Posts Tagged ‘Union Pacific’

FRA Taps Existing Cascade Route in Oregon

May 10, 2021

The Federal Railroad Administration selected the existing Amtrak Cascades route in a Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said this makes the agency eligible to pursue grants for route improvements between Eugene and Portland on tracks owned by Union Pacific.

ODOT said that work will be conducted within the existing right-of-way and therefore improvements may be “separated into relatively small, lower-cost elements” so the work may be done “incrementally as funding becomes available.”

Service Facility to Aid Pacific Surfliner Expansion

March 13, 2021

A new service facility has been proposed for the route used by Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliners.

The Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency said the facility would enable expansion of service.

The new yard would be constructed on 8.3 acres of mostly vacant Union Pacific property in San Luis Obispo, California, and provide maintenance and storage for equipment used by Pacific Surfliner trains.

Officials said the facility will enable expansion by allowing additional trains to lay over at night.

That could mean a second southbound morning departure.

The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission was to discuss the project this week and allow for public comment.

However, that agency has no regulatory authority over the project because it is being undertaken by a state agency.

UP Derailment Hindered Amtrak Service

February 18, 2021

A Union Pacific derailment last Saturday hindered Amtrak service in Normal, Illinois, leading to the cancellation of some Lincoln Service trains.

UP derailed 16 cars of an intermodal train, the ZG4MQ-13, damaging the track and blocking several grade crossings.

Lincoln Service Train 300 terminated at Springfield, Illinois, and Trains 303, 306, and 307 were canceled.

The northbound Texas Eagle detoured between St. Louis and Chicago, missing seven intermediate stops.

Passengers traveling between St. Louis and Chicago were offered alternative transportation.

Further complications occurred a few days later when fire broke out during the wreck site cleanup process.

Authorities said the fire was caused by refrigeration units on some of the containers being hauled by the intermodal train that derailed.

The fire damaged the vinyl siding of an adjacent apartment building.

The derailment of the southbound train came within 25 feet of an Illinois State University student housing building.

One track was reopened to rail traffic on Sunday, but Amtrak cancelled two Lincoln Service trains and shorted the route of another.

UP and Federal Railroad Administration officials were conducting an investigation into the cause of the derailment.

Eau Claire Council OKs Rail Commission

January 14, 2021

The city council of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, has approved creating a passenger rail commission.

The council voted in favor of a resolution to establish the Chippewa-St. Croix Rail Commission, which will study developing service between Eau Claire and St. Paul, Minnesota.

The route would use existing Union Pacific track that once was operated by the Chicago & North Western.

Intermediate stations on the 80-mile route are expected to be Menomonie, Baldwin, Hudson, and Stillwater.

The commission hopes to be joined by other communities and the West Central Wisconsin Rail Coalition on the project.

Eau Claire has been without intercity rail passenger service since the 1960s.

Wisconsin City Eyes Rail Commission

January 13, 2021

A Wisconsin city is considering forming a rail commission that would help develop rail passenger service to St. Paul, Minnesota.

The city council of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, was expected to vote on the proposal at its Jan. 13 meeting.

A resolution being considered by council members would establish the Chippewa-St. Croix Rail Commission.

Other municipal and county governments could join the commission.

The proposed 80-mile route would use Union Pacific tracks that once hosted the famed Chicago & Northwestern 400 trains between Chicago and the Twin Cities.

Intermediate stops would include Meonomie, Baldwin, Hudson and Stillwater.

If created the commission would pursue grants and public-private partnerships.

Denver Ski Train Won’t Operate in 2021

October 1, 2020

Amtrak announced this week is has canceled its Winter Park Express ski train for the 2021 season, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

A joint statement by Amtrak, host railroad Union Pacific and the Winter Park Resort said the train will return between Denver and the ski resort in 2022.

The statement said in lieu of a train a shuttle bus will operate between Fraser, Colorado, which is a stop for Amtrak’s California Zephyr, and Winter Park.

Amtrak’s policy during the pandemic of operating trains at reduced capacity in order to maintain social distancing also was cited in the statement, which said, “it was not possible to operate the train successfully this season.”

Track Work to Disrupt California Zephyr

September 29, 2020

Track work by host railroad Union Pacific on the Moffat Tunnel in Colorado will result in changes to operations of Amtrak’s California Zephyr between Oct. 5 and 12.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said Train 5 will be cancelled during that period with Train 1105 operating in its place between Chicago and Denver.

That train will hold at Denver until 10:05 a.m., 2 hours later than Train 5’s normal schedule and operate on that later schedule at all stations from Denver to Emeryville, California.

Amtrak said that due to the schedule change, on Oct. 6 and 13, there will be no westbound service at Salt Lake City.

IDOT Hires Manger for Rockford Project

September 29, 2020

The Illinois Department of Transportation has hired a project manager for its efforts to restore rail passenger service between Chicago and Rockford.

Engineering services firm WSP USA was hired to oversee the project, which could involve contracting with Amtrak or Chicago rail commuter rail provider Metra.

IDOT has been talking with host railroad Union Pacific about infrastructure work needed for the service.

Trains would use an existing Metra route between Chicago and Elgin and then travel what are now freight-only tracks to Rockford.

Rockford lost rail service in late September 1981 due to a state budget cut for intercity rail passenger funding.

At the time Rockford was on a route between Chicago and Dubuque, Iowa, that used former Illinois Central Gulf tracks.

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.

Calif. Zephyr Back to Running Through Colorado

August 21, 2020

The California Zephyr resumed on Tuesday operating between Denver and Salt Lake City.

Nos. 5 and 6 had been either detoured or canceled between the two cities over the past week due to wild fires that affected Glenwood Canyon in Colorado.

Union Pacific spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza told reporters that the first freight train to travel through the canyon did so on Monday but was limited to 5 mph.

The Zephyr detoured via UP lines across Wyoming on some days but on other days the train was canceled and no alternative service was provided to the missed stations between Denver and Salt Lake City.