Posts Tagged ‘St. Louis-Kansas City Corridor’

Private Car Offering Trips on Amtrak Midwest Corridor Trains

June 4, 2021

A former Seaboard Air Line observation car will operate on Amtrak corridor trains in the Midwest in July, September and October.

The car is the Hollywood Beach, which was built in 1956. The trips being offered will feature guides from the Midwest Rail Rangers group.

The first trips will operated between St. Louis and Kansas City July 23-25 with ticket proceeds being used to help restore 1939 Seaboard observation car No. 6400.

The trip departs St. Louis at 4 p.m. on July 23, arriving in Kansas City at 9:40 p.m. After a free day in Kansas City, the return trip departs Kansas City for St. Louis at 8:15 a.m. on July 25.

Tickets are $500 per person. No one way tickets are available although some passengers may be able to board at an intermediate station.

For further information or to buy a ticket, contact John Owen at ontrackkentucky@gmail.com or at 502-416-8143.

A St. Louis to Chicago one way trip will operate on Sept. 23, departing St. Louis at 5:30 p.m. and arriving in Chicago at 11:10 p.m.

Midwest Rail Ranger guides will provide narration between St. Louis and Springfield, Illinois.

Tickets are $299 and may be obtained by contacting Ketih White at onecniccat@prodigy.net or 708 446-1269.

A Chicago to St. Louis one way trip will run Oct. 4, leaving Chicago at 9:25 a.m. and arriving in St. Louis at 3 p.m. Midwest Rail Rangers guides will provide narration for the entire route.

Tickets are $299 and available from Ketih White.

Fares include meals, hors d’oeuvres, snacks and drinks. No personal food or beverages are allowed aboard the car.

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.

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.

Amtrak Trims More Service, Brightline Suspended

March 26, 2020

Additional Amtrak service reductions have been announced and Florida intercity rail passenger operator Brightline has suspended all service.

The latest Amtrak cancellations include reducing the level of service of Missouri River Runner service effective March 30

The two daily roundtrips between St. Louis and Kansas City will be cut to one with trains leaving Kansas City at 8:15 a.m. and St. Louis at 4 p.m.

The St. Louis-Kansas City corridor was the last in the Midwest to be unaffected by the COVID pandemic-induced service reductions.

Effective today Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has ordered all Amtrak in that state to be suspended.

The Vermonter, which normally operates between Washington and St. Albans, Vermont, will not operate north of New Haven, Connecticut.

On its reduced schedule, the Vermonter will not operate on Sundays.

The Ethan Allen Express, which normally operates between New York and Rutland, Vermont, will not operate north of Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

Scott said he took the action after consulting with Amtrak. He also issued a stay-at-home order for residents of his state and directed the closure of in-person, nonessential businesses in order to minimize unnecessary activities outside of homes.

In Florida, Brightline, which is owned by Virgin Trains USA, laid off 250 of its more than 300 South Florida workers this week.

Brightline said on Wednesday that it was suspending all service in the wake of the pandemic.

The layoffs included Bob O’Malley, vice president of corporate development.

In a statement, Brightline said it hoped to rehire most of its workers once service resumes, but said it could not say when that might be.

A report in the Miami Herald said more than 700 construction workers on a project to extend Brightline track to Orlando remain employed.

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.

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.

 

Missouri River Runners Remain Suspended

May 28, 2019

Passengers booked aboard Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner trains between St. Louis and Kansas City will continue to ride chartered buses through at least Wednesday (May 29).

Amtrak said in a service advisory that host railroad Union Pacific continues to divert freight trains to the route used by the River Runners.

Nos. 311, 313, 314 and 316 had been suspended last week after flooding occurred near Kansas City.

Originally, the suspension of the River Runners was to last through Saturday, but was extended.

Amtrak said the substitute buses will operate as close as possible to the train schedules and will pick up and drop off passengers at all stations served by the train.