November 15, 2013
San Diego’s COASTER commuter trains, Metrolink, Amtrak, and BNSF freight trains will not be operating in San Diego County this weekend (Nov. 16-17) to allow necessary work on the Santa Margarita Bridge. The work will include adding a second main track, greatly improve reliability and on time performance. Service will resume in time for the Monday morning commute on November 18.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority unveiled new and improved schedules following the completion of a major track improvement project in the Bronx. Trip times to New Haven will improve on weekdays and weekends, and additional trains have been added to the Danbury branch. The changes go into effect Sunday, November 17. You can find out more at MTA.info.
Amtrak Cascades is offering University of Oregon students additional direct Cascades Thruway motorcoach service from Eugene to Portland Union Station for the busy Thanksgiving travel week. Amtrak will run the busses straight from campus on November 27 and December 1, two of the busiest travel days in the year.
October 29, 2013
Amtrak eVouchers (issued to passengers when a reservation is canceled and all or part of the fare paid is non-refundable) can now be redeemed online at www.amtrak.com, as well as over the phone by speaking to a reservations sales agent at 1-800-USA-RAIL. Simply enter (or provide the agent with) the eVoucher number and your phone number and email address (which should match the ones printed on the eVoucher). Previously, eVouchers could only be redeemed by ticket agents at staffed Amtrak stations. eVouchers cannot be redeemed using the Amtrak mobile app for iPhone and Android, but can be redeemed using the mobile version of Amtrak.com.
October 25, 2013
The Illinois Department of Transportation has teamed up with Amtrak to bring the Great Dome Car to the Illinois Zephyr (Trains 380 and 383) for a limited run, November 5 through November 22.
“The car features an upper level with windows on all sides to provide passengers with panoramic views of the changing colors of the trees, farmers in their fields and the picturesque communities along the route, including LaGrange, Naperville, Plano, Mendota, Princeton, Kewanee, Galesburg and Macomb,” announced Amtrak. “There is no additional charge for riding the Illinois Zephyr during this period and seating in the Great Dome car is unreserved.”
October 4, 2013
Amtrak is offering a special deal for those traveling to see the Hollywood Costume exhibit, “featuring the most iconic costumes from a century of cinema,” at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond Nov. 9 through Feb. 17, 2014 (this exhibit’s only East Coast venue). If you book between now and Feb. 13, 2014 and travel between Nov. 7, 2013 and Feb. 16, 2014, you will receive 40% off a companion’s rail fare when you pay the full adult fare for Coach class travel. This offer is valid only on Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Meteor and Silver Star for travel to or from Richmond Staples Mill Road or Richmond Main Street station. Note that the Museum is not walking distance from either Staples Mill Road or Richmond Main Street Station.
September 27, 2013
September 13, 2013
Amtrak announced it will begin offering limited baggage service at the following stations:
Effective August 26, 2013, Fort Madison, IA, Mount Pleasant, IA, Newton KS, and Topeka, KS: Starting August 26, baggage service will be available at these stations, as follows:
On Mondays through Fridays, passengers can check and retrieve their baggage with an employee at the station. Express Service will not be available.
On Saturdays and Sundays, passengers must check and retrieve their baggage at trainside with an employee at the baggage car. Express Service will not be available.
Effective September 2, 2013
Joliet, IL: Starting September 2, daily baggage service will be available for Texas Eagle Trains 21, 22, 321, 322, 421, and 422 only. Passengers can check their baggage with an employee at the station. Express Service will not be available.
Galesburg, IL: Starting September 2, limited baggage service will be available daily for California Zephyr Trains 5 and 6 and Southwest Chief Trains 3 and 4 only. Passengers at Galesburg must check and retrieve their baggage at trainside with an employee at the baggage car. Express Service will not be available.
August 30, 2013
VIA Rail Canada will discontinue the bus service that had been substituting for the Montreal-Gaspé train (formerly known as the Chaleur) north of Matapédia, Quebec, effective September 17. The bus bridge had been in place since mid-2011 due to track conditions that had deteriorated to the point of being unsafe. Now, VIA Rail has suspended service between Matapédia and Gaspé indefinitely until the short line that owns the tracks can confirm when repairs have been completed. The short line cannot say at this point when repairs will be done.
Passengers holding tickets for travel on Montreal-Gaspé trains after Sept. 17 will have two options: obtain a full refund or modify their reservations for travel to or from Matapédia on the Montreal-Halifax Ocean.
OLDER TRAVEL ADVISORIES
December 21, 2012
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.
October 9, 2012
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.
August 31, 2012
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.