New system timetable effective Jan. 14:
• Coast Starlight will no longer stop at Richmond, CA in either direction (effective with the Jan. 14 Los Angeles & Seattle
departures). Connecting Capitol Corridor service to Richmond will be available.
• An additional New York-Washington weekday Acela round-trip begins Jan. 28: The 5:20 PM Boston departure will run through to Washington (9:15 PM from New York), and there will be a new 8 PM departure from Washington to New York. Reservations can be made now.
Crescent canceled south of Atlanta Mondays-Thursdays Jan. 7 thru Feb. 7 due to NS’s annual trackwork exercise. No alternate transportation provided those days. Exception is Mon., Feb. 4, when the train will run south of Atlanta.
Amtrak is now accepting Brunswick/Freeport Downeaster reservations; service starts Nov. 1.
Washington Union Station (garage first level) now houses Greyhound and Peter Pan buses, whose separate station has closed.
E-Ticketing bug: If you ride a train, then get an email saying you were a “no-show” and have been given an eVoucher, call 800-USA-RAIL to get this fixed.
New North Carolina Thruways: Starting Oct. 3, two new Thruway bus routes will connect these eastern North Carolina points with Amtrak’s Palmetto at Wilson. The
routes are Greenville-New Bern-Havelock-Morehead City and Goldsboro-Kinston-Jacksonville-Wilmington.
The next Amtrak System Timetable will be in mid-December and take effect Jan. 1, 2013 rather than in October. It will include the Downeaster Brunswick extension (starts early November) and the Northeast Regional extension to Norfolk. Portland-Brunswick will get three daily round-trips, two of which run through to/from Boston.
Northlander: Ontario Northland Railway’s Toronto-Cochrane train makes its last run Sept. 28, giving way to bus service. The Cochrane-Moosonee Polar Bear Express will remain.
Due to changes in CSX's work schedule in raising the heights of tunnels between Martinsburg, WV and Cumberland, MD, the eastbound Capitol Limited (train 30) will leave Chicago at 7:10 PM and intermediate stations through Alliance one hour later than the posted schedule, and will leave Pittsburgh and points east 30 minutes later (6:20 AM Pittsburgh departure).
No change in westbound train 29's schedule, though passengers should be prepared for delays of up to 3 hours between Martinsburg and Cumberland.
Reacting to speed restrictions imposed by Norfolk Southern Railroad, Amtrak will begin terminating train # 350 at Dearborn, MI and and starting train # 355 from the same station (the two trains use the same set of equipment). Minor temporary changes have also been made to the schedule of the Blue Water. With the speed restrictions, the equipment set could not make it to the normal end station at Pontiac and return as train # 355 without significant delays. The change will continue until repairs are made to the affected sections of track. Below is Amtrak's official announcement.
"CHICAGO - Amtrak has temporarily altered schedules and has begun truncating services in Michigan due to Norfolk Southern Railway's (NS) orders to slow passenger trains to 25-to-30 mph on certain track segments. These changes will account for the NS "slow orders" and this is the first in a series of announcements of service changes that will also accommodate NS infrastructure repairs expected to begin next month.
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has been working with NS to perform the work to restore normal track speeds up to 79 mph in advance of the state's purchase of much of the line. That transaction is expected to be completed later this year, subject to federal regulatory review.
Effective March 26, as detailed in the attached Passenger Service Notice, Train 350, the morning eastbound Wolverine from Chicago, will terminate in Dearborn rather than Pontiac. Train 355, the evening westbound Wolverine, will originate in Dearborn rather than Pontiac and operate 65 minutes earlier than the regular schedule to Chicago.
Amtrak has also posted temporary schedules in Western Michigan for the Blue Water (Trains 364 & 365), which uses
NS-owned track between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo.
On or before the end of next week (March 30), Amtrak and MDOT intend to have more information for passengers who are planning to travel in April. NS is preparing to make repairs to its tracks, starting early in that month. More schedule changes will be made by Amtrak to preserve as much service as possible while NS crews expedite repairs to be complete before the end of the semesters at colleges and universities along the route and in advance of the summer travel season.
In the meantime, passengers affected by this service disruption can use the Amtrak Blue Water trains at East Lansing and Flint or Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches as a substitute means to reach Central, Southern and Eastern Michigan. Amtrak Lake Shore Limited (Trains 48/448 & 49/449) and Capitol Limited (Trains 29 & 30) in Toledo, Ohio, and at Waterloo, Elkhart and South Bend, Ind., are other alternate choices.
The Amtrak Pere Marquette (Trains 370 & 371) to and from Grand Rapids via Holland and St. Joseph-Benton Harbor is not affected by the drastic NS slow orders and can also be an option for some passengers."
Another mudslide near Everett, Washington has halted Amtrak’s Cascades train between Seattle and Portland, Oregon.
This is the second such mudslide in as many weeks. Amtrak is providing alternate means of transportation for passengers.
VIA Rail is offering a special fare on its Canadian for passengers who book by March 9, 2012 to save on already reduced fares in Sleeper Plus class (for travel until May 31, 2012). Book your seat aboard this iconic train and you could save up to 75% off. The trains also feature:
• private sleepers with access to showers;
• a full-service dining experience;
• exclusive access to VIA Rail Park car, with 360-degree panoramic views, a café and lounge.
Service on Amtrak’s Cascades corridor was halted by a February 22 mud slide, which delayed passenger service until today.
Precipitated by heavy rains, the land slide covered the tracks around 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad crews were able to clear the tracks by 11 a.m. on the same day, allowing for resumption of freight trains. Passenger safety regulations require a 48-hour moratorium on passenger trains, however.
Amtrak provided alternate forms of transportation for stranded passengers.
Amtrak Vacations announced this week it will be adding three new itineraries to its escorted rail journeys program in 2012, adding up to five unique ways for train passengers to experience America’s national parks and local cultures.
Escorted rail journeys—with group sizes capped at 28—all feature an overnight train component, but there is a great variety to the tours offered. The five itineraries for 2012 include:
• Glacier Park Discovery, featuring Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Park;
• Peaks To Pacific, featuring Yellowstone National Park;
• The Great Northwest by Rail, featuring Glacier National Park, Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper National Park;
• Southwest Spirit, featuring Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon;
• Jazz, Blues and Rock ‘N ‘Roll By Rail, featuring the cities of Chicago, Memphis & New Orleans.
“We have come up with a formula for these tours that strikes a chord with the traveling public,” said Steven Grasso, vice president of product and marketing for Amtrak Vacations. “Nine out of ten customers rank our tours as an ‘excellent value’ in our customer surveys.”
Full details can be found at AmtrakVacations.com.
VIA Rail Canada is once again selling seats and sleeper accommodations on all its trains throughout Canada for half the normal price. Book before 11:59 PM Eastern on Thursday, January 26, for travel between January 23 and May 31
Amtrak is offering discounts of 20 percent for train trips in Illinois, Michigan and Missouri through this winter and early spring.
Discounts are available on the Illinois, Michigan and Missouri portions of the following routes: Lincoln Service, Illinois Zephyr/Carl Sandburg, Illini/Saluki, Wolverine Service, Blue Water, Pere Marquette, and Missouri River Runner.
Passengers can purchase tickets using the “Deals” tab on Amtrak.com to buy tickets using the “Book Now” feature through April 29 in Illinois and Michigan, and April 28 in Missouri. Check Amtrak’s website for a full list of details and restrictions.