Digest: Amtrak now offering train-capacity information on website, app

News Wire Digest for Aug. 12: UP employees granted immunity in Texas bus-crash case; future of Dennison, Texas, museum at risk
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Screenshot of Amtrak website showing capacity information
Amtrak's website and smartphone app now include information for those looking to purchase tickets on how full a train will be.

Wednesday morning rail news:

Amtrak updates website, app to show how full a train will be

Amtrak has updated its website and smartphone app to provide real-time information on a train’s capacity. Searches for train information when booking will now display an icon indicating how full the train will be (for example, 50% full). Ticket sales are limited to promote physical distancing because of COVID-19. The updated Amtrak app also includes gate and track information at selected stations.

UP employees receive immunity to testify on fatal grade-crossing accident
Two Union Pacific employees have been granted immunity from prosecution to testify in a trial stemming from a fatal Texas collision between their train and a school bus in 2019. KLTV News reports that a district court judge in Henderson, Texas, granted the immunity to allow the employees to testify in the trial of bus driver John Stevens. The driver is charged with manslaughter/negligent homicide and injury to a child causing serious bodily harm from the Jan. 25, 2019 accident in Athens, Texas, which resulted in the death of a 13-year-old middle school student and injury of a 9-year-old elementary school student. Investigators say the bus stopped at the grade crossing, then drove directly in front of the oncoming UP train. 

Shortage of volunteers, funds places future of Texas rail museum in doubt
The future of a railroad museum in Denison, Texas, is at risk as the organization faces a shortage of board members and volunteers, as well as a decrease in funding. The Herald-Democrat of Sherman, Texas, reports the Red River Railroad Museum, in the city’s former Katy station, currently has just five members of its board of directors — its bylaws require at least eight — and normally has just three volunteers for day-to-day operations. Financial support from the city of Denison has also been cut; the museum had received municipal funding for rent and operating expenses, but because of shortfalls relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum will now receive just $5,000 for advertising. While the museum’s rent is paid through the end of 2020, its long-term future is in question, curator Joy Jackson told the newspaper. For more information or to donate, visit the museum website.


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