Happening Now

Hotline #786

August 13, 1993

The Senate confirmed Jolene Molitoris as Federal Railroad Administrator and Gordon Linton as Federal Transit Administrator on August 5, just before summer recess. Molitoris will be sworn in at Washington Union Station on September 8.

Don't forget to write your Senators about Amtrak funding for 1994. The House will pick up H.R.2750, and the Senate will start work on that bill, after Congress returns to Washington September 8.

There are some improvements in the flood situation. The California Zephyr slow-order-related delays on its normal route are down to one-to-two hours. The Southwest Chief began running through to Chicago on the Santa Fe route this week, with delays of about 1:30 hours due to slow orders. The Texas Eagle returned to its normal Poplar Bluff route last night with 30-60 minute delays. All Kansas City-St. Louis-Carbondale service is running. The Illinois Zephyr is terminating in Quincy at least to August 25.

Amtrak also detoured around a double freight-train derailment and fire on August 8 on the Santa Fe at Seligman, Ariz. The Southwest Chief ran a couple days via Wickenburg and Parker, Ariz., with intermediate passengers bussed from Flagstaff.

In an unwelcome echo of the strip poker incident on the Coast Starlight in May, the Denver Post reported on the California Zephyr leaving Chicago on August 9. Reportedly, young people headed for Denver to see the Pope were treated poorly by Amtrak on-board staff, including one who broke up a prayer meeting. Delays, related to flood slow orders and a locomotive break-down, were never announced to passengers, according to the Post.

The new station in Emeryville, Cal., opened today. It is served by the Capitols and San Joaquins, but not the California Zephyr or Coast Starlight. All trains continue to serve the old Oakland 16th Street Station for now. However, Emeryville is the stop for connecting buses for San Francisco for those trains stopping at Emeryville.

The ICE is on display tomorrow at Toledo, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, and leaves there at 1:30 pm, arriving Dearborn at 3:40 pm. On August 15, it is on display at Dearborn from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. On August 16, it leaves Dearborn at 8:00 am, arriving Jackson at 9:10 am, Kalamazoo at 10:50 am, Niles at 11:45 am, and Chicago at 12:45 pm. On August 17, it leaves Chicago at 3:45 pm on a detour route, arriving Sturtevant at 6:00 pm and Milwaukee at 7:15 pm. On August 18 it is on display at Milwaukee from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm, leaving there at 4:45 pm and arriving Sturtevant 5:45 pm and Chicago 8:15 pm. On August 19 it makes a morning round trip to Hammond-Whiting and is on display at Chicago from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm. On August 20, it is idle. On August 21, it is scheduled to leave Chicago at 7:00 am via the Santa Fe route for Los Angeles, but that is subject to change.

An organizational meeting for the Nebraska Association of Railroad Passengers will be held September 11 at the Airport Inn at Lincoln, Neb., at 9:00 am. Organizers would like an RSVP from attendees -- contact this office for more information.

Transport 2000 Canada recently offered us a glimpse into the thoughts of the new Prime Minister, Kim Campbell. So far, her only quote on VIA Rail service is that cuts were justified because of "all those empty trains." We presume Ms. Campbell has never seen a VIA Rail train.