Posts Tagged ‘Texas Eagle’

Lounges to Remain Absent from 2 Trains

May 24, 2021

Sightseer Lounge cars won’t be returning to two long distance trains when they resume daily operation.

The Rail Passengers Association reported on its website that it has been told by Amtrak that the absence of the popular cars from the Capitol Limited and Texas Eagle is temporary.

“While temporary, we do not yet have a defined timeline for increasing Sightseer Lounge availability, and have placed the other five Western [long distance] routes at a higher priority for deploying these popular cars,” said Larry Chestler, Amtrak’s vice president of the Long-Distance business unit. “We also are maintaining the Sightseer Lounge on the City of New Orleans due to our long-standing axle count requirements in Illinois.”

That means the Capitol Limited and Texas Eagle will will continue to operate with a single food-service car.

Chestler said Amtrak has a shortage of the lounge cars due to coronavirus contingencies. He said the cars will be restored once it’s possible to do so.

The Capitol Limited is scheduled to return to daily operation on May 31 while the Texas Eagle will resume daily operation today (May 24).

In a related development, Amtrak expects to resume full-service dining aboard Western long distance trains as early as June. Last May it switched to the contemporary dining model as a response to COVID-19 pandemic.

The passenger carrier is recalling furloughed workers and getting them qualified.

RPA said it was told that once traditional dining returns to the Western trains, Amtrak will begin work on “improvements to dining services on other [long-distance] routes, including the Eagle.”

Tags: Amtrak onboard service, Amtrak Sightseer Lounge, Amtrak’s Capitol Limited, Amtrak’s Texas Eagle, Capitol Limited, COVID-19 pandemic, dining aboard Amtrak

An Eagle and a Commuter

May 21, 2021

Appearances to the contrary, the train the left is not an Amtrak train. It is a Trinity Railway Express commuter train using leased Amtrak equipment.

That included a pair of F40PH locomotives and two Horizon Fleet coaches.

On the next track over the Texas Eagle is making its daily stop at the Dallas Union Terminal. Note that the Eagle has a new P40 on the point and a veteran F40PH trailing.

When this image was made on March 4, 1997, such mixed motive power consists were not unusual and would continue through the late 1990s until the P42 fleet began arriving.

Springfield Property Owners Want Their Land Acquired for Railroad Relocation Project

September 2, 2020

Two property owners in Springfield, Illinois, whose land was not acquired as part of a railroad relocation project are asking that authorities acquire their homes.

The owners contend that construction from the $310 million Springfield Rail Improvement Project is disrupting their lives, has damaged their homes, driven down the value of their property and interfered with their quality of life.

The homes in question were not acquired because they did not meet Federal Railroad Administration rules for purchase.

Project managers said the properties in question were not acquired because the land was not needed.

A project engineer said all property needed for the relocation has been acquired.

The project is seeking to move rail traffic from a former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio line through downtown Springfield into a corridor east of downtown along a line owned by Norfolk Southern.

Amtrak’s Texas Eagle and Lincoln Service trains use the ex-GM&O route, which now is owned by Union Pacific.

Work on the rail relocation project, which has been in the planning stage for several years, began in 2014 is expected to be completed next year.

Departing Big D

June 3, 2020

Amtrak’s westbound Texas Eagle has completed its station work in Dallas. The conductor has given a highball and its time to depart for Fort Worth.

The guy in the blue shirt is an Amtrak conductor who will throw a switch behind the train after it leaves the station track and then get aboard the last car.

Note that when this image was made on March 6, 1997, Amtrak was still in the transition phase between Genesis locomotives and F40s.

The Genesis series was still new then and F40s has been relegated to trailing unit duty on the road.

It’s The Turboliner Era All Over Again

January 16, 2019

I posted earlier this month about how the promised “high speeds” on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor have yet to materialize despite $1.95 million having been spent to rebuild the route to allow for 110-mile per hour operation.

Instead, the top speed for Lincoln Service trains and the Texas Eagle is 79 mph, which means that Chicago-St. Louis trains go no faster than, say, Chicago-Carbondale trains.

Trains in the Chicago-St. Louis corridor did travel 110 mph for a time in what Amtrak spokesman Marc Magilari later described as a demonstration project.

So when are higher speeds finally going to become routine for Lincoln Service trains?

The latest word from the Illinois Department of Transportation is that we might see 90 mph speeds this year.

But 110 mph? IDOT won’t go there anymore in predicting when that will happen.

The explanation being given for the delay is the positive train control system that will make higher speeds possible is still being tested.

There is probably a lot of truth to that given that PTC is a relatively new form of technology.

But even when the PTC is ready to go, it will hardly make the Chicago-St. Louis corridor a high-speed operation.

IDOT has said 90 mph speeds will shave 15 minutes off the travel time from the Windy City to the Gateway City.

That doesn’t like seem like much given how much money has been spent on this project.

But then again this was never intended to result in a high-speed rail project even if it might have been framed that way.

The term high-speed rail gets thrown out a lot in this country and when it does many people think of super trains such as the Japanese Shinkansen, the German ICE or maybe even Amtrak’s Acela Express.

Some of those overseas trains have taken on mythical stature in American minds and when I give presentations on transportation history I’m often asked when the United States will have such trains outside the Northeast Corridor.

My standard answer is not in your lifetime because there is too much political opposition and not enough money to make it happen.

Even in Europe where transportation policy makers look more favorable on intercity rail transportation it can take at least a decade to develop a new rail line.

It is hardly news that even in a best-case scenario the efforts to develop the Chicago-St. Louis were never going to result in a high-speed rail line the length of the corridor.

At best it could result in a corridor with high-speed rail in some places but many other places where even 79 mph would be a dramatic improvement.

There is slower going in the Chicago and St. Louis terminals, but also in en route cities such as Springfield where city officials have been talking about putting all of the rail lines into a single corridor for as long as I can remember.

Every so often I run across a news story reporting some progress in those efforts, but it has been incremental.

No one has come up with a viable plan to boost speeds in metropolitan Chicago and St. Louis, only through the corn and soybean fields of the hinterlands.

All of this reminds me of when Amtrak introduced French-built Turboliners to the Chicago-St. Louis corridor in October 1973.

They were capable of traveling 125 mph but couldn’t go any faster than – you guessed it – 79 mph on track then owned by the Illinois Central Gulf.

Super fast running, though, was not the point of introducing the Turboliners an Amtrak official confided to the late David P. Morgan, the editor of Trains magazine.

The purpose of the Turboliners was to show Amtrak was doing something to improve intercity rail passenger service other than making cosmetic changes to equipment that had been built before, during or shortly after World War II.

Come to think of it, the same could be said about the money spent to rebuild the Chicago-St. Louis corridor.

It is a way of showing that something is being done to improve intercity rail service between two cities that if they were located in Europe or Asia would already have had frequent high-speed rail service.

Presumably, Amtrak and host railroad Union Pacific will get the kinks worked out and someday trains will cruise at 90 mph and, maybe, 110 mph.

The Turboliners would have been right at home there. But they were removed from service more than two decades ago and are now just a footnote in the history of a corridor still looking to become something better than what it has been since Amtrak started 47 years ago.

Track Work to Affect Lincoln Service, Texas Eagle

April 30, 2018

Track work being performed on May 4 by Union Pacific will affect certain Lincoln Service trains and the Texas Eagle between Chicago and St. Louis.

Train 300 will be cancelled with no alternate transportation provided. Train 302 will be canceled with bus service being provided to intermediate stops in Illinois at Alton, Carlinville, Springfield, Lincoln, Bloomington-Normal, Pontiac, Dwight, Joliet and Summit.

Bus 5002 will make limited intermediate stops at Alton, Springfield, Bloomington-Normal and Joliet.

Trains 301 and 303 will be cancelled. Alternate transportation will be provided for missed stops will be as follows

Bus 3301 will make all stops for Train 301 at Joliet, Pontiac, Bloomington-Normal, Springfield and Alton. Bus 3303 will make all stops for Train 303 at Summit, Joliet, Dwight, Pontiac, Bloomington-Normal, Lincoln, Springfield, Carlinville and Alton. Bus 5003 will make limited intermediate stops at Joliet, Bloomington-Normal, Springfield and Alton.

The Texas Eagle will detour between Chicago and St. Louis and miss all scheduled intermediate stops. Passengers traveling to points other than intermediate stations in Illinois will remain on the train.

No alternative transportation is being provided to the missed intermediate stations in Illinois. However, passengers for those points will be able to ride Lincoln Service trains or buses.

Nos. 21 and 22 may experience up to an hour of delay on the detour route. Buses may arrive or depart stations earlier than the train schedule.

 

Texas Eagle to Miss Arcadia Valley This Month

November 9, 2017

Due to Union Pacific track work, the Texas Eagle will be missing its scheduled station stop at Arcadia Valley, Missouri for most of November.

Nos. 21/22 are being detoured between St. Louis and Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and will not be passing through Arcadia Valley between Nov. 9 and 23.

Amtrak said in a service advisory that during this period alternative service will not be provided to or from Arcadia Valley.

New Amtrak Station Opens in Pontiac, Illinois

June 9, 2017

The new Amtrak station in Pontiac, Illinois, has opened along the Chicago-St. Louis corridor.

Served by Amtrak’s Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle trains, the facility cost $2.65 million to build.

The new station has 1,350-square-feet of space and is located a block south of the old station. The design featured a peaked roof, glass facade, and such amenities as pedestrian paths, free Wi-Fi, and parking for vehicles and bikes.

Funding for the station came from a federal grant administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

New stations on the Chicago-St. Louis route also are being planned for Lincoln, Carlinville and Alton, Illinois. The stations in Normal and Springfield will be renovated.

Texas Eagle Delayed 10 Hours En route to St. Louis

May 24, 2017

A detouring Texas Eagle this week got stuck behind a disabled freight train on Monday in Tuscola, Illinois, and wound up being delayed 10 hours.

The westbound Eagle had departed Chicago on time and was detouring over the former Chicago & Eastern Illinois route of Union Pacific due to track work being done on its regular route via Springfield, Illinois.

No. 21 did not arrive in St. Louis until 3:30 a.m. An Amtrak spokesperson said that a two-hour delay was expected, but not a 10-hour one.

“We were alerted by Amtrak that there might be some delays because apparently there is work on the track,” said passenger Janelle Jones. “Our first delay was about a three-hour standstill. They kept us pretty apprised of what was going on, they let people off the train for a smoke break and what not.

“Then we traveled for about an hour and then we stopped for another three hours. There was a lot of communication at that point that we were gonna get started as soon as possible. We rolled for about five minutes and then the communication stopped and we were at a standstill for another three hours. No one would tell us why we weren’t moving. Apparently, the crew had to switch out because they had been on board for 12 hours, so they were tired.”

Amtrak officials could not say when crew change occurred.

Jones said the café car was open until about 10 p.m.. “There were some hungry people on the train,” Jones said.

 

Texas Eagle to Detour in Texas May 24-June 21

May 16, 2017

The detours just keep coming for Amtrak’s Texas Eagle. Nos. 21 and 22 will detour in in Texas between Longview and Taylor starting May 24 and extending through June 21.

Passengers at intermediate stations will begin or end their journey on a chartered bus.

The buses will travel southbound from Longview and northbound from Austin.

The Eagle will not be serving Dallas or Fort Worth, but will be using a freight-only route that will be faster than the train’s normal route.

No. 21 will use a former Cotton Belt route between Big Sandy and Tyler, then a former Southern Pacific route to Corsicana, then the former Texas & New Orleans to Hearne, Texas, before getting on the former Missouri Pacific west to Taylor.

No. 22 will use the ex-MoPac from Taylor to Longview via Hearne, Buffalo, Palestine and Jacksonville.

“This detour will provide the opportunity for some unusual mileage for rare mileage fans,” Amtrak said in an email sent to ticketed passengers affected by the Texas detour.

No. 21 will depart all stations between Chicago and Longview one hour later than scheduled, but is expected to resume its regular schedule at Taylor.

No. 22 will operate on its regular schedule from San Antonio to Taylor, but run an hour earlier from Longview to Chicago.

The detour has been prompted by extensive track work by Union Pacific between Longview and Dallas.

The Texas detour will come on the heels of a detour between Chicago and St. Louis between May 16 and May 23, although No. 22 will use the detour route through May 24.

That rerouting involves the former Chicago & Eastern Illinois passenger route via Pana and Villa Grove, Illinois.