Thursday, July 09, 2009

Amtrak Adjusts Acela Express and Northeast Regional Schedules to Accommodate Track Work

From WebWire: "As Amtrak continues a number of track work projects to improve service in the Northeast, Acela Express and Northeast Regional (Washington – New York – Boston) passengers will see additional, temporary schedule changes beginning Monday, July 13, 2009.  The track work projects will improve the reliability of train service in the Northeast and will provide passengers with a more comfortable ride. To perform the necessary work, the number of available tracks will be reduced and trains will be single tracking — sharing tracks — as crews work to replace concrete railroad ties on the track that is not in service.The track work is located between New York City and New Brunswick, NJ where only three tracks instead of four will be available at any one time. Timetables - As a result of the numerous schedule changes that will occur this summer, schedules for service in the Northeast do not appear in Amtrak's 2009 Spring-Summer System Timetable. The printing of Northeast train schedules will resume in the 2009/2010 Fall-Winter Timetable."

Not sure if this is related to the Federal Stimulus funds or not but a good sign to see work being done on the tracks along the NEC. A hassle for regular users for a few months perhaps but this will lead to better future service. Now is probably a good time to do track work, ridership is down this year so Amtrak may have more flexibility in scheduling maintenance. When ridership picks up again and they start to see the volumes from 1-2 years ago (which will probably take a year or two to reach) Amtrak will be in a better position to service this load. The story did not make it clear how dramatic the disruptions will be or what the schedule impact is directly, I'll see if I can find that out.