Posts Tagged ‘Union Pacific’

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 Amtrak.com 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.

Chicago-St. Louis Top Speed Set at 90 mph

July 9, 2021

Amtrak this week raised the top speed for trains traveling on its Chicago-St. Louis corridor to 90 miles per hour.

The action came after the Federal Railroad Administration completed its certification of reliability of the signal system on the former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio route that is now mostly owned by Union Pacific.

The higher speeds will apply between Laraway Road (south of Joliet, Illinois) and CP Wann (two miles south of Alton, Illinois).

The higher speed is permitted if a train is led by an Amtrak locomotive equipped with both Alstom’s Incremental Train Control System to monitor the status of highway crossings, and the Wabtec Interoperable Electronic Train Management System.

In the past decade Amtrak, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration have spent more than $2 billion to upgrade the route with the goal of achieving a top speed of 110 miles per hour.

However, those efforts fell short because of several failed efforts to create a signal system that would support that speed and while interacting with highway crossing equipment.

A short stretch between Dwight and Pontiac in 2015 tested 110 mph speeds in 2015 but UP and other parties concluded the equipment used there was unreliable and incompatible with the railroad’s I-ETMS positive train control system.

I-ETMS is only currently certified as a vital system for a top speed of 90 mph.

It would need further testing and development to reach FRA certification for 110 mph, a process that would require additional funding that has yet to materialize.

Amtrak plans to tweak its travel times on July 19 to reflect the higher speeds and when it returns Lincoln Service to its pre-COVID-19 pandemic level of service.

Amtrak Raises Doubts about CN-KCS Merger

July 8, 2021

For years the Southern Rail Commission has talked about instituting intercity rail passenger between New Orleans and Baton Route, Louisiana.

But those efforts have been stymied by the refusal of would-be host railroad Kansas City Southern to allow an inspection train to examine the route or even to talk with the Commission about instituting the service.

The future of the proposed service has become a point of contention in the efforts of Canadian National to acquire KCS, a matter now pending before the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

In an attempt to mitigate concerns that the CN-KCS merger will reduce rail competition in the New Orleans-Baton Route corridor, CN has offered to sell the KCS route between the two cities.

But that offer comes with a catch. CN would retain the right to offer freight service over the route.

Amtrak recently weighed in on the matter by telling the STB in a filing that this would make institution of passenger rail service much more difficult.

The Amtrak filing said CN’s plan is “the equivalent of a homeowner selling their house but reserving the right to continue to live in it.”

Canadian Pacific also wants to buy KCS and has pledged to cooperate with Amtrak in restoring New Orleans-Baton Rouge service.

In a letter to Louisiana Transportation Secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson, CP CEO Keith Creel cited “CP’s proven track record of co-operating and operating passenger trains on its network.”

The letter acknowledged the route need extensive infrastructure work to bring it up to passenger standards, but said, “If we are successful [in acquiring KCS], we would be in a strong position to ensure the level of maintenance is up to a mainline standard that would efficiently support both freight and passenger operations.”

Aside from New Orleans-Baton Rouge service, the SRC also has pushed to create a Dallas section of the Crescent that would operate on KCS tracks west of Meridian, Mississippi, via Jackson, Mississippi, and Shreveport, Louisiana.

The Creel letter said  CP would be committed to reviewing and participating in studies with the goal of introducing a (passenger) train pair in the Meridian-Dallas corridor

However, Creel said that would be contingent on getting the support of Norfolk Southern, which with KCS has a joint venture to improve the route.

The proposed Dallas section of the Crescent would be expected to use Union Pacific tracks west of Shreveport because the KCS roué to Dallas is circuitous.

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.