December 12, 2019 – For those of you that attended the WisARP Membership meeting in Madison on Saturday, October 26, you saw my On-Time charts for the Empire Builder, both the #7 westbound and #8 eastbound. For the #8 Builder, the days of heavy freight interference from high numbers of oil trains is over, but late running Amtrak trains isn’t over.
For the month of November 2019, overall the chart looks very good! There were still a half-dozen days of seriously late trains, which I guess is apt to happen. When you consider a 2200 mile trip through the mountains with little or no pressure to maintain performance, aging equipment with maintenance needs; it is likely to produce late trains without any other interference.
As discussed at the meeting, for Amtrak riders needing to get to Chicago to make a connection to another Amtrak train leaving late afternoon/ early evening, the TCMC as it is currently scheduled will not be a solution. The only viable solution right now is writing your lawmakers in Washington D.C. to re-enact some teeth in Amtrak’s On-Time performance standards for the host freight railroads.
Eastbound8 Frequently Late chart nov2019 rpa-amtrak_ON TIME PERF_v8
Check out the YouTube link below from a recent House subcommittee meeting on Freight trains. The exchange between Rep. DeFazio and AAR President Jefferies that’s roughly in the middle of the clip offers some hope. Happy Holidays to all!!
Terry Brown, Vice-President Public Relations