Amtrak trains sold-out, cancelled ahead of Irma

RELATED TOPICS: AMTRAK | WEATHER | OPERATIONS | SOUTHEAST
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MIAMI — With Hurricane Irma headed for Florida this weekend, Amtrak has added coaches to northbound service but also has begun canceling trains entirely or along portions of their routes ahead of the storm.

The final northbound Auto Train is set to leave Sanford, Fla., Saturday, and had only a few bedrooms plus coach and business class seats left as of midday Wednesday, but then sold those out. Departures the previous three days are also sold out. Of course, there is plenty of room for anyone who wants to take it south this week, but Friday’s train from Lorton, Va., is the last one to operate until the effects of possible track damage are known.

As of Wednesday, Friday’s northbound Silver Meteor and Silver Star are also sold out; the Star has been rescheduled that day as train No. 1092 and will leave an hour and five minutes after the Silver Meteor, at 9:15 a.m. Amtrak officials are still waiting to decide whether it will be possible to run trains out of Miami on Saturday.

Whether Amtrak trains will run Saturday out of Miami also depends upon what Tri-Rail plans to do, since Amtrak trains use Tri-Rail tracks south of West Palm Beach. That decision was still pending as of Wednesday evening. A spokeswoman tells Trains News Wire that if sustained winds above 35 mph are expected, the operator considers taking steps to secure the corridor. This can mean tying crossing gates up, taking them down, or a combination of both.

“We always follow the rule of thumb that if we're not sure we can get someone back home at night, we won't take them somewhere in the morning,” she says.

Amtrak’s Florida trains have been running with five coaches this week, with Thursday’s northbound Meteor set to have six instead of the usual four. It helps that the company’s Hialeah Maintenance Facility services and maintains the Viewliner sleeping car and Amfleet II coach fleets.

Florida-bound trains are tentatively being held at Jacksonville from Friday through at least Monday.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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