Posts Tagged ‘Union Pacific’

Amtrak Files STB Case Against Union Pacific

December 19, 2022

Amtrak wants the U.S. Surface Transportation board to order Union Pacific to give better handling to its New Orleans-Los Angeles Sunset Limited.

In a filing earlier this month, the passenger carries described the on-time performance of Nos. 1 and 2 as “abysmal” and blamed it on the operating practices of the host railroad.

According to Amtrak, delays occur most often when Amtrak is forced to follow a freight train that is too long to fit into existing passing sidings on the former Southern Pacific route.

Amtrak is seeking “damages and other relief” from UP. The case is the first of its kind to be brought under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, which gave the STB authority to investigate passenger on-time performance issues and how to address them.

The Amtrak STB filing contends that during federal fiscal year 2022, which ended last September, the Sunset Limited averaged more than 15 instances of freight train interference per trip, resulting in an average of more than four hours of delays.

During FY2022, Train No. 1 had on-time performances of 40 percent, 24 percent, 10 percent, and 11 percent for each respective quarter of the fiscal year.

The corresponding figures for Train No. 2 were 40 percent, 35 percent, 11 percent, and 7 percent.

Amtrak said UP was responsible for 74.2 percent of the delays, while the passenger carrier was responsible for 20.8 percent of the delays. Third parties were blamed for the remaining 5.1 percent of delays.

The passenger carrier has suggested that federal regulators consider the case in two phases, starting with an investigative phase to determine the cause of delays and a remedial phase to determine possible damages and corrective action.

Track Project Completed in Illinois

October 15, 2022

The Illinois Department of Transportation recently said work has been completed reconfiguring the Lenox interlocking plant northeast of St. Louis that is used by Amtrak.

The $10.1 million project was a joint endeavor by IDOT and the federal government.

Amtrak’s Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service trains as well as the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle pass through the interlocking.

The work involved razing the 97-year-old Lenox Tower, realigning four rail lines, increasing train speeds through the project area, decreasing passenger train travel times, and reducing time lost to blocked grade crossings.

Funding of the work included a $5.1 million federal Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grant, $2 million from Union Pacific, $1.3 million from IDOT, $1 million from Amtrak, $440,000 from BNSF, and $300,000 from Kansas City Southern.

Track Work to Disrupt Texas Eagle

August 2, 2022

Track work being performed by host railroad Union Pacific will affect operations of the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle on Aug. 7.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said Train 21 will terminate at Longview, Texas, with alternate transportation provided between Longview and Fort Worth, serving the intermediate stops of Mineola and Dallas.

Train 22 will terminate at Fort Worth, with alternate transportation provided between Fort Worth and Longview, serving the intermediate stops of Dallas and Mineola.

The bus pickup in Fort Worth is scheduled for 2 p.m. and passengers will need to show their train tickets to receive bus transportation.

Crossing Issues May Delay Pacific Surfliners, Coast Starlight North of Los Angeles

June 16, 2022

Amtrak has advised that Pacific Surliner trains and the Los Angeles-Seattle Coast Starlight are being subject to delay due to road crossing complications along the route.

The situation began June 16 and Amtrak did not say what those complications are or how long it will take to resolve them.

In a service advisory, the passenger carrier said delays could stretch to 30 minutes per train.

The affected area is between Camarillo and San Luis Obispo. The service advisory said host railroad Union Pacific is working to address the problems.

Track Work to Disrupt CZ on Aug. 10

August 5, 2021

Planned track work by host railroad Union Pacific in Moffat Tunnel will affect operations of the California Zephyr on Aug. 10.

Train 5 will operate as a train between Chicago and Denver, and Grand Junction and Emeryville. Alternate transportation will be provided between Denver and Grand Junction, making the intermediate stop at Glenwood Springs. No alternate transportation will be provided at Winter Park and Granby.

Train 6 will operate as a train between Emeryville and Grand Junction, and Denver and Chicago. Alternate transportation will be provided between Grand Junction and Denver, making the intermediate stop at Glenwood Springs. No alternate transportation will be provided at Granby and Winter Park.

Passengers traveling to Winter Park and Granby are encouraged to travel on alternate dates or use alternate stations.

Track Work to Disrupt Some Pacific Surfliners

August 5, 2021

Plans by host railroad Union Pacific to replace a bridge will disrupt some Pacific Surfliner service this month.

The bridge spans San Antonio Creek/Narlon on the Santa Barbara Subdivision of UP.

Between Aug. 8 and Aug. 23 Train 777 will terminate at Goleta. No alternate transportation will be provided for the missed stops of Lompoc-Surf, Guadalupe-Santa Maria, Grover Beach or San Luis Obispo.

Between Aug. 9 and Aug. 23, Train 774 will originate at Goleta. No alternate transportation will be provided for the missed stops of San Luis Obispo, Grover Beach, Guadalupe-Santa Maria or Lompoc-Surf.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said alternative transportation options include Trains 763, 768, 785 and 796, which have connecting bus service via buses 4763, 4768, 4785 and 4796 from Santa Barbara to/from Oakland.

Buses 6238 and 6241 will operate between Los Angeles and San Jose Monday through Friday. Buses 6286 and 6287 will operate between Los Angeles and San Jose on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

California Zephyr to Resume Running in Colorado

August 5, 2021

Amtrak’s California Zephyr will resume operating over its full route after host railroad Union Pacific reopened tracks in Colorado that had been blocked by mudslides.

The mudslides had halted the Zephyr between Denver and Grand Junction, Colorado, since July 30.

No. 5 leaving Chicago today (Aug. 5) and No. 6 leaving Emeryville, California, today will be the first to travel through Colorado.

Those trains are expected to pick up passengers who have been stranded since the mudslides disrupted service.

Both will travel through the affected areas on Friday (Aug. 6). The route through the Colorado Rockies is a former Denver & Rio Grande Western line.

The mudslides were triggered by heavy rains and were most pronounced in areas in which wildfires last year had burned.

Also affected was nearby Interstate 70, which was closed by mudslides as well.

No Date Yet for Coast Starlight Resumption Over Full Route

August 5, 2021

No date has been set yet to restore service to the full length of the Coast Starlight route between Los Angeles and Seattle.

The service was disrupted June 28 when fire damaged the Dry Canyon Bridge bridge in Northern California.

Amtrak said it is “actively working” with host railroad Union Pacific on a plan to restore service. The bridge has since been repaired and reopened to freight traffic since Aug. 1.

A bus bridge is operating between Sacramento, California, and Klamath Falls, Oregon, to connect trains operating on the northern and southern portions of the Coast Starlight route.

The bus bridge was cancelled on July 1 but resumed on July 16, Trains magazine reported that booking travel on the Coast Starlight has been difficult because Amtrak has only placed tickets on sale a few days in advance.

Mudslides Block California Zephyr Route

August 3, 2021

Amtrak’s California Zephyr was suspended last weekend on part of its route due to mudslides in Glenwood Canyon near Glenwood, Colorado.

The mudslides also blocked adjacent Interstate 70, which precluded Amtrak from providing alternative transportation between Denver and Grand Junction, Colorado.

Trains already en route on Friday, Saturday and Sunday turned back at Denver and Grand Junction.

Passengers were given the option of returning to point of origin or waiting for the line to reopen.

Those who had not yet departed on their trip were offered assistance with rebooking their trip or receiving a refund of their fare.

A spokeswoman for host railroad Union Pacific said mudslides blocked tracks at 10 locations.

She said workers hoped to get the line open by early Monday but said that was contingent on weather conditions.

An Amtrak spokeswoman said Amtrak considered rerouting Nos. 5 and 6 through Wyoming but was unable to arrange that.

Passengers aboard trains departing on Sunday from Chicago and Emeryville, California, were told their train might not be able to pass through Glenwood Canyon on Monday.

Amtrak Tweeted early Tuesday morning that Train No. 5 was back on the move but running five hours, 35 minutes late due to earlier track closures between Denver and Grand Junction.

Bus Bridge Operating Overnight For Coast Starlight Passengers

July 21, 2021

A fire that damaged a bridge in Oregon used by Amtrak’s Coast Starlight has left passengers having to ride a bus overnight between Sacramento and Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Trains 11 and 14 are operating between Los Angeles and Sacramento, and between Seattle and Klamath Falls.

However, the situation will change between July 31 and Aug. 3, when the bus bridge will be canceled due to track work by host railroad Union Pacific.

The damaged bridge is on UP’s Black Butte Subdivision. The fire occurred June 28 and the bridge isn’t expected to reopen until at least Sept. 1.

At present, Train 11 is operating between Seattle and Klamath Falls, then as Bus 3011 between Klamath Falls and Sacramento and then as Train 1011 between Sacramento and Los Angeles.

Train 14 is operating Train 14 from Los Angeles to Sacramento, then as Bus 3014 from Sacramento to Klamath Falls and then as Train 1014 from Klamath Falls to Seattle.

All of this will change between July 31 and Aug. 3. During that period, trains will operate between Los Angeles and Sacramento but there will be no service north of Sacramento.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said no alternative transportation is being offered between Seattle and Sacramento during that period.

Instead, Amtrak urged Coast Starlight passengers traveling between Seattle and Eugene, Oregon, to ride an Amtrak Cascades service train.

The operating pattern will change again on Aug. 4, when buses will resume operating between Sacramento and Klamath Falls and trains will resume between Seattle and Klamath Falls.

The service advisory said this will remain in effect through Sept. 7.

Checked baggage is not being handled on trains or buses between Eugene and Sacramento. Passengers will be limited to two piece of luggage per person.

Bicycles, pets and checked firearms will not be permitted on Buses 3011 and 3014 between Sacramento and Klamath Falls or on Trains 11 and 1014 between Klamath Falls and Eugene.

Buses 3011 and 3014 will make all intermediate station stops as well as a planned en route rest stop at a Pilot Travel Center with retail vendors offering food and beverages.

A report on the Trains magazine website said Amtrak has temporarily blocked passengers from making reservations for travel on the Coast Starlight at any time during the service disruption.

Those attempting to book travel through were told that the service was either sold out or “we don’t have train service matching your request.”

An Amtrak spokeswoman told Trains that the blocking of new reservations was being done to ensure that passengers whose travel plans were affected by the service disruption are able to be accommodated.

She would not say when Amtrak plans to resume allowing new reservations to be booked for Coast Starlight travel.

The Trains report said would-be travelers had been able for a time to book travel on the Sacramento-Los Angeles segment where continues to operate with coach and business class cars, sleepers, “traditional” dining service for sleeping-car passengers, and a Sightseer lounge car.

Identical equipment has been assigned to trains operating between Seattle and Klamath Falls.

The Trains report said the blocking of reservations for any city pairs on the Coast Starlight route began early last week.

The Amtrak spokeswoman said Amtrak is working with those who already held reservations aboard Nos. 11 and 14 “to modify their reservation to their liking.”

She said four buses are being used between Sacramento and Klamath Falls with the option to increase or decrease that number as needed.