Posts Tagged ‘Union Pacific Railroad’

UP Completes PTC Installation on Required Routes

February 7, 2019

Positive train control systems have been installed on all Union Pacific route miles that are required by law to have it.

In a news release, UP said this included passenger train routes.

The carrier said it is now seeking to ensure that PTC will be interoperable with other freight and passenger railroads operating on its tracks by the federal government’s deadline of Dec. 31, 2020.

UP said that in the last three months of 2018 it had trained 606 employees on PTC operations, bringing the total number of employees trained to 26,610, or 100 percent.

It also during that period of time increasing by 1,095 the number of PTC implemented PTC route miles, bringing the total number of route miles in PTC operations to 13,015 or 76 percent.

Four out of the five passenger-rail carriers are now operating PTC-equipped trains over UP lines.

With the Federal Railroad Administration’s conditional approval of its PTC safety plan in April 2017, UP now is running PTC operations on more than 13,000 miles in 21 states.

Denver-Cheyenne Steam Train Discontinued

January 22, 2019

It could be a bump in the road or a harbinger of things to come but the The Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Train has been discontinued.

It was the last annual steam-powered mainline excursion train in the United States.

The cancellation might have more to do with the financial woes of the sponsoring newspaper or it could be a sign that Union Pacific is scaling back its steam operations.

The Post has in recent years dramatically cut back its staff, drawing howls of protest from journalists, including those working for the Post.

In an interview with a Trains magazine correspondent a top-ranking UP executive said the future of the railroad’s steam program has yet to be determined beyond this year.

In an announcement posted on its website, the Post said, “While we have enjoyed our partnership with Union Pacific, due to the company’s utilization of its historic rail cars in 2019 and beyond, The Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Train will no longer operate. On behalf of The Denver Post and The Denver Post Community Foundation, we thank you for your past support and participation and hope we have an opportunity for continued support in the future.”

The rodeo train dates to the early 1900s and at one point the operators of the train had to conduct a lottery to accommodate ticket demand.

UP plans to operates its steam locomotive fleet this year, including the newly restored 4-8-8-4 Big Boy No. 4014.

Those locomotives are expected to operate in May during the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad.

X Rail Eyeing 2019 Start to Vegas Service

January 13, 2019

The proposed X Train between Las Vegas and Southern California could start operations in mid 2019.

X Rail Entertainment, a unit of United Rail, said the train will make the trip in 4.5 hours over tracks of Union Pacific and BNSF.

It will operate one round trip per week, departing for Las Vegas on Fridays and returning on Sundays.

X Rail said it has acquired the equipment needed for the service and the necessary necessary agreements are in place.

It also said the trip time could be cut to 3.5 hours after infrastructure improvements are completed along the route allowing for higher-speed service.

Eventually, the company said it plans to open  a 500-room hotel above its Las Vegas station.

Funeral Train to Convey Bush in Texas

December 5, 2018

The body of President George H.W. Bush will travel via the Union Pacific on Thursday in Texas.

The Bush Funeral Train will operate from the Westfield Auto Facility at Spring, Texas, near Houston to College Station, Texas.

The passenger special is expected to depart at 1 p.m. and arrive 70 miles later at 3:25 p.m. at a location near Kyle Stadium, where Texas A&M plays its football games.

Motive power is expected to be provided by UP SD70ACe No. 4141, which is painted in Air Force One colors in tribute to Bush and his presidential museum and library.

Steam Excursions: Iowa Interstate to Run Steam in 2019, UP Might Continue Steam Program Beyond Next Year

December 4, 2018

The Iowa Interstate has announced that it will operate steam excursions in 2019 to benefit an Iowa volunteer fire department in Menlo.

The Iowa excursions will run on June 29 and are expected to be pulled by QJ-type 2-10-2 No. 6988.

The parent company of the regional railroad, Railroad Development Corporation, owns two Chinese-built steamers, neither of which has operated since 2012.

Iowa Interstate also has said there will be a second QJ operation next summer.
Tickets are priced at $14 for adults, $7 for children 12 and under and can be purchased by calling 641-524-536 or writing to Train Ride, 517 7th Street, Menlo, Iowa, 50164.

In related development, Union Pacific’s CEO has signaled that although the future of his railroad’s steam program is uncertain, it may continue it beyond 2019.

“We’re not sure. But right now, nothing,” Lance Fritz told Trains magazine when asked about the future of the program.

Fritz noted UP will operate several steam trips in 2019. “After that, there’s no sacred cow but I don’t have any plan to do anything different than what we’re doing right now,” he said.

Questions about the programs future have arisen because the railroad is seeking to reduce its expenses and is shifting operating to the precision scheduled railroading model.
Fritz acknowledged the steam program generates a lot of positive attention for the railroad but much of it comes from railfans.

“The question is: Is that a big value add versus what’s required to maintain it. It’s not that big of an asset burden. So it’s not like the math is complex. But we’re not even worried about that math right now. For 2019 we’ve got a big program.”

Utah Wildfire Disrupts California Zephyr

September 17, 2018

A wildfire disrupted operations of Amtrak’s California Zephyr on Monday in Utah.

The fire temporarily closed Union Pacific’s former Denver & Rio Grande Western route east of Provo.

No. 5 that that left Chicago on Sept. 15 was halted at Grand Junction, Colorado, on late Sunday.

No. 6 that left Emeryville, California, on Sept. 16 was able to make it through the fire zone after the tracks briefly reopened, but railroad officials quickly closed them for safety reasons.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the CZ section that halted at Grand Junction later returned to Denver on Monday morning.

That equipment will remain in Denver and became No. 6 on Tuesday. The section that left  Emeryville on Monday will operate only as far east as Reno, Nevada.

The westbound Zephyr that departed Chicago on Sunday will take the Overland Route via the Borie Cutoff and operate via Rock Springs, Wyoming, and Ogden, Utah to Salt Lake City.

Passengers going to intermediate stops between Denver and Salt Lake City will be taken to their destination by bus.

Trains leaving Chicago on Monday and Emeryville on Tuesday will operate via the Overland detour if the normal route east of Provo remain closed.

“For the next few days, detours or service cancellations will affect Amtrak travel between Reno and Denver, including Salt Lake City. Customers can cancel and reschedule without penalties,” Magliari said.

Coast Starlight Route Remains Severed, Amtrak Stops Busing Passengers Around the Site of UP Tunnel Colapse

June 18, 2018

Amtrak has stopped providing bus service to Coast Starlight passengers seeking to travel around the site of a collapsed Union Pacific tunnel in Oregon.

It means that the Coast Starlight for now is operating only Los Angeles and Sacramento, California.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the passenger carrier found it unsustainable to bus people overnight between Sacramento and Eugene.

The tunnel collapsed on May 29 near Oakridge on the Cascade Subdivison. This is a former Southern Pacific route.

The tunnel collapse affected 40 to 50 feet of track and was triggered by maintenance work being done on the tunnel. No one was injured.

UP has said that earliest that service will be restored in the affected area is June 23.

In the meantime, Amtrak said no alternate transportation is being provided to missed stops at Chico, Redding, Dunsmuir, Klamath Falls, Chemult, Eugene, Albany, Salem, Vancouver, Portland, Kelso, Centralia, Olympia-Lacey, Tacoma and Seattle.

Passengers traveling to points between Eugene and Seattle are being directe to Amtrak Cascade Service trains and their connecting Amtrak Thruway buses.

During the service disruption, Nos. 11 and 14 will not have sleeping or dining car service.


Texas Eagle Detouring Again

April 3, 2018

Union  Pacific track work again has the Texas Eagle detouring in Illinois and has disrupted some Lincoln Service trains through April 5.

Lincoln Service trains are operating only between Chicago and Normal, Illinois, with alternate transportation being provided to missed stops at Lincoln, Springfield, Carlinville, Alton and St. Louis.

Amtrak said that St. Louis to Normal buses will operate earlier than the train schedule at St. Louis, Alton, Carlinville, Springfield and Lincoln.

Normal to St. Louis buses will operate later than the train schedule at Bloomington, Lincoln, Springfield, Carlinville and Alton.

The Texas Eagle will detour in both directions between Chicago and St. Louis via a former Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad route via Tuscola, Illinois.

Nos. 21 and 22 will miss all intermediate stops at Joliet, Pontiac, Bloomington-Normal, Lincoln, Springfield, Carlinville and Alton.

No alternate transportation is provided southbound. Instead, passengers are being referred to Lincoln Service trains and substitute buses.

However, northbound Texas Eagle passengers traveling to points in Illinois will be able to detrain in St. Louis and transfer to Bus 3022.

Amtrak said in a service advisory that Nos. 21 and 22 may be delayed up to 60 minutes by the detour move.

Track Work Disrupts Coast Starlight

March 27, 2018

Track work being undertaken this week by Union Pacific through March 29 is disrupting operations of Amtrak’s Coast Starlight.

Train No. 14 will miss its connection to Train No. 28 (Empire Builder) at Portland, Oregon, with no alternative transportation provided except on March 25.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that Train No. 14 will also miss its connection to Bus 8914. Passengers with tickets for Bus 8914 on these dates should call 800-USA-RAIL to change their reservation.

Track Work Disrupts Lincoln Service

March 6, 2018

Track work being done by Union Pacific disrupted some Lincoln Service trains today between St. Louis and Springfield, Illinois.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that Trains 301 and 303 were to operate between Chicago and Springfield only with alternate transportation provided to and from Carlinville, Alton and St. Louis. However, bus service was not provided to Carlinville for Train 301.

Trains 304 and 305 were to operate between Springfield and Chicago only. Bus service was being provided to and from St. Louis, Alton and Carlinville.

Buses 3301, 3303, 3304 and 3306 were to depart up to 80 minutes earlier than the respective trains in St. Louis, Alton and Carlinville.