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Service disruption on the Southwest Chief


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#1 eee

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 12:28 AM

Any idea what happened to the Southwest Chief? No. 4 (22) is showing a service disruption.

I'm gonna be boarding 4 at Newton next week, so I'm a bit nervous. Don't want to get stuck on a bus from Newton to Chicago. It looks like 4 won't be arriving in Newton tonight, nor tomorrow night.

#2 Trogdor

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 08:27 AM

"Service Disruptions" of that sort rarely last more than a day or two.
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#3 printman2000

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 08:55 AM

It has been reported that tracks have been washed out East of Lamy, NM and that the SWC will reroute via Amarillo for several days.

Being in Amarillo, this would usually make me happy to see Amtrak here. However, we are scheduled to be getting on #3 in Lamy on Saturday (6/26). Looks like we may have to be bused to Albuquerque.

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 11:07 AM

Please keep us posted as you get info, lots of members have plans to ride this route this summer including me, hope yall avoid the bustitution! (Perhaps they will end up moving the Chief so it runs through Amarillo, not much scenery but convient for you! :lol: )

#5 MikeM

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 11:17 AM

Figures. I was supposed to ride the train from Newton to Chicago Friday, return Sunday. Per amtrak reservations, there was a washout near Las Vegas, and will take three days to restore the bridge that washed out due to storm, per Amtrak. Five buses have been ordered, to handle train 4 Friday, pick up normal stops and times. Glad someone posted this or else I'd have been sitting in Newton surprised to see a Greyhound in my future. Would have been nice if they'd sent an email or something out to flag there was a disruption, don't they do that (they have my email through Amtrak Rewards). On hold now trying to find out what's happening, when the train will flip, etc.

#6 MikeM

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 11:25 AM

Another update... just finished with Amtrak reservations. Bus substitution will be between Albuquerque and Newton, with five buses running between all those locations. I'm getting confusing info, the operator was saying when she came back on the line that there was a mud slide that blocked the tracks. EB delay could run to 4am, not sure how they handle remaking all the bedrooms on the fly in the middle of the night, and if the delay in departure is to allow time to make beds and such or if the bus transit is slower than the train. Anyhow, it'll be a night that the on board team, particularly in sleepers, will be earning their pay tonight! BNSF started repairs yesterday, so the current thinking is that things will be back in place by Sunday / Monday.

#7 jimhudson

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 12:53 PM

Did some test bookings CHI-LAX and LAX-CHI. Both of todays Chiefs (#3/#4)are shown as SOLD OUT), there are partial routings on the TE/SSL through SAS(sleepers SOLD OUT) and the last option is CHI-LAX vis PDX on #27/#11 with all sleepers SOLD OUT! It will be interesting to see when service is restored, as the OP said why bustitite when the Chiefs could be routed on the Transcon through Amarillo to ABQ to/from LAX??? :blink:

Edited by jimhudson, 24 June 2010 - 12:55 PM.

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#8 printman2000

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 01:00 PM

From what I have heard the train will be rerouted through Amarillo. However, they have to bus people to all the stations in between Newton and Albuquerque.

#9 MikeM

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 01:20 PM

Did some test bookings CHI-LAX and LAX-CHI. Both of todays Chiefs (#3/#4)are shown as SOLD OUT), there are partial routings on the TE/SSL through SAS(sleepers SOLD OUT) and the last option is CHI-LAX vis PDX on #27/#11 with all sleepers SOLD OUT! It will be interesting to see when service is restored, as the OP said why bustitite when the Chiefs could be routed on the Transcon through Amarillo to ABQ to/from LAX??? :blink:


FWIW, I was checking bookings on Friday morning's train, and it had coach sold out on Wednesday morning, and only one family room available for the eastbound segment. Westbound on Sunday still had upper level coach and two sleepers. Full train! I've seen sleepers booked, but it's been a while (or maybe I haven't been looking) for Coach to be sold out.

#10 printman2000

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 02:03 PM

Talked to a local BNSF engineer who spoke with a local trainmaster. He said Amtrak came through here (Amarillo) at 11:00 last night (Wednesday, June 23, 2010) and that another one is not on their schedule to come through.

I suppose the trainmaster's info could be wrong or not updated, but I sure hope it is correct and the problem is getting fixed quickly.

#11 printman2000

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 02:23 PM

On another forum, someone saying they are on #3(24) was informed of a "bus bridge" from La Junta to Albuquerque. I assume that means stopping the train in La Junta, putting everyone on buses and getting back on the train in Albuquerque.

That does not make any sense to me. Every other time something like this has happened, they rerouted on the transcon. Course, this could also explain why they are not on the schedule to come through here.

I am wondering what happened to #3(23). Perhaps they made it through before it happened.

Edited by printman2000, 24 June 2010 - 02:24 PM.


#12 MikeM

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 02:58 PM

My understanding is that they are running buses between Albuquerque and Newton - but the agent didn't know if they were running the train around or just turning it in Newton. They did say they think the departure could be 4am, so two hours late approximately. Would that be enough extra time to make it through the Transcon, or is that just enough to remake beds and tidy / turn the train? Be interesting to see, first time I've experienced this sort of thing.

#13 Guest_kspeed55_*

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 03:15 PM

I am travelling on 4 tomorrow and just called Amtrak. The agent told me that I would be bussed from Lamy to La Junta so I assume the trains will be turned at Albuquerque and La Junta.

#14 eee

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 04:20 PM

So the train from Newton to Chicago would still be running, just maybe late? Why would Amtrak's train status show service disruption, even though service isn't disrupted from Newton to Chicago?

#15 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 05:01 PM

FWIW, I was checking bookings on Friday morning's train, and it had coach sold out on Wednesday morning, and only one family room available for the eastbound segment. Westbound on Sunday still had upper level coach and two sleepers. Full train! I've seen sleepers booked, but it's been a while (or maybe I haven't been looking) for Coach to be sold out.

Yeah, some trains appear to be very full these days. In another thread I mentioned that in SAS a man in front of me was trying to buy a coach ticket and was told nothing was available for the next week. Of course I have no idea if it was just a few segments that were sold out or the whole route. Still kind of amazing though. Sleepers I expect to be iffy, but coach class is rarely completely full. On a ride back home from AUS on the Eagle I had a neighbor in coach tell me the the train was completely full until they reached Dallas. Not a single solitary seat that she could take to get away from a heavy snorer all day and night. Weird. On my trip to ELP on the Sunset Limited a couple weeks ago the coach seats were nearly full from the looks of it. Much larger numbers of folks at the stations than I'm used to as well. Seemed half the town in Alpine was at the depot. Maybe Amtrak could renovate that building since it's apparently playing host to a substantial number of riders, especially relative to the size of the town. In any case we might be looking at a continued upswing in traffic for 2010. Just imagine if Amtrak was able to run more trains or add-on a few cars to current trains. Would have been nice.

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#16 eee

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 09:54 PM

No. 4 (22) is showing an arrival into Chicago 15-plus hours late. But the date for said arrival is 6:38am Thursday, which would be many hours early, not late. I guess this just means the status tracker is all screwed up.

Edited by eee, 24 June 2010 - 09:54 PM.


#17 printman2000

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 08:23 AM

From what I have read, only one train, #4(22) detoured via Amarillo Wednesday night. Trains departing on the 23rd and 24th will be bus bridged between La Junta and Albuquerque. Supposedly, 3(25) & 4(25) will be back to normal operation.

#18 printman2000

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 01:39 PM

Just got an automated call saying my train #3(25) will get bused between La Junta and Albuquerque.

For me and my family it means about 1.5 hour bus ride from Lamy to Albuquerque. Not too bad, but we will miss one of my favorite things. Waiting on the train to arrive.

#19 Rafi

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 04:34 PM

I'm hearing that the track is going to be out for at least a week at this point. Wish I could ride that detour! ;)

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#20 CNW

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 05:10 PM

On another forum, someone saying they are on #3(24) was informed of a "bus bridge" from La Junta to Albuquerque. I assume that means stopping the train in La Junta, putting everyone on buses and getting back on the train in Albuquerque.

That does not make any sense to me. Every other time something like this has happened, they rerouted on the transcon. Course, this could also explain why they are not on the schedule to come through here.

I am wondering what happened to #3(23). Perhaps they made it through before it happened.


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