Digest: Amtrak Talgo trainsets moved to Beech Grove for storage (updated)

News Wire Digest for Aug. 24: Amtrak, freight service disrupted in New Orleans by storms; Springfield, Ill., residents want homes purchased because of toll of line-relocation project
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Retired Talgo trainsets pass through Caledonia, Wis., Sunday on their way to storage at Amtrak's Beech Grove, Ind., shops.
TRAINS: Jim Wrinn

Monday morning rail news:

Amtrak Talgo sets moved to Beech Grove for storage

Two Amtrak-owned Talgo Series VI trainsets moved from Washington state to Amtrak’s Beech Grove, Ind., shop complex this weekend for storage following their retirement from use in Amtrak Cascades service in the Pacific Northwest. Ultimate disposition of the Mt. Hood and Mt. Olympus trainsets is unknown. Two other trainsets, owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation, remain in Washington. The Series VI sets were retired from service in the Northwest after one set was involved in a fatal December 2017 derailment in DuPont, Wash., which led to a National Transportation Safety Board report critical of the equipment [see “Safety Board says multiple state and federal agencies failed in 2017 Washington state crash,” Trains News Wire, May 21, 2019]. Talgo has contested the portion of the report finding the design of the equipment contributed to the accident’s fatalities and injuries [see “Talgo challenges NTSB finding in ‘Cascades’ accident report,” News Wire, Nov. 1, 2019].

Tropical storms stops Amtrak, freight service in New Orleans
A pair of storms approaching the Gulf Coast have led Amtrak to cancel service on its three long-distance route serving New Orleans, while rail freight service is being disrupted because of closure of the city's flood gates. The southbound City of New Orleans from Chicago is cancelled today, Aug. 24, and Tuesday, Aug. 25, as are the northbound City of New Orleans on Aug. 25-26. The Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday Crescent from New York will terminate in Atlanta, while the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday northbound departures will originate in Atlanta. Finally, the eastbound Sunset Limited which departed Los Angeles on Sunday will terminate in San Antonio, while the westbound Sunset will originate in San Antonio on Aug. 27. All information is subject to change; check Amtrak’s website or smartphone app for updates. Passengers whose travel plans are affected should contact Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL. Also, Union Pacific reported Sunday in an advisory to customers that the city's flood gates were being closed, ending interchange with other railroads until further notice. UP also closed its Avondale intermodal facility because of the approaching storms, and reported it has maintenance-of-way equipment and crews standing by for possible post-storm repair work, among other preparations. Hurricane Marco, which strengthened from a tropical storm on Sunday, is expected to make landfall on the Louisiana coast today, while Tropical Storm Laura is projected to hit the same area Wednesday or Thursday. Union Pacific reported Sunday in a service advisory

Residents near line-relocation project in Springfield, Ill., ask their homes be bought so they can relocate
Two residents near the ongoing project to consolidate rail lines through downtown Springfield, Ill., are asking to have their home purchased so they can relocate, saying the construction is taking a heavy toll. The State Journal-Register reports that while adjacent properties were purchased to make way for the project, they were not included and are experiencing damage to their homes from construction vibration, declining property values, and loss of quality of life.  An engineer involved in the project says the homes did not meet Federal Railroad Adminstration criteria for purchase, because their land is not needed for the project itself, and all land acquisition has been completed. The $310 million Springfield Rail Improvements Project, which began in 2014 and is scheduled to be completed next year, will relocate the current Union Pacific/Amtrak line on 3rd Street to parallel an existing Norfolk Southern line on 10th Street to reduce traffic problems and increase safety.

— Updated with Union Pacific information on status, preparations in New Orleans at 7:35 a.m.



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