Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Capitol Limited’

Ida’s Aftermath Hinders Amtrak Service

September 3, 2021

Flooding and other complications left by the remnants of Hurricane Ida played havoc with the operations of some Amtrak trains this week.

The storm dumped more than seven inches of rain in New York, prompting Amtrak to cancel service between Boston and Washington, and between New York and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

Amtrak said its Moynihan Train Hall in New York remained operational, but some trains were terminated or held at intermediate stations due to safety concerns.

They included the eastbound Cardinal, which was held at Trenton, New Jersey, Tuesday night for nearly 12 hours.

The westbound Capitol Limited was held for two hours at Cumberland, Maryland. By the time it reached Pittsburgh it was almost five hours late.

No. 29 arrived in Cleveland at 8:01 a.m. Thursday, five hours and eight minutes late. It ultimately reached Chicago five hours, 43 minutes late.

The westbound Lake Shore Limited on Thursday was suspended between New York and Albany, but will operate from Albany to Chicago.

This same schedule modification will continue on Friday.

The New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian and New York-Philadelphia Keystone Corridor trains are expected to resume operating on Friday.

Amtrak ‘Day One’ Charger Passes Through

July 21, 2021

Amtrak’s “Day One” Siemens ACLC42 Charger locomotive headed east on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning in the motive power consist of the Capitol Limited.

Amtrak’s possession of the second of 75 ACL42 units that the passenger carrier has ordered won’t be official until No. 301 reaches Wilmington, Delaware.

No. 301 trailed behind P42 No. 142 on Train 30, which had a Superliner consist of a dormitory car, a sleeper, a Cross-Country Café and two coaches, one of them a baggage-coach.

Nos. 29 and 30 are not operating currently with Viewliner baggage cars or Sightseer Lounges.

The journey of No. 301 to Chicago was hindered by mechanical problems with the motive power on the eastbound California Zephyr

No. 6 suffered a locomotive breakdown in Nebraska and had to be assigned a BNSF locomotive to continue to Chicago, where it arrived at 3:28 a.m. Tuesday, more than 12.5 hours late.

Amtrak ‘Day One’ Charger Heading East

July 20, 2021

Amtrak’s Day One tribute locomotive is making its way east from the Siemens factory in California.

ALC-42 No. 301 was in the motive power consist of the California Zephyr that left Emeryville, California, on Saturday.

That train was to arrive in Chicago on Monday afternoon but mechanic issues en route had it running more than seven hours late.

No. 301 is expected to leave Chicago on the Capitol Limited on Tuesday evening en route to Washington and eventually an Amtrak shop in Delaware.

The unit wears the one-off livery applied to a Penn Central E8A 4316 for a May 1, 1971, ceremony to mark the inauguration of Amtrak.

Amtrak has ordered 75 ALC-42s from Siemens to replace the GE-built P42DCs and P40s now pulling long-distance and certain corridor trains.

The Day One design is one of several liveries Amtrak created to mark its 50th anniversary.

Thus far only the Midnight Blue scheme applied to P42DC No. 100 is in revenue service.

That locomotive has made several trips on the Lake Shore Limited in the past couple weeks.

One other ALC-42 has been accepted by Amtrak and is being tested.

Accelerating in Waterloo

June 27, 2021

Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited is picking up speed as it accelerates away from its station stop in Waterloo, Indiana, one hour and 15 minutes late.

It is the first image I’ve made of the Capitol in well over a year and getting this photograph took good timing and fast acting.

Before leaving home I had checked the status of Amtrak trains through Waterloo. There wasn’t enough time to get there before the Lake Shore Limited arrived and chances were good I would miss No. 29 by 15 minutes or so.

It had been reported out of Cleveland an hour and 20 minutes but Amtrak’s website projected No. 29 would make up a good chunk of that and arrive in Waterloo 59 minutes late.

If that held, I had no chance. But I also knew Amtrak can get delayed between Waterloo and Toledo.

As I neared Waterloo I checked the Amtrak website again. No. 29 was now projected to arrive in Waterloo at 7:46 a.m. I figured to miss by that about five minutes.

The exit ramp for Waterloo onto U.S. Route 6 from Interstate 69 is just beyond the bridge over the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

As I passed the exit signs for Route 6 it was 7:47 a.m. on my car’s clock. I slowed for the bridge and exit ramp and looked toward the east. No headlight was in sight.

That was a good sign This just might work after all.

Nearly a month earlier as I had driven over that same bridge I had seen the headlight of a fast approaching Amtrak 49. I was going to fast to get to the side of the road in time to try to get a grab shot and a pickup truck also getting off at the exit was right on my tail.

So close and yet so far away.

This time I drove to a road that crosses the Chicago Line at grade shortly after I got onto Route 6. The gates were up. Another good sign.

I checked the Amtrak website and saw No. 29 was now projected to arrive in Waterloo at 7:53 a.m., three minutes from now. Did I have time to get to the station?

I began driving down a road that runs parallel to the tracks. Then there it was up ahead. I immediately pulled to the side of Lincoln Street, grabbed my camera and dashed into the weeds to make this image.

There was no time so think about what I wanted to do. I barely was able to get all of the train in the frame.

Photographing the Capitol Limited is a challenge because much of its journey occurs at night. On the western end of the route the train is always operating in the wrong light. Only on the eastern end can you get 29 or 30 in good light.

In Northeast Ohio, No. 30 is scheduled into Cleveland at 1:45 a.m. and No. 29 at 2:53 a.m.

Still, you can get an interesting image on the western end of the route if you work it right.

The glint off P42DC No. 190 was happenstance but I also knew that this time of year the early morning light would favor the north side of the train.

I’m hoping it won’t be another year before I can photograph the Capitol Limited again.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Amtrak to Receive first ACL-42

June 12, 2021

The first Siemens ALC-42 locomotive built for Amtrak is expected to be released today and will head east on the California Zephyr.

Trains magazine quoted unnamed sources as saying Charger No. 300 will be handled by Train 6 departing Emeryville, California, today (June 12) and arriving in Chicago on Monday.

No. 300 is expected to be featured on Tuesday at a media event at the Amtrak Chicago maintenance facility and depart on June 16 for Washington in the motive power consist of the Capitol Limited.

The Trains report said Amtrak expects to receive a handful of Chargers over the next few weeks that will be tested.

Regular deliveries of the locomotive are expected to begin in the second half of this year. Amtrak has ordered 75 ACLC-42 locomotives for use in its national network.

They will replace aging P42DC units that have been the standard motive power on most national network trains since the middle 1990s.

Charger locomotives are already in revenue service for various operators around the country, including on Amtrak corridor routes in the Midwest.

The intercity carrier is expected to complete receiving its ALC-42 locomotives in 2024.

Amtrak Now Operating Daily in NEO

June 1, 2021

Amtrak is now operating daily through Northeast Ohio. For the first time since last October the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited ran in both directions early this morning as Amtrak implemented the second phase of its resumption of daily service of long distance trains.

Last week the Texas Eagle, California Zephyr, Empire Builder and Coast Starlight resumed daily operation on May 24.

On May 31, the Capitol and Lake Shore along with the Southwest Chief and City of New Orleans resumed daily operation.

The next round of trains to go back to daily service will be the Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Crescent and Palmetto on June 7.

The Cardinal and Sunset Limited will continue to operate tri-weekly as they have for many years.

In a related development, the Rail Passengers Associated reported it has learned traditional dining car service will return to Amtrak’s western long distance trains on June 23.

On its own website, Amtrak reports only that traditional dining has been suspended through June 30.

More details on the revamping of Amtrak’s dining service are expected to be released this week.

Lounges to Remain Absent from Amtrak’s Capitol Limited

May 24, 2021

Sightseer Lounge cars won’t be returning to the Capitol Limited next week when the train returns to daily operation.

The Rail Passengers Association reported on its website that it has been told by Amtrak that the absence of the popular cars from the Capitol Limited and Texas Eagle is temporary.

“While temporary, we do not yet have a defined timeline for increasing Sightseer Lounge availability, and have placed the other five Western [long distance] routes at a higher priority for deploying these popular cars,” said Larry Chestler, Amtrak’s vice president of the Long-Distance business unit. “We also are maintaining the Sightseer Lounge on the City of New Orleans due to our long-standing axle count requirements in Illinois.”

That means the Capitol Limited and Texas Eagle will will continue to operate with a single food-service car.

Chestler said Amtrak has a shortage of the lounge cars due to coronavirus contingencies. He said the cars will be restored once it’s possible to do so.

The Capitol Limited is scheduled to return to daily operation on May 31 while the Texas Eagle will resume daily operation today (May 24).

In a related development, Amtrak expects to resume full-service dining aboard Western long distance trains as early as June. Last May it switched to the contemporary dining model as a response to COVID-19 pandemic.

The passenger carrier is recalling furloughed workers and getting them qualified.

RPA said it was told that once traditional dining returns to the Western trains, Amtrak will begin work on “improvements to dining services on other [long-distance] routes, including the Eagle.”

Amtrak Long-Distance Trains to Resume Daily Service Starting in Late May

March 11, 2021

Amtrak said Wednesday it will reinstate daily service on 12 long-distance routes starting in late May.

Trains on those routes shifted last year to tri-weekly or quad-weekly service in the wake of steep ridership declines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement of expanded service came hours after the U.S. House of Representatives approved a pandemic relief package that contains increased funding for Amtrak.

The legislation also contains a mandate that routes that had daily service until last year resume daily operation and that furloughed employees be recalled.

President Joseph Biden is expected to sign the $1.9 trillion bill on Friday.

Two routes, the Chicago-New York Cardinal and New Orleans-Los Angeles Sunset Limited will be unaffected by the changes because those routes have operated on tri-weekly schedules for years.

Amtrak has already resumed selling tickets for the expanded days of operation on the 12 routes.

Trains returning to daily service on May 24 include the Chicago-Emeryville, California, California Zephyr; Seattle-Los Angeles Coast Starlight; Chicago-Portland/Seattle Empire Builder, and the Chicago-San Antonio-Los Angeles Texas Eagle.

Daily operation returns May 31 for the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited; Chicago-New Orleans City of New Orleans, Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited, and the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

Resuming daily operation on June 7 will be the New York-New Orleans Crescent, New York-Savannah Palmetto, and the New York-Miami Silver Meteor (via Savannah) and Silver Star (via Raleigh).

In a news release, Amtrak said new Viewliner II sleeping cars will be making their debut on the Silver Service trains.

The Auto Train had continued to operate daily and its operations will remain unchanged.

Amtrak will receive $1.7 billion in emergency pandemic aid, which will help fund restoration of daily service on long-distance routes.

Steam Saturday: An Amtrak Detour to a Pa. Steam Weekend

February 20, 2021
Norfolk & Western 475 at Groff’s picnic grove

The wee hours of the Oct. 21, 2006, found Jeff Troutman and myself scheduled to board Amtrak’s eastbound Capitol Limited and transfer to the Pennsylvanian at Pittsburgh to get to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

However things changed dramatically that morning. We eventually learned that a major derailment of a Norfolk Southern ethanol train had occurred on the bridge over the Beaver River at New Brighton, Pennsylvania.

That explained why Train 30 just sat in Cleveland and we never were able to board.

What we were offered was a reroute on the Lake Shore Limited to New York City and a connection to a Keystone Service train to Lancaster via Philadelphia.

After our enormous bonus mileage, we were able to partake of a Carl Franz photo special at 

Strasburg with Norfolk & Western 4-8-0  No. 475 and Great Western 2-10-0 No. 90.

Here are some highlights of that weekend outing.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas  

N&W 475 and a sunrise spectacular
Between Carpenters and Leamon Place
N&W 475 runs alongside Great Western 90 at Groff’s

 

Thanksgiving Travel Relatively Quiet at Amtrak

November 30, 2020

The Thanksgiving 2020 travel period was a relatively quiet one for Amtrak.

In the past the intercity carrier has leased equipment from rail commuter agencies to offer additional service in the Northeast, added additional cars to long-distance trains, and operated extra sections on some Midwest Corridor routes out of Chicago.

But this year it was just business as usual with little additional capacity being added.

A report on the Trains magazine website indicated that the only extra trains added this year were a Boston-Washington Northeast Regional roundtrip and one Acela roundtrip between New York and Washington.

The COVID-19 pandemic depressed holiday travel this year although airlines reported their highest single day loads since the pandemic began in earnest last March.

The Trains report said few trains were sold out this year although some sellouts occurred on corridor and long-distance trains on certain days.

Due to the pandemic Amtrak is limiting coach class travel to 50 percent of capacity.

Amtrak has since October operated nearly all of its long-distance trains three days a week.

That meant that some trains did not operate on days that would ordinarily have a seen a high demand for travel.

On Sunday, which airlines say is historically the busiest travel day of the year, Amtrak had just one long-distance train, the Texas Eagle, departing from Chicago.

Some long-distance trains did experience sell outs, including the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited.

Nos. 29 and 30 in recent months has been operating with just four cars, two coaches, a sleeper and a food service car.

But No. 30 departing Chicago on Saturday (Nov. 28) and Monday (Nov. 30) had no available seats available, the Trains report said.

The report said the Texas Eagle had no available coach seating between Chicago and St. Louis on Friday or Sunday in either direction.

The Trains report said space on many long-distance trains that experienced sell outs sold out weeks in advance of the Thanksgiving travel period.

However, Amtrak declined to add additional capacity to those trains.

With health officials seeking to discourage holiday travel, some long-distance trains experienced cancellations as the holiday period drew near, thus opening seats on the day of departure.