Amtrak bustitutes westbound Empire Builder

Written by Douglas John Bowen
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Honoring a request by BNSF Railway for a temporary service adjustment, Amtrak will alter its westbound Empire Builder schedule through North Dakota through Sept. 30, 2014, using chartered buses to ensure timekeeping and continue service to Grand Forks, Devils Lake, and Rugby.

Amtrak said Wednesday, May 7, 2014 that the alternate route “will enable BNSF to accomplish work in shorter time. The eastbound Empire Builder will operate normally and serve all scheduled stops.”

Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman will visit the affected area this week, and will address concerns over the lengthy delays the Empire Builder has suffered in recent months, Amtrak said.

BNSF has announced it is investing approximately $400 million in North Dakota to expand, replace and maintain its infrastructure, and for the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC). This includes three siding projects between Grand Forks and Minot and four siding projects between Fargo and Grand Forks. Other work along the route involves installation of new turnouts, high speed surfacing/shoulder ballast cleaning, replacement of ties, rail relay, and signal upgrades.

“We are committed to investing in our infrastructure to support the region’s growing economy and to better serve all of our freight customers and Amtrak’s passenger service,” said BNSF AVP Passenger Operations DJ Mitchell. “This plan will allow the work to occur more efficiently and will benefit everyone.”

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