RENO, Nev. — Amtrak has announced plans to resume full service on its California Zephyr and Coast Starlight routes, both currently disrupted after snow-related closures.
According to Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari, the first Zephyrs to cross Donner Pass after that route was closed by a Feb. 26 avalanche near Truckee, Calif., are scheduled to do so on Sunday, March 3 — meaning the March 1 departure from Chicago will be the first that will not be turned at Reno, has has been the case since the closure.
Amtrak has been operating charter buses to connect to the Zephyr at Reno; because of a closure of Interstate 80 between Reno and Colfax, Calif., those buses have been taking a circuitous route on U.S. 50 causing substantial delays to eastbound departures. Tuesday’s train left more than 7 hours late; Wednesday’s departed almost 8 hours late. I-80 reopened Thursday morning after being closed Tuesday night, having received more than 4 feet of snow.
Meanwhile, the first Coast Starlights to travel the train’s entire route will do so beginning with the March 3 departures from Los Angeles and Seattle. In the interim, trains from Los Angeles continue to turn at Sacramento, Calif., because of a closure near near Oakridge, Ore., where a southbound train was stranded Sunday night through Tuesday morning [see “Stranded ‘Coast Starlight’ now on the move,” Trains News Wire, Feb. 26, 2019].
The line is now operational between Portland, Ore., and Eugene, Ore., so Amtrak Cascades service resumed on Thursday.
— Updated 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 with details on restoration of service.