American Railroads

News each weekday of American railroads. Our focus is on freight rail, but Amtrak and commuter rail are also essential ingredients. Nothing published on holidays.

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Location: Middleburg (Jacksonville), Florida, United States

Published in Trains magazine, Railfan & Railroad, Passenger Train Journal

Monday, October 16, 2006

Amtrak’s winter timetable starts soon

Amtrak’s newest timetable goes into effect on October 30.
That’s also the date all-electric Keystone Service begins between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Weekday roundtrips between Philadelphia and Harrisburg increase from 11 to 14, with 10 traveling to and from New York.
Trains along the route will operate up to 110 mph, and trip times will be 15 to 30 minutes shorter than the previous standard two-hour journey.
In the Midwest, eight new state-supported trains will begin operating on Oct. 30 in Illinois between Chicago and 28 Downstate cities. Two new roundtrips will begin on the St. Louis-Chicago corridor, one between Carbondale and Chicago and another between Quincy and Chicago. Along with added frequencies, several routes will display new train numbers, names and schedules.
To accommodate the expanded Chicago-St. Louis frequencies, Texas Eagle trains 21 and 22 will each operate approximately one hour earlier.
On the West Coast, added Capitol Corridor frequencies that began in August will also be published, displaying four new roundtrips between Sacramento and Oakland.
A fourth Amtrak Cascades roundtrip between Seattle and Portland, which launched in July, will also be included. Operated by Amtrak and funded by Washington State and Oregon DOTS, Cascades service has experienced 11 consecutive years of ridership and ticket revenue growth since service began in 1994.
The Downeaster between Boston and Portland, Maine, is adding service as well.
Acela Express service, with 15 trainsets, will see travel time improvements.
Fifteen weekday Acelas will run between Washington and New York, eight of which operate to and from Boston. The addition of one more roundtrip in the Boston-New York market makes nine frequencies, with eight operating to and from Washington.
Top speeds at approximately 100 locations between New York and Washington has been raised, reducing the running time between Washington and New York from 2 hours and 50 minutes to 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Elsewhere, the Capitol Limited will depart Chicago 90 minutes later, making better connecting service with trains from the West. Also, Pennsylvanian train 43 will operate one hour later, allowing New England connections from Regional train 95.
In the Indianapolis-Chicago market, Cardinal trains 50 and 51 and Hoosier State trains 317 and 318 (which operate on alternate days) will depart Chicago two hours earlier at 5:45 p.m., and arrive in Indianapolis at 11:35 p.m., a more attractive arrival time than the current 1:35 a.m.
Westbound Train 51 will depart New York two hours earlier and be combined with a Regional train for the New York-Washington portion of its run, operating two hours earlier from Washington to Indianapolis. Trains 51 and 317 will depart Indianapolis 20 minutes earlier at 6:30 a.m., and arrive in Chicago 20 minutes earlier, providing a more convenient departure from Indianapolis for day trips and more reliable connections in Chicago.
Other changes are scattered throughout the timetable.


Train runs over Union Pacific employee

A Union Pacific employee died Friday morning when he was run over by a train at the railroad yard off Salinas Road, the Register-Pajaronian of Watsonville, Cal. Reported over the weekend.
Darrell Clyde Thompson, 49, a resident of Santa Cruz, was working in the Union Pacific switchyard when he fell between two moving train cars. Both of Thompson’s legs were amputated in the accident, which caused his death, the Monterey County Office of the Sheriff, Coroner’s Division reported.
“He was actually run over by the train,” said Commander Greg Clark of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office. “It wasn’t as if he was standing on the tracks, he was on the train and fell from the train.”


Greenbrier buys another line

Private equity firm Olympus Partners said on Sunday it agreed to sell Meridian Rail Services, which provides maintenance services for trains, for $227.5 million to the Greenbrier Cos. Inc.
The acquisition of Meridian follows Greenbrier’s purchase of Rail Car America for $34 million in September. Greenbrier supplies transportation equipment and services, building and repairing railroad freight cars and marine barges, Reuters reported.
Olympus purchased Meridian in November 2004. The rail services company is the fourth portfolio company Olympus has sold since June. Total proceeds from the sales of TravelCenters of America, Global Link Logistics, Club Staffing and Meridian exceed $3 billion, Olympus said.



Channel Tunnel rail freight may soon end

The Liberal Democrat Party has claimed that British freight will no longer be taken through the channel tunnel after November 30 because government is to end financial support of the service, according to Transport News Network.
The “LibDems” say that the 1.6 million tons which train operator EWS carries annually will have to be transported by other more environmentally damaging means after this date, and the Liberal Democrat Shadow Transport Secretary, Alistair Carmichael MP will table an Early Day Motion calling on the Government to negotiate a new financial settlement to allow these journeys to continue.
Carmichael said, “It is shocking that at a time when the government is claiming to support clean forms of transport, Ministers content to sit by and let our freight industry crumble. The government has failed to support our freight industry since coming to power. I call on them to act now, while there is still time.”


Luxembourg takes blame for train crash

Human error in Luxembourg was to blame for a train crash last week on the French border that killed six people, transport minister Lucien Lux said on Sunday.
A passenger train from Luxembourg collided head-on with a freight train on October 11 just after crossing into France.
An initial investigation showed that dispatchers in Luxembourg had given the passenger train authorization to use a track that was already occupied by the freight train, Lux said.
“We have to admit that the main responsibility probably lies with Luxembourg,” Lux told a news conference. “As things stand, the conclusions (of the investigation) are undeniable.”

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