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Empire Builder Timekeeping Struggles This Summer


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#21 montana mike

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Posted 22 July 2018 - 04:17 PM

Thanks for the update.    Meanwhile #7(20), scheduled to arrive in SEA at 10 AM this morning will now not likely arrive until around 6 PM tonight.   SEA usually requires about 4 hours to ready and turn the train around so they will be lucky to head back as tonight's #8 about 5 hours late.   Too bad Amtrak doesn't have sufficient equipment to have had a second set in SEA and PDX like they did several years ago when BNSF was doing all of the track work on this route.  #8, still plugging along the Hi-Line after the BNSF derailment delay, is now over 13 hours behind.   Best guess on CHI arrival will likely be 3 or 4 AM.    A lot of confused and frustrated tourists at the WFH station the last several days, not much Amtrak could do about the BNSF issues and weather delays though.   I'm on the EB going West in a couple of weeks.  Maybe things will settle down a bit by then.    



#22 montana mike

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 08:18 AM

Hmmm.   3 of the 4 "Builders" this morning are more than 5 hours behind and continuing to lose time.   At some point, and likely soon, Amtrak may have to annul a day's worth of EB's in order to reset the schedule, since the continued delays in arrivals into SEA/PDX are increasing the late departures, which make the entire schedule break down.   I guess, given the troubles BNSF has had there is little else Amtrak can do.

:-(



#23 Thirdrail7

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 08:38 AM

I think they are trying scrounge up equipment for another set, which is difficult with all of the PTC test trains, overhauls, refreshes, shopped equipment and sidelined equipment.. They are cutting cars on a few trains to free things up..


Edited by Thirdrail7, 23 July 2018 - 08:40 AM.

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They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#24 jebr

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 09:12 AM

I wonder if Amtrak could at least scrape together buses for a few days to reset the schedule in Spokane. Not ideal to have passengers transfer at midnight, but better than consistently late trains or cancelling trains entirely.


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#25 montana mike

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 02:16 PM

Terminating in SPK would at least give the EB's a chance to get back on schedule.   Ideally, given the realities of the growing mess on the Hi-Line (my BNSF contacts say the delays are here for at least another couple of months or longer), having a second train set ready to go in SEA/PDX makes sense, but as also stated, finding sufficient equipment as was done in the past, appears to rule this option out.     Today's 7/27 now plugging along in WA will likely arrive around 9 hours late at each destination, which means departures late at night (perhaps after 11 PM) from SEA/PDX.   Given the ongoing delays on the BNSF tracks due to the overall congestion and track work, heading back eastbound the 8(23) EB could possibly be close to 12 hours late arriving in CHI two days later, putting an on time departure from CHI in jeopardy.   


Edited by montana mike, 23 July 2018 - 02:18 PM.


#26 MSP_Train_Hopper

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Posted 24 July 2018 - 09:03 PM

I was able to catch a video of the 10+ hour late #8 this afternoon as it entered the BNSF Union yard in Minneapolis.
 
10+ hour late Empire Builder


Edited by MSP_Train_Hopper, 24 July 2018 - 09:44 PM.


#27 montana mike

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Posted 25 July 2018 - 03:27 PM

Looks like when #8/28 gets going on the west coast later today to head on East, it will once again be a late start, due to the very late arrival of today's 27, which is now just under 5 hours behind schedule.     This would suggest a long wait for the folks on #8 in SPK, which will  likely depart close to on time out of SEA this evening.   The late start will keep the losing streak going for the Empire Builder and likely missed connections for any trains in CHI.   For the 3 other of the Builders plugging along today, at least things have settled down back to what BNSF had anticipated the delays to be (a couple of hours over the full length of the trip). So perhaps there is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel (hoping it's not another train!!)



#28 Thirdrail7

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Posted 25 July 2018 - 05:09 PM

  Looks like when #8/28 gets going on the west coast later today to head on East, it will once again be a late start, due to the very late arrival of today's 27, which is now just under 5 hours behind schedule.

 

They estimate 28(25) will depart at 7pm. I don't see how that is possible. Assuming nothing is shopped, I think it'll take 3 hours to turn. I say, 8pm.

 

What say you, Montana Mike?


They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#29 montana mike

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Posted 26 July 2018 - 10:18 AM

It appears that 28 departed PDX about 4 1/2 hours late, which is about how late 27 was when it arrived, since the combined 8/28 departed SPK about that much behind schedule .    8/28 now running about 6 hours behind.   We shall see if they can make up any time.   BNSF says they will lose about two more hours thru the Hi-Line, so even with the padding in the schedule 8/28(25), will likely roll into CHI about 5 or 6 hours behind schedule, once again missing connections.


Edited by montana mike, 26 July 2018 - 11:30 AM.


#30 montana mike

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Posted 27 July 2018 - 07:51 AM

Looks like 8(25) is now around 9 hours behind, having lost considerable time running the track work gauntlet on the Hi-Line.  7(25) is not faring very well either heading westbound, now over 3 hours late in SPK.   


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#31 lthanlon

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Posted 27 July 2018 - 09:20 AM

I'll be taking #8 from Seattle to Chicago next week and am allowing ample time for anticipated delays. Question: Why do most of the delays occur on eastbound Builders?


L.T. Hanlon | Chicago, USA
Trains traveled: California Zephyr, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle


#32 montana mike

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Posted 27 July 2018 - 10:03 AM

I wondered that myself.   According to my local BNSF folks in MT, it's a matter of timing when much of the most disruptive work on the track is being done and also how they move their own freights thru the bottle necks as well.   The two points where most of the time is being lost, the middle of the Hi-Line (eastern MT and western ND) and thru ID and NW MT are still many weeks away for completing their work, so at least some delays are expected to continue thru September.


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#33 montana mike

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 09:28 AM

It appears that the Hi-Line timekeeping has "settled down" to the expected 2-3 hour delays (especially Eastbound) that were expected for the Empire Builders when BNSF announced another summer of extensive track rehab efforts.   My local BNSF folks have reiterated that timekeeping has been effected by not just the "one off" incidents that have occurred (weather, derailments, equipment issues, etc), but an increase in the amount of overall freight traffic as well, which have modestly exceeded the BNSF forecasted traffic (a busy summer for both agricultural and commercial interests).  So even without all of the track work my BNSF guys say that the EBs would likely have experienced greater than normal delays this summer anyway.   

Well, let's hope the fires in the west don't throw a further monkey wrench into the mix.   This year's fire season would appear to last well into the Fall, given the very dry conditions throughout the entire western part of the country.



#34 lthanlon

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 10:33 AM

I’m taking No. 8 from Seattle to Chicago on Saturday, so I hope things go well. I don’t imagine track work is suspended on weekends?

L.T. Hanlon | Chicago, USA
Trains traveled: California Zephyr, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle


#35 montana mike

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 10:39 AM

BNSF is working 7 days a week on the tracks in order to try to finish up by early October.   I asked them if the overall traffic load is any lighter on the weekends and the answer was not really, pretty much the same amount of traffic every day.   The only planned decreases in traffic occur on major US holidays (eg. Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc...).

Have a great trip!



#36 lthanlon

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 11:24 AM

Thanks for the info, Mike!

I keep hoping that if the Builder does experience a delay it’s at Shelby. I’ve always wanted to check out Oil City Saloon or Oasis Bar & Casino.

A few years ago No. 8 was running way late and lingered at Shelby for about an hour, so a number of passengers wandered over there.

I didn’t risk doing so, since my SCA said the train could leave at any time and 60 minutes was just a guess.

L.T. Hanlon | Chicago, USA
Trains traveled: California Zephyr, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle


#37 montana mike

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 03:40 PM

It appears that the Hi-Line timekeeping has "settled down" to the expected 2-3 hour delays (especially Eastbound) that were expected for the Empire Builders when BNSF announced another summer of extensive track rehab efforts.   My local BNSF folks have reiterated that timekeeping has been effected by not just the "one off" incidents that have occurred (weather, derailments, equipment issues, etc), but an increase in the amount of overall freight traffic as well, which have modestly exceeded the BNSF forecasted traffic (a busy summer for both agricultural and commercial interests).  So even without all of the track work my BNSF guys say that the EBs would likely have experienced greater than normal delays this summer anyway.   

Well, let's hope the fires in the west don't throw a further monkey wrench into the mix.   This year's fire season would appear to last well into the Fall, given the very dry conditions throughout the entire western part of the country.

Gosh, I knew I shouldn't have said something.   Looks like I just jinxed 7(30).   It appears to have sat in MOT for 5 hours.   Anyone have any idea what caused this delay?



#38 CCC1007

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 11:08 PM

It appears that the Hi-Line timekeeping has "settled down" to the expected 2-3 hour delays (especially Eastbound) that were expected for the Empire Builders when BNSF announced another summer of extensive track rehab efforts.   My local BNSF folks have reiterated that timekeeping has been effected by not just the "one off" incidents that have occurred (weather, derailments, equipment issues, etc), but an increase in the amount of overall freight traffic as well, which have modestly exceeded the BNSF forecasted traffic (a busy summer for both agricultural and commercial interests).  So even without all of the track work my BNSF guys say that the EBs would likely have experienced greater than normal delays this summer anyway.   
Well, let's hope the fires in the west don't throw a further monkey wrench into the mix.   This year's fire season would appear to last well into the Fall, given the very dry conditions throughout the entire western part of the country.

Gosh, I knew I shouldn't have said something.   Looks like I just jinxed 7(30).   It appears to have sat in MOT for 5 hours.   Anyone have any idea what caused this delay?
Crew rest

#39 calwatch

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 02:38 AM

More bad luck on the Empire Builder. I was scheduled to take 8 (3) out of Spokane to Minneapolis tomorrow, but I'll just have to fly instead. Luckily Spirit has cheap flights from Los Angeles (I was going to meet up with friends on the train but we'll meet in MSP instead). 8(3) and 7(4) have been annulled, and more likely if it takes a few days.

 

http://www.krtv.com/...s-near-cut-bank

 

A freight train derailed near Cut Bank on Thursday afternoon.

James Childress told KRTV that is happened on the east side of the railroad bridge crossing at about 1:30 p.m.

Childress said that there do not appear to be serious injuries or property damage.

Childress said in an email: "The tracks are torn up bad and will likely be close for a few days while the tracks are repaired. It looks like one of the cars in the mid section of the train jumped the tracks and the front half of the train is stopped on the other side of the bridge. There was a work crew on that section of the tracks earlier today, but no idea if that was related to the derailment."

There is no word yet on the cause of the incident; we are trying to get more details.

(UPDATE) BNSF spokesman Ross Lane says that it happened at about 1:23 p.m.

Twelve rail cars derailed; they were carrying grain.

Lane says that there were no injuries or hazardous materials involved.

The cause of the derailment is being investigated; there is no word yet on when the track will re-open.


Edited by calwatch, 03 August 2018 - 02:39 AM.


#40 montana mike

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 09:19 AM

Empire Builder Update as of 8/12:    We were scheduled to take 8(12) from SEA to WFH, but the Service Disruption on 7/27 (terminating the train in SPK) changed our plans.   By the time the EB reached SPK it was well over 7 hours late and had no hope of realistically getting to SEA/PDX to turn around without starting out very late and continuing the mess that has plagued the Empire Builders almost the entire summer.    We were not about to wait many hours in the King Street station in SEA to just catch an 8 hour bus to SPK to hop on the EB at 2 AM for a 5 hour trek to WFH, so we cancelled our trip and drove back to Montana (arriving 10 hours before the train was scheduled to arrive anyway.         

It appears BNSF is really struggling in getting all of their track work done.    Not a good summer for this host railroad on the Hi-Line.

:-((((

aM 8/13:  I see that both 7/27 heading to SEA and PDX respectively are running well over 3 hours behind this morning as they chug along in WA and OR.   This likely will set up a late departure this evening for the 8/28(13).  Hopefully this will not turn into another very late arrival in CHI a few days from now.


Edited by montana mike, 13 August 2018 - 10:32 AM.





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