Posts Tagged ‘winter weather’

Severe Weather Results in Empire Builder Cancellations

January 15, 2020

Some sections of Amtrak’s Empire Builder were canceled this week in the wake of severe winter weather that closed host railroad BNSF in the Pacific Northwest.

Amtrak issued a service alert that the rain that departed Chicago on Jan. 13 would turn at Spokane, Washington. The train departing Chicago on Jan. 14 was also expected to turn at Spokane.

However, a check of the Amtrak website indicated that the depart status for both of those dates was unavailable due to a service disruption.

A later update indicated that alternative service was to be provided for Empire Builder passengers between Chicago and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Amtrak also said in a service alert that alternative transportation is being provided between Spokane and Seattle and Portland.

Trains 7 and 27 scheduled to depart today (Jan. 15) from Chicago have been canceled. The Amtrak website said the status for Nos. 7 and 27 for Jan. 16 to 20 through  is unavailable due to a service disruption.

An online report said Nos. 8/28 did not arrive in Chicago on Jan. 14th and will not arrive today.

A service alert said Nos. 8/28 on Jan. 16 and 17 will originate in Spokane.

The BNSF mainline across Washington State saw heavy snow trigger snowslides and downed trees.

At one point the Scenic Subdivision between Seattle and Wenatchee had more than 250 trees fall across its rails.

Weather, Slowing Economy Sap Rail Freight Traffic

March 23, 2019

Adverse weather conditions, including snow storms and flooding, have drug down freight volume of U.S. railroads in recent weeks, but analysts say other factors are at work, too.

One of those is China. Some shippers rushed to move goods to market to build their inventories before tariffs on Chinese good took effect. Some exports have been delayed by the Chinese new year.

The tariffs also have played a role in faltering U.S. grain exports.

Another factor is slowing U.S. economic growth that surfaced in February.

Coal shipments continue to be lackluster, in part to due to increased use of natural gas by utility companies.

Rail freight traffic has fallen 1.3 percent through the first 11 weeks of the year.

Some of that decline can be explained by weather conditions that in particular hindered BNSF and Union Pacific.

UP carload traffic fell 12 percent in mid March while intermodal volume was down 9 percent.

At BNSF carload volume fell 11 percent and intermodal slipped by 4 percent.

The falling traffic at the two class 1 carriers also affected rail traffic generally, which the Association of American Railroads said fell 7 percent last week and 5 percent the previous week.

Nonetheless some analysts believe traffic will rebound once the flooding recedes and traffic that is being held begins to move again.

Amtrak Weathered Winter Storm Fairly Well

January 17, 2019

Amtrak service held up reasonably well during a recent major winter storm that buried the nation’s midsection in double digit measurements of snow last weekend.

Trains magazine reported just two trains were canceled, the morning Missouri River Runners in both directions on Jan. 12 and the Cardinal east of Indianapolis on Jan. 13.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the decision to scrub the Missouri River Runners was made after the passenger carrier consulted with Union Pacific and the Missouri Department of Transportation.

As for the Cardinal cancellation, Magliari said that came because heavy snowfall had been forecast in isolated areas of West Virginia along the route of No. 50.

As it was, No. 50 was two hours late arriving after encountering a mechanical problem near Lafayette, Indiana.

Trains said that most trains on Midwest corridor routes radiating from Chicago to St. Louis and the Illinois cities of Quincy and Carbondale ran on time.

The westbound Southwest Chief, though, lost three hours on Saturday between Galesburg, Illinois, and Fort Madison, Iowa.

Along the Atlantic seaboard, some trains incurred significant delays, including more than two hours for the southbound Palmetto and Carolinian,

The northbound Silver Star was combined with the Carolinian out of Richmond, Virginia.

The southbound Silver Meteor was nearly three hours late when it left Washington.

A blast of frigid arctic air combined with heavy snow in some regions are being forecast for this week.