Posts Tagged ‘winter storm’

RTA Officials Defend Service Suspensions

February 1, 2022

Two trains sliding backward on their tracks. Five buses stuck in the snow. Thirteen minor accidents.

That series of events led officials of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to take the unprecedented step of suspending all service for 12 hours during the weekend of Jan. 16-17 after a winter storm dumped 15 inches of snow on Northeast Ohio.

But that decision has come under fire from public transit advocates, prompting RTA managers to defend the service suspension during a recent meeting of the RTA board of trustees.

RTA General Manager India Birdsong told trustees that the storm created a unique situation in which snow accumulation of more an inch per hour overwhelmed the system.

Chief Operating Officers Floun’say Caver, said that included two train operators reporting losing traction.

Caver said RTA sent a snow train out to clear tracks but later discovered the problem with lost traction was caused by ice building up on brake shoes rather than track conditions.

Still critics said the service suspension raises concerns because the Cleveland region routinely gets heavy snowfalls every winter.

They pointed to an RTA blog post in 2019 that public transit was a reliable way to get around during harsh winter weather.

Caver defended the service suspension, which was RTA’s first in 19 years.

“I am confident with the decision to have to prioritize the safety, the life and the health of this community,” he said.

Still, Alex Rubin, a member of Clevelanders for Public Transit said the mid-January storm was not historic by any standard.

 “Should we expect there to be no bus or rapid service the next time it snows?”

 “It should not happen every year,” Birdsong said in response. “This is something we can work to be in avoidance of, and we absolutely will do that.”

All Aboard Ohio called the RTA service suspension another example of RTA’s failure to update its fleet.

“It’s bad enough that GCRTA has let the Rapid fall into disrepair from decades of neglect and a failure to fund and procure replacement of equipment, some of which is way beyond its designed life span,” AAO Executive Director Stu Nicholson wrote on Twitter.

“But a total shutdown of the Rapid along with all bus service makes us wonder if this is willful neglect on the part of GCRTA management.”

Nicholson wants an investigation of the shutdown and for the appointment of new RTA trustees to address it.

Clevelanders for Public Transit made similar statements on its Twitter feed.

RTA officials noted they have taken steps to improve the fleet, including using COVID-19 pandemic emergency aid to buy 40 new buses that are expected to enter service in the fall.

Sixteen new vehicles for the Healthline busline were placed into service in January.

Replacing the rail fleet, though, has been a heavier lift. RTA in 2019 put out a request for proposals from transit vehicle manufacturers only to reject last summer the one proposal it received as inadequate.

A second request for proposals has a deadline of March 9 and RTA officials say a vote by trustees on a bid could occur later this year.

RTA projects that replacing its rail fleet will cost $717 million over a 30-year period.

In the interim, RTA trustees have agreed to spend $2.2 million to replace traction motors on rail cars in the wake of 18 traction motor failures last year. The traction motors were last replaced in 2012.

New rail cars, when they do arrive, will have antilock brakes that Caver said will help their performance during winter weather.

He said the new cars also would have better slide protection and more snow cutters to keep the tracks and overhead power lines clear.

As for the mid-January storm, Caver said, “the trains, for the most part, held up fairly well, but this weather environment created these issues that we had.”

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).

Amtrak Cancels More Trains Today

January 17, 2022

Amtrak on Sunday posted more service cancellations for Monday (Jan. 17) due to a winter storm in the eastern United States.

Canceled in both directions is the Capitol Limited (Chicago-Washington), making for the third consecutive day that No. 30 has not departed from Chicago. No. 29 last left Washington on Saturday.

The Pennsylvanian from Pittsburgh to New York was canceled as were Keystone Service Nos. 660, 661, 662 and 615 between Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and New York. Keystone Service No. 667 will originate in Philadelphia rather than New York.

Also canceled in both directions are the Vermonter (Washington-St. Albans, Vermont) and Piedmont Service Nos. 73 and 74 (Raleigh, North Carolina-Charlotte, North Carolina).

Ethan Allen Express No. 291 (New York-Rutland, Vermont) will terminate at Albany-Rensselaer, New York. Train 290 will originate in Albany-Rensselaer.

On the Northeast Corridor, Northeast Regional train 99 (Boston-Newport News, Virginia) will terminate in Washington. Northeast Regionals 152 and 189 (Washington-New York) are canceled.

Northeast Regional 156 (Roanoke, Virginia-New York) is canceled as is Train 164 (Richmond, Virginia- Boston. Thus far one cancellation has been posted for Tuesday (Jan. 18). Ethan Allen Express No. 290 will originate at Albany-Rensselaer.

Winter Storm Prompts Amtrak Cancellations

January 15, 2022

Amtrak has canceled several trains this weekend due to a winter storm. The service advisory said the move was being made “out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our customers and employees.”

Trains scheduled to depart on Saturday (Jan. 15) that have been canceled include the Crescent in both directions between New York and New Orleans; Silver Star in both directions between New York and Miami; Cardinal from Chicago to New York; Capitol Limited from Chicago to Washington; City of New Orleans in both directions between Chicago and New Orleans; and the Texas Eagle in both directions between Chicago and San Antonio.

Trains scheduled to depart on Sunday (Jan. 16) that have been canceled are the Cardinal from New York to Chicago; Capitol Limited from Washington to Chicago; Crescent in both directions; Northeast Regional 147 from Springfield, Massachusetts, to Roanoke, Virginia; Pennsylvanian from New York to Pittsburgh; Carolinian in both directions between New York and Charlotte, North Carolina; and Piedmonts 73, 74, 75, 76, 77 and 78 between Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Trains scheduled to depart on Monday (Jan. 17) that are canceled are Northeast Regional 156 from Roanoke to New York; Keystone Service trains 660, 661, 662, and 615; Pennsylvanian from Pittsburgh to New York.

Also on Monday Keystone Service 667 will originate in Philadelphia.

Amtrak said it will waive charges for changes to reservations made because of the cancellations.

Winter Storm Disrupts Amtrak Service

February 1, 2021

A winter storm on Sunday prompted Amtrak to cancel several services in the East.

Among them was the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian. Keystone Service between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, via Philadelphia operated on a limited schedule.

Also operating on limited or modified schedules was Northeast Regional Service between Boston and Virginia, and Empire Service between New York and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

All Acela service between Boston and Washington was canceled.

Despite Massive Snow NJT Still Ran On Time

February 10, 2017

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A severe snow storm hit New Jersey on Thursday. Since I live within walking distance of the old Erie/Erie Lackawanna Bergen County Line I wandered down to the station at the height of the storm to see the action. All the trains I saw (except for one) were on time to the minute. Our station is seeing its 88th winter, still doing its job sheltering passengers from the weather. The trains keep rolling on the old Erie, moving passengers just like they have for over a century.

Photographs by Jack Norris

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Amtrak Cancels Trains due to East Coast Blizzard; Capitol Limited to Operate Chicago-Pittsburgh

January 22, 2016

A winter storm that forecasters say could dump record or near-record amounts of snow on the East Coast has left transportation companies, including Amtrak, cancelling service this weekend.

Affected will be the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited and the Chicago-New York Cardinal, which operates via Washington.

No. 30 will operate from Chicago to Pittsburgh for trains originating on Friday and Saturday. The westbound Capitol Limited that was to originate today in Washington is canceled over its entire route. No. 29 will operate Pittsburgh to Chicago on Saturday and Sunday.

The eastbound Cardinal is canceled on Saturday and the westbound train that was to leave New York today has been canceled.

Thus far, the Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited is expected to operate on its normal schedule.

Other long-distance trains that have been canceled or had their operations truncated are the Auto Train, Carolinian, Crescent, Palmetto, Silver Star and Silver Meteor. Visit the Amtrak website for further details.

Amtrak said that the Acela Express, Northeast Regional and other services between locations in Virginia and Boston, as well as Keystone Service between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, will be operating throughout the weekend, but will have modified schedules.

Most Northeast Corridor service between Washington and Boston will operate as scheduled on Friday.

Passengers who have reservations on affected services are being contacted and accommodated on other trains with similar departure times or offered alternate travel dates.

Airlines are also taking similar precautions. News reports indicated that almost 2,400 arrivals and departures have been canceled on Friday at Eastern seaboard airports with a similar number of flights canceled on Saturday.

United Airlines said it would be shutting down operations Friday afternoon at airports in Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia and hopes to get back into operation at those airports on Sunday.

American Airlines has canceled all flights to and from Charlotte, North Carolina, today, but will resume service there on Saturday.

It plans to begin reducing operations in Baltimore and Washington on Friday afternoon and in Philadelphia on Friday evening.

All flights to and from Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia are canceled on Saturday.

American said it will cancel all American Eagle flights from New York area airports on Saturday and that mainline operations would be canceled after the departure of the last late morning flights.

Operations in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington are expected to resume on Sunday.

A storm that dropped a mere inch of snow paralyzed Washington this week and the Washington Area Metro Transit Authority is closing the Metro rail system for the weekend. The nation’s second busiest mass transit system will shut down after 11 p.m. tonight.

During the storm, Metro transit cars will be moved out of the yards and into the tunnels used by Metro trains.

New York transit officials do not at present have any plans to shut down its subway system.

The National Weather Service has posted blizzard warnings for the Washington-Baltimore area that will be in effect between 3 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Sunday.

The storm is expected to deliver 60-mph wind gusts that could blow wet, heavy snow into trees, power lines and transformers, triggering widespread power failures from North Carolina to New England.

A full moon this weekend will swell tides and produce “moderate to major” coastal flooding from Maryland and Delaware to Connecticut.

Northeast Ohio is expected to escape the storm. The forecast for Cleveland at Intellicast.com is for overcast skies with a 20 percent chance of precipitation today and a 10 percent chance on Saturday. High temperatures will be in the upper 20s.