Posts Tagged ‘Union Pacific Railroad’

Alton Amtrak Outings Set for April 22, 23

March 25, 2017

Two excursions are being planned by the American Association of Railroaders to celebrate the end of Amtrak service to the railroad station in Alton, Illinois, on April 22 and 23.

Passengers will board a Lincoln Service Amtrak train at the Alton depot on both days and spend two hours at a yet to be named site in Missouri for about two hours before turning to Alton late that afternoon.

Capacity is limited and passengers will receive a boxed lunch and beverage. During the trips Rich Eichhorst of the St. Louis-based non-profit educational and historical organization will provide commentary about the railroad and sights along the way.

Ticket are $29 for adults and $24 for children age 11 or younger and can be ordered from AAR, 9600 Tesson Ferry Road, St. Louis MO 63123.

All requests must include the legal name and age of each passenger; choice of travel date; home address and telephone number; and a self-addressed, stamped envelope. For more information, go to: http://www.aarstl.org.

The Alton station, located at 3400 College Ave., was built about 1928 by the Alton Road, later the Gulf Mobile & Ohio.

It is set to be replaced in late June or early July when the Alton Regional Multi-Modal Transportation Center opens.

Depot owner Union Pacific Railroad has indicated the station will be razed unless a non-profit agency takes possession of the station and move it to another location.

UP Derailment Led to Ski Train Cancellation

March 14, 2017

A Union Pacific derailment resulted in cancellation of the Winter Park Express between Denver and Winter Park, Colorado, last Saturday.

Passengers who had tickets for the March 11 ski train were offered the opportunity to rebook on another ski train, which has two more weekends to operate.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told Trains magazine that about 500 seats had been sold for the trip that was canceled.

The westbound California Zephyr was held for more than four hours at Denver before it was permitted to proceed. It lost another two hours waiting for the tracks to be cleared at the derailment site.

The derailment did not materially affect the eastbound California Zephyr on Saturday. The ski train operated as scheduled on Sunday.

News reports indicate that 10 empty freight cars on a UP train derailed on a curve on the Moffat Subdivision.

Alton Seeking Buyer For its Amtrak Station

January 23, 2017

Alton, Illinois, is making a push to save its existing Amtrak station, which once served the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad.

300px-Lincoln_Service_map.svgThe city has created a marketing brochure with the goal of finding a buyer for the station, which will close once the new Alton Regional Multi Modal Transportation Center opens later this year.

The current depot, located on College Avenue, will close and the city has a year to sell or demolish it.

Because the station is located next to tracks owned by Union Pacific, any buyer will need to follow guidelines established by the railroad as to what uses of the property can be made.

The new owner, though, would have the option of moving the station building to a new location.

The city is working with the Alton Area Landmarks Association in seeking a buyer for the property.

Alton is served by the Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

Service Disruptions Loom for Texas Eagle, Crescent

December 29, 2016

Service disruptions will affect the Texas Eagle and Crescent in early 2017.

Amtrak logoBetween Jan. 9 and 15, the Chicago-San Antonio train will not stop at Arcadia, Missouri. It will detour on those dates between St. Louis and Poplar Bluff, Missouri, due to Union Pacific track work.

Track work being done by Norfolk Southern will result in passengers ticketed aboard the New York-New Orleans Crescent riding buses between Atlanta and New Orleans.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said Nos. 19 and 20 will not operate on the following days south of Atlanta:

Southbound Train 19: Sunday through Wednesday on Jan. 8-11, 15-18, 22-25; Jan. 29-Feb. 1; and Feb. 5-8, 12-15 and 19-22.

Northbound Train 20: Monday through Thursday on Jan. 9-12, 16-19, 34-26; Jan. 30-Feb. 2; and Feb. 6-9, 13-16 and 20-23.

Intermediate stations affected are Anniston, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa in Alabama; Meridian, Laurel, Hattiesburg and Picayune in Mississippi, and Slidell, Louisiana.

On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays No. 19 will operate normally at all intermediate stations between Atlanta and New Orleans. Train No. 20 will have normal operations at those stations on  Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Amtrak First Day Timetables

December 6, 2016

009

One of the many forgotten footnotes from Amtrak’s early years is how on May 1, 1971, many of Amtrak’s contract railroads published timetables just as they had done for decades.

But what was different is that these folders had notices on the cover that the trains shown were being operated under contract for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, which is Amtrak’s formal name.

I have in my collection 10 timetables issued by the following contract railroads on May 1, 1971: Burlington Northern; Illinois Central; Penn Central; Chesapeake & Ohio; Seaboard Coast Line; Southern Pacific; Union Pacific; Louisville & Nashville; and Richmond, Frederickburg & Potomac.

I do not have a first day timetable published by the Santa Fe, although I do have schedules/travel guides published by the AT&SF for Amtrak trains that the Santa Fe operated. Likewise, I do not have a first day timetable published by Gulf, Mobile & Ohio, although I have one dated Sept. 27, 1971.

I’ve never seen an Amtrak timetable published by Missouri Pacific even though MoPac handled the St. Louis-Kansas City leg of a New York-Kansas City train.

Some railroads that joined Amtrak did not host any trains and had no need to publish a timetable. These included the Baltimore & Ohio, Chicago & North Western, Central of Georgia, Delaware & Hudson, Grand Trunk Western, Norfolk & Western, and Northwestern Pacific.

The railroad-published Amtrak timetables generally used the same design and style as those published by those roads in the immediate years before Amtrak. But some were bare bones products that did little more than show timetables and were printed on newsprint.

Some railroads published a timetable on May 1 and that was it. But other railroads, IC and PC being notable examples, continued to publish their own Amtrak timetables well into 1972.

Shown above is a portion of my collection of first day Amtrak timetables. These railroad published timetables might be found at railroad flea markets and shows oriented toward timetable collecting, but I’ve seen few of them at general railroad collectible shows.

The railroads probably did not publish that many of these timetables and most of those printed have long since been discarded.

Nonetheless, these folders are among the most prizes pieces in my collection of Amtrak memorabilia. You can click on the image to enlarge it.

 

Springfield Rail Relocation Work Begins

November 1, 2016

Work has begun to get Amtrak out of the street in Springfield, Illinois.

300px-Lincoln_Service_map.svgAmtrak’s Chicago-St. Louis trains have partial street running on Third Street in Springfield, but the plans are to add an additional track to a Norfolk Southern line (former Wabash) and move rail traffic off the Union Pacific (former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio) line now used by the Texas Eagle and Lincoln Service trains.

Demotion of a building has begun to clear space for parking for Horace Mann Educators, which will lose parking spaces due to some of its land being used for an expanded railroad right of way along 10th Street.

The building being razed at 100 N. Ninth St. had housed offices of the Salvation Army, which is moving to another location.

Another demolition that is expected to begin in the coming weeks will remove a building at 901 E. Adams St. at  the site of future transit transfer center for the Springfield Mass Transit District that will open in 2017.

SMTD currently operates an on-street transfer operation at Fifth and Capitol.

Eventually the site will become a multi-modal center used by Amtrak, intercity buses and other public transportation services. City officials expect the area on both sides of the 10th Street rail corridor to develop into a retail-commercial area.

For now, Amtrak and UP freight trains will continue to use the ex-GM&O tracks along Third Street.

Track Work to Close Normal Streets, Work Expected to Begin on Second Platform

May 6, 2016

Track work on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor will close a major intersection in Normal, Illinois, while construction also is expected to get underway soon on the installation of a second platform at the Amtrak station in that city.

The track work is connected with the ongoing project to upgrade the route used by Lincoln Service trains and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle for higher speed service.

City officials said that several crossings will be closed on a rolling basis to perform work that is expected to result in Amtrak trains being able to travel at speeds of up to 110 mph through Bloomington-Normal.

The first of those crossings to be closed is University at Beaufort streets, which is near the Illinois State University campus.

City Manager Mark Peterson said the crossing will be closed for three weeks and given new safety equipment.

300px-Lincoln_Service_map.svg“Starting in late June, they’ll be going through the community doing intersections [one at a time],” Peterson said. “It’ll be a traffic disruption, no doubt about it, in the late summer probably going into the fall.”

The high-speed service through the twin cities is expected to begin in 2017.

Peterson said the second platform construction work would begin in late May or early June.

The station work will cost $2.5 million. The platform won’t be placed into service until a temporary grade crossing is completed to connect the new platform with the station.

The new platform is being built on the south side of the tracks while the station is on the north side.

Peterson said that the platform-to-station crossing project will cost up to $1 million and is awaiting approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad.

“We’ve done everything we can do,” he said. “It will probably (start construction) late summer or early fall” and be open by spring 2017.

Eventually, city officials expect to replace the temporary crossing with an underpass that is expected to cost $11 million and enable pedestrians to move between the area north of the station to the Uptown South district. That underpass could cost up to $11 million.

City workers are still putting together a request for proposals for a two-year feasibility study that must be completed for the underpass project.

Track Work Disrupts Some Lincoln Service Trains

April 29, 2016

Track work being performed by Union Pacific between May 2 and 5 will disrupt Amtrak’s Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle trains in Illinois with some passengers having to completion a portion of their trip aboard a bus.

Amtrak Texas EagleIn a service advisory Amtrak said trains 301 and 303 will operate normally from Chicago to Springfield, but passengers will ride a bus between Springfield and St. Louis.

The bus schedules will be identical to those of the trains they are replacing and stop at intermediate stations in Illinois at Carlinville and Alton.

Bus service will be provided from St. Louis to Springfield for trains 304 and 306 and passengers continuing north of Springfield will ride a train.

Amtrak said the buses will operate 75 minutes earlier than the corresponding times for Nos. 304 and 306 and serve all intermediate stations.

The Texas Eagle in both directions will depart all stations on its route two hours and 45 minutes later than the times shown in Amtrak’s printed timetables.

Train 21/321 departing Chicago on May 2, 3 and 4 will arrive in San Antonio on May 3, 4 and 5 respectively.

Train 1021 departing Chicago on May 5 will arrive in San Antonio on May 6. No. 421 departing Chicago on May 3 will arrive in Los Angeles on May 5.

Group Eyes Eau Claire-St. Paul Rail Service

January 28, 2016

A group of western Wisconsin residents is seeking to bring back intercity rail passenger service to Eau Claire, which has not seen a passenger train in 52 years.

The West Central Wisconsin Rail Coalition was formed in 1999 and is seeking to convince transportation officials in Wisconsin and Minnesota to develop an Eau Claire-Menomonie-Hudson rail passenger corridor.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has been studying development of rail passenger routes from the Twin Cities to Duluth, Rochester and Eau Claire.

WisconsinThe Wisconsin Department of Transportation has been focusing more on improving the Amtrak Hiawatha Service between Milwaukee and Chicago, but has also collaborated with Minnesota officials in seeking to develop addition intercity rail passenger service between Chicago and the Twin Cities.

The West Central group hopes to persuade transportation officials to route trains through Eau Claire via a Union Pacific route that once  hosted the famed Chicago & North Western 400 trains between Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul that ran 400 miles in 400 minutes.

They have pointed to information from MnDOT showing that more than 100,000 vehicles cross the St. Croix River at Hudson every day with many of those drivers coming from the St. Croix and Chippewa valleys.

MnDOT has estimated that rail service could attract 1,000 to 1,400 passengers a day, which would be 5 percent of the travel market and potentially enough to cover the daily operating cost of rail service.

The West Central group believes that there is a market for four daily roundtrips between Eau Claire and St. Paul. Fares would range between $25 to $40. With an 80-mph speed limit, trains could cover the distance in an hour and 15 minutes.

A public-private partnership might be needed to make the service a reality.

The West Central group formed an organizing council last year that will explore financing options as well as capital needs to rebuild the track between Eau Claire and the Twin Cities.

The service would not necessarily be provided by Amtrak. The West Central group pointed to the public-private partner behind All Aboard Florida and noted that Iowa Pacific Holdings took over from Amtrak the Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State.

To learn more about the coalition, go to http://www.westwisconsinrail.org, or http://www.facebook.com/westcentralwisconsinrail, or twitter.com/WestWisRail

Missouri River Runners Back in Service, CONO, Texas Eagle Still Have Mid Route Bus Bridges

January 5, 2016

The Missouri River Runners returned to service over their entire route on Sunday, but the City of New Orleans and Texas Eagle continue to have mid-route bus substitutions until Thursday due to flooding in the Midwest.

The St. Louis-Kansas City River Runners had been replaced by buses over their entire route, but then resumed service between Kansas City and Jefferson City.

Buses have replaced the City of New Orleans between Carbondale, Illinois, and Memphis, and have replaced the Eagle between St. Louis and Little Rock, Arkansas.

The route of the Eagle follows the Mississippi River south of St. Louis for about 20 miles. On the City of New Orleans route, the flooding has involved the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois.

In both instances the host railroads, Union Pacific on the Eagle route and Canadian National on the City of Orleans route, embargoed traffic.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told Trains magazine that it expected to have enough bus space available for last-minute bookings about the Eagle for travel to and from Texas.