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NATIONAL TIMETABLE AT TRAINWEB - August 6, 2005 Monthly News Letter






Most western Amtrak timetables have been reverted to panel card format:

1.           The Pere Marquette and Blue Water have been combined with the Wolverine so that All Michigan routes are contained within one timetable.

2.           New Illinois-Iowa-Missouri-Nebraska Routes timetable is introduced.

3.           The Local Section of the Empire Builder, operated between Chicago and Minneapolis is now displayed in the Hiawatha Service Timetable.

4.           A new Chicago-Buffalo Corridor timetable is introduced.

5.           Trinity Railway Express schedule that involves a transfer of trains at the DFW Airport station has been extracted out of the regular schedule. It is now displayed as an independent panel card.

6.           The Local Section of the Texas Eagle, operated between Saint Louis and Chicago, the Ann Rutledge, and the Missouri Mule trains have been combined into one schedule showing all four trains.

7.           The Illinois Zephyr schedule has been moved out of the California Zephyr Page.

8.           All references to former Surfliner weekend trains 761 and 780 have been replaced with new references to trains 799 and 798.

9.           The timetable error on the last Ventura County Fair timetable last year on the schedule of train 198 at Oxnard has been corrected. The resulting adjustment produced a ten-minute difference in the schedule running times.  Thanks to new Amtrak train 798, the southbound afternoon schedule is spread a bit more evenly as train 798 filled in a gap in the schedule for returns back to Chatsworth.

10.     A column has been inserted in the Ventura County Line timetable make room for a new Chatsworth Turn back, which is proposed, essentially to be the extension of existing Burbank Turn back trains 902 and 903.  An additional column has been inserted in the Altamont Commuter Schedule to make room for a fourth round-trip train, to be inserted on a date to be announced.

11.     The Montclair Turn back trains on weekdays on the Metrolink San Bernardino Lines.  There are minor changes to westbound weekday train 303 to improve Metro Rail, Amtrak, and other Metrolink connections at Los Angeles.  Most eastbound trains have had reliability adjustments in and around the San Bernardino area to improve on-time performance. This change resulted in later arrivals on some trains in San Bernardino on the one hand, but on the other hand, some trains had their schedules between Rialto and San Bernardino tightened.

12.     The 54th Station in the Metrolink System at the Palmdale Transportation Center opened for revenue service on April 25th, serving Antelope Valley Line trains and Amtrak Thruway Buses connecting to and from the San Joaquin trains in Bakersfield.

13.     The Sanford, Florida stop has been removed from the schedule of the Sunset Limited, Silver Star, and Silver Meteor.  The two latter trains mentioned will be contained in the next update.  Although those trains had major schedule adjustments that resulted in restoration of most connections at Wilson, NC, Raleigh, NC, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, PA, and New York, NY being restored.

14.     As the annual Street Scene Food and Music Festival was moved from the Gaslamp to Qualcomm Stadium.  The result of that move was that the last late night trains originated at Old Town station instead of downtown San Diego.

15.     A new Altamont Commuter Express has temporarily suspended the Santa Clara stop due to Union Pacific Railroad/Cal-Train/Capitol Corridor JPA construction project.  The former thruway bus that ran from Lathrop/Manteca to Stockton for trains 5 and 6 was discontinued on July 1, 2005 due to Greyhound service reductions in and around the Golden State.  All three trains now operate through to Stockton.

16.     Sounder added a second Everett Train on June 6, 2005, which is displayed on the new timetable.  A new Rail-Plus timetable Panel Card is included. Rail-Plus is very similar to the current Metrolink and Coaster Rail-2-Rail programs. It is available on the Snohomish County Line only between Seattle and Everett.  The previous single southbound trip operates 15 minutes earlier. There were also minor adjustments made to the Tacoma service to more evenly space afternoon trains.

17.     The Texas Eagle Thru-Car service has been moved out of the Sunset Limited schedule and is now its own panel card.

18.     The missing Coaster and Metrolink timetables are included with this update.  The Coaster’s Baseball train is rescheduled 30 minutes earlier at 10:15PM when ball games at Petco Park in downtown San Diego are done before 9:30PM.  The train, however, if games exceed that time, will be held at Initial Terminal San Diego for 45 minutes or until 11:30PM at the latest, which ever is later.

19.     Due to the June 24, 2005 transfer of operation of Metrolink trains from Amtrak to the Connex Railroad, Metrolink’s Beach Train becomes unreserved.  Service adds two new stops at Tustin and Anaheim Canyon and added two new trips.  A special Rail-2-Rail timetable has been created, as conductors on these trains are now honoring regular fare media.

20.     A new Amtrak station was opened on June 6, 2005 at the Oakland McAfee Anti-Virus Protection Coliseum.  This station serves both Southern Oakland and San Leandro, and is the second connection to BART.  A subsequent minor adjustment was made on June 25, 2005. Two-and-a-half weekday round-trips, and one additional weekend roundtrip operate to Oakland Coliseum.

21.     Other changes: I expect that with the completion of a major track reconstruction on the route of the Empire Builder between Whitefish and Wolf Point, that the schedule will be tightened, resulting in service westbound west of Minot at subsequent stations being earlier, and the eastbound trains originating from their western termini at Portland and Seattle, respectively running slightly later.

22.     Track work: Between August and November, work will be underway every other week on the California Zephyr route between Grand Junction and Bond, Colorado, ten miles east of Granby. On construction weeks, there will be no service available from San Francisco to any stop between Salt Lake City and Winter Park.  The Colorado Ski Train between Winter Park and Denver will run its regular schedule and Amtrak passengers traveling to points east of Denver may use the Ski Train as alternate transportation. Buses will replace the CZ between Grand Junction and Denver for train number 6 only eastbound to Chicago and from train number 5 westbound from Chicago. Local travel will not be permitted on the buses between Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction; the bus must be sold with a ticket to or from Fort Morgan on the Train as the bus is considered to be a dedicated feeder.

23.     The earliest morning thruway bus from Reno and Sparks operates 1 hour and 30 minutes later, connecting with the next later train.  Train 712, hence has no connection from any point east of Auburn, CA.

24.     Nevada City is no longer served by Amtrak, however, Grass Valley remains a station in the Amtrak System, served by a new Gold Country Stage Lines Transit connecting thruway bus connection that operates from Auburn. Passengers take regularly scheduled Auburn or Reno buses from Sacramento connecting from Capitol, San Joaquin, or Coast Starlight Trains.

25.     Coast Starlight: On April 25, 2005, The Coast Starlight ceased service to and from Glendale and replaced the San Fernando Valley stop with one in Van Nuys, which has the full range of station services.  The resulting change involves minor schedule adjustments between Los Angeles and Oxnard in both directions.  Two major track repair project on Union Pacific’s Tehachapi and Willamette River routes are expected to come to a close within the week.  A third project, unrelated to the other two, which is being done largely at night to avoid delays to the Amtrak, Cal-Train, or ACE trains is underway between Oakland and Gilroy on the Mullford, Centerville, and Coast Subdivisions is ongoing and is expected to come to completion shortly after the start of CY06.  At that time, additional Capitol trains on both the Oakland-Sacramento and San Jose-Oakland segments are expected to be implemented. The latter change will result in a reduction in the number of thruway buses operating within the Oakland to San Jose segment.

26.     Metrolink: Additional service between Oceanside and Riverside as well as between Oceanside and Fullerton is being worked on by the agency for possible implementation in October. Watch for more information in further updates.  The references to last year’s construction schedule between Los Angeles and Riverside on the San Bernardino Line has also been deleted.

27.     Indices: All of the indices have been updated with a date of August 6, 2005, to coincide with the resumption of Acela Express service on the Northeast Corridor and the changes to the Ventura County Fair event schedules.

28.     PDFs and Route Profiles:  Four new entries in the Metro Rapid area have been inserted: New routes 714, 717, 740, and 780 are now introduced.  Rail service profiles including station service locations for San Diego Trolley and Los Angeles Metro, the latter of which also includes the upcoming Orange Lime BRT in the San Fernando Valley and the 2009 Extension of the Gold Line to the city of Monterey Park, 7 miles south-east of Los Angeles Union Station, featuring eight new stations. Two of the stations in the Boyle Heights area are below ground level due to narrow street configuration safety issues in this part of Los Angeles.  The first operator listed opened a 6-mile, 4-station “in-fill” segment extension between Mission San Diego and Grossmont Transit Center in the city of La Mesa. The new stations at Grantville, San Diego State University, Alvarado Medical Center, and 70th Street/Lake Murray Boulevard all have bus service.  The Grantville station is elevated 150-feet above street level, and on the site of the former Kaiser Hof German Restaurant in eastern Mission Valley. This is to clear the Fairmount Avenue interchange and the Interstate 8 Freeway. The San Diego State station is two-stories-below-ground-level in a subway tunnel, and becomes the first underground station in the 53-station system. The profiles were prepared in Excel and saved as a regular web page.  The Weld Boulevard Station in El Cajon is now known as Gillespie Field.

29.     San Jose Light Rail:  A portion of the new light rail line is open, providing a connection between Diridon Station and all Heavy Rail trains and the downtown San Jose area.  The new line has been opened between Convention Center and Race Street in West San Jose. The remaining four stations thru Winchester are expected to open in September, pending a waiver decision from the Federal Railroad Administration with reference to the operation of a Railroad Interlocking south of the Race Street Station.  I hope to announce more on this recent additional rail line in the next update.

30.     Cal-Train: On May 2, 2005, a sixth Baby Bullet train was added to the schedule to even the express service portion of the timetable.  On August 1, 2005, five new Baby Bullet Trains and an equal number of new Baby Bullet stations have been added to the schedule. New stops are Tamien, Sunnyvale, Menlo Park, Redwood City, and these popular trains now serve San Mateo.  Six round-trip Limited-Local Trains have been introduced to replace rush hour local trains. These trains will have their own page, and include a train transfer at Redwood City Station.  Atherton and Broadway are reduced to weekend only stations, thru a similar change that reduced service at Tamien to weekdays only.  Weekday train #195 operates 5 minutes later to conform to Saturday train #451’s schedule.  Shuttles from Millbrae to Broadway and from Redwood City to Atherton are added to service rush hour weekday trains.  As soon as construction at the Hillsdale Station is completed, the Bay Meadows Station will be closed and removed from service. The Stanford station is served for Football Games and Special Concert Events only.  The earliest Saturday morning trip is replaced by a 9:00PM trip in both directions to fill in the gap.  One round-trip was deleted from the Sunday Schedule.

31.     Sacramento Light Rail: On June 19, 2005, Sacramento Light Rail reconfigured their system to prepare for the opening of the Folsom extension, scheduled to begin service this fall.  Trains from Gold River, just east of Rancho Cordova will terminate downtown on the K Street Mall until the extension to the Amtrak depot is open. The Watt/I-80 Freeway Terminal Station line segment transfers to the South Line that will now run from North Highlands to South Sacramento.  Environmental work has been completed and construction design work is now underway on a new line segment between South Sacramento and the Cosumnes River College in the city of Elk Grove.  Trains will run thru the Laguna district of southwestern Sacramento.

32.     Amtrak implemented a lengthened Sunset Limited schedule to address an ongoing on-time performance issue on this route on March 8, 2005. The schedule between either Lake Charles or New Orleans and Orlando, depending on which direction you are traveling, has remained unchanged.