Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Capitol Limited’

Capitol, Lake Shore Consists Shrink Further

January 11, 2023

Amtrak has further reduced the consists of its Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited trains this month.

Nos. 29 and 30 are operating with four cars, a sleeper, food service car, a coach, and a Viewliner baggage car. The sleeper, coach and food service car are Superliners.

Although the reduced consists have not been announced by the passenger carrier, Amtrak has in past years reduced the number of cars assigned to some trains during the winter due to lower ridership.

The Capitol Limited had been operating with two sleepers, two coaches and a food service car. It has not routinely carried a baggage car in the past year.

The Lake Shore Limited consist has shrunk by two Amfleet II coaches. Nos. 48/448 and 49/449 is assigned three Viewliner sleepers, a Viewliner dining car open only to sleeper class passengers, three Amfleet II coaches, an Amfleet food service car, and a Viewliner baggage car.

Motive power assignments for all trains remain unchanged with the Capitol usually assigned one P42DC and the Lake Shore having two P42 locomotives.

Both trains have in the past year operated with smaller consists than usual due to Amtrak having a shortage of serviceable equipment. The issue has been traced to the passenger carrier sidelining numerous passenger cars during the COVID-19 pandemic when ridership fell dramatically.

Once ridership began to rebound Amtrak lacked enough mechanical personnel to get the sidelined equipment back into service in a rapid manner.

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 Suspensions Lingering

December 26, 2022

Amtrak appeared to be slowly returning to normal today after several days of service cancellations of Midwest corridor trains and Eastern long-distance trains due to a winter storm.

As of 6:30 a.m. this morning the Amtrak website did not show any new cancellations for today beyond two that had already been announced.

However, the eastbound Capitol Limited that had been scheduled to resume service on Sunday was cancelled due to mechanical issues Amtrak announced on its Twitter feed.

The westbound Capitol Limited did leave Washington on Sunday afternoon as scheduled but was operating more than an hour late.

The westbound Cardinal was operating more than two hours late. No. 51 last ran on Dec. 20.

A handful of Midwest Corridor trains will not operate today (Dec. 26). These include the Missouri River Runner between St. Louis and Kansas City, and Lincoln Service Nos. 301 and 306 between Chicago and St. Louis.

Amtrak cited “manpower issues” for cancelling today Wolverine Service No. 353 from Pontiac, Michigan, to Chicago with alternative transportation being provided.

The passenger carrier cited the same reasons for cancelling Wolverine Service Nos. 354 and 355 between Chicago and Battle Creek, Michigan, on Sunday night.

The Lake Shore Limited between Chicago and New York/Boston was slated to resume operation today after not operating since late last week. However, the Empire Builder between Chicago and Seattle/Portland remains cancelled.

Amtrak was not the only rail passenger carrier to cancel trains during the Christmas weekend.

VIA Rail Canada cancelled all of its trains in the Toronto-Ottawa, and Toronto-Montreal corridors on Christmas Day. VIA extended those cancellations into Dec. 26 although it attributed the latest round of service suspensions to the “ongoing impact of the CN train derailment which occurred on Dec. 24.”

The derailment occurred in Grafton, Ontario, shortly after 11 a.m. on Dec. 24 and blocked all tracks. The VIA cancellations affected 25 corridor trains.

Earlier, VIA cited the winter storm for prompting the cancellation of 24 corridor trains on Dec. 24. The Toronto Star reported that on the night of Dec. 23 some VIA trains were delayed up to 14 hours and nine trains were stranded overnight.

The storm brought subzero temperatures and, in some areas, heavy snow. VIA reported that some delays were due to power outages and downed trees.

The Canadian passenger carrier said passengers affected by those delays will receive a full refund and a travel credit.

Canada’s Transport Minister, Omar Alghabra had taken to Twitter to describe the VIA situation as “unacceptable and we are in contact with them to resolve all issues safely and efficiently.”

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.

NS Reopens Cleveland Line Following Derailment

November 3, 2022

Norfolk Southern reopened its Cleveland Line in Portage County on Wednesday just over a day after it was closed by a Tuesday night derailment.

Amtrak’s Capitol Limited resumed operating on Thursday morning between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Officials said there were no injuries in the derailment and no hazardous materials were involved.

Most of the derailed cars were auto racks, some of them carrying new Jeeps. Some cars carrying rock salt spilled their contents.

An NS spokesman said the train had four locomotives and 237 cars. It had originated at Conway Yard near Pittsburgh and was en route to Bellevue when the derailment occurred around 7 p.m. near Lake Street in Ravenna.

The NS spokesman said 22 cars derailed. No cause of the derailment has been given by railroad officials.

The derailment closed South Prospect Street (Ohio Route 44) for several hours and disrupted school bus service in the Ravenna school district.

Laura Hebert, superintendent of Ravenna City Schools, said a school bus serving the neighborhood was unable to pick up children for school.

Route 44 was reported to have been closed between Sandy Lake Road and Summit Road.

Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited that had departed Washington for Chicago on Tuesday afternoon turned back at Pittsburgh to become Train 30. The eastbound Capitol Limited departure of Tuesday evening was cancelled.

Nos. 29 and 30 were operating the length of their routes on Thursday. No. 30 was reported to have departed Alliance at 3:44 a.m., 39 minutes late.

The derailment was reported to the Ravenna Township Fire Department at 7:12 p.m. on Tuesday.

News reports quoted a resident of the Timber Run housing development as saying,”It sounded like a plane was about to crash into our houses.”

One resident who joined the crowd watching the cleanup said his boat had been destroyed in the derailment, but he was excited about the prospect of receiving a check from NS for it.

A Weekend That Exceeded Expectations: Part 3

October 26, 2022

I found that our weekend in Cumberland, Maryland, chasing Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad would prove to have a flurry of passenger train activity within walking distance of our hotel.

On the afternoon of Oct. 22, a Saturday, the passenger train with the 1309 returned to the Western Maryland passenger station just before 4:30 p.m.

The first five photos with this post, including the top image, were made at the Cumberland WM station.

As I was photographing the watering of the tender (seen below), a voice to my left asked if I was getting good photos.

The voice was again very familiar. It belonged to Akron Railroad Club member Dennis Sautters, of North Canton, who had just arrived in town. He told me he would be riding behind the 1309 on Sunday in dome car Stampede Pass.

Dennis also said he had just come from riding the Potomac Eagle. Before that he had been at Cass Scenic Railroad Park in West Virginia

On Sunday morning the Amtrak website showed that the eastbound Capitol Limited was running on time.

We were already checked out of the hotel and drove to the Amtrak station, located a short distance from the hotel, on the ex-Baltimore & Ohio mainline.

No. 30 arrived at 9:19 a.m. I had no idea that I would be happily surprised when I saw the “bloody nose” on the point.

It was my first time seeing P42DC Phase 1 heritage unit No. 161, which is the replacement for the 156 Phase I heritage unit.

While we were here we heard the horns of the Pumpkin Train arriving at the Western Maryland station across town.

We had plenty of time to see it before its departure at 9:30 a.m.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Amtrak Fall Foliage Two for Tuesday

October 25, 2022

I’ve been focusing on seeking trains and fall foliage in the past couple of weeks because we are in the peak color period of October.

Last Sunday I made a trip to the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern to find autumn colors. Here are a couple images of Amtrak and fall color.

In the top image, the westbound Capitol Limited is nearly on time as it charges through Chesterton, Indiana. The train had six Superliner cars, which was one more than its usual five. The sixth car was a transition sleeper on the rear.

On the point is a lone P42DC, which also is the norm for Nos. 29 and 30.

In the bottom image, the westbound Blue Water passes a colorful stand of trees in Porter, Indiana. Train 365 originates in Port Huron, Michigan, and runs with a locomotive on each end to avoid having to turn the train in Port Huron.

The consist is six Horizon fleet cars, including a food service car. The motive power is an SC-44 Charger, which has become the standard motive power for Midwest corridor trains.

No. 365 It is on Amtrak-owned trackage and the signal visible on the left protects the junction with the NS Chicago Line at the CP 482 interlocking plant.

The signal also marks the end of Amtrak ownership of the line, which extends from Porter to Kalamazoo, Michigan. This is the longest stretch of Amtrak-owned trackage outside the Northeast Corridor.

The heritage of this track is Michigan Central. Amtrak’s Chicago-Detroit (Pontiac) Wolverine Service trains also use these tracks.

Combined Amtrak Trains in Cleveland

October 11, 2022

On Saturday afternoon NS train 310 derailed at Sandusky taking out all tracks. All trains were either cancelled or rerouted.

The reroutes went from Oak Harbor to Vermillion via Bellevue.  

This included the four Amtrak trains that use the route. Trains 30 and 48 were combined at Toledo and 29 and 49 were combined at Cleveland for the reroute.

I caught the combined eastbound at Cleveland where the trains were split again for their respective routes. 

In the top two images, the combined Nos. 40 and 48 are shown being split at Cleveland station.

The third photo shows the Capitol Limited at East 26th Street while the bottom image shows the Lake Shore Limited at East 38th Street.

On Sunday Amtrak 30 was cancelled. Amtrak 48 turned at Toledo and, I presume, Nos. 49 and 29 will also turn at Cleveland with a bus bridge between the two cities.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon