Happening Now

Hotline #1,129

August 9, 2019

Phoenix Voters Urged To Vote NO On Prop 105; Catch Up With Chef Madi On Summer By Rail: New Food Court Coming To Chicago Union Station: Rail Passengers Joe Aiello Testifies Before Boston City Council: NJT To Video Train Crews, But Won’t Release PTC Costs: Sacramento To Order New Light Rail Cars: Empire Corridor Service To NYS Fair: New Cars For South Shore Line: Café Car Service Downgrade On Lake Shore Limited: Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Survives; Hearing Planned On Cuts To WV MARC Service; Clemson, SC Amtrak Station Re-Opens; Report Released On VIA Rail Canadian Delays; Glendale Looks To Bring Back Streetcars

Hotline #: 1129 - August 9, 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 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.

Rail Passengers’ is pleased to announce that three prominent speakers will be 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

Registration for the October 18 - 21 RailNation:California is now open.

Rail Passengers urged our Phoenix members to vote “NO: on Proposition 105 earlier this week, warning that the anti-rail ballot measure would not just halt expansion of the successful streetcar system, but kill any efforts to bring Amtrak to Phoenix, which remains the largest city in the U.S. without intercity rail service.

And while Prop 105 a new front in the war on transit, it has a familiar cast of characters: the Koch brothers.

While the movement to halt a streetcar expansion started as a truly grassroots movement, that all changed when the Koch brothers took notice. They poured millions of out-of-state dollars into an astroturf campaign targeting not just the streetcar expansion, but all future investment in any kind of passenger rail. The Koch-funded groups drafted the Prop. 105 language, going far beyond the scope of the original campaign. And the local business owner who originally opposed the streetcar expansion aren’t happy

“I am really angry because he dirtied the movement,” said local business owner Celia Contreras of the Koch brothers, who had sought to alter the route of the streetcar extension early on, worried that reducing the road from four lanes to two to accommodate the streetcar right-of-way would hurt business. "I wanted a clean movement. They just used the businesses. They don’t care about us."

Vote NO on Prop. 105 by August 27… and remind your friends and family to vote on Facebook!

If passed, Prop. 105 would:

  • Stops all light rail construction and kills voter-approved light rail plans

  • It permanently prohibits Phoenix from investing in any kind of rail project—including light rail, commuter rail, or other potential train connections.

  • It turns away billions in federal dollars designated for Phoenix, sending it to cities in other states.

The streetcar is popular in Phoenix—with expansions approved by voters on three separate ballot referendums—so the Koch-funded groups are resorting to a divided and conquer playbook that’s seen success in Little Rock, Nashville, and a number of other cities around the U.S.

On one hand, they target minority groups with messages that the new transit is only for affluent gentrifiers, and will drive displacement of low-income residents.

“It’s a way of attracting money for investment,” community organizer Sal Reza told Phoenix magazine. “Not to invest in the community, but to change the community totally.”

Simultaneously, the Koch-funded groups will then reach out to more affluent communities and warn them that rail transit will serve as a pipeline for “undesirable elements,” bringing crime and drugs to their neighborhoods.

“I recently lost tire to a pothole on city street so I prefer asphalt to a train that I hear requires people be armed for their own safety & that people occasionally ride without pants.” @SarahRaybon

City leaders and local organizations—like All Aboard Arizona—are fighting back, explaining that the streetcar system has generated billions in economic activity, and is creating a vibrant, livable community in central Phoenix.

“We’ve had more than $10 billion of public and private investment along the light rail line,” said Greg Stanton, an Arizona congressman and former mayor of Phoenix. “Transit has made us a more urban environment. It gets us closer to our climate goals than anything will. It’s changed Phoenix in ways that nothing else ever has, and support for it has only grown around the Valley.”

A diverse coalition of business, environmental, and civic groups are working together to oppose Prop. 105, including:

  • United Phoenix Fire Fighters

  • Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

  • AARP Arizona

  • Greater Phoenix Leadership

  • AZ Chapter Associated General Contractors

  • Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

  • And more

Locals are worried that the Koch brothers’ money—combined with low voter turnout that comes with most special elections—will push through the proposition.

”Where does it go from there if they’re successful here?”asked Maria Hyatt, chair of the Arizona nonprofit Friends of Transit. “Citizens should be able to say to whatever their plans are, and not have outside entities come in and sway the process by putting a lot of money towards it. It is just completely wrong.”

As part of the Summer By Rail trip, Rail Passengers, All Aboard Arizona, and other local advocates are having a rally event to meet Chef Madi and discuss opposing Prop 105 at Four Peaks Brewery (1340 E 8th Street #104, Tempe, AZ).

The event will be held Sunday August 11th, from 3-5pm. Please join up to show your support for passenger rail in Arizona!

Summer By Rail Update

Catch up with Summer By Rail with the ICYMI Southern Roundup

Be sure to follow along with Chef Madi's journey through all 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.

For the first time since 1980, the public with have access to Chicago’s Union Station via Clinton Street thanks to a plan to open up a food court in a space long abandoned due to a fire. Amtrak officially announced their intentions for the former Fred Harvey Lunch Room this week and a spokesman said that the deadline for potential operators is October 4th. The food hall plans are just the latest in a series of improvements to the 94 year old building, after a number of “behind the scenes” fixes as well as the restored skyline that was finished in 2018.

If everything follows schedule, the new food hall should be open by the end of next year - after renovations are completed to the 21,000 sq ft space. The work will be funded in part by the sale of the parking garage adjacent to the station.

Mr. Aiello Goes to Boston

Rail Passengers Association Field Coordinator Joe Aiello testified before members of the Boston City Council in support of the North-South Rail Link

August 7, 2019

Last Monday night, before I headed to Chicago to join Chef Madi for Summer By Rail, I was asked by Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George to join a distinguished panel for a discussion on the North-South Rail Link. If you wanted to know more about the project and the advocacy behind it - I do encourage you to watch the entire video above. Lucas Santos, formerly of Congressman Moulton's office, gave an overview presentation and Governor Michael Dukakis led a fantastic panel of elected leaders and fellow transportation advocates who are passionate about making sure that "all options are on the table" when it comes to public transportation improvements and expansion in the city as well as the region.

To read Joe’s testimony and see a video of the hearing, go here

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 military training leave this week!

  • Sean Jeans Gail, Vice President of Policy, talked with Politico about what recent nominations to Amtrak board means for passengers: “Aside from Moran’s concerns [about the Southwest Chief]], other lawmakers and passenger rail advocates have criticized the nominations of former Reps. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) and Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), both of whom voted against funding for Amtrak multiple times,” wrote Politico’s Sam Mintz. "’If you have someone who has actual antipathy towards the mission that Amtrak was chartered on, I’d rather have no one there,’ said Sean Jeans-Gail.” He also met with transportation leaders in the House to talk about maintaining sustainable levels of service in the western U.S.

  • Carolyn Cokley, Director of Customer Programs, continued finalizing the East Lansing station volunteer kickoff. All stakeholders including MDOT, Amtrak, Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA), MARP and MSU are on board and are invested in next steps for the Open House/Kickoff on Friday, August 23, 6:00p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 24, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served; applications and information will be available.

  • Joseph Aiello, Northeast Field Coordinator, has been catching up on some local work this week after spending last week in Chicago for Summer By Rail. Joe also continues to work with the DC staff on the planning of RailNation: California, taking place this October in Sacramento

  • Bruce Becker, Vice-President of Operations, this week participated in a meeting with the New York State Department of Transportation, focused on advancing the promotion & expansion of tourist travel on the Empire Corridor.

  • Jonsie Stone, Director of Resource Development, continued working with Weinstein Carnegie to development messaging, new collateral materials as well as the refresh of the Association’s website. Jonsie conducted debrief discussions with Summer By Rail sponsors as well as supporting convention and visitors bureaus. Outreach and follow-up conversations continued with RailNation:California sponsor prospects.

  • Kim Williams, Membership Manager, is working with staff and external partners to learn about current and potential membership processes and offerings.

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

Bloomberg News reports that NJ Transit has announced a plan to videotape train crews in an effort to ‘humanize’ the jobs the train employees do on a day-in and day-out basis. NJT rail commuters continue to suffer regular delays & cancellations and passengers sometimes gripe on social media about alleged mistreatment by conductors, while others praise beloved crew members, some of whom have worked the same routes for decades.

Recording will take place over the next two weeks in the Hoboken and Newark areas, according to Jim Smith, an NJ Transit spokesman. Material will be shot and processed in-house, he said. “Our customers may find it interesting to learn about the many responsibilities of the train crew beyond revenue collection, including how they put a train into service from the yard, safety responsibilities and generally a unique look into working on the railroad,” Smith said in an email.

Meanwhile, NJT has declined to release the growing cost of Positive Train Control installation on its lines. In 2017, the PTC system was estimated to cost at least $320 million, more than double what was initially forecast in 2011. NJ Transit redacted dollar figures from contracts released last week to Bloomberg News under a public records request.

The Sacramento Bee reports that the Sacramento Regional Transit system is in negotiation with Germany-based transit conglomerate Siemens Mobility to acquire up to 76 light-rail cars. The initial procurement would be a joint effort with San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System, with the first four cars being delivered potentially as soon as next spring. Additional cars would be delivered in 2022. Sacramento Regional Transit already runs 36 Siemens trains in its fleet, and the German transportation company employs more than 1,400 in the Sacramento area.

The purchase is part of SacRT’s overall light-rail modernization program.

Amtrak will again this year be providing direct service to the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse via select Empire Corridor trains.

The Fair runs August 21 through September 2 and the select trains will stop at the special ‘NYF’ Fair Station immediately adjacent to the Fairgrounds. A ‘Kids Ride Free’ promotion is being offered for travel to & from the Fair Station.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District announced this week that it is starting the process of purchasing new rail cars for the first time since 2009. The request for proposals, for 26 new cars, is expected to go out in January with a recommendation hopefully coming in the early summer. The new order, along with the current cars being rehabbed in Michigan City, will be used to help with capacity along the entire South Shore Line - including the West Lake expansion opening in 2024.

With the recent completion of CSX trackwork between Boston and Albany, through sleeper, Business Class and coach service to & from Boston on the Lake Shore Limited has returned.

But unfortunately, the train’s consist has also returned to the pre-trackwork make-up, with the only food service car available for coach passengers now operating solely between Boston and Chicago. This means that coach passengers on the New York section of the Lake Shore Limited have NO access to food & beverage service between New York City & at least Schenectady in both directions. In addition, the split Business Class/Cafe car which is now operating, only has a total of six tables for coach passenger use (and usually less, as crew members often take up at least 2 of the tables). The Lake Shore Limited regularly has six coaches west of Albany, so up to 300 coach passengers must now vie for space in & service in the current cafe car.

During the recent six week service adjustment period, Amtrak was operating a full-table cafe car between New York and Chicago; a vast improvement for coach passengers.

In light of this amenity downgrade, Rail Passengers will once again urge Amtrak to provide cafe car service to & from New York and more table space for all coach passengers on this route.

A move by the Honolulu City Council to dismantle the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) was tabled this week by the Council Chairman after over 90 mins of public testimony. HART was created in 2010 as part of a general election vote as part of the effort to build a 20 mile light rail system on Oahu but the project has been hit hard by questions of oversight and cost overruns (the budget has doubled to nearly $9B) ever since. The City Council resolution was meant to dissolve the authority ahead of schedule and take control of the project by giving the body governance over the public-private partnership being created for construction, operations and maintenance.

Councilwoman Kymberly Pine stated that the city leaders do not want to be bystanders and need more involvement while Chairman Ikaika Anderson had strong words for the authority’s CEO by calling them out for their part in getting the resolution killed. The Council plans on working with the State Legislature to figure out just how much say they will have when HART awards its final construction and operations contract sometime next year.

The Maryland Transit Administration will hold a hearing in September on possible drastic cutbacks in MARC commuter train service into West Virginia following a dispute between the two states over funding for the commuter rail system. As reported, the proposed cutbacks, which could go into effect November 4th, would eliminate two weekday rounds which serve Martinsburg, Duffield and Harpers Ferry. The trains would continue to operate as far as Brunswick, MD however.

Current West Virginia ridership averages about 250 passengers per day. Cuts in service into West Virginia could have negative effects on the Brunswick and Point of Rocks stations, as well as the already extremely heavy traffic on Interstate 270, if West Virginia passengers decide to drive to those stations to catch the train, or simply drive to their jobs in Montgomery County and Washington. The parking lot at the Brunswick station is already typically quite crowded.

There's been resistance in the West Virginia Legislature to fund the system, with some lawmakers reluctant to fund a system that serves only a small part of the state, West Virginia state Sen. John Unger said during the negotiations in June.

The hearing is scheduled for 10:00am on Saturday, September 7 at the Charles Town Library, 200 E. Washington St., Charles Town, West Virginia.

The Amtrak station at Clemson, SC has re-opened after a long state highway and bridge project forced an extended closure period of the stop. Clemson is served by the daily New York to New Orleans Crescent.

Refreshed Amfleet II coaches are now appearing on trains across the east. Similar to the Amfleet I refresh program, these longer-distance cars feature new seat & leg rest cushions; new carpeting; brighter LED reading lights and other enhancements.

A fascinating investigative report, Standing Still, has recently been released, focused on the seemingly endless delays VIA Rail Canada’s now twice-weekly Canadian encounters on its route between Toronto, ON and Vancouver, BC. Complied by students at the University of King’s College of Journalism in Halifax, NS, the report chronicles the impact of the delays on both passengers and on the many isolated communities the train attempts to serve.

Glendale city officials are looking at bringing back streetcar service to the northern Los Angeles suburb, part of an effort to provide an alternative to congested roads and better connect the community to LA’s booming downtown.

Curbed LA took a look at the effort, still in its initial phases:

More than 60 years after Pacific Electric’s Glendale-Burbank trolley line stopped running, the Glendale City Council last week considered plans for a new streetcar that would run through the city’s downtown area, potentially traveling on to neighboring Burbank.

A feasibility of the project is now underway, and earlier this year city staff revealed two possible routes for the streetcar system, estimated to cost between $250 million and $300 million.

Assistant director of community development Bradley Calvert told the City Council that more than 100 survey responses have been collected so far, with nearly 90 percent of those polled supportive of the project—particularly as a means to access shopping and dining options in the downtown area.

While the alignment has yet to be set, the three mile streetcar line would initiate at the Larry Zarian Transportation Center—served by Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, and Metrolink’s Antelope Valley Line and Ventura County line—and run north to the Ventura Freeway.

Local officials would have to find a way to pay for it, which is not eligible to receive sales tax revenue directed towards LA Metro’s transit rail development plan. But local leaders believe the investment will be necessary to get Glendale residents out of their cars and create a workable transit corridor.

“I think this mode of transit is something that’s more attractive [than buses],” said Mayor Ara Najarian. “People, I think, generally like to get on a rail car or a streetcar or a trolley—or even something that looks like a trolley.”

Our Best Fall Meeting Yet! Make Plans Now For 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 include:

  • 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

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

FYI...Discounted Group Rate Room Reservations at the host hotel, the historic 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 us 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!


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.

Auto Train Enhancements

Effective by 2020

Over the next six months, Amtrak will be introducing several changes and enhancements to the Auto Train customer experience as outlined below.

Sleeping Car Customers:

  • More room availability, including Roomette, Bedroom, Family Bedroom and Accessible Bedroom

  • Upgraded bedding, towels, linens and other pleasantries added to every room

  • New sleeping car menu for dinner and breakfast

  • Complimentary red or white wine with dinner

  • Complimentary meals offered exclusively for sleeping car customers beginning January 15, 2020

Coach Class:

  • Introduction of the Cross-Country Café for Coach customer dining, offering an expanded café menu of meals, snacks and beverages for purchase

  • Effective January 15, 2020, Coach class tickets will no longer include complimentary dinner service

  • A complimentary continental breakfast will be available for Coach customers in the Cross-Country Café prior to arrival in Lorton or Sanford

  • One-way fares for Coach remain low, starting at $89 + cost of vehicle

Updates to Service by 2020:

  • For those customers traveling in small groups: Share Fares will be expanded to include Auto Train on select departures, offering discounted travel up to 35%

  • For those customers who can pack more into their car: the introduction of an ‘Oversized Vehicles’ fare for minivans, full-size pick-up trucks and SUVs with 3+ rows

  • An opportunity for complimentary priority offload: Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Executive members will now receive a complimentary priority offload coupon as part of their tier member benefits.

All customers will now have a wider variety of food options prior to travel with the introduction of food trucks on-site in Lorton and Sanford for all departing customers.

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.

Special Stop at NY State Fair

Empire Service Trains 281, 283, 284 and 288

Maple Leaf Trains 63 and 64

Aug. 21 through Sept. 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.

Fullerton Station Boarding Track Changes

Monday through Friday

August 5 - 9 and 12 - 16, 2019

Pacific Surfliner morning trains will use the opposite track at the Fullerton station, to provide more reliable service for our customers, Monday through Friday, August 5 through 9 and August 12 through 16.


  • Northbound passengers traveling to or from Los Angeles on Trains 561, 565, 569, 763 and 767 will use Track 3.

  • Southbound passengers traveling to or from San Diego on Trains 562, 564, 566, 572, 768 and 774 will use Track 1.

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

Creston Amtrak Service Moves to a New Location

Effective Aug. 1, 2019

Amtrak is pleased to announce that Amtrak service in Creston, IA, will move to the newly restored, historic, Creston station at the address below:

116 West Adams St., Creston, IA 50801

The facility includes the restored historic waiting room as well as ADA upgrades, including new doors, ADA parking and restrooms.

Passengers will still board from the same platform, which is now connected by a new pathway to the restored historic Creston station. The station will open 30 minutes prior to train arrival and close 30 minutes after departure.

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.

  • Train 92 will stop at Wilson, NC.

  • Train 92 will operate normally Thursday through Saturday.

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.

  • 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.

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.

Adjusted Empire Service During Saratoga Race Season

July 13 through Aug. 31, 2019

Beginning July 13, Empire Service will run revised schedules on Saturdays and Sundays to accommodate travel during the Saratoga Race Season, as outlined below.


  • Train 296 will operate Saturdays and Sundays departing Saratoga at 6:47pm for Albany, Hudson Valley points and New York City


  • Train 295 will operate on Saturdays and Sundays arriving at Saratoga at 6:50pm from New York City and points south.

Same-day weekend round trips to/from New York to Saratoga are possible utilizing northbound train #69 and southbound #296

Travelers’ Tip For The Week

Bearing in mind recent tragedies that have beleaguered the communities of El Paso and Dayton, the Amtrak Police Department (APD) has made available a response to an active shooter situation. This information can be used in any venue you may be in.

An active shooter is an armed person or persons actively engaged in deadly physical force in a confined and populated area. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Amtrak employees are expected to remain aware of proper response procedures in this type of incident.


  • If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind.

  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow.

  • Leave your belongings behind.

  • Help others escape, if possible.

  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be.

  • Keep your hands visible.

  • Follow the instructions of any police officers.

  • Do not attempt to move wounded people.

  • Contact the Amtrak Police Department or call 911 when it is safe to do so.

Hide out:

  • If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.

Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the active shooter’s view.

  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office with a closed and locked door).

  • Not confine you or restrict your options for movement.

To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:

  • Lock the door.

  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture.

If the active shooter is nearby:

  • Lock the door.

  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager.

  • Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions).

  • Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks).

  • Remain quiet.

If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:

  • Remain calm.

  • Call 911 or contact the APD, to alert police to the active shooter’s location.

  • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen.

Take action against the active shooter

  • As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her.

  • Throwing items and improvising weapons.

  • Yelling.

  • Committing to your actions.

How to react when law enforcement arrives:

  • Remain calm and follow officers’ instructions.

  • Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets).

  • Immediately raise hands and spread fingers.

  • Keep hands visible at all times.

  • Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety.

  • Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling.

  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises.

Information to provide to law enforcement or 911 operator:

  • The exact address of the incident.

  • Location of the active shooter.

  • Number of shooters, if more than one.

  • Physical description of shooter(s).

  • Number and type of weapons held by the shooter(s).

  • Number of potential victims at the location.

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]g

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.