Amtrak in St. Louis and Kansas City.

If the dispute is not resolved by the end of the year, Amtrak may cease serving Missouri’s two largest cities or else other arrangements will need to be made for serving them.

Amtrak and the state of Missouri want PTC installed on the Kansas City Terminal Railway and the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis As small terminal railroads, neither is required by federal law to install PTC, but Amtrak and the Missouri Department of Transportation say that it should be

Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm said that Amtrak is working with MoDOT on an “equitable solution.”

“We are hopeful a resolution can be reached to maintain current Amtrak services to Kansas City,” he said.

Amtrak already has received invoices from the two railroads for the installation expenses. But neither Amtrak nor Missouri is willing to pay them.

The Missouri Department of Transportation “will not blindly pay for implementation costs” of Positive Train Control, its director, David Nichols, wrote to Amtrak in December.

Amtrak and the MoDOT say the railroads should bear the burden of installing the system because of their freight operations.

They noted that 250 freight trains a day operate over Kansas City Terminal’s track in addition to six passenger trains. Kansas City is the nation’s second busiest rail hub behind Chicago, and St. Louis ranks third.

The estimated cost of installing PTC is $32 million in Kansas City and $700,000 in St. Louis. That doesn’t include future maintenance expenses.

In 2008, Congress approved legislation mandating the installation of PTC by Dec. 31, 2015, on all routes hosting passenger trains.

There is a move afoot in Congress to extend the deadline by as many as five years. PTC is designed to avoid train collisions, derailments and other mishaps, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

Amtrak operates two round-trips a day between the St. Louis and Kansas City that are funded by MoDOT. The Missouri River Runner service carried almost 200,000 passengers in 2013.

Also affected are the Chicago-Los Angles Southwest Chief in Kansas City, the Chicago-Antonio Texas Eagle in St. Louis and the Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service corridor trains.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said the service suspension could be averted if Congress passes legislation she has co-sponsored to give railroads another five years to install PTC.

“It’s unacceptable that we would disrupt passenger service in Missouri over this issue,” said McCaskill during a hearing of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “Everyone knows Congress will adjust this deadline.”

Extending the deadline, though, will not resolve the dispute of who will pay for PTC installation in St. Louis and Kansas City.

MoDOT asked the Federal Railroad Administration in December to treat the terminal railroads like the larger ones because of their heavy freight volumes and because such larger railroads as Union Pacific and BNSF have an ownership stake in them.

Michelle Teel, MoDOT’s multimodal operations director, told the Senate committee that Positive Train Control installation requirements “should not be triggered by a small amount of passenger rail traffic, but rather should be based on operation volume, population density, tonnage and commodities moved, especially hazardous materials.”

McCaskill said the Kansas City-St. Louis corridor may not be the busiest passenger rail operation in the country, but provides a vital alternative to highways and air travel.

“It’s not the Northeast Corridor,” she said, “but it’s essential in my state.”

New Station to Open in Hermann, Mo.

September 3, 2014

A ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 12 will mark the opening of a new Amtrak station in Hermann, Mo., which is served by four daily Missouri River Runner  trains.

Attending the ceremony will be officials from the city, state of Missouri, Amtrak and Union Pacific.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Westbound Amtrak train No. 311 will be held briefly for photos. It is scheduled to arrive at 10:49 a.m. “All of the citizens of Hermann are thankful for our Amtrak station,” said Hermann Mayor Tom Shabel.

“This project took the efforts and cooperation of many citizens, MoDOT, Union Pacific Railroad, and city officials. The results were worth the effort.”

“Hermann has waited a long time for this facility to come to fruition,” City Administrator Mark Wallace says. “We are very proud and excited to have a new Amtrak station to serve our visitors.”

Plans for the station project were first approved in 2006.