Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk Southern’

Defective NS Ties Could Affect Amtrak Operations

November 7, 2017

The National Association of Railroad Passengers is warning that Amtrak passengers on routes hosted by Norfolk Southern could be facing delays as the railroad replaces millions of defective cross ties.

NS recently alleged in a lawsuit filed in a Federal District Court in Alabama that Boatright Railroad Products failed to properly coat 4.7 million wood ties that it sold to NS.

Instead of treating the ties with creosote, the company used such substances as paint and motor oil to make the ties appear to be black. In its lawsuit, NS contends that the ties are deteriorating at faster than expected rate.

NARP said that the scope of work NS faces in replacing the defective ties and how that will affect Amtrak operations is not yet known, but it could affect several Amtrak routes operated by NS.

Deteriorating ties have been implicated in derailments in recent months, which sparked an investigation of the causes.

NARP said additional and more frequent inspections will be needed to prevent potentially catastrophic derailments of trains, including passenger trains and freight trains that carry such flammable materials as oil and ethanol.

Advertisements

Cruising Through the Pennsylvania Hills

October 25, 2017

Amtrak’s eastbound Pennsylvania is six minutes off the advertised as it rolls on Track No. 2 of the Pittsburgh Line of Norfolk Southern through Summerhill, Pennsylvania.

The train would lose time en route, arriving at New York Penn Station a half-hour late. The delays in this area of the route appeared to have been due to track work being performed by NS as it gets ready to cut in new signals and positive train control.

Behind lead P42DC No. 160 is an all Amfleet consist that includes coaches and a cafe car.

NS to Study Extending Amtrak in Virginia

September 28, 2017

A study will be conducted by Norfolk Southern of the feasibility of extending Amtrak service west of Roanoke, Virginia, to Christiansburg in the New River Valley.

The area is located near Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg. The study is being funded by $350,000 from the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board.

“With the concentration of students both at Virginia Tech and Radford this makes a lot sense for the region,” said Ray Smoot, chair of NRV 2020 and a former Virginia Tech administrator. “I think a lot of the ridership [out of Roanoke] will come from here.”

NRV 2020 favors locating a station in Christiansburg near the Aquatic Center.

Amtrak is slated to begin serving Roanoke on Oct. 31 by extending a Northeast Regional train that now terminated in Lynchburg, Virginia.

NRV 2020 conducted a 2015 study that estimated that service to the New River Valley would draw 40,000 passenger trips a year to cities such as like Lynchburg and Washington.

Sunset Ltd to Return, More Cancellations Announced

September 9, 2017

One pair of Amtrak trains is set to return, but much of Amtrak’s service in the Southeast is going to be suspended due to impending Hurricane Irma.

Amtrak said on Friday that the Sunset Limited will resume operating the length of its route between New Orleans and Los Angeles next week.

Service will resumes effective with the departures of Train 2 on Sept. 13 from Los Angeles and Train 1 on Sept. 16, from New Orleans.

Operations of the Sunset Limited has been suspended between New Orleans and San Antonio due to flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area.

In the meantime Hurricane Irma is set to make landfall on Florida this weekend and Amtrak has canceled numerous trains in anticipation.

The Silver Star and Silver Meteor from Miami to New York are cancelled for Sept. 9 – 11. The Silver Service trains from New York to Miami are cancelled for Sept. 8 – 10.

The southbound Auto Train is cancelled through Sept. 9. The northbound Auto Train is cancelled on Sept. 9 – 11.

The southbound Palmetto from New York City to Savannah, Georgia, is cancelled from Sept. 9 – 12. Its northbound counterpart is canceled between Sept. 10-13.

Schedule track work that was to be performed by Norfolk Southern in North Carolina has been canceled due to the impending storm.

Therefore the Carolinian and Piedmont trains that were to have been canceled for the track work on Sept. 12 will operate as scheduled.

Tickets on Sale for Roanoke Amtrak Service

September 7, 2017

Tickets are now on sale on the Amtrak website for service to Roanoke, Virginia, that is slated to begin on Oct. 31.

A coach ticket from Roanoke was selling for $72 to Washington, $148 to New York and $168 to Boston when traveling in mid November.

Amtrak is extending a Northeast Regional route to Roanoke, which last had Amtrak service in 1979.

The train will depart Roanoke at 6:19 a.m. Monday through Friday and at 8:40 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The train will return to Roanoke at 10 p.m.

The Northeast Regional train that will serve Roanoke currently terminates in Lynchburg.

West of Lynchburg the train will use Norfolk Southern tracks that are now freight only.

Since 2011, Valley Metro has operated a bus from Roanoke to the Lynchburg Amtrak station. In 2013, Amtrak began selling Thruway tickets to Roanoke.

To bring rail service to Roanoke, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation is paying about $103 million for capital improvements to the route, including construction of a boarding platform in downtown Roanoke.

Amtrak and local officials plan to conduct a welcoming ceremony in Roanoke on Oct. 30.

Another Sunday Another Very Late Amtrak Train

July 10, 2017

Well another Sunday and another late Amtrak train. This week it was the Capitol Limited’s turn. The lead engine had a traction motor fire while going up Sand Patch grade Saturday evening, disabling the unit and necessitating a freight unit to continue.

This made it about 10 hours late into Pittsburgh where Norfolk Southern 7630, a GE ES40DC,  took over duties. With a freight engine leading, No. 29 could only go about 50 miles per hour and continued to lose more time en route.

I caught it at the sag near Beloit, Ohio, about 11:30 a.m. It cleared Berea about 2 p.m. and as I write this article at about 9:30 p.m. the train has still not arrived in Chicago.

It would later arrive at Chicago Union Station at 9:52 p.m., 13 hours and 7 minutes late.

Besides the late train doing a daylight run across Ohio and Indiana, which is interesting itself, the train had five private cars trailing including a former Union Pacific dome observation car bringing up the rear.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Amtrak Where You Don’t Normally See It

July 3, 2017

It isn’t every day that you an Amtrak train in Bellevue. The National passenger carrier has never run through here in scheduled service, only on detour moves.

Amtrak No. 49 takes the Toledo District in the mini plant in Bellevue on its circuitous detour

Crossing the Portage River in Oak Harbor.

On Sunday (July 2) Norfolk Southern was changing out the diamonds at Sandusky and Vickers (Toledo). As a result Amtrak 49, the westbound Lake Shore Limited, needed to detour through Bellevue.

Normally this would not have been an issue; however, it was running about 5 1/2 hours late when it reached Cleveland. The other Amtrak trains did not need to detour as they were on time.

No. 49 took the Sandusky district to Bellevue and the Toledo district west. It would have an interesting route to get to Toledo going past Ironville tower and the Wheeling Belt before regaining the Chicago Line. I didn’t chase the train that far however I was able to get a few photos at Bellevue and Oak Harbor Ohio.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

NC Service Disruptions Set for June 26

June 15, 2017

More service disruptions are in store for Amtrak in North Carolina due to Norfolk Southern track work.

On June 26, Piedmont Service Nos. 73 and 76 will be canceled without alternative transportation being provided.

Piedmont Nos. 74 and 75 will operate between Raleigh and Greensboro. There will be no service to High Point, Salisbury, Kannapolis and Charlotte.

The Carolinian will operate between New York and Greensboro. No service will be provided to High Point, Salisbury, Kannapolis and Charlotte.

Piedmont Disruptions Set for June 19

June 14, 2017

Norfolk Southern track work on June 19 will result in the cancellation of some Amtrak Piedmont trains and a shortened route for other trains.

Trains 73 and 76 will be canceled and no alternative service provided. Nos. 74 and 75 will operate only between Raleigh and Greensboro, North Carolina, only.

There will be no service at the other stations served of High Point, Salisbury, Kannapolis and Charlotte.

PennDot Might Sponsor Buses Before Amtrak Service Expands from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh

May 23, 2017

As the Pennsylvania Senate considers approving legislation designed to increase Amtrak service to Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is eyeing sponsoring bus service until Amtrak service can be expanded.

The state funds the Pittsburgh-New York Pennsylvanian and is considering funding additional Amtrak service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The Senate Transportation Committee recent voted unanimously in favor of a nine-month review study into adding two more passenger trains between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. The full Senate is expected to vote on the study proposal by the end of June.

The study would be conducted within nine months by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee.

The resolution also calls for looking at the prospect of adding service between Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

A number of steps would need to be taken before the service could become a reality, including making improvements to the Norfolk Southern tracks that the trains would use and negotiating agreements with Amtrak and NS. The route to be used is a busy NS freight line.

Western Pennsylvania interests have long noted that since 2000, the state has invested $400 million to increase passenger service between Harrisburg and Philadelphia from six trains to 14.

PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick said the agency welcomes the review of what it would take to increase passenger service but that earlier studies have shown it would cost $3.75 million to $6 million to add one more passenger train, plus capital improvements estimated at $100 million in 2005.

Kirkpatrick said that in other regions of the country bus service has been paired with Amtrak service.

He said a dedicated bus could connect western Pennsylvania cities with Amtrak’s Keystone Service in Harrisburg to New York and Philadelphia.