Posts Tagged ‘Missouri River Runners’

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 Runner Gets Another Coach

June 12, 2020

In anticipation of increased ridership, Amtrak has added an additional coach to Missouri River Runner service between St. Louis and Kansas City.

The carrier said the expanded equipment consist will provide additional seating while maintaining social distancing.

Missouri River Runner trains will now have three coaches available although only half of the seats are being sold.

Amtrak operates one roundtrip daily between the two cities. Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic service had been two daily roundtrips.

There also had been a fight in the Missouri legislature over whether to continue funding two roundtrips per day.

Missouri River Runners Facing Service Cut

March 16, 2020

A budget plan making its way through the Missouri legislature is expected to reduce Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner service.

The plan would appropriate $12 million for Amtrak service in the next fiscal year.

But once the state pays off its debt to Amtrak for past service provided there would only be enough funding left to pay for one daily roundtrip between St. Louis and Kansas City.

Missouri has fallen being paying its bills to Amtrak for the River Runners since 2010 and now owes an estimated $6.5 million.

Amtrak is allowed to charge 12 percent interest on the outstanding debt but has yet to threaten to discontinue service.

The next fiscal year in Missouri begins on July 1.

Missouri Department of Transportation Director Patrick McKenna said in January that the state cannot end Amtrak service because it still owes the federal government $36 million for station improvements on the 283-mile route.

The River Runners carried 167,000 passengers in 2018 but saw ridership fall last year due to cancelations prompted by flooding.

BOGO Tickets Being Offered from Jefferson City

January 8, 2020

In cooperation with the Missouri Department of Transportation Amtrak is offering a buy one, get one fare sale for travel to and from Jefferson City, Missouri.

For each adult coach ticket purchased through Feb. 29 using discount code V716, a second adult traveling on the same itinerary can travel free of charge aboard one of the Missouri River Runner trains.

The offer is valid for adult coach seats only and no additional discounts can be applied.

All sales are final and no upgrade to business class is permitted.

Exchanges are permitted within the ticket validity period subject to a 25 percent cancellation fee. For more information, including other terms and conditions, visit Amtrak.com.

Amtrak said in a news release that the BOGO tickets are to thank the community for its patience while local, state and Amtrak officials worked to provide a temporary station after the regular station was closed to due to structural defects.

The temporary station is located along the boarding platform a half-block west of the regular Amtrak station, which closed last October.

The Missouri River Runner trains are funded by MoDOT. Trains 311, 313, 314 and 316 operate daily between St. Louis and Kansas City.

Jefferson City Waiting Room Temporarily Closed

October 7, 2019

The waiting room of the Amtrak station in Jefferson City, Missouri, has been temporarily closed.

Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner trains will continue to stop at the station platforms to board and discharge passengers.

The closure does not affect the station platforms.

During the closure Amtrak said passengers will not have access to the inside of the station or restrooms.

City volunteers will be on site to help with questions or directions during scheduled train times.

Amtrak did not explain in its service advisory why the waiting room is closed or how long the closure will last.

Buses to Replace Missouri Trains on Sept. 9

September 7, 2019

Union Pacific track work will result in Missouri River Runner passengers riding the bus on Sept. 9 between Hermann, Missouri, and Kansas City.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said Trains 311 and 313 will operate from St. Louis to Herman with Buses 3111 and 3113 continuing on to the missed station stops of Jefferson City, Sedalia, Warrensburg, Lee’s Summit and Independence.

The service advisory said the buses may operate later than the train schedules.

Trains 314 and 316 will originate in Hermann with passengers riding Buses 3314 and 3116 from Kansas City and making the intermediate stops at Independence, Lee’s Summit, Warrensburg, Sedalia and Jefferson City.

The buses will depart earlier from Kansas City, but Amtrak did not say how early.

Flooding Took Toll on River Runners Ridership

July 5, 2019

The flooding that led to Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner trains being canceled in spring and early summer contributed to lower ridership as a result.

Excluding June, ridership in fiscal year 2019 has been 147,209 passengers compared with 156,867 for the same period in 2018.

Revenue for March through May 2019 was $1.168 million, compared with $1.441 million in 2018.

Bryan Ross, the railroad operations manager for the Missouri Department of Transportation, said ridership numbers are not where the agency wants them to be.

“In April, just after we got back into service after another stretch of days where we couldn’t run due to flooding, we had 13,022 people ride the trains, which was slightly up from April 2018 when there were 12,947 riders,” Ross said. “We’re feeling confident that with dryer months coming, ridership will come back.”

Ross said a contract with Amtrak for fiscal year 2020 shows slightly lower expenses due to lower maintenance costs on passenger cars and locomotives.

The Missouri legislature has approved $9.1 million for passenger trains funding although MoDOT had sought $16.6 million.

Ross said his agency agreed to allow buses to replace the trains after flooding increased freight traffic on the Union Pacific route between St. Louis and Kansas City.

MoDOT and Amtrak officials feared the River Runners would incur delays of four to six hours, which he said is not a safe condition for passengers to be waiting on a train.

“That’s when we go to bus service,” he said.

In the meantime, Ross said Amtrak continues to refurbish the cars used in Midwest corridor service by giving them new paint, upholstery and carpeting.

That work is expected to be completed by mid-February 2020.

“Amtrak has 80 passenger cars in their Midwest fleet, and Missouri pools with other Midwest states to use those cars,” Ross said. “As those cars get refreshed, they cycle into our system.”

Amtrak typically assigns six cars to each Missouri River Runner train.

New passenger cars for Midwest service are being built and may go into revenue service by summer 2020.

Suspension of Missouri Trains Extended to June 12

June 7, 2019

Amtrak on Thursday extended the suspension of its Missouri River Runner trains by another two days through June 12.

Affected are trains 311, 313, 314 and 316 between St. Louis and Kansas City.

Displaced passengers are being transported by chartered buses to all stations served by the trains.

The suspension began  on May 22 when host railroad Union Pacific increased freight traffic on the line due to flooding elsewhere on its system in the Midwest and South.

In the meantime, UP said Thursday that is has reopened its route between Chicago and Texas that is used in part by Amtrak’s Texas Eagle.

The Eagle has been suspended for the past week between St. Louis and Fort Worth, Texas.

Missouri River Runners Still Suspended

June 3, 2019

Although Amtrak has removed a notice from its website regarding suspension of its Missouri River Runners, the carrier has cancelled those trains for today.

For more than a week the River Runners, which operate between St. Louis and Kansas City, have been replaced by charter buses.

Host railroad Union Pacific has been diverting freight traffic to the route used by Nos. 311, 313, 314 and 316 due to flooding elsewhere on its system.

A check of the Amtrak website under “train status” found that all four trains are shown as being canceled.

The Texas Eagle between St. Louis and Fort Worth, Texas, has also been cancelled this week for similar reasons. Nos. 21 and 22 are still operating between Chicago and St. Louis, and between Fort Worth and San Antonio, Texas.

 

River Runners Suspension Extended to June 1

May 30, 2019

The cancellation of Missouri River Runner service between St. Louis and Kansas City has been extended through June 2.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said flooding on the Union Pacific network has diverted some freight traffic to the route used by the River Runners.

In the interim, Amtrak passengers ticketed for trains 311, 313, 314 and 316 are riding chartered buses that are serving all stations.

Amtrak said it and the Missouri Department of Transportation, which funds the trains, are continuing to monitor the situation on a daily basis.

Passengers were urged to check their train’s status at Amtrak.com or on the Amtrak smart phone app.

The buses are adhering as close to the train schedules as possible, but delays may occur.