News & Reviews News Wire Equipment issues lead to reduction of Amtrak Chicago-St. Louis service

Equipment issues lead to reduction of Amtrak Chicago-St. Louis service

By Trains Staff | August 17, 2022

| Last updated on February 23, 2024

Lincoln Service trains 300, 305 suspended through Aug. 23.

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Passenger train approaches curve
Northbound Amtrak Lincoln Service train No. 300 departs Joliet, Ill, on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. That train and southbound No. 305 are currently not operating because of equipment shortages.  (David Lassen)

CHICAGO — Continuing equipment-availability problems have led to the suspension of one of four daily Amtrak Lincoln Service round trip between Chicago and St. Louis. The service reduction is slated to run through Tuesday, Aug. 23.

Not operating are train No. 300, scheduled to depart St. Louis at 4:30 a.m. and arrive in Chicago at 9:39 a.m., and No. 305, which departs Chicago at 5:20 p.m. and arrives in St. Louis at 10:36 p.m.

The trains are currently slated to resume operation Wednesday, Aug. 24. Amtrak is looking into providing substitute bus service at the request of the Illinois Department of Transportation, according to Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari.

This is the second Amtrak Illinois route this month to see a prolonged suspension of a round trip because of equipment issues. The Chicago-Quincy Carl Sandberg was dropped for a week earlier this month, a suspension that lasted through Aug. 9 [see “Amtrak’s Empire Buiilder, Carl Sandburg see cancellations,” Trains News Wire, Aug. 3, 2022].

Chicago-based corridor operations continue to be hampered by the slow rollout of Siemens-built Venture cars because of various issues [see “Siemens equipment delays …,” News Wire, April 1, 2022]. Most recently, the cars have experienced a door issue that has required bracketing the new equipment with Horizon or Amfleet cars. Passengers have only been able to board or exit via the doors on the older cars.

10 thoughts on “Equipment issues lead to reduction of Amtrak Chicago-St. Louis service

  1. I’ve been commuting into Chicago (Burlington) since before and thru the Pandemic. I’ve seen the ‘parking lot’ of the new Siemens cars building up for at least 18 months or more. The tracks under the post office are chock full of these cars, plus many many more at coach yard. Was always wondering when they would finally be placed into service. Sure, service was down during the height of the Kung Flu (I get that), but NOW we find out the doors also no worky!!!! Great

    What the heck is wrong with Amtrak? (He asks not expecting a cogent answer)

    I see this as another case of typical bureaucratic gridlock. They probably over-speced the cars with all kinds of bells and whistles, and wifi, and cup holders, etc. Just build some new cars, don’t need to over-engineer the deal. Cripes, as Jacob said above, some of the old Budd equipment is still running just fine. Actually, on the Burlington I prefer the older Budd cars (with walkover seats) to the “new-improve-George Carlin marketing BS-improved” ones with flimsy cup holders and half are pointed the wrong way. The idiots running Amtrak should get with the idiot engineers at Siemens and figure this stuff out. Have Siemens fix the damn cars per their contract. What the hell have you been doing for the last 2 years as these cars have piled up in Chicago?

    Jesus, do I have to do all the thinking around here? Morons, we’ve hired ourselves a buncha Morons (to paraphrase Strother Martin)

  2. I don’t recall Brightline having any issues with Siemen’s equipment. Has anyone heard of VIA having any bugs while testing their just delivered Siemen’s cars? Amtrak is paying over $7 million a pop for the Siemen’s locos. Progress Rail is much cheaper. Why wasn’t their power at least tested? When will the Amtrak IG announce whose brother/mother/boyfriend/girlfriend/ other family member got big bucks to go with Siemen’s?

  3. #1, #2, #3 have said it all. Sad commentary of present day situation all across the board regarding politics and manufacturing. The latest and greatest is not always the best. God help us. endmrw0817221545

    1. Perhaps you should see the printer/ copier/ scanner I bought. Three hours on the phone to Tech Services just to get the thing to work. Whatever happened to plugging in the machine, downloading the driver, selecting it as default, and pressing “PRINT”.

      Oh, and it’s on-line so the company knows when ink toner is low. But the machine can’t even tell me it’s out of paper.

  4. If Budd could build cars that could keep running for 80 years plus if kept in good condition, why can’t builders today that work off the shelf today? Yeah I know technology and all, but I would rather have a reliable ride than bells and whistles that do not get me there.

    This is the cost of letting our nation’s manufacturers dies, yet insisting on specialized standards different from the rest of the world. If we only saw the cost of cheapest is best and the cost of continually investing in our non-highway transport system.

  5. Amtrak has been around for 51 years but buys rolling stock that the doors don’t work.

    Problems identified in the April Fools Day news wire haven’t been fixed yet.

    Has anyone asked Stephen Gardner why he hasn’t seen fit to resign.

    Oh and BTW, if the doors don’t work, isn’t that a safety issue? Not solvable by exiting one car forward or rear in the consist.

    1. Charles, Mr. Gardner doesn’t want to resign. He attained the CEO position not long ago and he’s having the time of his life undermining everything but his precious NEC while no one is paying attention. Pres. Biden finally got around to appointing all but three to Amtrak Board with none from the far west and ironically the one not from the Northeast is from Normal, IL on that very CHI-STL route! And Sen. Schumer (D-NY), from what Mr. M.E. Singer wrote in these forums, made sure the NEC-centric Anthony Coscia not only retained his seat on the Board but his chairmanship as well. I mean ya’ jes’ cain’t make this stuff up. Buttigieg hasn’t a clue nor does FRA administrator Amit Bose. Bose stood in the Great Hall at CUS on the eve of the signing of the IIJA to gush on the service expansions/enhancements that would come to the CHI hub. Wanna bet he didn’t ride #29 to get there? Wanna bet he didn’t ride #48 and go via NYC or BOS to get back. Doing that is his job! And the Venture equipment, the locomotives. Could this be the first time an order from them went so bad that some have begun to change the company’s rolling stock division “Siemens [Im]mobility”? Gotta wonder what went so suddenly wrong.

    2. Mark Mark Mark, I keep asking you as a resident of Pittsfield, home of the late, great Mark Henry Belanger R.I.P., Orioles #7, Dodgers #8, what’s up with the Pittsfield train? Any riders yet? Or just empty coaches?

      Western Mass, home of four great Marks: Fidrych R.I.P., Belanger R.I.P., Chmura, Shapp.

    3. Charles: The Berkshire Flyer has actually been handling between 50-60 pax to and from Pittsfield as of the last 3 weekends. I have to say that those numbers are impressive for a new-start. What frosts my butt is that some, including no doubt our Berkshire County state senator, have been crowing that the Friday departures have been and continue to be “sold out”. Well yeah it’s “sold out”. It serves the high-ridership stations of Rhinecliff, Hudson, and Albany/Rensselaer before it thinks about heading east to Pittsfield. It has a capacity of over 300 (4 Amfleet 1s, 1 Business Class). So the last trips are the Friday and Monday Labor Day weekend. Mass DOT agreed to a two-season “pilot”. However, CSX’s original condition was that a station track be put down at Pittsfield so these trains could get in the clear of their mainline while they do their station work and prepare for departure, Fridays deadheading back to Rensselaer and Sundays the revenue trip to NY. The existing platform is adjacent to CSX Tk 1 (north track). But for reasons I’ve never heard, CSX backed off that condition for the 2022 season only. Let’s see if they say they won’t host in 2023 unless the station track is down and in service. That’s going to be a very expensive proposition given it will require a new platform south of the track and an overhead walkway to link it with the Intermodal Transportation Center on the north side. And it will require integration into CP150 just west. So who’s gonna pay for that? Not CSX. Not Amtrak. Not the MassDOT that back in 2011-2012 sent $13.4m of MA taxpayer $$$ that with the FAA $$$ allowed the project to extend the main runway at Pittsfield Municipal by 1000feet. Not the City of Pittsfield whose residential streets and arterials have over the years been allowed to fall into a disgraceful state of disrepair. Should be interesting and I hope CSX sticks to that demand.

    4. An overhead walkway for one train a day plus one train week? Fifteen weekly arrivals (in the summer) and fifteen weekly departures (in the summer). I got news for you. The relatively new overhead walkway at Sturtevant (Wisconsin) is already showing signs of needing maintenance. Who pays for that? WisDOT? Amtrak? The Village of Sturtevant?

      An overhead walkway means two stairways, two elevators – not only to install but to maintain.

      The ridership you cite for the Berkshire train is hugely more than I expected but it’s still small, paltry, insignificant compared to the number of people traveling in this country. Mass Pike at the New York State line probably has close to a thousand cars an hour. Fifty to sixty PAX wouldn’t fill the regional jet I flew last month.

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