Posts Tagged ‘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.

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.”

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

Albany Building Next to Amtrak Route Repaired

August 17, 2022

The emergency situation that forced a temporary suspension of Amtrak service through Albany, New York, has been resolved.

The city’s mayor said that a 12-story dilapidated building that officials feared might collapse in part onto tracks used by Amtrak has been repaired.

In late July Amtrak suspended the Lake Shore Limited, Ethan Allen Express and some Empire Service trains for a few days because officials feared a wall of the former Central Warehouse might collapse.

That action was taken following the completion of an engineering report.

Amtrak resumed operating past the structure on Aug. 1 although trains operated at restricted speed.

LSL Resumes Operating Through Albany

August 2, 2022

Amtrak resumed on Monday afternoon operating through Albany, New York, albeit at reduced speeds.

The passenger carrier last Thursday halted operations in Albany due to the danger of a wall of building near the tracks collapsing.

Pieces of the wall closest to the tracks of the 12-story Central Warehouse fell last week, which prompted the service suspension.

For three days Amtrak operated substitute bus service past the affected area for the Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf and Ethan Allen Express.

The bus bridge operated between Amtrak stations in Schenectady and Albany-Rensselaer. No substitute bus service was arranged for two Empire Service trains that operate to Niagara Falls, New York.

Amtrak trains will operate at restricted speed past the vacant former cold storage facility.

LSL Disrupted Due to Hazard in Albany

July 30, 2022

Amtrak is operating a bus over a portion of the route of the Lake Shore Limited due to a hazard near the train’s route in Albany, New York.

In a Tweet sent Friday night, the passenger carrier said passengers would ride a bus between Albany and Schenectady, New York.

The Boston section will originate and terminate in Schenectady with passengers riding a bus between there and Boston. The bus arrangement involving the New York and Boston sections is in effect through Aug. 5.

Amtrak No. 48 was cancelled on Thursday night and the train scheduled to depart on Friday night was shown as having a service disruption. No. 49 was cancelled Thursday and Friday.

The developments followed an earlier announcement by Amtrak that the Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf and other Empire Service trains were being suspended west of Albany, New York, because officials fear a building next to the tracks could collapse.

The structure is the Central Warehouse, a 12-story building built in 1927 and nearly vacant since 1990.

City officials cited a structural engineering report in declaring a state of emergency regarding the building because its southerly wall is in imminent danger of collapsing. That wall is the closest to the tracks.

“We are working closely with local, state, and federal partners and engineering experts to determine the extend to the structural failure and develop a plan to insure the safety of our residents and businesses, and get the trains running on time and interstate commerce back on track,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan in a statement.

The cost of razing the warehouse, which has thick concrete walls, was put at more than $10 million. That figure also includes the cost of asbestos abatement would exceed $10 million.

On Friday night Amtrak issued a service advisory saying it would provide alternative bus service for the Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf and Ethan Allen Express.

The advisory said full service will continue between Albany and New York City.

Something Special on Amtrak No. 48

July 14, 2022

I saw online that Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited had P42DC No. 108, the Phase VI livery leading on Tuesday morning.

This scheme has been described by Amtrak as “transitional” as well as a celebration of the passenger carrier’s 50th anniversary.

I got up early and went down to the Painesville station. No. 48 was reported to have left Cleveland on time at 5:50 a.m.

My camera showed a time stamp of 6:12 a.m. on my images.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

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.