Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Cardinal’

Ferry Move

August 3, 2022

Once a week Amtrak’s Cardinal ferries equipment between Chicago and Indianapolis that is going to or from its Beech Grove Shops. The normal procedure is to place the ferried equipment, including locomotives, on the front of the train. Shown is the westbound Cardinal on the CSX Monon Subdivision about a mile south of Linden, Indiana. The regular equipment of No. 51 starts behind the two Superliner cars that are trailing a Viewliner baggage car and diner. The image was made on May 30.

3 Amtrak Trains Were Most Delayed, FRA Says

February 16, 2022

Three Amtrak trains led the list of most delayed trains during the fourth quarter of 2021, the Federal Railroad Administration said on Monday.

In a report showing performance and service quality of intercity passenger train operations, the Cardinal (Chicago-New York), Sunset Limited (New Orleans-Los Angeles) and Texas Eagle (Chicago-San Antonio) had the most delays.

The FRA used standards and metrics that it issued in November 2020 to compile the report.

The agency found Amtrak trains experienced more than 1.2 million minutes of delay during the fourth quarter, up 37 percent from the previous quarter.

Delays system-wide rose 33 percent at 8,168,324 train-miles. The FRA rules track delays by 40 categories, but the top three during the fourth quarter were those attributed to a host railroad, those attributed to Amtrak and those attributed to a third party. The latter includes weather-related delays.

The FRA said freight train interference accounted for 22 percent of delay minutes, an increase of 36 percent from the previous quarter.

Delays by train included the Cardinal (87,123 minutes), Sunset Limited (67,300 minutes), and Texas Eagle (42,965 minutes).

The report also found Amtrak ridership increased 48 percent during the fourth quarter to 5.1 million passengers.

Amtrak Service Returning to Normal

January 18, 2022

Amtrak service to Ohio was expected to return to normal today following several cancellations due to a winter storm that dumped heavy snow in some parts of the nation, including Northeast Ohio.

The Capitol Limited (Chicago-Washington) was expected to depart both endpoints for the first time since last Friday.

No. 29 did not depart Washington on Sunday and Monday, and No. 30 did not depart Chicago on Saturday and Sunday.

The tri-weekly Cardinal is also expected to resume normal operations with its late Tuesday afternoon departure from Chicago and early Wednesday morning departure from New York.

Also returning to normal will be the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian. The Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited was not affected by the storm and continuing operating throughout the weekend.

Next week, though, service cancellations lasting through late March will be implemented.

The Capitol Limited will not operate through Northeast Ohio on Saturday or Sunday while the Lake Shore Limited will not operate to Cleveland on Wednesday and Thursday.

The service cancellations will begin on Jan. 25 for Nos. 48/49 and on Jan. 28 for Nos. 29 and 30.

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.”