Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak in Northeast Ohio’

Amtrak Pennsylvanian Two for Tuesday

December 20, 2022

It is Feb. 8, 2003, a Saturday, at the Cleveland Amtrak station, the last full day of service by the Chicago-Philadelphia Pennsylvanian. It was just over four years ago that Amtrak extended the then New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian to Chicago and rescheduled it operate during daylight hours through Northeast Ohio.

At the time, Amtrak expected increased mail and express revenue to pay for the extension. But then a new Amtrak president decided that the head-end revenue gambit wasn’t working and Amtrak was pulling back expansions it had undertaken as part of it.

In the top image the penultimate eastbound Pennsylvanian to serve Cleveland is arriving in the station on time. I would ride it as far as Pittsburgh, spend a few hours there, and catch the last westbound Pennsylvanian to run through Northeast Ohio.

The last eastbound Pennsylvanian to stop in Cleveland would do so on Sunday morning. The Pennsylvanian would then revert to New York-Pittsburgh operation, which continues to be the case today.

A handful of railroad enthusiasts were on hand to to see and/or ride the Pennsylvanian in Northeast Ohio one final time. Nonetheless, the train was lightly patronized, which underscored another reason why Amtrak ceased operating it west of Pittsburgh.

We would arrive early into Alliance, which gave me time to disembark and make some photographs. Also on board on this day was current Akron Railroad Club newsletter editor Ron McElrath, who made video for his Railroad Video Quarterly series.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Amtrak’s On-Time Performance in Cleveland Has Been Pretty Superb Over the Previous Month

April 20, 2020

Seeing Amtrak in daylight in Northeast Ohio has been happening much in the past month because the trains have arrived mostly on time during the darkness hours. Shown is a very late eastbound Lake Shore Limited at the Cleveland Amtrak station on June 23, 2010.

The past month would have been a good time to travel on Amtrak from Northeast Ohio.

Due to social distancing orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, the public has been discouraged from traveling except when necessary.

That has led to lightly patronized Amtrak trains. Want a window seat in the middle of your coach? No problem; you can sit anywhere you’d like.

But perhaps a side benefit of traveling by train during a pandemic would have been a good chance your train would have arrived in Cleveland on time or better.

Despite its reputation for being the “Late Shore,” the Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited has posted some outstanding on-time performances.

A check of arrival times for the four Amtrak trains serving Northeast Ohio between April 19 and March 23 found that No. 48 has arrived late in Cleveland just three times.

During the 28-day period sampled, No. 48 arrived early 25 times. It didn’t just arrive early it arrived well before its scheduled 5:38 a.m. arrival time.

In fact, No. 48 arrived in Cleveland 10 minutes or more ahead of schedule 22 times and 12 of those times it was 20 minutes or more early.

The earliest that the eastbound Lake Shore has arrived was 28 minutes, which it has done three times while checking in 27 minutes early six times.

Westbound counterpart No. 49 arrived early into Cleveland 20 times over the 28-day period and in all of those instances it was five minutes or more ahead of schedule.

No. 49 has been 10 minutes or more ahead of schedule seven times.

The performance of the Capitol Limited has been a tale of two trains.

The westbound Capitol has been early into Cleveland 16 times with seven of those being five or fewer minutes ahead of schedule and nine being more than five minutes early.

No. 29 has halted at the station more than 10 minutes early eight times.

Eastbound No. 30, though, has easily been Amtrak’s latest train into Cleveland over the past month, arriving early just nine times.

No. 30 has arrived late on 18 of the 28 days reviewed and on 12 of those occasions it was more than 10 minutes late.

It is noteworthy that over the course of 112 train arrivals, only twice has a train been reported as arriving in Cleveland at the exact time shown in the timetable. The Capitol Limited did it once in each direction.

Only seven times out of 112 arrivals have Amtrak trains arrived in Cleveland an hour or more behind schedule.

All but once the lateness was less than two hours. The exception was the westbound Capitol pulling in 4 hours and 42 minutes late on April 3.

That delay was largely due to a grade crossing collision near Columbiana, Ohio.

These figures may or may not be aberrations that are related in some manner to the fallout of the pandemic.

A valid comparison with on-time arrival and departure times reported for the same dates in past years would be needed to begin addressing that question.

Given that Amtrak has complained loudly and often in recent years about poor on-time performance of its trains that it has blamed on dispatching practices of it host railroads there is some reason to wonder if the pandemic has resulted in better Amtrak performances.

It could be that falling freight traffic combined with fewer freight trains being operated as part of the precision scheduled railroading model that Amtrak has to contend with less freight train interference.

It might also be that even fewer freight trains are operating during the pandemic because freight traffic has fallen even further as reported by the Association of American Railroads in its weekly freight traffic reports.

With fewer passengers, Amtrak has less opportunity for passenger-related delays. Trains can load and unload quicker and that might have enabled better timekeeping.

I noticed but did not record a few instances in which a train arrived in Cleveland a few minutes late but was able to leave on time.

All four Amtrak trains serving Cleveland have dwell time built into their schedules although it varies by train.

It is six minutes for No. 29, nine minutes for No. 30, and 12 minutes for both Nos. 48 and 49.

Some of the good timekeeping may also be simply good fortune, such as fewer freight train mechanical failures that can back up traffic as dispatchers try to route Amtrak and their freights around a stalled train.

It remains to be seen if Amtrak’s good fortune in Northeast Ohio on-time performance will last.

Few Major Changes Offered in in New Amtrak TT

April 3, 2015

Amtrak’s next timetable will take effect on Monday and although there are some changes to the Cardinal and two Michigan trains, the schedules in Northeast Ohio remained unchanged.

The Capitol Limited (Chicago-Washington, D.C.) and Lake Shore Limited (Chicago-New York/Boston) will continue to depart and arrive at all stations on the same schedules as they do now.

The cover of the Spring-Fall 2015 Amtrak system timetable features an image of the Ethan Allen Express.

The cover of the Spring-Fall 2015 Amtrak system timetable features an image of the Ethan Allen Express.

The Chicago-New York Cardinal will see minor adjustments at many intermediate stations even as the departure and arrival times as its endpoints remain the same.

Westbound No. 51 will now arrive and depart from Cincinnati at 1:36 a.m. and 1:46 a.m. respectively. Those times had been 1:13 a.m. and 1:23 a.m.

Between Charlottesville, Va., and Indianapolis, No. 51 will be running slightly later at all stations. The dwell time in Indianapolis has been cut by 23 minutes so times west of there remain unchanged.

Eastbound No. 50 will have some changes between Indianapolis and Newark, N.J., but not all stations will be affected.

The Cardinal will continue to leave Indy at 11:59 p.m. and its arrival and departure times in Cincinnati remain unchanged.

But some intermediate times will be earlier, e.g. Connersvlle, Ind., 1:21 a.m. versus 1:26 a.m. now at Connersville, Ind., while others are later. For example, No. 50 will arrive and depart at Huntington, W.Va., at 7:09 a.m. and 7:16 a.m.  versus the current 7:03 a.m. and 7:10 a.m.

There are no changes in the operation of the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian, the Chicago-Detroit (Pontiac) Wolverine Service or the Chicago-Port Huron, Mich. Blue Water

However, Amtrak has added a Chicago-Detroit Thruway bus (No. 8356) that will depart Chicago at 10:55 p.m. and arrive in Detroit at 5:55 a.m. with an intermediate stop at Kalamazoo, Mich., at 3:05 a.m. that will only receive passengers. There is no corresponding westbound Thruway bus service.

Amtrak also plans major changes to the schedule of the Chicago-Grand Rapids, Mich., Pere Marquette.

Effective May 4, the train will begin departing Chicago at 6:30 p.m. and arriving in Grand Rapids at 11:39 p.m. The westbound train will leave Grand Rapids at 6 a.m. and arrive in Chicago at 9:11 a.m.

Currently, No. 370 departs Chicago at 4:55 p.m. and is scheduled to arrive in Grand Rapids at 9:55 p.m. No. 371 departs Grand Rapids at 7:40 a.m. and arrives at 10:38.

The changes will mean that the Pere Marquette will become the earliest arriving Midwest corridor train in Chicago outside of the Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha Service route.

The cover of the timetable, which will be effective through the end of the year, features a photograph of the Ethan Allen Express crossing the Hudson River just after departing from the station at Fort Edward-Glens Falls, N.Y. The photograph was made by Steven K. Ostrowski.