Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited’

New York Cities Eyed as LSL Stop

June 27, 2022

New York officials are working with Amtrak to establish a passenger stop for the Lake Shore Limited in either Westfield or Dunkirk, New York.

Both communities are in Chautauqua County west of Buffalo.

Officials said Amtrak approached them more than a year ago about establishing the stop for the Chicago-New York/Boston train.

Although Amtrak would pay to create the station, funding to maintain it would be the responsibility of local officials.

Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel said it is still to be determined whether the new station will be in Westfield or Dunkirk.

He indicated that Amtrak still need to reach an agreement with CSX to establish the station.

The City of Dunkirk is paying for a study to determine the viability of establishing the stop there.

Westfield said it has yet to be determined how much it would cost to maintain the station once it’s established and who would pay that cost.

The maintenance cost would also include hiring a station caretaker.

CSX Track Work Affects Boston LSL Section

June 22, 2022

The second phase of a CSX track work program that began this week is affecting operations of the Boston section of Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited.

Nos. 448 and 449 will not operate between Albany-Rensselaer, New York, and Boston on Monday through Thursday through July 21.

Trains will operate as normal on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the construction period. The trains also will operate as normal on July 4.

Alternative transportation is being provided by bus to the Massachusetts stations of Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester and Boston South Station. No alternate transportation is being provided to the missed stop of Framingham.

Passengers ticketed to Back Bay will be bused to Boston  South Station and take an Amtrak or MBTA commuter train to Back Bay.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said passengers at Boston South Station should go to the Amtrak Information Desk for instructions on boarding the buses.

Passengers at Worcester will board the bus at the main entrance in front of the station. Boarding will not occur at the Bus Terminal.

CSX Track Work Disrupts Boston LSL Section

June 16, 2022

Track work being performed by CSX in Massachusetts is disrupting operations of the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited through June 26.

The disruptions are occurring Monday through Thursday and seeing Nos. 448 and 449 originate and terminate at Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

Alternative transportation is being provided to Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester and Boston South Station.

No alternate transportation is being provided to Framingham and passengers going to or from Boston Back Bay station are being advised to take another Amtrak train or an MBTA commuter train between Back Bay and South Station.

Passengers boarding at South Station should go to the Amtrak Information Desk for instructions on boarding the buses.

Passengers boarding at Worcester will board their bus at the main entrance in front of the station. Boarding will not occur at the Bus Terminal

Amtrak Eyes New Entrance to Chicago

June 13, 2022

Amtrak is seeking funding to develop a new entrance to Chicago for its trains from the East Coast and Michigan.

Trains magazine reported on its website that the proposal is multiple pronged and involves using tracks of the South Shore Line in Northwest Indiana, acquiring Canadian National’s lightly used Lakefront Line and constructing a direct connection from the St. Charles Air Line to Amtrak-owned tracks leading into Chicago Union Station.

The project, if funded, would cost an estimated $418.5 million.

The Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited and Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited would leave their current route on Norfolk Southern’s Chicago Line at a connection from NS to the South Shore near the current Amtrak station in South Bend, Indiana.

Amtrak trains from Michigan would get onto the South Shore in Michigan City, Indiana. From there Amtrak would take the South Shore to Kensington in Chicago before switching to the CN Lakefront Line, which was formerly the mainline of the Illinois Central.

Amtrak trains using the former IC between Chicago and New Orleans currently use the St. Charles Air Line over its entire length.

But this requires a backup move on BNSF’s busy Chicago-Aurora line to reach Union Station.

Building a direct connection from the Air Line to Union Station would cost an estimated $146.5 million.

The proposed project also would route the Chicago-New York Cardinal over the under construction West Lake Corridor line of the South Shore between Dyer and Hammond, Indiana.

At Hammond, Nos. 50 and 51 would then continue in or out of Chicago via the South Shore mainline.

The advantages of the project would be to get passenger trains off the busy NS Chicago Line, where Amtrak operations have been frequently subject to delay.

The Trains report indicated Amtrak is eyeing grants from the National Infrastructure Project Assistance program.

Also known as the Mega Program, Amtrak would seek $251.1 million in federal grants that it would match with $83.7 million from its own budget.

The passenger carrier would also seek equal amounts from a combination of state and local agencies, including transportation departments of Illinois, Michigan, and the City of Chicago; commuter rail agency Metra; and Cook County, Illinois.

Amtrak also has proposed double-tracking its Michigan Line for 16 miles between Niles and Glenwood, Michigan.

This would eliminate delays that occur when scheduled trains run late and miss their planned meets at the existing sidings.

No timeline has been given for these projects and it is unclear if CN would be willing to sell to Amtrak its Lake Front Line in Chicago. Nor has Amtrak yet held discussions about using the South Shore with that rail operator’s parent, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.

The new Chicago entrance proposal is similar to one studied several years ago involving creating a dedicated passenger route in Chicago and Northwest Indiana on no-longer used right of way that once belonged to the New York Central that runs parallel to the former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline that Amtrak and NS use today. That proposal died due to lack of funding.

The Trains report can be read at https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/amtrak-unveils-infrastructure-plan-to-transform-chicago-operations/

Capitol Limited Capacity Expanded This Week

May 26, 2022

Amtrak has increased the capacity of its Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited. Nos. 29 and 30 are now operating with two sleeping cars, three coaches and a food service car, all of it Superliner equipment.

Also added to the consist was a Viewliner baggage car. The trains continue to be pulled by a single P42DC locomotive.

The train’s consist earlier this year shrunk to four cars, a sleeper, food service car and two coaches. In recent weeks the consist has been five cars with the extra car being a coach.

The Capitol Limited still is without a Sightseer lounge. Earlier reports blamed the lack of a lounge car on a car shortage prompted by a shortage of mechanics who can get cars that were stored during the pandemic back into operating condition.

As the pandemic sent Amtrak ridership plummeting, the passenger carrier reduced the consists of trains, sidelined dozens of cars, and reduced the frequency of operation of most long-distance trains to less than daily.

In late 2020 and early 2021, most long-distance trains fell to tri-weekly operation. Although daily operation was restored to those trains last summer, most trains began operating five days a week in late January.

At the time, Amtrak cited crew shortages for the service reductions. The Capitol Limited was restored to daily operation in late March.

In a related development, the Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited resumed daily operation this week.

Nos. 48/49 and 448/449 had been operating five days a week, not departing its endpoint cities on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

The makeup of the Lake Shore is two P42DC locomotives, three Viewliner sleepers, a Viewliner dining car for sleeping car passengers, an Amfleet food service car, four to five Amfleet coaches and a Viewliner baggage car.

Amtrak to Restore LSL to Daily Operation in May

April 19, 2022

Amtrak will restore daily operation to four long-distance trains the week of May 23, Trains magazine reported Tuesday.

Resuming daily operation will be the Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited, the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief, the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder, and the Chicago-San Francisco Bay California Zephyr.

Starting May 2 Amtrak will end a joint equipment sharing plan involving the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Chief.

Consequently, the Texas Chief will resort to its previous schedule because there will no longer be a need for a long layover in St. Louis to inspect the equipment.

However, Trains reported, the New York-Miami Silver Meteor will remain suspended through Sept. 11. The Chicago-New Orleans City of New Orleans and the New York-New Orleans Crescent also will remain five-day-a-week trains for now.

The Chicago-New York Cardinal will get a marginal boost in capacity when unused sleeping car accommodations in a crew car will begin being sold to the public.

Those accommodations are in a dorm-baggage car that runs on the rear of the train.

The southbound Chicago to Carbondale, Illinois, Saluki, and northbound Carbondale to Chicago Illini will remain suspended through Sept. 11. Both trains were suspended in late January.

The Trains report cited a planning document that it obtained.

That document also indicated there will be additional trains added in the Northeast Corridor.

The document said some train consists are being adjusted to account for lower than expected passenger car availability and continued onboard service worker shortages.

In a statement provided to the magazine, Amtrak acknowledged the additional services and cited increased demand for business and leisure travel.

To read the article visit https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/amtrak-to-restore-four-long-distance-trains-to-daily-service-in-late-may/

A Very Productive Sunday Morning

March 7, 2022

We were up early on Sunday for a pancake breakfast at the Willoughby Hills Community Center, a visit to Lake Metroparks Farmpark, grocery shopping at Heinen’s in Chardon, but also, of course, a great catch of a two-and-a-half late eastbound Lake Shore Limited with Midnight Blue P42DC No. 100 on the point and Downeaster F40 cab car No. 90213 in the consist. It was ideal weather of sunny and 62 degrees but very windy. We accomplished all this by noon.

It is not clear why the F40 cab car was on No. 48. It had gone west on Saturday morning on No. 49 only to turn around in Chicago and go back east that same night.

In the photographs above, No. 48 is shown passing the former New York Central passenger station in Painesville.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Trestle Tales: Finding the Out of the Ordinary

February 7, 2022

Rivers are not static. They shift course and their levels rise and fall. These developments can damage bridge abutments as happened in spring 1985 when NS had to reroute some trains and issue slow orders for others until the Painesville trestle over the Grand River could be repaired (top photo).

Over time, some bridge abutments have been replaced, the results of which can be seen in the images of the Triple Crown RoadRailer trains crossing the trestle in April 1989.

The former Nickel Plate Road route between Cleveland and Buffalo never had the high level of traffic as the parallel CSX and former New York Central route, but it had its share of out-of-the ordinary sightings.

On Oct. 27, 2004, Norfolk Southern sent an Operation Lifesaver train from Rockport Yard in Cleveland to Ashtabula and back.

The encroaching vegetation is evident on the east end of the bridge as compared to what it was in the views recorded 15 years earlier.

Another unique movements that crossed the trestle was the eastbound Lake Shore Limited using the NS route due to a CSX derailment in Painesville. Amtrak Train 48 was photographed on Oct. 13, 2007.

On July 23, 2015, a large crowd of railfan photographs turned out to photograph Nickel Plate Road 2-8-2 no. 765 cross another NKP institution on a ferry move from Cleveland (Rockport Yard) to Ashtabula to be in position to pull public excursions between Ashtabula and Youngstown.

Finally, on Aug. 3, 2016, the NS business train led by F units passed through Painesville.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

NS Changes Chicago Line Dispatching Assignments

February 2, 2022

Norfolk Southern has changed the dispatcher districts on its Chicago line, an online report said.

Effective at 6:30 a.m. on Monday, NS abolished the Toledo East desk and redistributed dispatching duties between the Cleveland East desk and the Toledo Terminal desk.

Cleveland East now controls the Chicago Line between CP 194 (Berea) and CP 242 (Sandusky).

West of CP 242 is now controlled by the Toledo Terminal dispatcher.

The Toledo Terminal controls the Chicago Line as far west as CP 352 (Edgerton) where the Elkhart desk takes over.

However, the online report indicated that Toledo Terminal control may change to end at CP 320 (Wauseon)

In another Northeast Ohio rail news development, Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited on Tuesday ferried a P42DC locomotive for CTrail, a commuter rail operation operated by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

It was placed behind the two Amtrak P42DC units assigned to pull No. 48. That same day the Lake Shore operated without its New York section baggage car.

On Monday No. 48 ran without its Boston section Viewliner sleeper.

Amtrak Cancels Trains Due to Snowstorm

January 29, 2022

Amtrak announced Friday afternoon widespread service cancellations ahead of a winter storm expected to hit the Northeast today and dump up to two feet of snow in some areas.

Although most of the cancellations involve Eastern corridor services, some long-distance trains are affected, including the Lake Shore Limited.

Nos. 48 and 448 did not depart Chicago on Friday night. Combined with a scheduled cancellation of the Capitol Limited, this meant that no Amtrak trains for the East Coast departed Chicago on Friday.

Through late March, the Capitol is scheduled to skip departing Chicago and Washington on Fridays and Saturdays.

Amtrak’s website shows the Lake Shore still scheduled to leave Chicago Saturday night.

However, the westbound Lake Shore Limited from New York and Boston on Saturday has been cancelled, meaning there will be no Amtrak service from the East Coast to Chicago leaving today.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the northbound New York-Charlotte Carolinian will terminate in Washington on Saturday. The southbound Carolinian will originate in Washington on Sunday.

The same plan is in effect for the New York-Savannah, Georgia Palmetto.

The New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvania is thus far unaffected by the service cuts, but Keystone Service between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, via Philadelphia, will be limited. No Keystone trains will operate between Philadelphia and New York.

The Vermonter will be canceled Saturday the length of its route.

Empire Corridor service will be limited between New York and Albany-Rensselaer, New York, but the Maple Leaf and other trains to Niagara Falls, New York, are still scheduled to operate.

All service between New York and Boston, as well as the shuttle trains between Springfield, Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut, are canceled on Saturday.

Also canceled are all Acela trains between Washington and New York. Four Northeast Regional trains, including two that operate into Virginia, have been scrubbed. Downeaster service between Boston and Maine will be limited.

On Sunday Northeast Regional Nos. 150 and 160 (Boston-New York) are cancelled as is Downeaster No. 690.

Northeast Regional No. 195 (Boston-Richmond, Virginia) will originate in New York as will No. 195 (Boston-Newport News, Virginia).