2019-2020 Winter Weather Delays / Reroutings / Cancellations

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railiner

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I'm surprised they don't offer alternate transportation for those missed stops...is this now the Company policy, for weather related detours?
 

AmtrakBlue

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I'm surprised they don't offer alternate transportation for those missed stops...is this now the Company policy, for weather related detours?
If the train can’t get there would you want to take a bus or van in that snow?
 

jebr

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If the road was open, then yes I would, if that was where I was coming from or going to.
Currently Jefferson Lines has a weather waiver in that area as well, and I wouldn't be surprised to see some cancellations as well. I'm not surprised that Amtrak isn't finding (or can't find) replacement bus service for this.
ATTENTION: For Wednesday October 9, 2019 through Saturday October 12, 2019 passengers may experience travel delays due to upcoming weather conditions in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota. If you have travel plans in these areas, we recommend considering the following options:

  • Rebook prior to scheduled departure. Jefferson lines will be waiving all ticket reissue fees for weather affected travel from October 9, 2019 through October 12, 2019. Tickets need to be re-booked by Friday October 25, 2019. Please visit your local Jefferson ticket office or call our Customer Service Team at (800) 451-5333 today through Friday October 11, 2019 between the hours of 7:30 AM and 7:00 PM for ticket reissues.
  • Plan for delays. Please contact your local Jefferson depot or ticket office prior to your departure to verify your schedule is running and the depot location is open.
  • Continue to visit this page for ongoing updates.
That said, given that it's eastbound only (and not westbound) I suspect BNSF is doing directional running through here due to the storm. Not sure if it's to help prevent frozen switches, simply make it easier to keep trains running, or something else. If someone needed to get to their destination ASAP and had an extra day on the front end, they could leave on that morning's 7/27, then transfer back to 8/28 in Minot.
 

Devil's Advocate

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If the train can’t get there would you want to take a bus or van in that snow?
In prior eras these trains would have probably made the run despite the snow. Since that's no longer the case I would prefer to have the option to convert my ticket to a bus ride or flight instead of being handed a refund and told to pound snow.

Currently Jefferson Lines has a weather waiver in that area as well, and I wouldn't be surprised to see some cancellations as well. I'm not surprised that Amtrak isn't finding (or can't find) replacement bus service for this.
For several years now Amtrak has increasingly resorted to "no alternative transportation" even in cases that have nothing to do with the weather.
 

jebr

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For several years now Amtrak has increasingly resorted to "no alternative transportation" even in cases that have nothing to do with the weather.
Sure, but in this instance it's simply not a viable option. At this point the ND DOT's Travel Information Center shows a "No Travel Advised" warning along US-2 west of Grand Forks to about Devils Lake, as well as along I-29 through and south of Grand Forks. I can't imagine any reputable bus company willing to risk travel on roads that the DOT has advised not to travel on.

I'm hoping that the directional running works to keep trains running and the tracks clear. A bit of ingenuity (and transferring between trains) should allow most people to get to their destinations, albeit with a delay.

EDIT TO ADD: ND DOT has closed US-2 on portions between Grand Forks and Minot, along with I-94 south of there, and a couple other highways.
 
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tricia

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Sure, but in this instance it's simply not a viable option. At this point the ND DOT's Travel Information Center shows a "No Travel Advised" warning along US-2 west of Grand Forks to about Devils Lake, as well as along I-29 through and south of Grand Forks. I can't imagine any reputable bus company willing to risk travel on roads that the DOT has advised not to travel on.

I'm hoping that the directional running works to keep trains running and the tracks clear. A bit of ingenuity (and transferring between trains) should allow most people to get to their destinations, albeit with a delay.
I hope Amtrak is offering that as an option to passengers with reservations on the affected trains. "No alternative transportation" sounds like they're not.
 

jebr

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So what is the detour?
The detour is for the eastbound (8/28) train only, and it's along the diagonal route between Minot and Fargo. BNSF will sometimes do this to allow for directional running (with westbound trains taking the normal route, including freight,) likely so that there's no need to operate switches which may get stuck. They've done it a few times in the past, usually due to either track work or flooding along Devils Lake.
 

railiner

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That “diagonal” route was the pre-Amtrak route of the GN Empire Builder. The secondary Western Star ran via the longer current EB route via Grand Forks...
 

Barb Stout

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The detour is for the eastbound (8/28) train only, and it's along the diagonal route between Minot and Fargo. BNSF will sometimes do this to allow for directional running (with westbound trains taking the normal route, including freight,) likely so that there's no need to operate switches which may get stuck. They've done it a few times in the past, usually due to either track work or flooding along Devils Lake.
Thanks for the explanation. I was wondering since there is plenty of snow all over the region, but possible frozen/stuck switches makes sense.
 
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Was there flooding before the snow (or potential for it) - I wonder if there was concern about flooding after the snow melted, assuming that the temperatures bumped back up a bit. There are still flood watches around the Chicago area (or were yesterday).
 

Rover

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#4(22) may be hitting some snow in CO/KS this evening. Shows to be losing an hour bet Lamar and Garden City with an eta of 2 hours 4 minutes late in to Garden City. Shows stopped near Coolidge, KS at this time.
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Update--- It was not snow, but mechanical issues, and track congestion...
 
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Rover

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#6(29)

California Zephyr Train 6 which departed Emeryville (EMY) on 11/29, is currently operating approximately 3hrs 30mins late due to earlier freight train interference between Roseville (RSV) & Colfax (COX) servicing of equipment and signal issues along its route.

https://mobile.twitter.com/AmtrakAlerts/status/1200988168075587584

California Zephyr Train 6 which departed Emeryville (EMY) on 11/29, will be delayed between Denver (DEN) and Lincoln (LNK) due to weather-related conditions.


California Zephyr Train 5 which departed Chicago (CHI) on 11/30 will be delayed between Lincoln (LNK) and Denver (DEN) due to weather-related conditions.


https://twitter.com/AmtrakAlerts/status/1201040074839863296?s=20
 
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