Posts Tagged ‘Missouri River Runner’

Amtrak Service Cancellations Continue

December 25, 2022

Amtrak has continued to cancel trains in the Midwest and East amid the effects of a winter storm that swept across the country and disrupted travel generally.

Several Midwest corridor trains did not operate on Saturday and will not operate today.

The latest service advisory posted on the Amtrak website shows the following trains will not operate on Christmas Day.

Lincoln Service Trains 300, 301, 302, 305 and 306 between Chicago and St. Louis; Missouri River Runner trains 311 and 316 between St. Louis and Kansas City; Trains 318 and 319 between Chicago and Kansas City via St. Louis; Hiawatha Service Trains 329, 332, 333, 336, 337, 340 and 343 between Chicago and Milwaukee; Wolverine Service Trains 352 and 353 between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac); Blue Water No. 365 from Port Huron, Michigan, to Chicago; the Pere Marquette from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Chicago; Illinois Zephyr No. 382 from Quincy, Illinois, to Chicago;

Several trains did not operate on Christmas Eve and have not yet been posted as cancelled for Christmas Day.

They include Lincoln Service Train 307; Hiawatha Service Train 341; Saluki Trains 391 and 382 between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois; Wolverine Service Trains 350, 351, 354, 355, 364 and 365; and Pere Marquette Train 370 from Chicago to Grand Rapids.

Trains 318 and 319 have already been cancelled for Dec. 26.

In the East, the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf was cancelled between Syracuse and Niagara Falls on Saturday.

Empire Service Nos. 280, 281 and 283 were cancelled between Niagara Falls and Albany-Rensselaer on Saturday while No. 284 is cancelled on Sunday between Syracuse and Niagara Falls.

In the long-distance network, the Capitol Limited did not depart its terminals in Chicago and Washington on Saturday.

The Lake Shore Limited will not originate in Chicago, Boston or New York on Saturday or Sunday.

The Chicago-New York Cardinal did not operate on Saturday. Its next scheduled trip is out of New York on Christmas Day.

The Empire Builder between Chicago and Seattle/Portland continues to be suspended through Sunday.

St. Louis-Kansas City Roundtrip Return Pushed Back to Mid-December

December 5, 2022

The return of the second Missouri River Runner roundtrip between St. Louis and Kansas City has been pushed back to Dec. 16.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said an equipment shortage prompted the move.

He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that passenger cars have “been sort of rotating around the Midwest.”

Magliari also said Amtrak has encountered labor shortages that have prompted service suspensions on Midwest routes linking Chicago with St. Louis; Detroit (Pontiac); Quincy, Illinois; and Carbondale, Illinois.

The second St. Louis-Kansas City roundtrip has been suspended since Oct. 24. It was to return on Nov. 16, then Dec. 4.

One central issue causing the service suspensions has been mechanical problems with new Venture passenger cars that Amtrak expected to have in service by now on Midwest corridor routes.

The Post-Dispatch story quoted an Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman as saying the Venture car have ongoing problems with water filtration systems and onboard electronic displays.

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul?

October 8, 2022

When it comes to Midwest corridor trains, Amtrak appears to be robbing Peter to pay Paul.

The passenger carrier said this week that Missouri River Runner Trains 311 and 316 between St. Louis and Kansas City will be suspended between Oct. 24 and Nov. 16 due to an equipment shortage.

On the same date those trains are being suspended, Amtrak plans to restore service on two Chicago-Detroit (Pontiac) and Chicago-St. Louis trains that had been suspended since late summer for equipment shortages.

Amtrak has said it lacks enough mechanical workers to keep enough equipment in service to cover all of its trains.

The service advisory about suspension of the Missouri River Runner trains said no alternative transportation will be provided for those who had tickets to ride Nos. 311 and 316 during the affected time period.

Amtrak will operate Missouri River Runner Nos. 318 and 319 as scheduled during the time period when Nos. 311 and 316 are suspended.

Amtrak Sued Over Missouri Onboard Shooting

March 28, 2022

The onboard shooting death of an Amtrak passenger in Missouri last January has led to a lawsuit against the passenger carrier.

The family of Richie Terell Aaron Jr. is seeking at least $100 million in the lawsuit, which was filed in a federal court in Missouri.

Aaron, 30, was shot aboard a westbound Missouri River Runner train on Jan. 14 during the station stop in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

Police two weeks later apprehended Marquise Webb, 21, of Kansas City, Missouri, who has been charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with Aaron’s shooting.

Webb also faces charges of unlawful weapon use and vehicle hijacking for allegedly carjacking a vehicle to flee the shooting scene.

The lawsuit alleges that Amtrak allowed the train to continue to the next station stop of Independence, Missouri, despite pleas from some passengers to seek immediate medical attention for Aaron.

Amtrak is also cited in the lawsuit for failure to provide security measures to prevent firearms from being brought on board.

The passenger carrier has declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Another Snowstorm, More Cancellations

February 16, 2022

Here comes another winter storm and with it another round of Amtrak service cancellations.

In a service advisory, Amtrak cited “forecasted impacts from the winter storm and for the safety of our customers and employees.”

On Thursday (Feb. 17), Lincoln Service Nos. 304 and 305 (Chicago-St. Louis ) are cancelled. Lincoln Service trains 300, 301, 302, 303, 306 and 307 will operate as schedule.

Lincoln Service Nos. 300 and 301 are canceled on Friday (Feb. 18). Nos. 302, 303, 304, 305, 306 and 307 will operate as scheduled.

Also on Thursday, Missouri River Runner No. 313 is canceled from St. Louis to Kansas City, Missouri. Pere Marquette No. 370 is cancelled from Chicago to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

On Friday (Feb. 18), Missouri River Runner No. 314 is canceled from Kansas City to St. Louis. Pere Marquette No. 371 is cancelled from Grand Rapids to Chicago.

Man Killed Aboard Amtrak Train in Missouri

January 16, 2022

Police in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, are investigating a fatal shooting aboard an Amtrak train that occurred Friday night and left a Missouri man dead.

The shooting occurred while the Missouri River Runner train was making a station stop in Lee’s Summit.

News reports indicated Amtrak notified police of the incident as the train continued to Independence and police and first responders were waiting there when the train arrived.

KMBC Channel 9 in Kansas City reported that police said a suspect in the case was still being sought.

The suspect is thought to have disembarked from the train in Lee’s Summit and police said they were interviewing passengers in an effort to identify him.

The victim was identified on Saturday as Richie Aaron Jr., 30, of Independence. He was pronounced dead at the scene after first responders sought to treat him.

In a statement, Amtrak said the shooting occurred aboard Train 313 and no other injuries occurred among the 81 passengers and crew members.

The train was terminated at Independence and passengers completed their trip to Kansas City by bus.

The shooting occurred, police said, in a train car containing a very small number of passengers and those who heard gunshots did not initially realize someone had been hurt.

Missouri Runner Service to be Halved Jan. 3

December 16, 2021

Missouri River Runner service between St. Louis and Kansas City will be cut in half on Jan. 2, 2022, to reflect state funding of the service.

Set to be discontinued are the morning train from Kansas City to St. Louis and the afternoon return trip.

That will leave a morning departure from St. Louis to Kansas City and a return trip in the evening.

The Missouri Department of Transportation said the projected cost to operate one daily roundtrip is $9.1 million. Two daily roundtrips would cost $13.25 million.

Earlier this year the Missouri legislature approved $10.8 million for Amtrak service.

Some of that funding is being used to pay for the second roundtrip for half of the state’s current fiscal year.

A MoDOT spokeswoman said restoration of the second roundtrip will depend on how much funding the legislature approves for Amtrak service in subsequent fiscal years.

“Our funding has to go through the legislative process,” said Linda Wilson Horn.

Also left hanging is funding to restore the building that formerly hosted the Amtrak station in Jefferson City. No funding is available to finish that work.

Since 2019 Jefferson City passengers have been using a converted mobile office building after the historic station was closed due to structural instability.

The COVID-19 pandemic combined with service disruptions prompted by flooding of the Missouri River have hindered ridership in the past two years.

Last year 58,000 rode the Missouri River Runners but previous ridership had been in the 170,000 range.

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.

Grant Awarded for Kirkwood Station Renovation

April 15, 2021

A $1.5 million grant has been made for renovations of the Amtrak station in Kirkwood, Missouri.

The funding came from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments. The grant will enable the City of Kirkwood and the Historic Kirkwood Train Station Foundation to renovate the former Missouri Pacific depot.

Work in the $4.6 million project will include a new roof, heating and cooling system, ADA-compliant restrooms, and a covered station platform.

Thus far about $2.3 million has been raised for the project. The foundation continues to raise money on a  GoFundMe page. Construction is expected to begin in 2024.

Kirkwood, a suburb of St. Louis, is served by the St. Louis-Kansas City Missouri River Runners

Missouri Legislative Committee Cuts Funding For Amtrak Service

April 1, 2021

A Missouri legislative committee has approved reducing the state’s funding of Amtrak service between St. Louis and Kansas City.

The action by the Missouri House of Representatives’ Budget Committee approved $9.85 million to support one daily roundtrip. Two daily roundtrips would cost at least $12.65 million.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began last spring service on the route has been one daily roundtrip.

Even before the pandemic, some Missouri lawmakers had been pushing to cut funding to support just one roundtrip a day.

Missouri Department of Transportation officials have said the route carried more than 170,000 passengers a year before the pandemic.

Ridership began falling in 2019 after service was suspended due to flooding.

Financial problems have long shadowed the service, known as the Missouri River Runner.

In 2017, former Gov. Eric Greitens cut $500,000 in funding for the service and since 2010 the state has failed to pay Amtrak its share of the bill and owes an estimated $3 million.

There has been some discussion about not operating the trains on Mondays and Tuesdays so that service could be two roundtrips on weekends.

A MoDOT economic impact study released recently found the trains annually generate more than $208 million in economic activity statewide and create 1,250 jobs.

The study said passengers spend an estimated $12.8 million in hotels and an additional $25.3 million in food and sightseeing costs each year.

This economic activity contributes to an estimated $11 million in federal, state and local tax revenue, according to the study.

More than half (56 percent) of passengers answering a survey said they used Amtrak as a way to visit friends or family.

Thirteen percent of passengers said they were traveling for recreation or leisure travel, and 11 percent say they were using the trains for work or business-related travel.

Other reasons given included vacations (8 percent), personal or family events (6 percent), traveling to or from college or school (5 percent) and shopping, 1 percent.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said Amtrak plans to introduce new Venture coaches to the St. Louis-Kansas City corridor later this year.

He said that if service falls to one daily roundtrip it would six to 12 weeks to work out the logistics of increased service if the state were to decide to fund two daily roundtrips.