Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Cardinal’

New ALC-42s Move East on Capitol Limited

January 11, 2022

Two new Siemens ALC-42 locomotives operated eastbound on the Capitol Limited today behind P42DC No. 188.

An online report indicated that the 305 and 304 were being delivered from the Siemens assembly plant in California. Both units wore the Phase VI livery.

Reportedly Amtrak is training crews in Chicago in the operation of the new ALC-42 locomotives, which are slated to begin replacing P42s in Amtrak’s national network this year although P42s will continue to work for a few more years as Amtrak takes delivery of its ALC-42 fleet.

Nos. 29 and 30 in recent days have been operating with four cars, a sleeping car, dining car and two coaches. During the holiday travel season the Capitol Limited had been assigned an additional sleeping car.

In an unrelated development, Amtrak continued to have equipment and weather-related issues last weekend.

The eastbound Cardinal departed Chicago on Saturday night more than seven hours late due to what Amtrak described on its Twitter feed as equipment and mechanical issues.

Also running late in recent days have been the California Zephyr and Empire Builder.

Trains magazine reported on its website that a westbound Zephyr last weekend was delayed by more than seven hours after hitting a track obstruction east of Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

The Empire Builder continued to be plagued by weather woes with the train that departed Chicago last Friday canceled in Minot, North Dakota, due to weather-related operating conditions.

The westbound Builder from Chicago was canceled on Saturday and Sunday while its eastbound counterpart was canceled from Seattle and Portland on Sunday and Monday.

Saturday’s eastbound Empire Builder had originated in Spokane, Washington, rather than Seattle.

Weather Still Disrupting Amtrak Trains

January 8, 2022

Adverse weather conditions have led to a spate of Amtrak train cancellations.

Heavy snowfall in West Virginia was cited by Amtrak for multiple cancellations of the Chicago-New York Cardinal this week.

Trains magazine reported on its website that on Tuesday night Train 50 was terminated after reaching Rennselaer, Indiana, with passengers returned to Chicago by bus.

The westbound Cardinal was cancelled on Wednesday and Friday. The eastbound Cardinal was canceled on Thursday.

On Saturday morning the Amtrak website was showing Train 50 as still set to depart Chicago later that evening for New York.

Amtrak could have operated the Cardinal Thursday night to Indianapolis and then had that equipment turn Saturday morning to return to Chicago. But it elected not to pursue that option.

The Trains report said about 8 inches of snow fell in the region around Charleston, West Virginia, on Thursday and four more inches was expected in Northern Virginia on Friday morning.

Heavy snow that downed tree limbs across tracks led to operational issues that led to passengers being marooned for hours aboard trains in Virginia earlier this week.

Elsewhere, Amtrak cancelled the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder trains that were to have departed Thursday from Portland and Seattle.

Stalled BNSF freight trains were blocking the route and also prevented the westbound Empire Builder on that day from getting through.

Saturday morning Amtrak posted on Twitter that today’s westbound Empire Builder from Chicago has been canceled due to severe weather.

The Empire Builder that was to have originated in Seattle on Friday instead originated in Spokane, Washington.

Mudslides near Kelso, Washington, prompted Amtrak to cancel all service between Seattle and Portland on Thursday through Saturday. The cancellations did not affect trains operating between Portland and Eugene, Oregon.

In the east, Northeast Regional 171 to Roanoke, Virginia; No. 93 to Norfolk, Virginia; and train 85 to Richmond, Virginia; were canceled on Friday along with their counterparts from the same destinations, trains 176, 84, and 86.

The Silver Meteor from Miami to New York was canceled on Friday along with the southbound Meteor that was to have departed New York on Friday.

Eight additional Northeast Regional trains were cancelled Friday. Trains that did operate were subject to hours-long delays between Washington and Richmond.

Virginia Short Line to Buy part of Cardinal Route

September 24, 2021

A Virginia short line railroad that hosts Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal is seeking to buy track it now leases from CSX.

The Buckingham Branch Railroad wants to buy 164 miles of former Chesapeake & Ohio track in Virginia between Clifton Forge and Doswell.

BBR has leased the track since 2005. It was formed in 1988 and today operates 280 route miles.

In a filing with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, CSX and BBR said they have agreed to convert the lease into an exclusive rail freight operating easement and terminate the existing agreement.

LSL to be Assigned Viewliner II Sleepers

August 30, 2021

Viewliner II sleeping cars will be assigned to Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited after Labor Day.

They will be assigned to the New York section and replace Viewliner I cars.

Nos. 48 and 49 typically carry three sleepers west of Albany-Rennsselaer, New York, where the New York and Boston sections of the train combine.

The Boston section has one sleeper and the New York section has two. Amtrak plans to continue operating Viewliner I sleepers on the Boston section.

Amtrak observed a milestone last week when it took delivery of the last two Viewliner II sleepers, No. 62523, Wabash River, and No. 62524, Westfield River.

That also marked the completion of the 130-car Viewliner order that Amtrak placed in 2010 with CAF USA. The order included sleepers, dining cars, baggage cars, and baggage-dorm cars.

Twenty-five cars in the order were sleeping cars although the baggage-dorm cars also have sleeping accommodations for on-board crew members.

The cars had been expected to be completed by 2015, but production delays meant the first car, a diner, didn’t roll off the assembly line and into Amtrak’s possession until late 2016.

The first Viewliner II sleeper arrived on Amtrak property in February 2019.

Amtrak has announced plans to rehabilitate the interiors of the Viewliner I sleepers as well as its Superliner fleet.

The Viewliner II sleepers have two bedrooms and one accessible bedroom. Standard bedrooms have a separate annex for the toilet and a private shower.

There also is a shower facility at the end of the car for roomette passengers. Viewliner II cars have 11 roomettes whereas the Viewliner I cars have 12 reoomettes.

In the Viewliner II cars two washrooms for community use have replaced one roomette.

Viewliner I roomettes feature in-room toilet facilities on a seat under a folding wash basin.

Trains carrying Viewliner II sleepers thus have a slightly reduced inventory of sleeper accommodations.

Amtrak has been noncommittal thus far as to whether eastern long-distance trains carrying one Viewliner sleeper will receive additional sleeping cars once the Lake Shore Limited is re-equipped.

The Chicago-New York Cardinal and New York-New Orleans Crescent each have just one sleeper in their consist although both trains also carry a baggage-dome car for the crew.

Before 2019, the Cardinal had carried a second sleeper during the spring, summer and fall.

Combined Lake Shore Limited and Cardinal

August 21, 2021

The Cardinal’s equipment is on the rear of No. 48.

On Friday (Aug. 20) Amtrak combined the eastbound Cardinal and Lake Shore Limited as it ran through Northeast Ohio. 

This was due to a derailment in Indiana on Thursday morning but the Cardinal’s equipment had to be moved to New York. This made for an impressive 16 car train with three engines.

The reason I got up early however was because Amtrak P42DC No. 100, the Midnight Blue, and P42DC No. 46, the 50th Anniversary tribute locomotive, were both on the train.

I was hoping that it would be running a little late but alas the Late Shore did not live up to its reputation today as it was on time.  In fact it arrived 27 minutes early into Cleveland station.

I chased No. 48 east to Ashtabula hoping to get it in daylight and while the sun had started to rise it was pretty dark when it went by me at 6:40 a.m.

Also my camera misfired and cut off the nose of the 100.  At least the going away shot turned out nice. Oh well you can’t win them all.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Amtrak’s ‘Midnight Blue’ Passes Through

August 20, 2021

Amtrak’s Midnight Blue locomotive passed through Northeast Ohio Thursday and Friday mornings on the point of the Lake Shore Limited.

P42DC No. 100 wears a one-off dark blue livery that observes Amtrak’s 50th anniversary and pays tribute to its workers who are assigned to overnight trains.

No. 100 was accompanied by P42DC No. 46, which is painted in the standard Phase V livery but carries the 50th anniversary herald on its flanks.

That duo went west on No. 49 on Thursday and east on No. 48 on Friday.

A notable addition to No. 48 on Friday was the consist of Amtrak’s Cardinal consisting of two Amfleet II coaches, an Amfleet food service car, a Viewliner sleeper and a Viewliner baggage-dorm.

That equipment was being ferried to New York to make up the westbound Cardinal that will depart the Big Apple on Sunday morning.

It would have operated from Chicago to New York on Thursday night and throughout Friday but Train 50 was canceled east of Indianapolis due to a CSX freight train derailment 20 miles east of Indianapolis Thursday morning.

No. 50 of Thursday night terminated in Indianapolis and reportedly had a consist of one locomotive, one coach and one food service car.

The Cardinal consist was tacked onto the rear of No. 48. Throughout the summer Nos. 48 and 49 have operated with two P42DC locomotives, a Boston Viewliner sleeper, an Amfleet café car, four Amfleet II coaches, a Viewliner dining car, two New York Viewliner sleepers and a Viewliner baggage car.

In past years Nos. 48 and 49 have had two Boston coaches and four New York coaches.

Manchin Wants Study of Daily Cardinal

June 23, 2021

Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) is pushing for a study of making Amtrak’s Cardinal a daily train.

Nos. 50 and 51 currently operate tri-weekly, departing Chicago on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; and New York on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

Manchin said in a news release that he was able to win approval of a measure to fund the study in the Surface Transportation Investment Act that is being considered by the Senate.

“The language I secured in the Surface Transportation Investment Act will require a study on potential options to restore the Cardinal line daily service, which provides access to and from much of West Virginia, Manchin said in statement.

“This is an important first step towards restoring the Cardinal line and I look forward to reviewing the results of this important study to determine how we can best move forward.”

An Amtrak Two for Tuesday

June 1, 2021

Amtrak’s Cardinal is used to ferry equipment to and from the Beech Grove shops in Indianapolis. Typically, equipment goes north on Monday and south on Saturday.

The usual practice is to add the equipment bound for Chicago to the front of the train at Indianapolis Union Station, which has the effect of creating two trains in one.

Monday’s westbound No. 51 has this double look as seen in the images above. The ferry section added in Indy is on the front of the train followed by the passenger section.

Note also that the ferry section has two P42DC locomotives and two Viewliner baggage cars, which is in keeping with the theme of this post of two for Tuesday. The ferry section also includes a lone Superliner coach.

The passenger section has its customary consist of three Amfleet II coaches, an Amfleet food service car, a Viewliner sleeping car and a Viewliner baggage-dorm.

The Cardinal is shown passing through Brownsburg, Indiana, on the CSX Crawfordsville Subdivision.

2 For Amtrak’s 50th Anniversary

May 3, 2021

I wanted to get out and photograph Amtrak on its 50th anniversary day last Saturday. I began my quest by setting next to the CSX Monon Subdivision south of Linden, Indiana, to capture the westbound Cardinal.

No. 51 was right on the money about 10 minutes past 5, having made a station stop, in Crawfordsville about 12 minutes earlier. It was about a half-hour after sunrise.

Next I motored over to east central Illinois to get the northbound Saluki, a corridor train funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation that originates in Carbondale and travels to Chicago.

No. 390 is shown above taking a signal at Humboldt, Illinois. It, too, was running on time.

None of the equipment seen in these photographs existed in 1971 and most of it had not been created yet as a concept.

The Amfleet coaches and food service car of the Cardinal come closest because Amfleet equipment was based on the design of the Budd Metroliners of the 1960s. Superliner equipment was inspired by the Hi-Level cars of the Santa Fe.

In 1971 EMD E and F units with a handful of passenger equipped geeps, U boats and SDs were the common motive power. It all wore the markings and liveries of its owners.

The Saluki does not normally operate with Superliner equipment, but has since Amtrak reduced the frequency of most long-distance trains last year to tri-weekly.

Starting May 24 Amtrak plans to begin to restore daily service to most long-distance trains — the Cardinal and Sunset Limited are exceptions — so the Superliners now on the Saluki probably will be replaced with Horizon and Amfleet equipment.

But not for long as Amtrak has begun taking delivery of and testing the new Siemens Venture cars and they are expected to begin revenue service later this year.

The long distance trains are also slated to begin receiving Charger locomotives similar to the SC-44 seen above pullking the Saluki albeit with a difference livery.

With Amtrak things are always changing even if it doesn’t always appear that way at first glance.

Funding Set for Oxford Amtrak Station

March 11, 2021

Funding commitments are falling into place for construction of an Amtrak station in Oxford, Ohio.

The city of Oxford along with Miami University have agreed to spend $700,000 for the station, which will serve the Chicago-New York Cardinal.

The city and university funding will pay for a platform and an unmanned kiosk.

Negotiations are underway with vendors for design and cost estimates.

Located 40 miles north-northwest of Cincinnati, Oxford would become the second Ohio stop for the Cardinal and Amtrak’s eighth station in Ohio.

Nos. 50 and 51 stopped in Hamilton, Ohio, between August 1980 and October 2005.

The Oxford station will be located at 909 South Main St. The Cardinal will stop in Oxford westbound on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, and eastbound on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.