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Author Topic: Southeast Service Disruptions
notelvis
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Looks like the South Carolina flooding will cause another round of Amtrak cancellations today.

Essentially, if it runs on CSX south of Selma, NC and north of Jacksonville, FL...... it isn't running.

That would be the Palmetto, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, and Auto-Train. First priority is getting the former ACL reopened in the Kingstree, SC area.

The former SAL line took a real pounding around Columbia, SC and it may be some days before the Star is restored to service.

The NCDOT trains are running as are the Crescent and Carolinian. The Carolinian has been running with two engines and two extra coaches to accommodate passengers who otherwise would have been travelling on the Palmetto and Silver Star.

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David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Calling Mr. Palmland, , calling Mr.Palmland and Miss Mary ....are you out there? Has Tallulah stepped outside?
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notelvis
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And here is is from Amtrak...... an advisory which did not appear until after my initial post which was deduced from a report on the NCDOT website that the Carolinian, Piedmonts, and Crescents WERE running today.


Amtrak Says Trains Won't Go

Posts: 4203 | From: Western North Carolina | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
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We were in NJ visiting our son for a long weekend. It was not a relaxing weekend as we were getting constant updates from home on the conditions. Fortunately our town and home escaped major damage. While Camden had 19" of rain, because we are somewhat higher than Columbia and the Low Country ( which includes Charleston) that area was not spared. When we drove home today, I-95 was closed south of Florence (we use I-20 from there). Columbia is a true disaster area. Most flooded areas don't crest until later in the week. Our normal annual rainfall is slightly more than 40".

Last night we stayed in Ashland and had dinner at the Iron Horse. That is usually a very busy time for both Amtrak and CSX trains. Did not see one. It was a good thing we didn't try to drive all the way back. All roads into SC were closed on Tuesday.

And GBN, Tallulah had surgery while we were gone for the week. She's doing fine but the vet told us he was there all weekend and sandbagging all the doors that kept the water out that climbed about 6" around the building.

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Gilbert B Norman
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There are reports at other sites that the lift bridge over the Cooper River at Pinopolis (near Charleston), SC was "taken out". This has resulted in CSX having to route traffic that otherwise would be on the ACL over the SAL. Who knows what effect this will have on Amtrak operations.

Also, who knows how CSX will access the SAL; somehow, I doubt if it will be the Amtrak route over the NS from Selma to Raleigh. Once again, the bonehead decision made by the SCL "Coast Line" factions to truncate the SAL, will come home to haunt.

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palmland
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GBN, good CSX connection at Pembroke, NC (just north of SC) to Hamlet. It's the normal route of traffic moving to Atlanta and beyond. Hamlet, aside from the large classification yard, is also the junction of that line, the now secondary line from Raleigh, another secondary line fro Charlesto (crosses A line at Dillon SC) and the Silver star route to Columbia and Jax.

That line to Atlanta crosses another line at Greenwood, SC that heads south and crosses the S line at Fairfax, SC (between Columbia and Savannah). Lots of detour options.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Off passenger for the moment, anyone such as Mr. Palmland, have thoughts what behested any party from truncating the SAL? Somehow I think that one should have been amongst the "biggest blunders" that were compiled by Daniel Machabala, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, for a TRAINS article a few months ago.

I could envision two "one way" railroads much as has UP developed with the multitude of lines they acquired in the South Central region. True, there would be some traffic that would be routed direction over the most efficient ACL, but lighter traffic, such as the hopefully burgeoning post-PANAMAX (and Amtrak), that could be routed in a N-S pattern.

All told, I guess the ACL gang had better "meeting skills" than did the SAL - and ACL had "home field advantage" to boot.

But, even considering a long hard to maintain trestle in Southern VA, a lot of operating utility was lost. Possibly a non issue during 67 when the merger occurred, but not today.

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palmland
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Talked to a CSX flagman who was working at our station rehab project. The A line is under water near Kingstree, SC and won't know extent of damage until water recedes later this week.

Trains are detouring through Columbia and my town on the Silver Star route. Limited capacity to do that since sidings are short from the days when it was primarily a passenger route for the Seaboard. Two trains so far today on the detour including Tropicana juice train.

On the question of abandoning the north end of the S line, I can see why it was done. At the time all railroads were cutting costs and it made sense to concentrate resources onto the better of the two routes. I think that logic is good for today's traffic too. But what doesn't make sense is also single tracking most of the A line. If double track was still in place (with signaling for flexibility of track and direction), capacity could handle most anything.

The current routing via Pembroke to Hamlet is only 25 miles longer than the direct Seaboard route Richmond to Hamlet. Of course for passenger purposes it doesn't work since it misses Raleigh. But Amtrak and HSR are not a top concern for a railroad that hauls freight for a living.

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notelvis
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Palmland, I've not been to Hamlet in years....., is there a connecting track in the southeastern quadrant of that diamond in front of the passenger depot?

THAT would make operation off the S line at Hamlet and over to Pembroke relatively easy.

Otherwise, wouldn't a train have to pull north of the diamond at Hamlet and move the engines to the other end before reversng direction to Pembroke using the northeastern quadrant connecting track?

Freight-wise I am hearing of directional detours..... northbound through Hamlet thence to Pembroke. Southbound from Pembroke through Hamlet and then turning south at Greenwood, SC. Not sure if this is a matter of speculation or actually happening.

Passenger-wise - IF it turns out that the A-line is going to be out of service for weeks rather than just days, I would not be surprised if we see an expanded Silver Star with extra sleepers and (PLEASE) diner from the Meteor return sometime next week. I'm not sure that the Auto-Train could run via the S-line quickly (and reliably) enough to maintain the same day turnaround of the consist.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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notelvis
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I have not seen an official statement yet BUT am seeing notmally credible folks say that the 'Silver Star' will resume service on its' normal route Friday, October 9.

Again, this is not confirmed yet and I don't have any information about modified schedules or expanded consists should the Star begin running again tomorrow.

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David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

Posts: 4203 | From: Western North Carolina | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
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David, thanks for the update. If the Star is running late I'll see if I can give a live report Sat. AM.

And you are right about Hamlet. There is only a wye in the northeast and northwest quadrant. But since there would be a crew change there perhaps delay won't be extensive. For the merchandise trains they may go into the yard anyway for some block swapping.

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notelvis
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Amtrak made it official -

The Silver Star resumes service over its' normal route tomorrow - Fri, Oct 9.

Auto-Train, Palmetto, and Silver Meteor will remain suspended at least through Oct 9.

I am curious whether there will be any expanded consist on the Star.

Silver Star to be Amtrak's only link to Florida for now....

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

Posts: 4203 | From: Western North Carolina | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
notelvis
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Just an update -

This morning the Silver Stars which originated yesterday to become the first passenger trains to operate between the northeast and Florida in a week are still on the go.

#91 is south of Jacksonville running about 2.5 hours late. It lost a full hour between Savannah and Jacksonville.

#92 is 48 minutes late out of Rocky Mount having made up about 20 minutes in the Raleigh, NC area. Most of its' time slippage seems to have taken place around Columbia, SC.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

Posts: 4203 | From: Western North Carolina | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
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The Star did run last night, only about an hour late through the Carolinas.

Another storm front is rumbling through today. Those unfortunate souls who were flooded out can't catch a break.

I've seen conflicting reports on the status of the A line.

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notelvis
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I'm surprised at the absence of a sense of urgency on Amtrak's part to get the Auto-Train rolling again.

Maybe as a tri-weekly endeavor detouring on the S line.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

Posts: 4203 | From: Western North Carolina | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
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From the Trainorders site a CSX customer advisory notice said the A line is back in service as of last night. Checking reservations on Amtrak's site, looks like the first of the week is earliest availability for the Meteor.

Just in time for me. Another Palmetto trip next weekend.

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notelvis
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Correct Palmland -

Here is official announcement from Amtrak.... Auto-Train, Palmetto, and Silver Meteor will all resume operation within the next 36 hours.

Amtrak about to Go Again

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

Posts: 4203 | From: Western North Carolina | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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