News & Reviews News Wire Server issues continue to disrupt Amtrak operations

Server issues continue to disrupt Amtrak operations

By Trains Staff | March 25, 2023

| Last updated on February 5, 2024

Midwest, long-distance operations hit by cancellations for a second day

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Passenger train passing station
A southbound Amtrak Hiawatha hurries through Deerfield, Ill., on a frigid Feb. 26, 2022. Eleven of the 13 Hiawathas scheduled to run today have been canceled. David Lassen

CHICAGO — Ongoing issues with the server involved with Amtrak’s positive train control system have led to the cancellation today (Saturday, March 25), of a number of trains in the Midwest and elsewhere.

According to the Amtrak Alerts Twitter feed, 11 of the 13 Hiawatha service trains between Chicago and Milwaukee have been canceled as of 9:41 a.m. CDT. Still slated to run as of this writing are northbound No. 333 (an 11:05 a.m. departure) and southbound No. 336 (leaving at 1:05 p.m.)

Also cancelled in the Midwest are Lincoln Service train No. 301, the 7:15 a.m. departure from Chicago to St. Louis, which was originally reported as being delayed because of equipment problems; St. Louis-Chicago Lincoln Service trains Nos. 300 (a 4:30 a.m. departure) and 302 (a 6:40 a.m. departure); and Wolverines Nos. 350, the 6:45 a.m. departure from Chicago to Pontiac, Mich., and 351, the 5:43 a.m. departure from Pontiac to Chicago.

Long-distance cancellations include today’s departure of the northbound Texas Eagle from San Antonio, and the westbound Sunset Limited from New Orleans. Trains that were scheduled to depart Friday that were eventually cancelled included the westbound Sunset Limited; the westbound Empire Builder, and the southbound Texas Eagle, which was slated to leave Chicago at 1:45 p.m., and was cancelled about 7:45 p.m., although that cancellation was not reported on Amtrak Alerts until 1:01 a.m.

The problems first were reported Thursday, but became widespread on Friday [see “PTC issues cause Amtrak cancellations …,” Trains News Wire, March 24, 2023].

A brief statement currently on Amtrak’s website says only, “Intermittent communications issues have resulted in cancellations of morning trains to and from Chicago. Customers have been notified. We are working to resolve these issues as soon as possible. Updates will be provided as available.” It also offers information on changing reservations.

The Amtrak Alerts feed for the Northeast Corridor indicates that trains may be experiencing delays of 30 to 60 minutes because of the ongoing server issues but does not appear to show any cancellations have resulted.

— Updated at 11:20 a.m. CDT to correct the number of Hiawathas canceled; updated at March 27 at 2:10 p.m to clarify when Texas Eagle was canceled as opposed to when that cancellation was reported on Amtrak Alerts.

11 thoughts on “Server issues continue to disrupt Amtrak operations

  1. in the old days, when there was cab/signal failures the dispatcher would issue a Form D to allow the train to proceed on the route of failure. While they may not be doing 79 mph, at least they were kept moving and not annulled. cut out the PTC and keep moving.

  2. Amtrak’s NEC and its tenant commuter operations do not use I-ETMS PTC; they use ACSES/CSS PTC. This was not affected by the outage.

  3. So hope Trains follows this story. My train on Saturday was canceled out of Chicago. Not sure how the LSL got out of NY Friday and Saturday.
    If NY can why can’t Chicago?

    Also would love to read a story about the recovery from this mess. So much equipment in the wrong places.

  4. As I said in my post yesterday, PTC added complexity to an already complicated system. Todays locomotives have computers and lots of electronics that are great when the work, but can become a real headache when they go down. Check delay reports on Amtrak service alerts and see the number of disabled freights on different days. It would not surprise me if many of those are computer or electronic problems.

  5. Maybe the recent solar storm caused the communication disruptions. Some of the best northern lights in years on Thursday night. The sun is nearing its peak of the 11 year cycle in 2025. I expect more issues in the future.

    1. Ask John Galt. He had the answer, and he acted, when no one else had any idea had to get the trains moving after the signals failed.

  6. Interesting how this is only affecting Amtrak and none of the commuter or freight railroads…even though some of them must be using the same software and back end infrastructure.

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