Rail Travel News
News Posting March 23, 2003

Coast Starlight Running Unusual Detour Route

    Amtrak's Coast Starlight is making a detour in both directions on the BNSF Railroad through the Feather River Canyon of California. Trains 11&14 with originating dates of Mar 15-24, Mar 31-Apr 9, Apr 15-22 and Apr 26-May 7 must run the detour.

     This is caused by the Union Pacific's track work being performed between Sacramento CA and Klamath Falls OR. Missed stops are Chico, Redding and Dunsmuir CA, with no alternate transportation provided. 

     The trains are expected to lose 3.5 hours on the detour. 

     On detour days, connections are not guaranteed with trains 28, 712/14 or 2. Starting with the travel date of May 8, the connections will be guaranteed.

     The change inconveniences some Amtrak customers, but provides a rare opportunity to rail travel enthusiasts to see the Feather River Canyon by train. This route was part of the route of the original, pre-Amtrak California Zephyr. 
                     (See important update!)

Rail Advocates Losing the Public Relations Battle

    In the struggle to preserve a national passenger rail network, rail advocates are losing a public relations battle, says rail expert Dick Spotswood, writing in issue 655 of Rail Travel News.

     Many statements in the media about Amtrak long-distance train finances are erroneous, says the author: "Most journalists don't have the slightest idea that the Amtrak accounting system outrageously misapplies costs and revenue."

     It's up to rail advocates to set the record straight through letters to editors and other contacts with the media. 

Issue 655 of Rail Travel News is in its final production stages, and mailing will begin soon.

     Amtrak will introduce new dining car menus on April 1. The number of choices at each meal will be increased by one, and a dinner special will be offered. There will be three menu cycles, with an effort to arrange them so that travelers will not encounter the same menu repetitively.

     Acela Regional trains were renamed March 17 to simply "Regional" because of confusion with Acela Express trains.

     The Fair of the Iron Horse 175 scheduled for Jun 28-Jul 3 has been cancelled because of the disastrous collapse of the roof of the 1884 Baldwin Roundhouse at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore MD in the President's Day snowstorm. However, the Star-Spangled Rail National Convention of the NRHS and R&LHS will go on as planned in Baltimore Jun 30-Jul 6.

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