Happening Now

Hotline #1,130

August 16, 2019

California High-Speed Rail Authority Settles Lawsuit Over Rail Alignment; FRA Issues Notice Of Grant Funding Opportunity; Harris County (TX) $3.5B Bond Issue For Transit; Summer By Rail 2019 Update; Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit Announces Partial System Opening; Las Vegas Xpress Claims Service To Start Next Summer; Southwest Chief - Front Range Passenger Rail Commission Holds Public Hearing; Amtrak Maple Leaf Service Disruption; Ontario’s GO Transit Expands Service; Amtrak Share Fares Expand; 50% Off Fares For September Offered; Private Companies Plan For Milwaukee Commuter Rail; Service Expansions In Massachusetts; Is A Chicago to Toronto Train In The Cards?

August 16, 2019

Tell Us What’s Happening Where You Live! When you see rail-related news stories, op-eds, editorials, or letters to the editor in your communities, send them along to us! We will include them in our social media efforts, along with the weekly Hotline. Send your news items to Joe Aiello at jaiello[at]narprail.org, and we will share it with members. Are you holding a rally, a community meeting, or another kind of rail-advocacy event? We can help spread the word if you send them to us. We can put them on the website here. Please follow Rail Passengers on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on all things passenger rail.

Three prominent speakers will be among the featured presenters at this October’s RailNation:California Advocacy Symposium in Sacramento.

  • Yvonne Burke - Amtrak Board Member (Keynote Address On Saturday)

  • Chad Edison - Deputy Secretary for Transportation - California State Transportation Agency

  • Jim Allison - Manager of Planning - Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority

Saturday’s Advocacy Symposium sessions will focus on three thematic ‘tracks' – ‘Inclusion & Equity’; ‘Making Change Happen’ & ‘What Passengers Want’. Come be part of the discussion on these vital topics!

Registration for the October 18 - 21 RailNation:California is now open. Don't miss out...Register TODAY!

The California High-Speed Rail Authority and Kings County Board of Supervisors announced this week they have settled the last major lawsuit against the alignment for the Los Angeles to San Francisco high-speed rail corridor.

The two parties unveiled three separate agreements, which will clear the way for substantial progress on the construction of rail infrastructure in the Central Valley.

“Now is the time for Kings County to come together with the Authority to settle disputes and to signal a new phase of cooperation,” said Kings County Supervisor Doug Verboon. “With our agreements in place, the high-speed rail project can move forward, and we can continue to protect the interests of the people of Kings County.”

As part of the settlement, the Authority will pay Kings County $10 million “for reimbursement of staff time, the relocation of Fire Station No. 4,and for General Plan updates.”

“Today’s agreements represent a new day for the high-speed rail project and demonstrate the willingness of both sides to put past issues aside and work together towards constructive solutions to move the high-speed rail project forward,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “We will continue to work closely with Kings County now and into the future to bring clean, electrified high-speed rail to the Valley and the state.”

The three agreements will result in the dismissal of the final pending California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit against the Authority for the Fresno to Bakersfield segment, coordinate ongoing construction efforts in Kings County, and identify maintenance plans for several grade-separation projects crossing Kings County roadways.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $244 million in grant funding for passenger rail, targeted at projects that increase rail transportation safety, efficiency, and reliability.

Part of the FY 2019 appropriations for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program, the FRA is asking states to submit applications for projects that address congestion challenges, highway-rail grade crossings, upgrade short-line railroad infrastructure, relocate rail lines, improve intercity passenger rail capital assets, and deploy railroad safety technology.

While the CRISI program was intended by its drafters to support passenger rail infrastructure, the Trump Administration has preferred to target investment in short line freight railroads, often in rural areas. However, the last round of CRISI awards did include $33 million for the first phase of the Gulf Coast Rail restoration, funding engineering and infrastructure upgrades for the reintroduction of passenger rail service between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama.

Harris County transportation officials will ask voters in Houston, Texas to approve a $3.5 billion bond to help pay for a 20-year blueprint to expand transit options.

The bond will be part of METRONext, a plan to help the region accommodate an influx of 3.5 million new residents between now and 2040. Projects will include expanding the county’s light rail network, upgraded stations and infrastructure, and the creation of bus rapid transit corridors.

METRO officials believe that passing this bond—which they emphasized won’t raise residents’ taxes—is the most responsible way to support a growing local economy while maintaining quality of life. They were also clear that local residents will have a say in how the transit network develops.

“Those exact routes will only be determined after involvement by the community, very robust involvement,” said METRO Chairman Carrin Patman. “Everybody will have a chance to comment. We’re going to be sensitive and listen to the community.”

Harris County voters will decide the bond issue on November 5th of this year.

Summer By Rail Update

Be sure to follow along with Chef Madi's journey through all of our social media channels: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. And of course, you can find everything over at SummerByRail.com.

Want to help support Chef Madi's trip? Click here to donate.

While calling into a local Honolulu talk show for his regular appearance this week, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Robbins said that the first half of the planned 20-mile elevated passenger rail system is on schedule for an “interim” opening later this year. Testing on the 10-mile western stretch from East Kopolei and Aloha Stadium is underway while nearly 5 miles of track within the Rail Operations Center in Waipahu was activated back in June. The second half of the $8.1B project, which will be finished in two segments running first from Middle Street Transit Center Station to Aloha Stadium (expected to be opened in 2022) and then Middle Street to Ala Moana Center.

In order to finish the final “City Center” segment to Ala Moana Center, Robbins said that the agency is looking for a public-private-partnership (P3) deal to help with budget and schedule. They are seeking a partner not only to design, build and finance the construction, but to operate and maintain the entire rail system once it is in full operation. There is currently a short-list of qualified bidders and it is expected that a decision will be made by the end of the year.

As reported in last week’s hotline, the project is not without its controversy as City Council Chair Ikaika Anderson proposed a resolution calling for city voters to amend the city charter so that HART would be eliminated and the city’s Department of Transportation Services would assume responsibility for the rail project’s completion.

Las Vegas Xpress, the company behind the former X-Train between Las Vegas and Southern California, has announced that service will not begin this November as planned but have been working with Amtrak to be in operation next summer. Michael Barron, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Xpress, Inc has stated that he expects to be “running as an Amtrak train” by July 2020. Due to non-disclosure agreements, neither Amtrak nor Barron could give further details.

Service is expected to run Friday through Sunday with on-board food and beverages provided, as well as potential package deals with Vegas hotels and resorts as further amenities. When launched, this will be the first passenger rail service in Las Vegas since 1997.

Rail Passengers Track Update: Where are we and what are we working on? This section will give you updates on what Rail Passengers HQ is up to.

  • Jim Mathews, President & CEO, is on leave as part of his Civil Air Patrol duties.

  • Sean Jeans Gail, Vice President of Policy, discussed the importance of onboard service levels for maintaining sustainable National Network service with policymakers, and worked with Rail Passengers’ Council Members to deliver key messages regarding the FY2020 appropriations bill to Members of Congress over the August recess.

  • Carolyn Cokley, Director of Customer Programs, will be traveling to East Lansing next Thursday for the Open House scheduled for Friday and Saturday, August 23-24. Rail Passengers, MARP and Amtrak will be on site to answer questions and impart information to all participants interested in becoming station volunteers at the station. Carolyn has also been moving ahead with a plan for station volunteers in Lawrence KS

  • Joseph Aiello, Northeast Field Coordinator, spent time in Nashua, NH this week at a Capitol Corridor/commuter rail roundtable hosted by the Nashua Regional Planning Commission and led by Congresswoman Ann Kuster (NH-2) and Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-1)

  • Bruce Becker, Vice-President of Operations, collaborated with interests looking to centralize Canadian border inspections for Amtrak’s New York to Toronto ‘Maple Leaf’ at the recently constructed Niagara Falls, NY Amtrak station. The inspection facility at the new station was specifically designed with the needs of both U.S. and Canadian border agency operations in mind.

  • Jonsie Stone, Director of Resource Development, had calls with prospective organizational members/annual partners and continued debrief conversations with Summer By Rail sponsors. Jonsie also made progress on the development of new collateral and messaging.

  • Kim Williams, Membership Manager, spread the word about rail advocacy at a local young professionals society meetup, spoke with prospective individual and organizational members, and analyzed membership stats for the summer.

The Rail Passengers Association would like to thank Talgo, Inc., our Annual Partner, for their support.

The Southwest Chief - Front Range Passenger Rail Commission held a public meeting on August 9 in Pueblo, CO to discuss the proposed passenger rail system that would connect from Fort Collins to Trinidad and beyond.

Dozens of interested persons attended the meeting at the Pueblo Union Depot and to show their support for the passenger rail system.

“This was a great turnout today," said Randy Grauberger, the director of the Southwest Chief Front Range Passenger Rail. "This was the largest public turnout we’ve ever had for one of our commission meetings.

“We are really interested in using our train station once again,” said Rebecca Lou Mudd, a Pueblo resident. “My aunt tells stories every time we come down here that she took the train just to go up to Denver to listen to music. Leave in the morning come back that night. And that’s my hope; that I can do the same thing.

About 85% of Colorado's population live in the 173-mile corridor along the Front Range, and the population is expected to grow by 35% in the next 25 years. Some of the biggest booms will be in El Paso County and counties east and north of Denver. The proposed passenger rail system would alleviate congestion on the roadways.

There is no guarantee that the passenger rail system will be built however, and federal & state regulations require that studies considering all the possible must be undertaken. The Southwest Chief Commission will go before the state legislature with its findings on the feasibility of the project during the 2020 legislative session.

The Commission is asking the public for feedback as well and an online survey is now available.

A planned closure & reconstruction of the rail deck on the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge over the Niagara River between Niagara Falls, NY and Niagara Falls, Ont. will force Amtrak’s New York to Toronto ‘Maple Leaf’ to originate & terminate in Niagara Falls, NY from September 9 through November 1. Dedicated bus service will be provided for ticketed passengers traveling between Niagara Falls, NY and Toronto, Ont. only. During the bridge closure, the Southern Ontario stations at Niagara Falls, St. Catherines, Grimsby, Aldershot and Oakville will not be served by the VIA Rail operated segment of the ‘Maple Leaf’ or by the express substitute bus.

The historic double-deck structure (cars on the bottom deck, rail on top) is owned by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission. Amtrak took over the maintenance of the rail deck from the Canadian National in 2012. The daily ‘Maple Leaf’ round trip is the only current rail use of the bridge.

And in related Niagara Region rail news, Metrolinx (the Province of Ontario’s public transportation agency) announced on Thursday that Go Transit will expand it’s highly popular seasonal summer weekend Toronto to Niagara Falls, Ont. excursion train service to now operate year-round. Metrolinx also announced a number of other GO train service expansions set to take place starting August 31.

Amtrak has expanded its ‘Share Fares’ small group discount to include up to six passengers traveling together, with overall discounts of up to 45%. Share Fares are an on-going discount program and require a two-day advance purchase. Under the expanded offer, the first passenger pays the full fare; a second passengers receives 15% off; a third passenger is 60% off and passengers 4, 5 & 6 are 70% off the full fare. The discount is limited and discounted seats may not be available on all days or trains. Other terms and conditions apply.

And Amtrak’s current two-day flash sale is offering a 50% discount for travel on most routes during the month of September. Reservations must be made by Saturday, August 17 and the discounted coach fares are not upgradeable to sleeping car service. Once purchased the tickets are non-refundable and other terms & conditions do apply.

Two private companies are exploring the potential for Milwaukee-area commuter rail service according to reporting by WisBusiness. Eight years after Wisconsin Republican lawmakers derailed hopes for a commuter rail line connecting Milwaukee to Racine and Kenosha, a private company, Wisconsin Transit & Realty Group, is studying whether to revive the idea.

But the plan, which could include trains to Waukesha and other western suburbs, may require some level of public financial support, a significant political hurdle while the Wisconsin Legislature remains under GOP control. WTRG is one of two local companies following different tracks as they compete to offer Milwaukee-area commuter rail service. The other, Transit Innovations LLC, is making bold claims about building a privately funded $1.5 billion, 58-mile system from Milwaukee south to Oak Creek and west to Waukesha. Transit Innovations says it could open that system’s north-south leg in time for the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.

Unlike its rival, WTRG is keeping quiet about its plans until it completes feasibility studies, company Vice President Michael Garven said. While Transit Innovations touts its proposal with a website, investor presentation and brochures, WTRG has revealed few details and hasn’t released a route map. Garven said its system would be a public-private partnership, but he

won’t say how much his company would ask from investors and taxpayers. Neither company has disclosed any investors beyond its executive team.

The possible resurgence of Wisconsin commuter rail plans is a turnaround from 2011, when Republicans demolished passenger train expansion efforts after winning the governor’s office and both houses of the Legislature.

Passenger rail options are about to get a big boost in Massachusetts as the Commonwealth is preparing to launch two pilot programs over the next couple months. First, in September, MassDOT will be adding two daily round-trip trains that will connect Greenfield with Springfield (as well as New Haven and New York via the Hartford Line) then, in October, an extension of MBTA service to Foxborough will begin. Both programs have been in the works for some time and reminded on the state’s radar due to the work of many transportation and environmental advocates, such as our own Rail Passengers Council Member Ben Hecksher.

Amtrak continues to advance the concept of through Chicago to Toronto corridor service operating via Detroit and Windsor, Ont., according to statements made at the recent Michigan Rail Conference held at Michigan State University.

Marc Magliari, Amtrak’s Public Relations Manager based out of Chicago said "Amtrak is exploring places it can modernize and expand its services and network. A Chicago/Western Michigan to Detroit to Toronto corridor is one of the services where we see promise”.

Potential logistics for any such a planned extension of Michigan’s Wolverine Service to Toronto have not yet been disclosed but would require track improvements and new connections on both sides of the Detroit River, in addition to creating new cross-border inspection facilities. Presumably, any new train would operate on the current VIA Rail Windsor – London – Toronto corridor.

The last passenger train to operate into Detroit from Canada was Amtrak’s New York – Buffalo – Detroit ‘Niagara Rainbow’, which ended service in January 1979. The former New York Central - Canada Southern line which the Niagara Rainbow used across southern Ontario has been mostly abandoned for many years.

Our Best Fall Event Yet! Make Plans To Attend RailNation:California in Sacramento, Friday, October 18 - Monday, October 21.

Planning has been in high gear for the past few months, and we think this is truly going to be our best meeting yet! Over the four-day gathering, passenger rail advocates from across the country will take in area tours and trips, in addition to participating in Saturday’s all-day Advocacy Symposium. Great speakers will talk about both history and the future, and real hands-on workshops will give you the tools you need to go back home and fight for passenger rail! The Association’s Council of Representatives will hold its fall business meeting on Sunday morning.

Confirmed event speakers for Saturday’s Advocacy Symposium include:

  • Yvonne Burke - Amtrak Board Member

  • Chad Edison - Deputy Secretary for Transportation - California State Transportation Agency

  • Jim Allison - Manager of Planning - Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority

Saturday’s sessions will focus on three thematic ‘tracks – ‘Inclusion & Equity’; ‘Making Change Happen’ & ‘What Passengers Want’.

Meeting Registration Is Now Open and Tour & Trip Tickets Are Also On Sale!

FYI...Discounted Group Rate Room Reservations at the host hotel, the Sheraton Grand Downtown, are now SOLD-OUT! A list of alternative nearby hotels and rates is now available! Please note there are NO special arrangements with any of these alternative hotels.

Be sure to check out the RailNation:California event page for more information, the current agenda and further details.

Great sponsorship opportunities have been developed for RailNation:California. Please send Jonsie Stone contact information for any organizations/individuals you think Rail Passengers Association should contact to discuss supporting the event.

And to make all of this a success, we need volunteers for the event! Check out these volunteer opportunities and let Bruce Becker know if you can help! Event volunteers who complete their agreed upon duties will receive 300 Amtrak Guest Rewards points as our ‘thank you’!

And as an optional component of RailNation: California, an intensive, ‘Hands-On’ Advocacy Workshop, led by Rail Passengers’ Vice-President of Policy Sean Jeans-Gail, will be held on Friday, October 18, from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.

Staff members from Rail Passengers’ federal and state policy team will engage with workshop participants, in a small group setting, on the A to Z of advocacy. We’ll teach you advocacy best practices, help you figure out the best strategy for interacting with elected officials and policymakers, and give you a blueprint for launching a successful campaign to improve service in your town—whether it’s local transit, commuter, or intercity rail and Amtrak.

This workshop will focus on giving advocates the following tools:

  • Define achievable goals: whether it’s launching a new service, a new frequency, or getting an issue on the ballot, you need to determine a workable path to get you where you want to go.

  • Build coalitions: recruit like-minded advocates, national and local advocacy organizations, business partners, and elected officials. We’ll tackle the hard questions about how to maintain partnerships in the face of adversity and competing interests.

  • Guide the narrative: learn how to engage through social media, connect with traditional media outlets and reporters, and find the right message to cut through the noise.

  • Establish a campaign blueprint: create a calendar for sustainable grassroots action, making intelligent use of limited financial resources and volunteer labor.

Workshop participants will leave not only with the knowledge to execute effective advocacy efforts but with a tool-kit of sorts as well. The interactive nature of the workshop will provide materials needed to hit the ground running in their advocacy work.

The Workshop is $20.00 per person and advance registration is required. Space is limited!

Upcoming Regional Rail Passenger & State Association Member Meetings and Other Events:

Please contact Bruce Becker to have a state or regional event or meeting added to the Rail Passengers calendar of upcoming events!


San Joaquins Service

Effective Aug. 21-24 and 26-29, 2019

Due to track work being performed by BNSF, Amtrak San Joaquins service will be adjusted as follows:

Southbound, Aug. 21-23 and 26-28:

  • Train 718 will operate from Oakland to Merced, only.

    • Bus 1718 will operate from Merced to Bakersfield, making the station stops at Fresno and Hanford. No alternate service will be provided for Madera, Corcoran or Wasco.

    • Bus 5818 will wait at Bakersfield for connecting passengers off Bus 1718.

Northbound, Aug. 22-24 and 27-29:

  • Train 713 will operate from Merced to Oakland only.

    • Bus 1713 will operate 60 minutes earlier from Bakersfield to Merced, making the station stops at Fresno and Hanford. No alternate service will be provided for Corcoran, Wasco or Madera.

    • Bus 5413 from San Bernardino, Bus 5713 from Los Angeles and Bus 5813 from Santa Ana will operate 60 minutes earlier at all stops to Bakersfield.


Train 713

Bus 1713


8:12 AM

7:12 AM


9:34 AM

8:55 AM


10:16 AM

9:50 AM


11:23 AM

AR 11:05 AM/DP 11:23 AM

Amtrak Cal Poly Thruway Stop Temporarily Relocated

Effective August 13, 2019

Due to construction in the PAC Loop area, the Amtrak bus stop on Grand will be relocated to the PAC Loop for approximately two weeks.

Signs will be placed at the bus stop and the temporary stop for passengers. Expect slight delays due to the construction and lane reductions in the area.

Keystone Service Paoli Boarding Track Changes

Effective Aug. 17 and 18, 2019

Due to track work being performed along the Keystone Service line, track 4 will be closed for boarding on Aug. 17 and 18.

Passengers traveling to Harrisburg will need to board on track 1 at Paoli Station.

La Junta Station Parking Lot Temporarily Closed

Effective Tuesday through Friday Aug. 13 through Aug. 23, 2019

Please be advised that due to Amtrak and BNSF Railway sealing and restriping the passenger loading platform and parking area, the parking lot will be temporarily closed at La Junta station. Parking will be available in the overflow long‐term gravel parking area approximately one to two blocks west of the current parking lot.

There will be no ADA accessible parking during this time.

Track Work Affects Amtrak Cascades Trains 516, 517, 518 and 519

Effective Aug. 19 and 20, 2019

Due to track work being performed by BNSF, Trains 516, 517, 518 and 519 will have schedule changes north of Seattle as outlined below:

Monday, August 19

  • Train 518, which normally operates between Portland and Vancouver, B.C., will operate between Portland and Seattle, only. Alternate transportation will be provided, via Bus 3518, to missed stops of Seattle, Edmonds, Everett, Stanwood, Mount Vernon, Bellingham and Vancouver, B.C.

Tuesday, August 20

  • Train 517, which normally operates between Vancouver, B.C. and Portland, will operate between Seattle and Portland, only. Alternate transportation will be provided, via Bus 3517, to missed stops at Seattle, Edmonds, Everett, Stanwood, Mount Vernon, Bellingham and Vancouver, B.C.

  • Trains 516 and 519, which normally operate between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., will be cancelled. Alternate transportation will be provided, via Bus 4519, to missed stops at Seattle, Edmonds, Everett, Stanwood, Mount Vernon, Bellingham and Vancouver, B.C.

Capitol Corridor Train 748 One Day Schedule Change

Effective August 18, 2019

Please be advised that Capitol Corridor Train 748 will depart approximately 2 hours later on August 18 to accommodate passengers attending the Rolling Stones concert at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Eastbound Train 748, which normally departs San Jose at 9:10 pm and arrives in Sacramento at 12:14 am, will depart instead at 11:17 pm. It will depart Santa Clara‐Great America Station promptly at 11:30 pm.

Please allow extra time to get from the stadium to the station. The train will not wait for late passengers, even if the show runs long.

Northeast Regional, Springfield Shuttle and Vermonter Trains 54 and 57 Track Work Affects Service

Saturday, Aug. 17 and Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019

Track work being performed between New Haven and Springfield will affect service at Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin, Hartford, Windsor, Windsor Locks and Springfield on August 17 and 18.

Northeast Regional

Saturday, August 17

  • Trains 140 and 146, which normally operate between Washington and Springfield, will terminate at New Haven. Alternate transportation will be provided, via Buses 3140 and 3146, for all missed intermediate stops at State Street, Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin, Hartford, Windsor and Windsor Locks.

Sunday, August 18

  • Trains 143 and 157, which normally operate between Springfield and Washington, will originate at New Haven. Alternate transportation will be provided, via Buses 3143 and 3157, for all missed intermediate stops at Windsor Locks, Windsor, Hartford, Berlin, Meriden, Wallingford and State Street.

Vermonter Trains 54 and 57 will operate normally but may encounter 10 to 15-minute delays between Springfield and Windsor Locks.

Springfield Shuttle Trains will operate normally but may encounter 10 to 15-minute delays between Springfield and Windsor Locks.

Saluki Service Trains 390, 391 and 393

Effective August 2, 2019

Due to track improvements being performed by Canadian National Railway, Trains 390, 391 and 393 will be impacted as follows:

  • Train 390 which normally operates between Carbondale and Chicago, will terminate at Champaign-Urbana. Alternate service will be provided as described below.

    • Bus 3390 will operate 16 to 20 minutes later than train schedule.

  • Train 391 which normally operates between Chicago and Carbondale, will originate at Champaign-Urbana. Alternate service will be provided as described below.

    • Bus 3391 will operate up to 75 minutes earlier than train schedule.

Train 393 may encounter delays of 30 to 60 minutes

Alternate Transportation To:

3390 Read Up

3391 Read Down


1:20 P.M.

7:00 A.M.


12:01 P.M.

7:41 A.M.


11:31 A.M.

8:07 A.M.


11:09 A.M.

8:29 A.M.


10:43 A.M.

8:55 A.M.

Champaign-Urbana AR/DP

10:11 A.M./10:30 A.M.

10:00 A.M./10:45 A.M.

Empire Service Trains 281, 283, 284 and 288 Maple Leaf Trains 63 and 64 Special Stop at NY State Fair

August 21 through September 2, 2019

Select Empire Service and Maple Leaf trains will make a special stop between Rochester and Syracuse at the New York State Fair from Aug. 21 through Sept. 2. Schedule is below.

Trains 64, 284 and 288 will depart Niagara Falls, Buffalo Exchange Street, Buffalo Depew and Rochester 10 minutes earlier to accommodate the added stop.


Daily NY State Fair Stop



1:21 P.M.


12:56 P.M.


3:00 P.M.


3:58 P.M.


6:57 P.M.


9:33 A.M.


Sunday Only

5:45 P.M.

Keystone Service Schedule Changes

Effective Aug. 4, 2019

Due to storm damage repairs along the Keystone Service line, some schedules will be affected on August 4, only.


  • Train 612 will operate 10 minutes later from Harrisburg to Philadelphia.

  • Train 670 will operate 5 minutes earlier from Harrisburg to Lancaster

  • Trains 672 and 674 will operate 11 to 12 minutes later from Harrisburg to Ardmore and arrive 10 minutes later into Philadelphia.


  • Train 615 will operate 10 minutes earlier from Philadelphia to Downingtown, 3 minutes later from Coatesville and Parkesburg and 15 minutes later from Lancaster to Harrisburg.

  • Train 661 will operate 15 minutes later from Coatesville to Parkesburg and 25 minutes later from Lancaster to Harrisburg.

  • Train 663 will operate 7 minutes later from Coatesville, 11 minutes later from Parkesburg and 25 minutes later from Lancaster to Harrisburg.

  • Train 665 will operate 10 minutes later from Coatesville to Parkesburg and 25 minutes later from Lancaster to Harrisburg.

  • Train 667 will operate 7 minutes earlier from Philadelphia to Downingtown, 3 minutes later to Coatesville, 8 minutes later to Parkesburg and 18 minutes later from Lancaster to Harrisburg.

  • Train 669 will operate 9 minutes earlier from Philadelphia to Downingtown, 1 minute later to Coatesville, 11 minutes later to Parkesburg and 16 minutes later from Lancaster to Harrisburg.

  • Train 671 will operate 10 minutes later from Coatesville to Parkesburg and 25 minutes later from Lancaster to Harrisburg.

SR-60 Pavement Project Affects Amtrak Thruway Bus Service

Effective Late July 2019 through Fall 2021

Beginning in late July 2019, Caltrans will begin multiple projects to improve safety and traffic flow on State Route 60. The first phase of this project will affect Amtrak Thruway service beginning late July through Fall 2019.

Thruway Buses Affected

  • Bus 5416 will not stop at Riverside on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

  • Bus 5413 will not stop at Riverside on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays o Passengers may board at San Bernardino

  • Buses 5402 and 5412 will not stop at Riverside on Saturdays and Sundays

  • Buses 5415 and 5417 will not stop at Riverside on Saturdays and Sundays o Passengers may board at San Bernardino

  • Buses 5410 and 5419 will not stop at Riverside, Riverside-Moreno Valley, Perris or Sun City-Menifee on Saturdays and Sundays o Passengers normally boarding at Riverside or Riverside-Moreno Valley may board at San Bernardino.

    • Passengers normally boarding at Perris or Sun City-Menifee may board at Hemet

Keystone Service Schedule Changes

Effective through Sept. 6, 2019

Due to track work being performed along the Keystone Service line, some schedules will be affected through Sept. 6 as outlined below.

Eastbound Weekdays

  • Train 600 will operate 5 minutes later from Elizabethtown to Philadelphia

  • Train 648 will operate 5 minutes earlier from Harrisburg to Paoli and will arrive on time into Philadelphia.

  • Train 650 will operate 5 minutes earlier from Harrisburg to Paoli and 1 minute earlier into Philadelphia

Eastbound Weekends

  • Train 612 will operate 10 minutes later from Harrisburg to Philadelphia

  • Train 670 will operate 3 minutes later from Harrisburg to Philadelphia

Westbound Weekdays

  • Train 641 will operate 5 minutes later from Elizabethtown to Middletown and 3 minutes later into Harrisburg

  • Train 643 will operate 4 minutes later from Elizabethtown to Harrisburg

  • Train 651 will operate 4 minutes later from Elizabethtown to Middletown and will arrive on time into Harrisburg

Westbound Weekends

  • Train 611 will operate 5 minutes later from Elizabethtown to Harrisburg

  • Train 661 will operate 3 minutes later from Elizabethtown to Harrisburg

Elizabethtown Station Boarding

  • Track 2 will be closed for boarding effective July 22, 2019

  • Passengers traveling to Harrisburg will need to board on Track 1

Carolinian Trains 79 and 80

Palmetto Train 89 and 90

Silver Star Train 92/1092

Effective July 21 through September 19, 2019

  • Due to track work being performed by CSX, the following trains will be impacted.

    Sunday through Wednesday, July 21 – September 18

  • Silver Star Train 92 departing Miami on Sundays through Wednesdays will be numbered 1092.

  • Train 92 will operate on a later schedule Miami to New York. o Departs Miami at 1:50 p.m., 2 hours later than the current schedule.

    • Departs Jacksonville at 2:03 a.m., 3 hours later than the current schedule.

    • Departs Savannah at 5:22 a.m., 4 hours later than the current schedule.

Palmetto Train 89 will operate normally between New York and Richmond. It will depart Richmond at 1:29 PM, 1 hour later than the current schedule.

  • Will operate on a later schedule through to Savannah.

  • Will operate normally Friday through Sunday.

Monday through Thursday, July 22 -September 19

Carolinian Trains 79 and 80 will operate between Raleigh and Charlotte, only.

  • Trains are cancelled between New York and Raleigh, with no alternate transportation provided.

  • Trains will operate normally Friday through Sunday.

Train 92 will stop at Wilson, NC.

Train 92 will operate normally Thursday through Saturday.

Adirondack Service Schedule Change Trains 68 and 69

July 15 through Aug. 30, 2019

Due to anticipated Canadian National Railway heat restrictions this summer, Amtrak Adirondack service will have schedule changes in Canada from July 15 through Aug. 30.


Train 68 will depart Montreal 10 minutes earlier, arrive 10 minutes earlier at St. Lambert and arrive at current time in Rouses Point.


Train 69 will depart St. Lambert 10 minutes later and arrive 10 minutes later in Montreal.

Travelers’ Tip For The Week

Traveling with Pets

On a recent Amtrak trip, I noticed a couple of passengers traveling with pets and wondered more about how friendly Amtrak’s Pet Policy is.

Did you know that Small dogs and cats travel for $26 or 800 Amtrak Guest Rewards points?

Amtrak happily welcomes dogs and cats up to 20 pounds for trips up to seven hours on most routes (some restrictions apply*). The check-in process is simple enough and makes traveling with your four-legged friend easy and enjoyable.

* Acela on weekends and holidays only; travel with pets in Canada not available on Adirondack, Maple Leaf and Amtrak Cascades; not available on Auto Train, Keystone Service, Pennsylvanian, San Joaquins, Capitol Corridor Pacific Surfliner or Thruway Connecting Services.

To make your reservations:

  • Go to Amtrak.com, call a reservation agent at 1-800-USA-RAIL or visit a staffed station to make a reservation.

  • Pet reservations are made on a first-come, first-served basis, and may sell out quickly. There's a maximum of five pets per train (service animals do not count towards this limit), so make your pet reservations in advance.

  • Reservations are limited to one pet per customer.

  • Pets are permitted in Coach Class (sorry, pets are not allowed in Sleeping cars, Business Class or other accommodations).

  • Reservations with pets are limited to seven hours total, including transfer time between trains on multiple-segment trips.

  • Pets unfortunately cannot be booked with multi-ride tickets, Thruway Connection Services or with unaccompanied minors.

  • In the event of a service disruption, Amtrak will make reasonable efforts to seek (but cannot guarantee) pet-friendly hotel accommodations, if sheltering is necessary.

Approved Pet Carriers

  • Pet owners must provide a pet carrier. The maximum size for pet carriers is 19" long x 14" wide x 10.5" high. Maximum weight of pet with carrier is 20 pounds. The carrier may be hard or soft sided but must be leak proof and well ventilated.

  • For your pet's comfort and safety, it must be able to sit and lie down without touching the sides of the carrier.

  • Your pet carrier counts as one piece of carry-on baggage.

Onboard and Station Guidelines

  • Pets must remain entirely inside a closed carrier while in stations and onboard trains.

  • Onboard, place your pet carrier under your seat (not under the seat in front of you), except on Amtrak Cascades trains where you can put your pet carrier on the floor in front of the seat next to you.

  • Pets are welcome in Coach class, but remember they may not travel in First class, Business class, bedroom accommodations or food service cars.

  • Some routes designate a specific Coach car for pets: Amtrak Cascades, Carl Sandburg, Illinois Zephyr, Illini, Lincoln Service, Saluki, Pere Marquette, Wolverine, Blue Water, Hiawatha and Missouri River Runner. On other pet friendly routes, you and your pet may ride in any Coach car.

Pet Check-in and Paperwork

  • To confirm pet eligibility, you should read and sign a Pet Release and Indemnification Agreement for each travel segment.

  • At staffed stations, check in at the ticket office no later than 30 minutes before departure to complete the pet release paperwork.

  • At unstaffed stations, the conductor will confirm pet eligibility and provide you with the document to sign.

  • Amtrak does not ship pets or allow them to travel as checked baggage — a pet must travel with a human. Service animals are not considered pets and are most certainly welcome on all Amtrak services. Visit the Service Animals page for details.

Have a ‘Travelers Tip’ you would like to share or have a question/topic you would like us to address, please drop us a message at [email protected] - Attention ‘Travelers Tips’.

Your Feedback is Important to Improving American Passenger Trains

As you travel, please help us promote the Travel Review with other rail passengers. As you encounter passengers who want to make their positive and negative opinions known, please direct them to www.railpassengers.org/Travel Review. All participants will remain anonymous. If you encounter any problems with the Travel Review, or have any questions, please send an email to [email protected]

Do You Need More TravelReview Feedback Cards?

Please help us to spread the word. We need your help in engaging other passengers when you travel and let them know that their feedback is welcomed by RailPax. To facilitate this sharing of information the TravelReview Feedback Card is now available for you to download and print for regular usage. The card can be given to fellow passengers to introduce the work that RailPax is doing as well as our desire to have their feedback. The cards can also be left behind in stations as you pass through.

The template is in a .pdf format and will open in Adobe document cloud. First download the file and save it to your desktop for easy access. Then print as needed. The original template is formatted for Avery 5871 or 5371 cardstock which are both 2” x 3½” business card formats. Any brand cardstock should function as long as the dimensions match.

If you experience any problem in accessing the file, please send an email to [email protected]

Planning a summer vacation including trains (and who wouldn’t be?), then you need a copy of Lonely Planet’s ‘Amazing Train Journeys’ guidebook! And with every purchase Lonely Planet will donate 15% of the proceeds to your Association, to help us keep working for More Trains, Better Trains and a commitment to better infrastructure.

Through this beautiful book, you’ll experience 60 of the world’s greatest and most unforgettable train journeys, from classic long-distance trips like Western Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer and Darwin to Adelaide’s The Ghan, to little-known gems on regular commuting lines. It’s the culmination of asking more than 200 travel writers for their absolute favorites.

Some are epic international adventures, others are short suburban routes along stunning coastline. There are incredible feats of engineering, trains that snake their way through mountain peaks, and even those which have achieved Unesco World Heritage status.

More than just a collection, each profile will give you the practical information you need to experience one or more of these epic journeys yourself -- including ticket options, timetables and stops, plus inspiring photos and illustrated maps. It’s all here!

Amazing Train Journeys is available as a book, e-Book or in both formats at a low combination price. And your purchase helps supports your Association’s mission too! Remember, Lonely Planet is contributing 15% of all Amazing Train Journeys sales to Rail Passengers! You can order copies by clicking here!

August MemberDeals Announced

While it’s still summer, MemberDeals is already looking ahead to October as tickets for Halloween Horror Nights are already available for purchase. Summer Concerts Series sale continues with savings over 50% exclusive for Rail Passengers members. Celebrate concert season with the hottest concerts nationwide, from Luke Bryan, Third Eye Blind, Heart and The Who to name a few. Don’t miss out!

Remember, if you want to use these great internet-only discounts, you must be a member in good standing AND be logged in to the Rail Passengers website. If you need help accessing these discounts email us at [email protected], or call the office at 202-408-8362.

Openings Available For Rail Passengers State Council Representatives

The following vacancies now exist for state representatives on the Rail Passengers Council of Representatives: Alabama (1 opening); California (6 openings); Idaho (1 opening); Illinois (1 opening); Louisiana (1 opening); Minnesota (1 opening); North Dakota (1 opening); Ohio (2 openings); Utah (1 opening); Washington State (1 opening); Wyoming (1 opening)

If you are interested in becoming more involved in passenger rail advocacy and serving in a Rail Passengers leadership role, this is your opportunity to be considered for an appointment by the Board of Directors to an open state representative seat. There is no deadline to apply and submissions will be considered on a rolling basis as they are received.

Please review the position responsibilities & required qualifications and complete & submit a Candidate Information Statement if you would like to seek a position.