Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Lake Shore 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.

LSL, Midwest Corridor Trains Back on Track

December 28, 2022

Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited returned to service on Wednesday and no Midwest Corridor trains have been cancelled for Thursday.

Some services remain suspended in New York State and a handful of Midwest trains were cancelled on Wednesday.

Trains that did not operate on Wednesday included Woverine Service Nos. 351 and 353 between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac); Lincoln Service No. 300 from St. Louis to Chicago; Blue Water No. 365 from Port Huron, Michigan, to Chicago; and Illinois Zephyr No. 382 from Quincy, Illinois, to Chicago.

In New York State, cancellations for Thursday include the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf between Toronto and Rochester; Empire Service No. 250 between Niagara Falls and Albany -Rensselaer; and Empire Service Trains 281, 281 and 284 between Niagara Falls and Syracuse.

The Empire Service trains will operate to and from New York City east of Rochester and Syracuse.

Amtrak’s Empire Builder has resumed operating between Chicago and St. Paul, Minnesota, for remains suspended west of St. Paul.

Work to Progress on New Lift Bridge on Amtrak Route in Albany NY

December 28, 2022

Replacement of a bridge in Albany, New York, used by Amtrak will advance to the final design phase after winning approval from the Federal Railroad Administration.

The bridge is owned by CSX but leased to Amtrak, which uses it for its Lake Shore Limited and Empire Service trains.

The FRA determined that replacement of the Livingston Avenue Railroad Bridge would have “no significant impact” on the environment.

The movable swing bridge over the Hudson River was built in the 19th century and has a top speed of 15 miles per hour.

New York State Department of Transportation officials said the new bridge will be a lift structure with two tracks on a parallel alignment.

As part of the project changes will be made to the triangular ju8nction of tracks on the Rensselaer side of the river to help facilitate train turning movements.

Officials said the new bridge will better serve maritime traffic and provide pedestrians and bicyclists with access across the river.

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 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.

What It Would Have Looked Like

December 24, 2022

Friday and Saturday were the type of days I will not venture out anymore except to the mailbox and to feed the birds.

Why I didn’t really need to go trackside is because I am more than satisfied with the results I got in Perry in March 2013 in similar conditions. However, things were worse on Friday than they were in March 2013 when there was heavy lake effect snow but not the extreme cold.

Of course I wouldn’t have been able to see Amtrak No. 48 anyway if I had gone out since it was cancelled. Stay warm everyone.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

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.

LSL Returns to Service Following Storm Suspensions

November 21, 2022

Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited returned to service on Sunday following its suspension since late last week in advance of a snowstorm in the Buffalo, New York, region that dumped up to six feet of lake effect snow.

Also restored to service were Empire Service trains to Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York.

Nos 48/448 and 49/449 were cancelled between Wednesday and Saturday from Chicago, and Thursday through Saturday from New York City.

The last train to operate west of Albany-Rensselaer, New York, was Empire Service No. 283, which terminated on Thursday in Syracuse.

It turned at Syracuse on Friday to return to New York’s Penn Station. Trains that were scheduled to operate between New York and Niagara Falls instead operated only between New York and Albany-Rensselaer through Saturday.

In an unrelated situation, two westbound Wolverine Service trains were cancelled on Friday due to stranded equipment and lack of operating personnel.

The situation arose from a Thursday incident in Kalamazoo, Michigan, when westbound Train 355 struck a trespasser.

Passengers completed their trip to Chicago by bus but Nos. 350 and 355 from Detroit (Pontiac) to Chicago on Friday were cancelled.

Finding space on Amtrak trains during the Thanksgiving travel period this week may be difficult as the passenger carrier continues to grapple with shortages of serviceable equipment and operating personnel.

Midwest corridor trains on the St. Louis-Kansas City; Chicago-Quincy, Illinois; and Chicago-Carbondale, Illinois, corridors are suspended due to those issues, meaning there is not as much capacity as there has been in previous years.

Amtrak also lacks the ability to do as it did in previous years of adding extra sections of some Midwest Corridor trains during the Thanksgiving travel period by having equipment and personnel make additional trips during hours when the equipment would be having downtime in Chicago before its next assignment.

Even trains that are operating this week will have less capacity because they have been operating for several months with fewer cars than normal.

Move Faster Clouds, Faster

November 2, 2022

The morning of Oct. 23 in Porter, Indiana, was pleasant but skies had sun and clouds mixed. That meant playing a game of “dodge the clouds” whenever a train showed up.

Such was the case with the arrival of the Amtrak Train 49, the Lake Shore Limited.

If you look toward the front of the train you’ll see it is in sunlight. But the two New York section Viewliner sleepers and baggage car are still in shadows because a cloud hadn’t moved enough out of the way of the sun.

Still I like the contrast between the “dark” end of the train and the brilliant fall foliage in sunlight above and to the side of No. 49.

The train is in the middle of the CP 482 interlocking, which is a junction of the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern, the Grand Rapids Subdivision of CSX, the Amtrak Michigan District and the NS Porter branch.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders