Time is running out for daily operation of Amtrak’s long-distance trains. It could also be running out for the very concept that a train could provide reliable transportation between far-flung communities every day, with same-day connections to other trains, at least in this country. With various exceptions, this has been the basis of Amtrak’s long-distance train network for the first 49 years and five months of its corporate existence, as well as for nearly 140 years before Amtrak began operations in 1971.
Amtrak has built a more disciplined process to plan and coordinate major track outages, including those along the Northeast Corridor, but more steps could be taken to reduce service disruptions and maximize the amount of time it has access to tracks, Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General found in a report released Sept. 16.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will distribute $1 billion among 70 surface transportation infrastructure projects in 44 states through its Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program. The Fiscal Year 2020 program is for planning and capital investments.
Beginning Oct. 1, Amtrak is reducing service on its entire long-distance (L-D) train network from daily to three departures per week, except for the two trains that already run only tri-weekly-only schedules, and the Auto Train.
Amtrak has released a paper in which it says it “is committed to operating a national rail network that serves customers across the United States,” including daily long-distance (L-D) services, provided certain conditions are met.
Recently installed Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn and Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating and Commercial Officer Stephen Gardner discuss the company’s role as a provider of national passenger rail
Following installation on approximately one mile of slow-speed track in the Chicago terminal, Amtrak has now implemented Positive Train Control (PTC) on all of its owned or controlled tracks and locomotives.
Amtrak has engaged the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (GW Milken Institute SPH) in an effort to provide ongoing technical expertise and guidance to enhance Amtrak’s coronavirus pandemic response.
Amtrak diesel-electric locomotives have worn many liveries over the years since the company was founded in 1971. The latest of these is a variation on the current “Phase VI” scheme that dates to 2002, to be worn by five of the first six ALC-42 Siemens Chargers that will replace the current P40 and P42 “Genesis” fleet on the National Network, including all long-distance and many state-sponsored routes. The sixth unit will be painted to recognize next year’s 50th anniversary of the inauguration of Amtrak service. Amtrak says “a final livery will be unveiled later as part of a fleet-wide plan.”
The Managing Director of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), Rob Padgette, was elected Chair of the State-Amtrak Intercity Passenger Rail Committee (SAIPRC) on June 24, 2020.