Amtrak cancels Empire Builder out of fear of Xanto

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Amtrak cancels Empire Builder out of fear of Xanto
Posted by VerMontanan on Friday, April 13, 2018 12:19 PM
Amtrak Modifies Empire Builder Service between Chicago and
Portland/Seattle
Predicted Midwest Blizzard Affects Amtrak Service
April 11, 2018
2:45 p.m. CT

Predicted severe weather is prompting the cancelation of Amtrak
Empire Builder services eastbound on Thursday, April 12, both
eastbound and westbound on Friday, April 13, and westbound on
Saturday, April 14. No substitute transportation will be available.
Service will be restored after the storm passes and an assessment is
made with the host railroads, BNSF and CP railways.

Canceled service for Thursday, April 12:
Trains 8/28 between Seattle/Portland and Chicago
Canceled service for Friday, April 13:
Trains 8/28 and 7/27 in both directions
Canceled service for Saturday, April 14:
Trains 7/27 between Chicago and Seattle/Portland

The current predicted path of the storm (The Weather Channel is calling it "Xanto") crosses the Empire Builder route around the Twin Cities of Minnesota and La Crosse, WI.  Yet, Amtrak is cancelling service for the ENTIRE route.  They also canceled one round trip in March.  Given the route of this train and the current Amtrak mentality with weather, expect the train to be annulled most of next winter.  It's important to remember that passenger trains didn't have a reputation of being an all-weather mode of transportation for no reason.  Amtrak's policy is challenging a century of historical precedent.

Mark Meyer

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, April 13, 2018 7:50 PM

Amtrak's toilet retention systems as well as their onboard food storage are not built to withstand a large break between service intervals or even one skipped service interval stop.   I have observed this myself on the Texas Eagle on more than one trip where the service was not done in San Antonio after the train arrived from LA Eastbound.     By Arkansas the Superliner starts to wreak of raw sewage.    If your a railfan maybe you can tolerate that smell but most traveling passengers would rather do without.     Likewise a skip of the food resupply in San Antonio resulted in only two food items being available for Dinner and Lunch North of Dallas.........Hot Dogs and Hamburgers.     Again, if your paying for a First Class ticket you tend to expect better.

So if there is even a chance the train will be significantly delayed due to the snow they should cancel the train in advance just as a service to the traveling public.    This is not the 1950's where we had a whole network of passenger trains as well as passenger train resupply and service points all over the country.    Both are very limited now.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Friday, April 13, 2018 7:51 PM

Wow, someone actually, other than the Weather Channel itself, mentioned a storm by the Weather Channel name.

Probably less the mentality about the weather, but the mentality about the lawyers. 

Jeff

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, April 13, 2018 8:24 PM

CMStP&P---" if there is even a chance the train will be significantly delayed due to the snow they should cancel the train in advance just as a service to the traveling public.    This is not the 1950's where we had a whole network of passenger trains as well as passenger train resupply and service points all over the country.    Both are very limited now."

I believe that is the sad sad truth. Thats progress!? Instead of stepping up and demonstrating through strength the inherent and one true advantage the railroads have, they retreat behind weakness. It is rather stunning. I suppose this is the ways its going to be henceforth. 

The railroads of the past were not reckless or careless when it came to bad weather but rather were confident and responsive and could be totally relied upon. 

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Posted by VerMontanan on Friday, April 13, 2018 8:48 PM

CMStPnP

Amtrak's toilet retention systems as well as their onboard food storage are not built to withstand a large break between service intervals or even one skipped service interval stop.   So if there is even a chance the train will be significantly delayed due to the snow they should cancel the train in advance just as a service to the traveling public.    This is not the 1950's where we had a whole network of passenger trains as well as passenger train resupply and service points all over the country.    Both are very limited now. 

Bullshit.  The Empire Builder has been operating with the same equipment (Superliners) since October of 1979 with basically the same servicing opportunities since 1971, and was/is the only train on most of its route for the past 47 years.  Winter, being the seasonal event that it is, happens every year, often with a great degree of severity along the Empire Builder route.  Using your logic, the Empire Builder should not run for six months of the year, because between the cold of the prairies, the snow of the mountains, and the mudslide threat along the coast, there's always something at COULD happen along the way.  Yet while there have been isolated incidents during the winter, for the most part the train has fulfilled its role as all-weather transportation.  No.  "Chicken Little" railroading is not the way to go, and is not what is expected along the Empire Builder route, a route where people have always historically chosen the train when other forms of transportation (if there are any) are not available due to weather.

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Posted by CPRcst on Friday, April 13, 2018 9:03 PM

Is it possible that this is a difference in perception of the severity of weather. Amtrak decision making folks on the east coast will view this storm differently than the railway ops folks in the west. 

I live on the Canadian Prairies where the criteria for an official Blizzard Warning is as follows:When winds of 40 km/hr (25 mph) or greater are expected to cause widespread reductions in visibility to 400 metres or less, due to blowing snow, or blowing snow in combination with falling snow, for at least 4 hours.

A snowfall warning is issued if more than 4 inches are expected in 12 hours. However life continues as normal until roads are impassible. During big storms the main problem at the railway I worked at wasn’t getting trains through but employees getting in to work on snow clogged roads. 

My brother in law in Kentucky tells me his grandkids had two days off school when it snowed an inch. 

The BNSF brass would agree with the nervous Nellies from  Amtrak HQ because it gave them one less train to worry about. 

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Posted by VerMontanan on Friday, April 13, 2018 9:08 PM

CPRcst

The BNSF brass would agree with the nervous Nellies from  Amtrak HQ because it gave them one less train to worry about. 

 

 
Nope.  You obviously missed the article about this from the TRAINS Newswire that stated in part:
 
However, BNSF Railway spokeswoman Amy McBeth says, “Amtrak made its own determination about its schedule; we were fully prepared for them to operate on us.” 

In an email to Trains News Wire she adds, “It is business as usual…we have been planning and preparing by briefing with teams on safety and possible weather, arranging for a command center if needed, and readying equipment and resources, such as switch heaters and blowers.”

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Posted by CPRcst on Saturday, April 14, 2018 2:36 AM

VerMontanan,

You are right, I missed that. However, do you think I might be right that the Amtrak brass are saying “Oh my God, it’s going to snow 6 inches, shut everthing down” Where as the folks on the western plains would be making sure the plows and snow fighters are in place and that there is a good supply of switch brooms. 

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Posted by Dakguy201 on Saturday, April 14, 2018 9:59 AM

This is the last paragraph of the Newswire article:

"Other than a concern for passenger safety, contributing to the cancellation decision is likely a management structure that for the first time in decades fails to make any manager responsible for balancing a route’s revenue and growth potential against adverse affects of inconveniencing travelers, while many departments are charged with cutting costs."

I'm not at all sure I understand what that means.   

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Posted by Dakguy201 on Saturday, April 14, 2018 10:51 AM

The eastbound Cal Zephyr of the 12th has lost more than 7 hours between Denver and Hastings, NE.  Conditions on Interstate 80 in western Nebraska were bad enough last night that the highway was closed.  It's still winter on the plains, folks!

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Posted by VerMontanan on Saturday, April 14, 2018 10:52 AM

Dakguy201

I'm not at all sure I understand what that means.   

 

 
It means cost-cutting (or doing so within the parameters set forth by Amtrak - it might not end up actually saving anything) is the top priority.  The other part sounds like that in the past, Amtrak managers were hesitant to cancel trains due to the corresponding reduction in revenue and passenger inconvenience, but both are tolerable now....even encouraged if cancelling the service can be shown (not proven) to cut costs on some level.
 
"We're always safest when we're stopped," is the new Amtrak operating mantra.  But it's not what customers or taxpayers are paying for.

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Posted by VerMontanan on Saturday, April 14, 2018 11:14 AM

Dakguy201

The eastbound Cal Zephyr of the 12th has lost more than 7 hours between Denver and Hastings, NE.  Conditions on Interstate 80 in western Nebraska were bad enough last night that the highway was closed.  It's still winter on the plains, folks!

 

 
But the train is still running and vehicles on the highway aren't.  That's kind of the way things are supposed to be.  Makes one wonder why the California Zephyr wasn't canceled, though we really don't know the reason for its delay?  Is Amtrak singling out the Empire Builder in its weather panics?  
 
Meanwhile, the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport is showing some cancellation and delays, but they're far from throwing in the towel as did Amtrak.

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Posted by Los Angeles Rams Guy on Saturday, April 14, 2018 12:31 PM

The thing that gets me is that, here in Minnesota anyway, the only CPRS and BNSF terminals that are going to be greatly impacted by this are Tracy (CPRS), Waseca (CPRS), Glenwood (CPRS) and Willmar (BNSF).  None of these are on the Empire Builder route. 

"Beating 'SC is not a matter of life or death. It's more important than that." Former UCLA Head Football Coach Red Sanders
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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, April 14, 2018 1:02 PM

Just what costs are being saved ?  Is the BNSF track charges reduced ?  Does the OBS and T&E crews get paid anyway ?  Reservations will have to spend extra time rebooking the cancelled passengers.  Station charges do not decrease. No fuel use charges but those locos still idle.  Rail cars do not have any wear and tear.  Rail cars can get some PM work but CHI's reputation ? ?  

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, April 14, 2018 8:23 PM

I have been watching this storm intently as it is impacting where I live in the northern LP of Michigan.  Initial predictions were for a total ice build-up of a inch over the 4 day storm.  From what I could see, the worst part of the storm (along the EB Route) was south of Minneapolis,  i.e. on the CP, not the BNSF.  An inch of ice build-up on power lines, trees, and roads would bring normal activities to a stop, and also affect emergency services.  Do you want granny to be left off the train at a station without heat, while her ride is stuck in a ditch?  With expected power outages, how long would signals work?  I seem to remember once an Amtrack Empire Builder stuck in a blizzard on the plains, only able to move back and forth a short distance to keep the wheels from freezing to the track.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Saturday, April 14, 2018 9:43 PM

Don't know whether Weather (pun intended) stabbed the California Zepher but it lost 12 hours in Western Nebraska, Eastern Colorado this morning. 

06 HLD Holdrege, NE       2:34A 4:09A
4:11A
Arrived 1 hour 35 minutes late.
Departed 1 hour 37 minutes late.
783 MCK McCook, NE   CT   3:43A 6:16A
6:22A
Arrived 2 hours 33 minutes late.
Departed 2 hours 39 minutes late.
960 FMG Fort Morgan, CO   MT   5:05A 5:04P
5:12P
Arrived 11 hours 59 minutes late.
Departed 12 hours 7 minutes late.
1038 DEN Denver, CO
Union Station
    Ar
Dp
7:15A
8:05A
6:48P
7:50P
Arrived 11 hours 33 minutes late.
Departed 11 hours 45 minutes late.

 

Anyone got any info?

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Posted by VerMontanan on Saturday, April 14, 2018 10:11 PM

Midland: You can remember ONCE an Empire Builder getting stuck in a blizzard?  Not bad for a train operating for 88 consecutive winters.  Actually, it's happened more than once, and how many times has granny frozen to death?  These storms happen multiple times every winter season, and instances of catastophe are so rare that reality of passenger trains being established as dependable all-weather transportation (until now, evidently) had been established.  As for other laughable points in the post:

If the CP was the main concern (and there is no information to suggest that it was), why not operate the service between the West Coast and Twin Cities?  As for granny being left off at a station without heat or a way to get anywhere:  This has actually happened, and if all these worst-case scenarios occur simultaneously, the person stays on the train to the next stop, or the train is held until transportation is available (this happened several years ago when Amtrak couldn't find anyone to work the ticket agent's job at a location, but also didn't bother to have anyone open the station.  They "fixed" the problem by destaffing it.)  With regard to signals and the like:  Depends on the type they are.  Some can operate by battery power for days.  Switch heaters often use propane.  Again it depends.  With regard towns like Red Wing, Winona, La Crosse, Tomah, and Wisconsin Dells, the stations (all with heated waiting areas) are right in town where emergency transportation and access to emergency services are accessible should (under your worst case scenario) the power and natural gas to these stations go out.  Growing up in Northern Montana, I can't recall a time when the streets were not kept in a condition that main arteries were not usuable.  Sometimes school buses didn't go out of town, but school is rarely canceled for those livinig in town. 

Also, the "4 day storm" was not forecast to be in this area for four days.  Proof:  If it was Amtrak would have annulled the trains for four days instead of two!  (It's basically a two-day event in the Twin Cities.)  The signal system going dark is inconsequential compared to radios being operable.  You don't need signals to operate, even in CTC, if you can talk to the control operator.  Under this armageddonish scenario, I'm sure you could contend that all radios everywhere would be out of service for weeks, but depending on the railroad, they also have backup power, and the reality is that most radios can broadcast many miles and overlap, so indeed it is more likely that all radio communication would not be lost.  This is another historical fact, much like the fact that the Empire Builder has been dependable for 88 winters until now: Railroads by initial design tend to be relatively self sufficient with regard to things like power and communication.

It's easy to do the "what if" scenario stated by Midland Mike, but of course if railroading was really like that, not a wheel would turn.  But there is another side to this twisted way of thought.  I recall my Little League coach's son who was diagnosed with a rare condition that paralyzed him from the neck down.  Doctors in Montana immediately referred him to Mayo in Rochester.  It was right before Christmas, so the last minute airfare was astronomical.  They chose the Empire Builder instead, which turned out to be a wise choice, because the day they were supposed to travel, the planes were grounded (due to a blizzard like this), and he couldn't have made the trip.  The Empire Builder reached St. Paul hours late, but he got to Rochester where the wizards of Mayo did their magic, and he returned to work less than a month later.  The bigger question here has to be:  How many similar situations are NOT occurring out there because the Empire Builder did NOT operate?

I can recall as a train dispatcher along the Empire Builder route when freight power was dispatched to rescue an Empire Builder that was getting stuck in the snow due to a blizzard.  The freight power ferried a fresh section crew, fresh operating crew, and signal people to the passenger train whose crew couldn't get a line and lock on a dual control switch.  This is typical.  The host railroads just don't let Amtrak sit....there are options and again, owing to their historic status as being self-sufficient.  It's all part of the established operating procedures that they manage their own right of way, regardless of the status of utilities and public-maintained infrastructure.

And lastly, I recall one time the crew on the westbound Empire Builder contacted me (as the dispatcher) and advised that their stop at Browning, Montana might be a bit long because they first had to make sure that the snowmobile entourage was on hand for detraining passengers.  All the roads were closed in the area, and the depot in Browning is two miles south of town, yet the passengers had arranged for friends to snowmobiles to meet the train.  This was tricky since the train could get delayed and the wind chill was in the -40F range.  This was in the days of no cell phones, but the snowmobilers had somehow gotten the word that the train had departed the previous stop of Cut Bank, and they arranged to be at the Browning station about 30 minutes later.  The Amtrak crew called me back and advised that there would be no delay as the snowmobile patrol was waiting on the platform.  The purpose of these stories is to also interject that not everyone is as helpless in the unlikely scenario you portray.  People who live in these areas know what to do and how to deal with a lot of these situations, which are all the more manageable because passenger trains do relatively well traveling in adverse weather and are on a fixed right of way.  Living in Northern Michigan, an area with lots of winter, I would have hoped that you, too, would understand this.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Sunday, April 15, 2018 4:38 AM

I don’t understand the excitement that the Empire Builder was cancelled, one train that runs once daily.

Here in Germany Deutsche Bahn (DB) had an advertisement in the 1990s saying Everyone talks about weather, we don’t.

That has changed over the years and in 2017 heavy storms shut down the complete DB system three times. Each time it took up to a week to clean  tracks of fallen trees, repair catenary, and get back to normal.

About 24,000 daily passenger trains were canceled affecting about 11.9 million passengers. Most of these people need the train for their daily life, like getting to work.
  
DB overlooked that small trees grow and at one point a large enough to destroy the catenary when falling. With the high train frequency you can be sure that trains are stopped somewhere or worse get hit by a tree.

Cutting the trees isn’t that easy anymore with all the environmentalists.

For the USA I think Jeff had it right. For each passenger there is almost the same number of lawyers waiting for something to happen. And the trains are very seldom needed for daily life.
Regards, Volker
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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, April 15, 2018 11:05 AM

VerMontanan
Bullshit.  The Empire Builder has been operating with the same equipment (Superliners) since October of 1979 with basically the same servicing opportunities since 1971, and was/is the only train on most of its route for the past 47 years.  Winter, being the seasonal event that it is, happens every year, often with a great degree of severity along the Empire Builder route.  Using your logic, the Empire Builder should not run for six months of the year, because between the cold of the prairies, the snow of the mountains, and the mudslide threat along the coast, there's always something at COULD happen along the way.  Yet while there have been isolated incidents during the winter, for the most part the train has fulfilled its role as all-weather transportation.  No.  "Chicken Little" railroading is not the way to go, and is not what is expected along the Empire Builder route, a route where people have always historically chosen the train when other forms of transportation (if there are any) are not available due to weather.

Oh really?    So your argument is Superliners were built with illusionary retention toilets all along and Amtrak kept that a secret from the traveling public.    Further, your argument is that BN and later BNSF did not remodel or pull out any past passenger servicing facility no longer used by Amtrak on a regular basis in the time period stretching from 1979 to the current period.    Further your argument is that BN followed by BNSF did not cut back on track capacity or spinoffs such as maybe Montana Rail Link since 1979 that might make it less susceptible to heavy snow winter events.     And last but not least your arguing that Freight Train length and Feright Traffic has not drammatically increased on the Empire Builder Line.     All have to be presumptions to the underlying argument that not much of anything has changed since October 1979.      

I find that a very strange arguing position that the host railroad remained frozen in time from 1979 until today.    I wonder what BNSF Management thinks of your theory?    For that matter Amtrak management?

Amtrak management made the correct decision, most especially given the recent proclivities of Congress to hold air passenger carriers responsible for significant passenger discomfort during journeys that are delayed or impacted by weather (which would have spread to ocean cruise lines by now if they were American flagged).    I don't think we need additional Congressional rules on this and I don't think Amtrak should risk them.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, April 15, 2018 11:17 AM

VerMontanan
Again it depends.  With regard towns like Red Wing, Winona, La Crosse, Tomah, and Wisconsin Dells, the stations (all with heated waiting areas)

None of the station stops above can house or support an average Empire Builder train population,   waiting rooms much too small and only two public restrooms.     As for eateries in those small towns open with enough staff during a blizzard in Wisconsin that can support a stalled Empire Builder.......good luck with that one.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, April 15, 2018 11:21 AM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
I don’t understand the excitement that the Empire Builder was cancelled, one train that runs once daily.

My guess is he has never been on an Amtrak Long Distance train that skipped a service stop or was more than 6 hours late.    Not a 100% enjoyable place to be.   I would not force a paying passenger to endure that discomfort at their financial risk of not doing so meant they lost the price of their tickets.

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, April 15, 2018 11:43 AM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
I don’t understand the excitement that the Empire Builder was cancelled, one train that runs once daily.

Something, something, Anderson, something, something, private car, something, something.

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

"You look as miserable as I feel all the time."

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Posted by VerMontanan on Sunday, April 15, 2018 12:47 PM

CMStPnP

So your argument is Superliners were built with illusionary retention toilets all along and Amtrak kept that a secret from the traveling public. 

Huh?

CMStPnP

Further, your argument is that BN and later BNSF did not remodel or pull out any past passenger servicing facility no longer used by Amtrak on a regular basis in the time period stretching from 1979 to the current period.

For the most part, correct.  Obviously, there are going to be adjustments in infrastructure over a 39 year period, equally obvious is that current infastructure is sufficient, including that added by Amtrak.   

CMStPnP

Further your argument is that BN followed by BNSF did not cut back on track capacity or spinoffs such as maybe Montana Rail Link since 1979 that might make it less susceptible to heavy snow winter events.

Again, not my argument at all.  But indeed BN/BNSF has added a lot of capacity on the route since 1979.  The improvements are too numerous to mention here, but they include that St. Paul to Williston is effectively a double track (2 MT CTC) railroad, addition main tracks added in numerous locations in Montana, Idaho, and Washington, sidings were extended, and crossovers and yard tracks added.  I don't know what Montana Rail Link has to do with the Empire Builder, but it has also added infrastructure in numerous locations on its railroad and has greater capacity than ever.

CMStPnP
And last but not least your arguing that Freight Train length and Feright Traffic has not drammatically increased on the Empire Builder Line.     All have to be presumptions to the underlying argument that not much of anything has changed since October 1979. I find that a very strange arguing position that the host railroad remained frozen in time from 1979 until today.

 

Again, not my argument at all, just something you chose to misinterpret. I never once stated that the railroad was "frozen in time."  Rather, the point was that the same equipment has been running on the same route for nearly 40 years dependably.  That is a fact. 

CMStPnP
I wonder what BNSF Management thinks of your theory? 

No, it's your theory, because I said no such thing.  But I know my knowledge and insight was valued by others in management at BNSF during my 22 years working at BNSF's Network Operations Center.  What's your hands-on experience with the Empire Builder, by the way?

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Posted by VerMontanan on Sunday, April 15, 2018 1:19 PM

CMStPnP

None of the station stops above can house or support an average Empire Builder train population,   waiting rooms much too small and only two public restrooms.     As for eateries in those small towns open with enough staff during a blizzard in Wisconsin that can support a stalled Empire Builder.......good luck with that one. 

True.  However, what you describe would require a series of bizarre coincidences that need to happen simultaneously, i.e., the train would not be able to proceed; the locomotives would all need to have run out of fuel and died; and the storm so severe that any type of emergency travel to or from the station could not be made, even by a machine built to operate in snow.  Within the realm of possibility, but statistically unlikely.

As I stated earlier, living in Montana for years, I never experienced where travel could not be possible in some form within a community.  When, in the past, Amtrak passengers have had to be taken off the train (due to derailment, for instance), school buses were used to move people to a local shelter.  Indeed, you can always dream up a scenario where the absolute worst can happen, but the Empire Builder's reputation as all-weather transport is based on actual operational history, not "what-if"s.

 

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Posted by Deggesty on Sunday, April 15, 2018 3:45 PM

Electroliner 1935

Don't know whether Weather (pun intended) stabbed the California Zepher but it lost 12 hours in Western Nebraska, Eastern Colorado this morning. 

06 HLD Holdrege, NE       2:34A 4:09A
4:11A
Arrived 1 hour 35 minutes late.
Departed 1 hour 37 minutes late.
783 MCK McCook, NE   CT   3:43A 6:16A
6:22A
Arrived 2 hours 33 minutes late.
Departed 2 hours 39 minutes late.
960 FMG Fort Morgan, CO   MT   5:05A 5:04P
5:12P
Arrived 11 hours 59 minutes late.
Departed 12 hours 7 minutes late.
1038 DEN Denver, CO
Union Station
    Ar
Dp
7:15A
8:05A
6:48P
7:50P
Arrived 11 hours 33 minutes late.
Departed 11 hours 45 minutes late.

 

Anyone got any info?

 

Yes. High winds in western Nebraska caused the dispatcher to stop the train until the winds were abated. I did not note the time when we were stopped after breakfast (we were already late) but our total delay by the time we were allowed to move caused Amtrak to bring relief crews from Denver--and these crews were not qualified east of Denver, for they ran between Denver and Grand Junction. Therefire, BNSF brought pilots out to us--on a heavy light engine (four engines).

We arrived in Salt Lake City 12:10 late this morning.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Sunday, April 15, 2018 6:41 PM

Deggesty
Yes. High winds in western Nebraska caused the dispatcher to stop the train until the winds were abated.

Did you experience any rocking of the train from the winds? Did the four unit BNSF return to Denver with the train?

And you got an extra meal(s) for your fare. I presume the passengers were in a good mood.

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Posted by Deggesty on Sunday, April 15, 2018 8:04 PM

Electroliner 1935

 

 
Deggesty
Yes. High winds in western Nebraska caused the dispatcher to stop the train until the winds were abated.

 

Did you experience any rocking of the train from the winds? Did the four unit BNSF return to Denver with the train?

And you got an extra meal(s) for your fare. I presume the passengers were in a good mood.

 

No, I felt no rocking. I do not know how far down the track the wind was blowing too strongly for safe travel by superliner.

I did get breakfast this morning on board. I have the impression that coach passengers had to pay for additional meals. 

The light engine, so far as I know, followed us in.

Many passengers had to change their travel plans because they missed connections in various places. Those with whom I talked did not seem angry.

Johnny

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Posted by MidlandMike on Sunday, April 15, 2018 11:02 PM

VerMontanan, glad to give you today's laugh.

Yes I live in the lake-effect snow belt of Northern Michigan.  During my 35 year career I drove around the oil field roads in all sorts of snow and morass, and had to dig my self out of situations.  However, I am retired now, and if I traveled on the Empire Builder in winter, I would not want to have to pack a snowmobile suit to meet my "ride" at the station. 

The storm was of historic proportions.  I don't know what it was like on the CP part of Wisconsin, but Green Bay had its second deepest amount of snow (23+") in history.  Northern Michigan had some spots with 24".  My area only had a few inches of sleet, which 50 mph gusts caused to drift.  State Police advised only emergency travel.  Even Lake Michigan had a seiche causing an 8 foot storm surge.

My experience with signal problems was on the "Canadian" when it was still routed on the CP.  Rain had knocked them out, and we traveled very s-l-o-w.

I would guess that Amtrak didn't want to put its passengers in any potential danger or discomfort that would have required heroic efforts to safely resolve.

  • Member since
    October, 2014
  • 152 posts
Posted by Gramp on Sunday, April 15, 2018 11:32 PM

Yes, 21.5 inches in Appleton with barreling winds. 29 inches 10 miles north.     At Manitowoc, Lake Michigan Ferry road to Ferry ramp washed out by pounding surf. 

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 13,515 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Monday, April 16, 2018 2:52 PM

Deggesty
Many passengers had to change their travel plans because they missed connections in various places. Those with whom I talked did not seem angry.

I suspect surviving passengers on the Titanic may have had to change their continuing travel plan upon arrival in New York to.

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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