Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak Midwest corridor trains’

LSL, Midwest Corridor Trains Back on Track

December 28, 2022

Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited returned to service on Wednesday and no Midwest Corridor trains have been cancelled for Thursday.

Some services remain suspended in New York State and a handful of Midwest trains were cancelled on Wednesday.

Trains that did not operate on Wednesday included Woverine Service Nos. 351 and 353 between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac); Lincoln Service No. 300 from St. Louis to Chicago; Blue Water No. 365 from Port Huron, Michigan, to Chicago; and Illinois Zephyr No. 382 from Quincy, Illinois, to Chicago.

In New York State, cancellations for Thursday include the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf between Toronto and Rochester; Empire Service No. 250 between Niagara Falls and Albany -Rensselaer; and Empire Service Trains 281, 281 and 284 between Niagara Falls and Syracuse.

The Empire Service trains will operate to and from New York City east of Rochester and Syracuse.

Amtrak’s Empire Builder has resumed operating between Chicago and St. Paul, Minnesota, for remains suspended west of St. Paul.

Capitol Limited Back in Service, LSL and Some Michigan Trains Still Suspended

December 27, 2022

Amtrak began getting back to normal in Northeast Ohio on Wednesday with the resumption of the Capitol Limited in both directions.

Nos. 29 and 30 departed their respective terminals of Washington and Chicago for the first time in nearly a week, although No. 29 did leave Washington on Sunday.

No. 30 passed the Elkhart rail camera on Tuesday night with its usual consist of five Superliner cars but also had a Viewliner baggage car on the rear

The Lake Shore Limited, however, did not depart Chicago, New York  or Boston on Tuesday.

Amtrak corridor services in Michigan remained sidelined on two routes on Tuesday with some service suspensions still in effect on Wednesday.

However, Amtrak said it is providing substitute bus service for some cancelled Midwest corridor trains and at the time the advisory was issued was trying to line up alternative bus transportation for other trains.

Wolverine Service trains between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac) that did not operate on Tuesday included Nos. 352, 354 and 353. Nos. 351 and 353 will not operate on Wednesday.

The Blue Water did not operate in either direction on Tuesday and will not operate from Port Huron to Chicago on Wednesday.

Lincoln Service trains between Chicago and St. Louis that were cancelled on Tuesday included Nos. 305 and 315. No. 300 will not operate on Wednesday.

Also cancelled on Tuesday was the Missouri River Runner No. 318 from Kansas City to St. Louis, and the Illinois Zephyr between Chicago and Quincy, Illinois. The Quincy to Chicago Zephyr is cancelled for Wednesday as well.

In the East, the Maple Leaf was canceled between Toronto and Rochester, New York on Tuesday and will not operate on Wednesday between those cities, either.

Empire Service No. 280 was cancelled from Niagara Falls and Albany-Rensselaer for Dec. 27 and 28.

Cancelled between Niagara Falls and Syracuse for Dec 27 and 28 are Empire Service Nos. 281, 281 and 284.

In the West, the Empire Builder was cancelled the length of its route westbound on Tuesday. However, the eastbound Builder operated from St. Paul, Minnesota to Chicago while being cancelled between Seattle/Portland and St. Paul.

VIA Rail Canada began resuming service on Tuesday on a modified schedule that saw some trains combined in the Toronto-Montreal and Toronto-Ottawa corridors.

The Canadian carrier had cancelled all trains on those corridors on Dec. 25 and 26, in part due to a freight train derailment that blocked the tracks.

VIA was set to operate 14 trains in those corridors rather than the normal 28.

Rail passenger service was not the only transportation mode disrupted by severe winter weather in the past several days.

Southwest Airlines canceled 2,886 flights on Monday, about 70 percent of its schedule. It cancelled 60 percent of its Tuesday flights. The cancellations left thousands of air travelers stranded.

The airline said on Tuesday it would operate about a third of its scheduled flights in the coming days as it seeks to recover from a service meltdown.

It setup a website, www.Southwest.com/traveldisruption, where passengers could contact the airline to rebook travel or request a refund of their fare.

The U.S. Transportation Department has launched an investigation into Southwest and its cancelled flights, which the agency described as “unacceptable.”

DOT said it was concerned about Southwest’s “failure to properly support customers experiencing a cancellation or delay.”

The CEO of Southwest, Bob Jordan, released a three-minute video statement on Tuesday in which he said he is “truly sorry” for the airline’s failures over the holiday weekend.

Southwest was not the only airline to cancel thousands of flights last weekend but has been much slower than other carriers to recover from the service disruptions triggered by a winter storm that brought subzero temperatures and heavy snow.

Another factor behind the cancellations of flights and Amtrak trains has been staffing shortages.

In his video statement, Jordan said some of Southwest’s problems can be attributed to how it has set up its network.

“We build our flight schedule around communities, not hubs, so we are the largest airline in 23 of the top 25 travel markets in the U.S., cities where large numbers of scheduled flights simultaneously froze as record bitter cold brought challenges for all airlines,” he said.

Over the next several days Southwest will be working to reposition planes and personnel in order to “reset” its service. That will mean ferrying some planes without passengers.

One of the hardest hit cities has been Buffalo, New York, where officials issued a travel ban after more than four feet of lake effect snow fell on the region.

Buffalo Niagara International Airport will be shut down until Wednesday. News reports indicate that 29 people have died since the onset of the winter storm in the Buffalo region.

Amtrak Service Woes Continued on Monday

December 27, 2022

Amtrak continued to struggle on Monday to return to normal with numerous trains cancelled. In some cases the cancellations were prompted by mechanical issues with the assigned equipment. But an Amtrak service advisory cited weather related issued as prompting other cancellations.

Among the cancellations were Lincoln Service Nos. 300, 301, 305, 306, 318 and 319 between Chicago and St. Louis; the Missouri River Runner between St. Louis and Kansas City, and the Illinois Zephyr between Chicago and Quincy, Illinois.

Although the Chicago to Port Huron, Michigan, Blue Water had been scheduled to operate, it was ultimately cancelled due to mechanical issues.

Initially, Amtrak said on Twitter that Train 364 from Chicago to Port Huron would be delayed due to late arriving equipment. No. 364 was then cancelled, reinstated, and then cancelled yet again due to mechanical issues.

Many trains that did get out on the road encountered major delays. Wolverine Service No. 352 from Chicago to Detroit (Pontiac) was running more than four hours late. The Chicago-bound Cardinal was more than four hours late arriving in Chicago.

The Amtrak Twitter feed shows a tale of cascading effects in which a late inbound train created delays for its outbound counterpart due to the need for crew rest.

Thus far Amtrak has announced that today (Dec. 27) Lincoln Service/Missouri River Runner 319, Wolverine Service 353 and Illinois Zephy 382 are cancelled.

Three long-distance trains didn’t get out on the road on Monday as well. That included the Capitol Limited (Chicago-Washington), Lake Shore Limited (Chicago-New York/Boston) and Empire Builder (Chicago-Seattle/Portland).

Amtrak said all of those trains were cancelled due to “on-going weather-related issues.”

Widespread service cancellations also occurred on Monday in the east and will extend into Tuesday.

The Maple Leaf in both directions is cancelled. Train 63 will operate from Rochester, New York, to New York City, and Train 64 will operate from New York to Syracuse, New York.

A spate of cancellations have been posted for several Empire Service trains for Monday and Tuesday.

Train 280 is cancelled in New York State between Niagara Falls and Albany-Renssealer. Trains 281, 283 and 284 are canceled only between Syracuse and Niagara Falls.

Also cancelled on Monday were Amtrak Regional trains 151 and 22 between Washington and Roanoke, Virginia.

Amtrak’s reservation system shows the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited as slated to depart their respective terminals today.

However, the service advisory issued Monday afternoon indicated the westbound Capitol Limited is cancelled on Tuesday. Since last Thursday the Capitol has operated just once when No. 29 departed Washington on Sunday and arrived in Chicago Monday morning more than two hours late. No. 30 last left Chicago on Dec. 21.

The Lake Shore Limited last left its respective terminals on Dec. 21.

The Empire Builder will not depart any of its terminals today which means it has now been a week since Nos. 7/27 and 8/28 departed Chicago or the West Coast.

Amtrak Service Cancellations Continue

December 25, 2022

Amtrak has continued to cancel trains in the Midwest and East amid the effects of a winter storm that swept across the country and disrupted travel generally.

Several Midwest corridor trains did not operate on Saturday and will not operate today.

The latest service advisory posted on the Amtrak website shows the following trains will not operate on Christmas Day.

Lincoln Service Trains 300, 301, 302, 305 and 306 between Chicago and St. Louis; Missouri River Runner trains 311 and 316 between St. Louis and Kansas City; Trains 318 and 319 between Chicago and Kansas City via St. Louis; Hiawatha Service Trains 329, 332, 333, 336, 337, 340 and 343 between Chicago and Milwaukee; Wolverine Service Trains 352 and 353 between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac); Blue Water No. 365 from Port Huron, Michigan, to Chicago; the Pere Marquette from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Chicago; Illinois Zephyr No. 382 from Quincy, Illinois, to Chicago;

Several trains did not operate on Christmas Eve and have not yet been posted as cancelled for Christmas Day.

They include Lincoln Service Train 307; Hiawatha Service Train 341; Saluki Trains 391 and 382 between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois; Wolverine Service Trains 350, 351, 354, 355, 364 and 365; and Pere Marquette Train 370 from Chicago to Grand Rapids.

Trains 318 and 319 have already been cancelled for Dec. 26.

In the East, the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf was cancelled between Syracuse and Niagara Falls on Saturday.

Empire Service Nos. 280, 281 and 283 were cancelled between Niagara Falls and Albany-Rensselaer on Saturday while No. 284 is cancelled on Sunday between Syracuse and Niagara Falls.

In the long-distance network, the Capitol Limited did not depart its terminals in Chicago and Washington on Saturday.

The Lake Shore Limited will not originate in Chicago, Boston or New York on Saturday or Sunday.

The Chicago-New York Cardinal did not operate on Saturday. Its next scheduled trip is out of New York on Christmas Day.

The Empire Builder between Chicago and Seattle/Portland continues to be suspended through Sunday.

Amtrak Updates Winter Service Suspensions

December 24, 2022

Amtrak on Friday updated its winter storm service cancellations list to include additional service suspensions through Christmas Day.

The service suspensions will hit Midwest corridor service the hardest but the latest round of cancellations also include some eastern corridor trains serving New York State and Vermont.

In the Midwest, Lincoln Service trains 300, 301, 305 and 306 will not resume operating until Dec. 26.

Other Midwest corridor trains that are cancelled through Dec. 26 include Nos. 311 and 316, the Missouri River Runner between St. Louis and Kansas City; Hiawatha Service Nos. Trains 329, 332, 333, 336, 337, 340 and 343 between Chicago and Milwaukee; and Wolverine Service Nos.  352 and 353 between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac).

The Pere Marquette from Chicago to Grand Rapids will not operate on Dec. 24, but will resume operations on Dec. 25. Its westbound counterpart No. 371 will not resume operating from Grand Rapids to Chicago until Dec. 26.

Other trains on routes linking Chicago and St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Pontiac will operate this weekend as scheduled.

In the East, the Vermonter was cancelled in both directions between St. Albans, Vermont, and Springfield, Massachusetts, on Dec. 23 but was to resume operating on Dec. 24.

Likewise, the Ethen Allen Express was cancelled between Burlington, Vermont, and Albany-Rensselaer, New York, on Dec. 23 but was to resume on Dec. 24.

As for the long distance network, the Empire Builder continues to be suspended between Chicago and Seattle/Portland. It will resume originating in those cities on Dec. 26.

The Capitol Limited will resume originating from Chicago and Washington on Dec. 24 as will the Lake Shore Limited from Chicago, Boston and New York.

The tri-weekly Chicago-New York Cardinal remains suspended through the weekend. No. 51 will originate as scheduled on Dec. 25 in New York. The next Cardinal to originate in Chicago will do so on Dec. 27.

Amtrak Cancels Midwest Trains During Christmas Travel Period Due to Pending Winter Storm

December 20, 2022

Just in time for Christmas Amtrak is curtailing service in the Midwest in advance of a winter storm that will bring subzero temperatures and heavy snow in some places.

The cancellations affect corridor service from Chicago to Milwaukee, St. Louis and Detroit (Pontiac). Also affected is the route between St. Louis and Kansas City and the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder.

The cancellations are in effect on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Cancelled are Wolverine Service Trains 352 and 353 between Chicago and Pontiac; Lincoln Service Trains 300, 301, 305 and 306 between Chicago and St. Louis; and Hiawatha Service Trains 329, 332, 333, 336, 337 and 340.

On the Missouri River Runner route trains will not operate on Saturday or Sunday between St. Louis and Kansas City, which means there will be no Amtrak service on those dates.

The Empire Builder will not depart Chicago or from the West Coast on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Amtrak’s Venture Fleet is Coming Back

October 6, 2022

The last I knew, the new Venture passengers cars built by Siemens for corridor services in the Midwest and on the West Coast had been sidelined due to various mechanical issues.

The cars had begun revenue service in February in the Chicago-St. Louis corridor, but that assignment proved to be brief.

It didn’t take long to discover that some tray table magnets were too strong, that trap-door handles were falling off, that bathroom doors were malfunctioning, and that sliding step extenders were getting jammed with snow.

But last Sunday in Porter, Indiana, I saw evidence that these issues apparently have been resolved and the Venture coaches are back in service.

Shown is above is a three-car Chicago-bound Pere Marquette, which originated in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The consist includes two Venture coaches and an Amfleet food service car. Eventually Venture cafe cars with a business class section are expected to join the fleet.

The train shown above is entering the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern from the CSX Grands Rapids Subdivision. On the point is an SC-44 Charger locomotive, also built by Siemens.

The Chargers are now the standard motive power for Midwest corridor trains. Note how the Venture coaches have a higher profile than Amfleet equipment.

Personnel Issues Hinder Midwest Corridor Trains

August 23, 2022

Amtrak cited a shortage of personnel for combining two Michigan trains on Sunday that operated hours late as a result.

Trains magazine reported on its website that the Blue Water to Port Huron, Michigan, was combined with Wolverine Service No. 354 as far as Battle Creek, Michigan.

The combined train left Chicago at 6:31 p.m., which was 2.5 hours late for the Blue Water and 41 minutes late for No. 354.

By the time the combined train reached Battle Creek at 10:38 p.m., the lateness had stretched to three hours for the Blue Water, which maintained that lateness level to Port Huron.

Amtrak cited “mechanical issues” on its Twitter feed as causing the delayed departures.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told Trains that the situation was aggravated by a shortage of personnel.

It was among the latest of a series of disruptions to Amtrak’s Midwest corridor services that have occurred this summer.

The Trains report noted that the Illinois Zephyr to Quincy, Illinois, was cancelled last week after an employee assigned to the run became unavailable an hour before departure time.

Passengers instead rode buses between Chicago and Quincy. The cancellations stretched out through Friday and affected four runs of the train.

Earlier, Amtrak cited equipment shortages for suspending one Lincoln Service roundtrip between Chicago and St. Louis.

Magliari told Trains that the suspended Lincoln Service trains will be restored on Aug. 24.

Venture Coaches Withdrawn Over Magnet Issue

April 2, 2022
Two Venture coaches were in the consist of Lincoln Service Train No. 301 at Springfield, Illinois, on March 1.

Amtrak has temporarily withdrawn new Venture cars from operation on Midwest Corridor trains due to technical issues.

Trains magazine reported on its website Friday that magnets in the four-seat work tables in the coaches were disrupting operation of smart phones and laptops computers by causing them to shut down. The magnets are used to lock extensions on the tables.

The report said Amtrak is eyeing a short-term fix of affixing brackets that prevent passengers from extending the outer flaps until correct-strength magnets can be installed.

Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Speegle said his agency is working with Amtrak and Seimens, which built the Venture cars, to solve the problem.

IDOT was the lead agency involved in the acquisition of the cars, which also will be used on corridor services in Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Venture cars began revenue service in February on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor.

Thus far only coaches have been delivered from Siemens to Amtrak, although three combination business class and coach class cars are in the process of being accepted.

The combination cars will have 36 business class seats, which is double what is currently available in Horizon and Amfleet equipment used in Midwest corridor service.

Amtrak Updates Winter Storm Cancellations

February 3, 2022

Amtrak has updated its list of service cancellations and modifications due to winter storm Landon. The update includes service changes set for Friday.

Today (Feb. 3) the following trains have been cancelled:

The Cardinal from Chicago to New York; the Capitol Limited from Chicago to Washington; the Saluki from Carbondale, Illinois, to Chicago; the Illini from Chicago to Carbondale; Lincoln Service Nos. 300 and 302 from St. Louis to Chicago; the Pere Marquette from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Chicago; all Wolverine Service trains between Chicago and Pontiac, Michigan; the Blue Water in both directions between Chicago and Port Huron, Michigan; the Missouri River Runners in both directions between St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri; the City of New Orleans in both directions between Chicago and New Orleans; and the Heartland Flyer from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, Texas.

Some trains today will operate on modified schedules. They include the Vermonter, which will terminate and originate at New Haven, Connecticut; and the northbound Ethan Allen Express, which will terminate at Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

On Friday (Feb. 4) the Missouri River Runner is cancelled from Kansas City to St. Louis.

Also on Friday the Vermonter will terminate and originate in New Haven while the Ethan Allen Express will originate in Albany-Rensselaer.