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Late Empire builder (#8, #28)


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#1 Guest_km swenson_*

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 10:09 AM

The Empire Builder has been running quite late both east and west for almost a week now. Some portions have even cancelled. How long might this continue? Why is it happening? What are the chances of an on-time (or at least not 7 hours late) trip on Friday, Feb. 11?

#2 Guest_km swenson_*

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 10:21 AM

I forgot to add I would be traveling between St. Paul, MN and Columbus, WI on Friday, heading east on the morning train and returning west bound in the evening.

#3 Rail Freak

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 10:27 AM

I'll be on #28 (13th) & hoping for an on time run :giggle: but have pretty much accepted a miss connection to the #30 in Chicago!
Have Fun

A Rookie No More! But Still A Lot Of Track To Travel !!!
Silver Meteor #97(5) & #98 (4), Silver Star #91 (2), Capitol Limited #29 & #30(4), Empire Builder #7,#8,#27(2) &#28(4) Coast Starlight #11 (5) & #14(5), California Zephyr #5 (2) & #6 (4), Cascades #506, City of New Orleans #58 (1) #59 (2), South West Chief #3 (3), Lake Shore Limited #49, Maple Leaf #63 San Joaquin #714, Pacific Surfliner #774, Texas Eagle #422, Cardinal #50, Crescent #19, Sunset Limited #1. Approx. 53,591 miles & 41 states!

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#4 Ispolkom

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 10:57 AM

The Empire Builder has been running quite late both east and west for almost a week now. Some portions have even cancelled. How long might this continue? Why is it happening? What are the chances of an on-time (or at least not 7 hours late) trip on Friday, Feb. 11?


It's winter on the Hi Line, and given the combination of bad weather, an upsurge in freight traffic, and few unfortunate incidents (that recent bomb scare, for instance) the Empire Builder is not running on time. Remember that since the train is turned around in Seattle (and Portland), if the westbound #7 is significantly late, the eastbound #8 can't possibly leave on time. In either direction, small problems can cause big delays just because it's so hard to work outside when wind chills head below -40.

I'd expect your eastbound train to be late. The westbound train has a better chance of being on time, since it's just starting its journey.

Now, if we had a train on the route St. Paul-Chicago, you'd have much better chance for on-time travel. The chances for such a train, though, seem slim. In today's Minneapolis paper there's a depressing article.

Edited by Ispolkom, 08 February 2011 - 10:58 AM.


#5 anir dendroica

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 11:30 AM

The Empire Builder has been running quite late both east and west for almost a week now. Some portions have even cancelled. How long might this continue? Why is it happening? What are the chances of an on-time (or at least not 7 hours late) trip on Friday, Feb. 11?


Really late EB running in the winter usually correlates with major snowstorms or temperatures below -10 on the northern plains (as is the case now). Temps are forecast to warm up by Thursday, so I'll be optimistic and say there is a >50% chance that your eastbound #8 will be less than four hours late.

#6 yarrow

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 11:46 AM

maybe it is comparing apples to oranges, but does anyone know how "the canadian" travelling the high "hi-line" (alberta, saskatchewan, manitoba) is doing getting their passengers to their destinations near their scheduled times?

amtrak miles-108,922
great northern miles-876
northern pacific miles-28
via rail canada kilometers-8,848


#7 anir dendroica

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 02:29 PM

Unfortunately VIA train status is not available online, so it's hard to keep tabs on the Canadian

#8 anir dendroica

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 01:04 PM

#8 was "only" 1:25 late out of MSP this morning. It looks like the extreme delays ended with the extreme cold.

Mark

#9 TraneMan

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 08:00 AM

I've been watching time on the Builder, and seems like everyday it's late. anywhere from 3 to 5 hours late. What's been going on?? I sure hope it's not like that this summer!
 

Amtrak Train travel.

Empire Builder 15,753
Silver Meteor = 668
Capital Limited = 780
Hiawatha Service = 172

Cascade = 312
Lincoln Service= 640 
 
Total = 18,325

 

Routes completed

Empire Builder 7 and 8.

Capital Limited 29.

Hiawatha. 
 
First travel was 1990.

(updated 7/16/14)


#10 Edgefan

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 08:53 AM

I'm currently on #30 Capitol Limited. This IS EB related as we sat in CUS for over an hour waiting for yesterday's arrival of a very late EB. I completed my entire dinner in the confines of the cave. Not Empire Builder related. 20 minutes outside of Chicago we lost the lead engine and sat for over another hour. (very funny story with this, but maybe another time) We are now east of Pittsburgh (just) and sitting again. We lost our slot and the freights are having their way with us! Just need to make the #19 Crescent connection in WAS at 6:30 PM Looking to arrive between 4 and 5 this afternoon, barring any more delays.

Acela Express, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, Capitol Corridor, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Cresent, Lake Shore Limited, Regional #141, SW Chief, Pacific Surfliner, Illinois Zephyr, Empire Builder, Cascades, Coast Starlight, Silver Meteor, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Rail Miles: 67,880  When can we leave again! All Aboard!


#11 Ispolkom

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 09:39 AM

I've been watching time on the Builder, and seems like everyday it's late. anywhere from 3 to 5 hours late. What's been going on?? I sure hope it's not like that this summer!


I think that it's winter on the Hi Line. Probably the upswing in freight on the northern Transcon doesn't help once the Empire Builder is delayed.

#12 anir dendroica

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 12:44 PM

Just when the EB starts getting close to running on schedule, something else happens...

Looks like they have one track back in service now.

From BNSF website:

02/21/2011

Preliminary Report: Derailment in Williston, North Dakota

BNSF has a report that train G ABATAC9 19 has derailed in Williston, North Dakota at approximately 2:56 a.m. CT on Monday, February 21, 2011. This location is approximately 324 miles northeast of Billings, Montana.

BNSF personnel are on the scene to investigate the derailment damages. At this time, both main tracks are out of service with no estimated time of opening. BNSF may re-route some traffic in order to minimize impact to service and will continue to provide customers with additional information as it becomes available.

Customers may experience delays of 48-72 hours on shipments moving through this corridor. Updated shipment information is always available through the Rail Central tool in the secure bnsf.com. If you have any questions, please contact BNSF Customer Support at 1-888-428- 2673, option 4, option 3.


02/22/2011

Update Report: Derailment in Williston, North Dakota

In a Service Advisory issued on February 21, 2011, BNSF reported that train G ABATAC9 19 derailed in Williston, North Dakota. Main track two was restored to service at 8:45 a.m. CT on February 22, 2011. The current estimate for main track one to return to service is at 9:00 p.m. CT on February 22, 2011.

Due to the congestion resulted from this service interruption, customers should plan for an additional 24 to 36 hours of transit time on shipments moving through this corridor. Updated shipment information is always available through the Rail Central tool in the secure bnsf.com.

If you have any questions, please contact BNSF Customer Support at 1-888-428-2673, option 4, option 3.

#13 mwmnp

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 01:10 PM

Preliminary Report: Derailment in Williston, North Dakota

BNSF has a report that train G ABATAC9 19 has derailed in Williston, North Dakota at approximately 2:56 a.m. CT on Monday, February 21, 2011. This location is approximately 324 miles northeast of Billings, Montana.


Yep, this was the latest dilemma to plague the EB this winter. A bus bridge was established yesterday (February 21) between Minot and Havre to get Amtrak passengers around the derailment site.

#14 NorthCoastHiawatha

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 01:40 PM

maybe it is comparing apples to oranges, but does anyone know how "the canadian" travelling the high "hi-line" (alberta, saskatchewan, manitoba) is doing getting their passengers to their destinations near their scheduled times?


When I took the Canadian in February 2007, we arrived in Toronto about an hour late, and that was only due to the strikes on Canadian National as the crew abandoned a train on the mainline and it took 45 minutes to get the offending freight shoved on to a siding so we could continue.
As for weather delays as far I know there were none.

Edited by NorthCoastHiawatha, 22 February 2011 - 01:41 PM.

Amtrak trains ridden: Adirondack (2) Cascades (35), California Zephyr (1) Capitol Limited (1), Coast Starlight (11), Downeaster (2) Empire Builder (6), Lake Shore Limited (2), Maple Leaf (1) Mount Rainer (1), NorthEast Regional (2) Pacific Surfliner (1), Silver Star (1), Southwest Chief (1) Sunset Limited (1)
Total Mileage: 29,177

Specials with Amtrak equipment: Seattle-Ellensburg, Seattle-Tacoma,Seattle-Leavenworth
Total Mileage: 587
VIA Rail Canadian (2) Malahat (2)
Total Mileage: 5,830
Mainline Steam Excursion: Southern Pacific 4449 (Portland-Pasco-Yakima-Auburn-Tacoma-Portland)

                                        Milwaukee Road 261   (Minneapolis - Duluth - Minneapolis)
Total Mileage: 854


#15 bretton88

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 01:49 PM

6 hour layovers in mid points, like Jasper and Winnipeg really help the Canadian OTP. If Amtrak had recovery time like that, the EB would never be late.
Bring on Omaha-Lincoln train service!!
In my dreams, I guess.

#16 NorthCoastHiawatha

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 01:58 PM

6 hour layovers in mid points, like Jasper and Winnipeg really help the Canadian OTP. If Amtrak had recovery time like that, the EB would never be late.

Actually Jasper is 1 hour 35 min and Winnipeg is 3 hours. When I rode it in 2007 the layovers were not as long.
I'm actually riding it next month, I will get to see how its doing now.

Amtrak trains ridden: Adirondack (2) Cascades (35), California Zephyr (1) Capitol Limited (1), Coast Starlight (11), Downeaster (2) Empire Builder (6), Lake Shore Limited (2), Maple Leaf (1) Mount Rainer (1), NorthEast Regional (2) Pacific Surfliner (1), Silver Star (1), Southwest Chief (1) Sunset Limited (1)
Total Mileage: 29,177

Specials with Amtrak equipment: Seattle-Ellensburg, Seattle-Tacoma,Seattle-Leavenworth
Total Mileage: 587
VIA Rail Canadian (2) Malahat (2)
Total Mileage: 5,830
Mainline Steam Excursion: Southern Pacific 4449 (Portland-Pasco-Yakima-Auburn-Tacoma-Portland)

                                        Milwaukee Road 261   (Minneapolis - Duluth - Minneapolis)
Total Mileage: 854


#17 Bierboy

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 03:25 PM

The Amtrak Status Map (http://www.dixieland...atusMapWest.htm) doesn't even show the #8 anywhere on the route?! #7 departed CUS on time this afternoon. The #7 that's in Washington State is now 6 hours 34 minutes late...

Edited by Bierboy, 22 February 2011 - 03:26 PM.

NP's Vista-Dome North Coast Limited in the early '60s....those were the days!

Cardinal Sleeper, CHI to WAS - July 2002
SW Chief Sleeper, GBB to LAX - June 2007
Illinois Zephyr/Empire Builder Sleeper, GBB to CHI to ESM - May 2009
California Zephyr Sleeper, GBB to EMY - October 2010
Illinois Zephyr/Empire Builder Sleeper, GBB to CHI to SEA - March 2011
Texas Eagle Sleeper (AGR), BNL to SAS - April 2013



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#18 apok86

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 03:40 PM

Does anyone know how late the 8/28 EB needs to be running before Amtrak busitutes people from msp to chi?

#19 anir dendroica

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 04:09 PM

There are 22 hours between scheduled arrival in Chicago (as #8) and scheduled departure the next day as #7. I imagine at least six hours are required for pre-departure servicing, so Amtrak might consider turning the train in MSP if it is over 16 hours late. This has happened occasionally for trains running about 24 hours behind due to derailments/major breakdowns, but it doesn't occur more than once or twice a year. If weather conditions are sufficiently bad, Amtrak will run the very late train to Chicago and cancel the next day's departure.

Amtrak sometimes offers bustitution to Chicago for passengers with a connecting train; I don't know what the window of lateness is for this, but I would guess 2-6 hours behind schedule (< 2, train will probably make connections, > 6, bus would arrive too late). In these cases, pax with a final destination of Chicago or between MSP and Chicago will have an option to stay on the train. If the train is later than 5-6 hours behind schedule, they may still run a bus MSP-Chicago on time, but passengers boarding prior to MSP are out of luck in terms of Chicago connections.

Mark

Edited by anir dendroica, 22 February 2011 - 09:24 PM.


#20 fairviewroad

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 04:21 PM

When I took the Canadian in February 2007, we arrived in Toronto about an hour late, and that was only due to the strikes on Canadian National as the crew abandoned a train on the mainline and it took 45 minutes to get the offending freight shoved on to a siding so we could continue.
As for weather delays as far I know there were none.


Likewise, when I took the Empire Builder from Grand Forks to Portland in December of last year, we arrived in PDX only 15 minutes late.

You can't really draw any conclusions, good or bad, on the basis of one trip.

(Another difference btw the VIA route and the EB is that the VIA route runs only 3x a week. I'm sure the EB performance would be dramatically
increased if they dropped 4 departures a week, but I highly doubt anyone here would like that.)



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