Digest: Metra to add trains on Rock Island, BNSF lines

News Wire Digest second section for July 27: Reading & Northern again says it will operate in Jim Thorpe, Pa.; Tweetsie Railroad shuts down after just two weekends
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A Metra BNSF train passes through the Highlands station in Hinsdale, Ill. Metra will add trains on the Rock Island and BNSF lines as of Aug. 3.
TRAINS: David Lassen

Monday midday rail news:

Metra to add trains on Rock Island, BNSF lines
Reflecting increasing ridership as the Chicago area reopens after COVID-19 shutdowns, Metra will add express trains to service on its BNSF and Rock Island lines next week, while schedules will be adjusted on two Electric District train. The new services will include two new inbound and outbound trains on the Rock Island, as well as renumbering of existing trains to accommodate those additions. On the BNSF, one inbound and one outbound express will be added; other BNSF trains are adding stops to better accommodate current ridership patterns. The Electric District changes will see the schedule of train No. 711 adjusted to arrive at Universit Park at 7:50 p.m., with train No. 142 departing University Park at 7:52 p.m. Details are available here.

Reading & Northern (again) says it's ready to operate in Jim Thorpe, Pa.
The on-again, off-again relationship between the Reading & Northern Railroad and the borough of Jim Thorpe, Pa., is apparently on again. WBRE/WYOU-TV reports the railroad will resume passenger operations in Jim Thorpe as of Aug. 14, with schedules and tickets available as of July 29 on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railroad website. “We are played to do our part to help Jim Thorpe, Carbon County, and the region bounce back from the impact of the virus in our community,” Reading & Northern owner and CEO Andy Muller said in a statement. The Reading & Northern shut down Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railroad operations in fall 2019 [see “Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway to cease operations,” Trains News Wire, Oct. 16, 2019] because of dispute over Jim Thorpe’s amusement tax. It announced an agreement to resume operations in February [see “Reading & Northern to resume passenger service in Jim Thorpe, Pa.,” Trains News Wire, Feb. 12, 2020]; in May, however, the disagreement flared again [see “Reading & Northern, borough of Jim Thorpe again at odds,” Trains News Wire, May 4, 2020].

Tweetsie Railroad shuts down, shortly after reopening
The return to operation for North Carolina’s Tweetsie Railroad was short-lived. In a notice on its website, the tourist railroad and amusement park reports it has “received notification from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services that we are not permitted to run the train. Thus, we have no choice but to close the park and cancel upcoming special events.” The railroad says it will reevaluate the possibility of reopening, including hosting Christmas events, when it is cleared to reopen. The Tweetsie had reopened on July 17.

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