Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’

LSL Boston Section Still Not Going to Chicago

February 9, 2016

The Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited is still not operating to Chicago, the National Association of Railroad Passengers reported on its blog last week.

Amtrak Lake Shore LimitedFor nearly a year, Nos. 448 and 449 have operated only between Boston and Albany-Rensselaer with passengers bound for points west having to make an across-the-platform transfer.

Amtrak attributed that to construction work to expand the Albany-Rensselaer station, which limited track capacity.

However, upon completion, the project was designed to enable more Amtrak trains to use the station simultaneously.

It had been expected that the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited would resume operating to Chicago on or about Feb. 1.

Now, NARP says, it is unclear when Nos. 448 and 449 might resume operating to Chicago or if that will happen.

Pets to be Allowed on Long-Distance Trains

February 4, 2016

Amtrak will begin allowing pets on all long-distance trains except the Auto Train effective Feb. 16.

Amtrak logoOnly small cats and dogs will be allowed aboard and their owners must pay a $25 fee and make a reservation at a staffed station or through an Amtrak reservation agent.

Pet reservations are limited and made on a first come, first served basis. Pets will be allowed only in coaches and cannot be brought into sleeping car rooms.

The pets must be placed in an approved pet carrier that will count as a piece of carry-on luggage and passengers must remain with their pets at all times. Pets must remain in their carrier at all times.

Other key conditions include:

  • One pet per passenger and only five pets will be allowed per train.
  • Pets cannot travel with unaccompanied minors.
  • The maximum length of a trip for a pet aboard a train is seven hours, including connections.
  • Pets cannot be removed from a carrier on the train or in stations.
  • Pet carriers are not permitted on seats.
  • Passengers must sign a release and indemnification statement prior to boarding the train.
  • Pets must be at least eight weeks old, must be odorless and harmless, and must not be disruptive. Amtrak reserves the right to refuse acceptance of pets and to remove any pet during a trip that is behaving inappropriately.

Amtrak Revamps Guest Rewards Program

February 1, 2016

Amtrak earlier this month revamped its frequent traveler program by modifying its traditional three-zone approach to redeeming points.

Amtrak logoReward travel will now be redeemed based on the cost of a trip at the time of booking.

Amtrak has created an online calculator to use to determine how many points are needed for a particular trip.

Under the old system, which had been in effect for 15 years, reward travel was redeemed based on the number of zones through which travel was occurring.

That system encouraged travelers to redeem points for the most expensive trip within a single zone.

Passengers who cancel reward travel trips will also be subject to a 10 percent point redemption penalty if the cancellation occurs more than two weeks before the date of travel and a 20 percent penalty if canceled less than two weeks before the date of travel.

For further information visit

Full Capitol Limited Service to be Restored Today

January 27, 2016

Amtrak’s Capitol Limited will be restored to operation today over the full length of its route.

The passenger railroad also announced that other long-distance services as well as all Northeast Corridor services that were canceled or truncated after winter storm Jonas dumped one to two feet of snow on the Atlantic seaboard will be reinstated today.

Amtrak logoSince last weekend the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited had been operating only between Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Trains operating to the Southeastern United States had been canceled south of Washington or operated only between intermediate city pairs in regions less affected by the storm.

Freight railroads continue to move to get their service back up to speed.

Norfolk Southern and CSX have resumed moving freight in the Mid-Atlantic and Appalachian regions, but movements in the Northeast remain limited.

NS issued a customer advisory that said service in the Northeast corridor, particularly  between Wilmington and Baltimore, remains limited.

The railroad has reduced traffic into the Conrail shared assets territory in New Jersey until the recovery efforts have been completed.

The service advisory also said that service in some regions of Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania is still recovering and customers can expect delays of 24 to 72 hours to traffic moving through these areas.

Amtrak, Railroads Digging Out From Jonas

January 26, 2016

Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited originated in Pittsburgh again on Monday night rather than in Washington. The eastbound Capitol did not operate.

Amtrak posted a traveler’s advisory on its website today saying that Nos. 29 and 30 would operate only between Chicago and Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Amtrak logoIn the meantime, the passenger railroad has received favorable comments for being able to operate as many trains as it did in the Northeast Corridor in the face of winter storm Jonas.

In some places, Jonas dumped record amounts of precipitation with more than 14 states recording more than a foot of snow.

Among the trains that continued operating was the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian which ran the length of its route throughout the weekend, although it did encounter some delays.

Also operating as normal was the Empire Corridor service between New York and Niagara Falls, New York. The Lake Shore Limited also operated as usual between Chicago and New York.

The storm hindered or halted freight operations in places on CSX and Norfolk Southern.

CSX said its Mountain Subdivision between Grafton, West Virginia, and Cumberland, Maryland, received as much as 35 inches of snow with some drifts reaching 5 feet.

More than 3 feet of snow fell on the CSX mainline in the eastern West Virginia panhandle.

Although operations were starting to return to normal on Sunday, the railroad said it would take a while to dig out.

“Customers should expect delays up to 48 hours on freight moving through impacted areas,” CSX said in a customer advisory.

Terminals as far west as Nashville, Tennessee, and Louisville, Kentucky, were slowed by deep snow.

NS said that trains were starting to resume operating over the Pittsburgh Line on Sunday after a record 30 inches of snow fell in the region around Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

“Norfolk Southern operations in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast areas are expected to be impacted over the next several days by heavy snow, blizzard conditions and sub-zero temperatures,” the railroad said in a customer advisory.

Capitol Ltd., Cardinal Still on Reduced Operation

January 25, 2016

Amtrak will continue to operate a modified schedule today (Jan. 25) that will have reduced operation of the Capitol Limited and Cardinal.

Amtrak logoNo. 29 was to operate from Pittsburgh to Chicago. The status of No. 30, which did not depart Chicago on Sunday, will be determined later today.

The Cardinal will operate today from Indianapolis to Chicago. Its next eastbound departure is scheduled for Tuesday from Chicago. The next westbound departure is scheduled for Wednesday from New York.

Amtrak said that the Acela Express, Northeast Regional and other services between Boston and Washington, and Keystone Service between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, will operate on a modified schedule on Monday, Jan. 25.

There will be reduced Amtrak service between Washington and points in Virginia due to local conditions.

The Auto Train will not operate on Monday. The Carolinian will operate between Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina; and between New York and Washington.

The Palmetto is operating only between New York and Washington. The northbound Silver Meteor will operate today, but the status of the southbound Meteor had yet to be determined early Monday morning.

The Silver Star is operating only between Miami and Jacksonville, Florida.

Amtrak Set to Use E. Lansing Intermodal Terminal

January 23, 2016

Amtrak will begin using a new intermodal terminal on Jan. 25 in East Lansing, Michigan.

The Chicago-bound Blue Water will still use the current Amtrak station, but when the train returns that evening it will stop at the $6.3 million Capital Area Multimodal Gateway facility.

Amtrak logoLocal and intercity bus routes have been using the facility since late last year.

Once Amtrak vacates its existing East Lansing station the building will be razed to make way for a parking lot for the intermodal terminal.

The intermodal terminal, built in large part with federal funds, is located at Harrison and Trowbridge roads and is three times larger than the nearby Amtrak station.

“We are so pleased to finally have Amtrak move into our new state-of-the-art facility,” CATA CEO Sandy Draggoo said in a statement. “The Gateway has been ready and waiting for Amtrak’s occupancy, which will complement intercity bus operations, provided by MegaBus, Greyhound and Indian Trails, along with taxi service.”

Amtrak ticket agents will be on duty daily in the intermodal terminal between 7 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

East Lansing is the fifth busiest station among the 28 that Amtrak serves in Michigan and handled more than 66,000 passengers in 2013.

Harrisburg Station to Receive Renovations

January 23, 2016

PennDOT 2The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Amtrak station will be renovated under a plan announced this week by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

PennDOT said that an initial investment of $15 million in federal and state money will be used to bring the former Pennsylvania Railroad station into a state of good repair.

The agency expects that another $50 million to $60 million will later be spent for station and land use improvements.

“Enhancing Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure is essential to the region’s economy and the Harrisburg Transportation Center is a vital hub that serves our Keystone Corridor passenger rail service, as well as intercity bus and local transit,” said Gov. Tom Wolf, noting that the center serves more than 1.6 million riders per year.

Michael Baker Corporation and a subcontractor, BASE Architecture Planning and Engineering Inc., will conduct research and outreach as a first step toward a transit-oriented development plan, according to Wolf’s office.

The Harrisburg station is the western terminus for 26 Keystone Service trains and is also a stop for the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian.

Amtrak Cancels Trains due to East Coast Blizzard; Capitol Limited to Operate Chicago-Pittsburgh

January 22, 2016

A winter storm that forecasters say could dump record or near-record amounts of snow on the East Coast has left transportation companies, including Amtrak, cancelling service this weekend.

Affected will be the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited and the Chicago-New York Cardinal, which operates via Washington.

No. 30 will operate from Chicago to Pittsburgh for trains originating on Friday and Saturday. The westbound Capitol Limited that was to originate today in Washington is canceled over its entire route. No. 29 will operate Pittsburgh to Chicago on Saturday and Sunday.

The eastbound Cardinal is canceled on Saturday and the westbound train that was to leave New York today has been canceled.

Thus far, the Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited is expected to operate on its normal schedule.

Other long-distance trains that have been canceled or had their operations truncated are the Auto Train, Carolinian, Crescent, Palmetto, Silver Star and Silver Meteor. Visit the Amtrak website for further details.

Amtrak said that the Acela Express, Northeast Regional and other services between locations in Virginia and Boston, as well as Keystone Service between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, will be operating throughout the weekend, but will have modified schedules.

Most Northeast Corridor service between Washington and Boston will operate as scheduled on Friday.

Passengers who have reservations on affected services are being contacted and accommodated on other trains with similar departure times or offered alternate travel dates.

Airlines are also taking similar precautions. News reports indicated that almost 2,400 arrivals and departures have been canceled on Friday at Eastern seaboard airports with a similar number of flights canceled on Saturday.

United Airlines said it would be shutting down operations Friday afternoon at airports in Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia and hopes to get back into operation at those airports on Sunday.

American Airlines has canceled all flights to and from Charlotte, North Carolina, today, but will resume service there on Saturday.

It plans to begin reducing operations in Baltimore and Washington on Friday afternoon and in Philadelphia on Friday evening.

All flights to and from Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia are canceled on Saturday.

American said it will cancel all American Eagle flights from New York area airports on Saturday and that mainline operations would be canceled after the departure of the last late morning flights.

Operations in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington are expected to resume on Sunday.

A storm that dropped a mere inch of snow paralyzed Washington this week and the Washington Area Metro Transit Authority is closing the Metro rail system for the weekend. The nation’s second busiest mass transit system will shut down after 11 p.m. tonight.

During the storm, Metro transit cars will be moved out of the yards and into the tunnels used by Metro trains.

New York transit officials do not at present have any plans to shut down its subway system.

The National Weather Service has posted blizzard warnings for the Washington-Baltimore area that will be in effect between 3 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Sunday.

The storm is expected to deliver 60-mph wind gusts that could blow wet, heavy snow into trees, power lines and transformers, triggering widespread power failures from North Carolina to New England.

A full moon this weekend will swell tides and produce “moderate to major” coastal flooding from Maryland and Delaware to Connecticut.

Northeast Ohio is expected to escape the storm. The forecast for Cleveland at is for overcast skies with a 20 percent chance of precipitation today and a 10 percent chance on Saturday. High temperatures will be in the upper 20s.

Lower Gas Prices, Mild Winter Depress December Amtrak Ridership on Michigan, Indiana Routes

January 21, 2016

Lower gasoline prices and mild winter weather took a toll on Amtrak ridership in the Midwest in December.

News reports this week indicated that ridership on the Chicago-Grand Rapids, Michigan, Pere Marquette fell by 24 percent in December.

Patronage had fallen 18 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, for a loss of 4,800 riders between October and December.

Nearly half of that decline (2,559) occurred in December when revenue fell by $68,000 in December. For the quarter, Pere Marquette revenue fell by $132,675.

Ridership declined by 7.8 percent in St. Joseph, Michigan; about 9 percent in Chicago; 11 percent in Bangor, Michigan; 25.6 percent in Holland, Michigan; and 28 percent in Grand Rapids.

The Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State saw its December ridership fall from what it had been in December 2014.

An online report said the Hoosier State carried 3,043 last month versus 3,259 in 2014.

Earlier in 2015, Iowa Pacific Holdings took over management of the Hoosier State, assigning its own equipment and on-board service crews. The IP service includes business class service that provide hot meals in a dome car.

Ticket revenue for the Hoosier State was $76,413 in December 2015 versus $83,878 in December 2014 when it was an Amtrak train.

Amtrak engineers and conductors continue to operate the quad-weekly Hoosier State under contract with IP.

Amtrak patronage at New Buffalo, Michigan, which is served by Chicago-Detroit (Pontiac) Wolverine Service trains, rose 3.8 percent in December. On the same route, Niles saw a decline of 22.4 percent while Dowagiac was down 4.1 percent.


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