Amtrak winter experiences

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Amtrak winter experiences
Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, December 12, 2016 6:25 PM

Its much earlier this year as the polar vortex has already struck the US and Canada.  We need reports as to how Amtrak is faring.  So far the only real problems were the PNW ice storm delays for the Cascades and Starlight; &  Empire builders are taking fairly significant delays in Montana and N Dakota. Has Amtrak gone to the 3 loco consists for the EB or any other train ?  EB might even get a couple BNSF AC locos ?

 As an aside Via Canadians are taking delays as well even with the long lay over at Winnipeg.  #2 7+ hours late east of there.

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 10:21 PM

At least they no longer have to thaw out the steam trainline.

         

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 10:28 PM

BaltACD

At least they no longer have to thaw out the steam trainline.

 

Ah, yes. In early January of 1968, I rode the Tennessean from Chattanooga to Bristol, leaving about four in the morning. As I was going to my coach, I saw men using steam on the lines--it was COLD that morning. We had no further trouble with the lines from there up to at least Bristol.

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Posted by northeaster on Thursday, December 15, 2016 6:07 PM

Really annoying how Amtrak gives no hint as to what is going wrong with a train and/or even a route which is experiencing terrible delays like #48 today running over 6 hours late and the morning #49 arriving in Chicago quite late. Was it weather, traffic, equipment failure, etc. Why should I want to know: I will be on #49 this Sunday and with terrible weather predicted will the train ever show up? It puzzles me why Amtrak as part of its informing passengers and potential passengers about situations that they do not post short explainations on their web site. It can't be that much work, maybe even one of their VP's could be tasked with that job? 

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Posted by dakotafred on Thursday, December 15, 2016 8:15 PM

Agree wholeheartedly with Northeaster. I was in Sacramento 3 years ago, looking to catch No. 6 after an overnight stay. Checking for OT out of Sacto, I was informed that there were service problems and I should call an 800 number.

Turned out they referred to floods in Colorado causing a reroute over U.P. east of Salt Lake. What the heck did I care? The answer to my question -- that the train was OT out of Sacto, and I'd better hustle my buns down to the station -- should have been there, not a strong suggestion there might have been a derailment, nuclear attack or worse.

Sorry to hear the info hasn't gotten any better. 

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Posted by Dakguy201 on Friday, December 16, 2016 6:29 AM

This morning the eastbound Empire Builder is near the North Dakota/Minnesota border running four hours late.  I've noticed that is pretty representative of its performance all of this week.  The majority of this train's delay occured west of Spokane, but the location has seemed to vary from day to day.  Amtrak's web site indicates it will arrive in St Paul 3 hours, 7 minutes late.

Granted, there is bitter winter weather this week over most of the northern states, but I doubt that the average passenger cares very much what caused the delay.  For example, I think it was the Lake Shore of the 14th that was more than 3 hours late out of Chicago; that is near certainly an equipment problem.  However, I wonder if finding and eliminating the cause of delays has any priority within Amtrak.  They don't seem to act as if it is.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, December 17, 2016 7:46 PM

Builders 7 & 8 of 16th both over 7-1/2 hours in the rockies..  5&6 also late in the rockies.   64 & 48  took their usual 2-1/2 late.

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Posted by dakotafred on Saturday, December 17, 2016 8:17 PM

Weather delays in the mountains at this time of year should be at least explicable to passengers who have, after all, chosen the surface mode. Better than the operations tie-ups in summer they don't understand (and why should they?).

The average passenger may be a better sport than some of us on here.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, December 17, 2016 8:58 PM

6/15 still in Iowa 7-1/2 hours late.  30 and 50 left CHI but appears 48 waiting for connections ?

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:34 PM

As of 1530 EST Sunday:  

4/17 left CHI 2-1/2 late probably waiting for connections lost 1-1/2 to South Bend now 4;00 + late

6/16 - 4:00+ late at Ottuwwa, Ia

4/16 - 5-1/2 late at Kansas City

8/16 - 0+ hours late expected at Fargo.

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Posted by schlimm on Sunday, December 18, 2016 5:33 PM

blue streak 1

As of 1530 EST Sunday:  

4/17 left CHI 2-1/2 late probably waiting for connections lost 1-1/2 to South Bend now 4;00 + late

6/16 - 4:00+ late at Ottuwwa, Ia

4/16 - 5-1/2 late at Kansas City

8/16 - 0+ hours late expected at Fargo.

 

In the past, even with steam lines that could freeze, passenger rail was more reliable than flying in winter in northern states.  Now?  

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, December 18, 2016 6:02 PM

One of the many railroad books I own has a pictures, where the hand written Train Board of Chicago Union Station is visible in the background in the early 1940's.  I don't know the date of the photo, however, various trains - from both the East & West were showing serious delays.

Us old timers always believe 'it was better back in "our" day'.  Then reality intrudes. As a kid in the late 50's & early 60's I would make a trek to All Nation Hobby Shop in Chicago on a near monthly basis, and would make the rounds of all the Chicago passenger stations - when winter hit, trains got late, and not just 15 or 20 minutes or so.

         

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, December 18, 2016 6:20 PM

BaltACD
I don't know the date of the photo, however, various trains - from both the East & West were showing serious delays.

would make the rounds of all the Chicago passenger stations - when winter hit, trains got late, and not just 15 or 20 minutes or so.

 

 
BALT has good points:  It may be some Amtrak trains are much late but so far none have been cancelled.  That contrasts with a reported of 1500+ flights cancelled today.
 
6/16    will arrive 4+hours late CHI 
48/17  LSL 4 hours late at Albany Had to wait for 49 to leave  ALB.  WAS 2-1/2 late leaving CHI waiting for Tr 6/15
5/17 9 hours late at Lamar
 
 
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Posted by schlimm on Sunday, December 18, 2016 7:06 PM

BaltACD

One of the many railroad books I own has a pictures, where the hand written Train Board of Chicago Union Station is visible in the background in the early 1940's.  I don't know the date of the photo, however, various trains - from both the East & West were showing serious delays.

Us old timers always believe 'it was better back in "our" day'.  Then reality intrudes. As a kid in the late 50's & early 60's I would make a trek to All Nation Hobby Shop in Chicago on a near monthly basis, and would make the rounds of all the Chicago passenger stations - when winter hit, trains got late, and not just 15 or 20 minutes or so.

 

I used to hit All Nation in the 60s, too!  I recall my dad taking my aunt to O]Hare in 1963 to fly back to NYC in snow.  Her and all other flights to LGA cancelled but we drove down to Union Station and got her on the General, standing-room only! She was only 45 minutes late to Manhattan.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, December 18, 2016 8:32 PM

Well our friends in Canada are not doing well at all.  Eastbound Skeena over 8 hours late leaving Prince Ruppert even after the scheduled 12 hour  layovers at Prince George and Ruppert.  As of this time only 6  of about 20 VIA trains are on time. All on timers are just originating short hauls

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Posted by Dakguy201 on Sunday, December 18, 2016 10:13 PM

Locally our official temperature Saturday night hit 20 below.  I don't know what the wind chill was.  During the day we have fresh powder on the ground and it moves around in 20mph winds.  In an extreme case like that I think Amtrak and their host road are doing well just to keep running, and I'm willing to forgive whatever delays the Builder and the Zephyr incur. 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, December 19, 2016 3:23 AM

DAKguy points out blowing powder.  That can be death for DC traction motors.  Wonder if BNSF would want one of their AC motored units to lead ?  Both 5 & 6 of 17th 5 + hours late now.  But SW #3 is 13-1/2 hours down now at Las Vegas, NM.   

LSL lost 1 hour from CHI - South Bend again.    Anyone know if this is a case of leaving CHI and having to stop at 21st yard to correct a problem ?      

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, December 19, 2016 3:17 PM

With the shut downs of NS, CSX, & UP how many extra dispatchers will they need to dispatch the Amtrak trains?  With NS's ability to dispach from any office could be as many as just one ?  And CSX ?

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, December 19, 2016 3:53 PM

SW Chief @3/18  only 1/2 hr late chasing 3/17 15 hhours late at Williams junction. Cal Z 6/17 6 hrs late at Osceola Ia.

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Posted by Dakguy201 on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 5:38 AM

The Zephyr, the Builder and the Capitol were all late getting out of Chicago yesterday, generally in the 2 hour delay range.  I believe the weather there will moderate today, so hopefully the situation will get better.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 4:42 PM

It looks like #8 (20) turned at Spokane last night. Its listed as 2 hr:28 late 2 SPK with no times for west of Spokane, #7 (18) was 6hr: 01 late @ SPT Sandpoint. Northwest and BNSF are not doing towell.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 6:49 PM

question.   Since there will always be a need to turn whenever there is a very late #7 at SPK why cannot Amtrak run an on time stub train to Spokane from SEA ? That equipment could then stub #7 out of SPK.  Unfortunately that cannot help for #27 ?  Does Amtrak have any Superliner standby at SEA.  Now if  a spare Talgo set   or spare Sounder   set  ????

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Posted by Sunnyland on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 6:55 PM

Co-worker was riding to Chicago with his family a few years ago on one of the trains from St. Louis. They ran into frozen switches farther north, the younger crewmen did not know what to do, but an older one did and unthawed them as they moved slowly along. What is normally a 5-6 hour trip took about 12 hours, but they arrived safely and his kids loved the extra time on a train. 

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Posted by pajrr on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 7:47 PM

Any train moving this time of year, late or not, is better than an airplane going nowhere.

 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 10:15 AM

Canadian approaching Vancouver listed as 9+ hours late even with the scheduled 4 hour layover in Winnepeg.  Some one in Canada tell us what has happened ?

Other than Empire #7 turning at Spokane everything has operated so far.  Starlight #11 lost 5)) + south of Redding.  LSL is being followed by Capitol at South Bend.  Star lost 7+ hours Alexandra . Richmond due to flat wheel.

84 lost 3 hours Norfolk > Petersburg

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 11:57 AM

Now Canadian that departed Toronto today already 7:00 + late. VIA  is definitely having more problems than Amtrak this year.Empire builder # 8 which originated from Spokane 2 + late now 5:30 late at St. Cloud.  Coast starlight #11 now down 5:00 + at Chico lost 4+ Portland > Salem. 

EDIT #11 hit tractor trailer at private crossing.

http://koin.com/2016/12/20/amtrak-train-and-semi-collide-on-99e-no-injuries/

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 6:05 PM

blue streak 1
EDIT #11 hit tractor trailer at private crossing. http://koin.com/2016/12/20/amtrak-train-and-semi-collide-on-99e-no-injuries/

Photo shows what looks like UP #509 power on train. 4Hr 58min late @ San Jose.

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Posted by Dakguy201 on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 8:13 AM

Trains 6 (the Zephyr), 7 and 8 (the Builders), all in the northern plains, are running around 3 hours late this morning.  Given the severity of the snow and wind storm over the weekend that's to be expected.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, January 02, 2017 4:00 AM

There are unconfirmedreports on other sites saying Amtrak is having more problems with Horizon cars.  Report is that some of the cars have excess lateral movement causing speed restrictions on the STL corridor.  If so lack of parts ?  

 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, January 02, 2017 9:11 PM
 
 

Although not an Amtrak cancellation it does affect the Capitol corridor thru way service.  Its winter!!

Capitol Corridor <capitolcorridor@public.govdelivery.com> Due to winter weather and road conditions, thruway bus service from Auburn (ARN) to Colfax (COL), Reno (RNO), Truckee (TRU) and Lake Tahoe areas has been canceled effective January 2, 2017 and expecte

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