Cold, stranded and fuming: Passengers on Amtrak, Northstar line see major delays

  • Article by: MAYA RAO and TIM HARLOW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 6, 2014 - 11:34 PM

North Dakota crude oil is being partly blamed for the overcrowded rail lines

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texas_technomanFeb. 6, 1410:03 PM

Subzero weather affects train's air brakes, resulting in more, shorter trains being run. Cold also affects the rail, which can incur breakages in extreme conditions, which results in slow orders. I would guess that the weather, much more than the oil trains, is the cause of the service breakdown. We've had what, almost 40 nights in the Twin Cities below zero...further north is probably much worse.

aarghmebuckoFeb. 6, 1410:03 PM

Amtrak has always been at the mercy of freight since freight owns the tracks. However, we are talking about two passenger trains a day on the Empire Builder. One would think that the delay to freight would be minimal if preference was given to those two trains. Ironically, people who choose to ride Amtrak are typically supporters of rail. I used to take the train when ever possible, but the delays are so out of control that i was typically missing all of my connections.

mrinsideFeb. 6, 1410:23 PM

All the oil, and no pipeline.

speedgibsonFeb. 6, 1410:26 PM

Amtrak running several hours late is nothing new. And Northstar attracts so few riders that their troubles aren't significant news either. And yet we're told that trains are a vital leg of a "multi-modal" transportation plan, despite their high costs, inflexibility, and unreliability.

lami0102Feb. 6, 1410:31 PM

Sounds like busses are more efficient. Remember that next time you hear about rail needed in your community.

jaynedrakeFeb. 6, 1410:31 PM

You would not know it, when reading articles like this, but when the freight railroads gave up the passenger trains, and Amtrak took over, the act said Amtrak trains had the right of way. Look it up. Amtrak just won't push it. And as to the commuter rail, I don't know of other cities' commuter rail that has these problems with the freight. One big way to alleviate this problem with Amtrak from Minneapolis to Chicago is to have a second trainset that starts out from Minneapolis and goes to Chicago. No one is going to do anything about this mess, however, until our Reps and 2 senators start making noise.

Rob7304Feb. 6, 1410:33 PM

Guys, its not just rail passengers affected by the oil trains. Its the farmers elevators too! Oil is taking precedence over hauling grain cars in many instances. A farmers elevator owner told me this! XL Keystone is going to carry ND crude as well as Alberta crude. Oil belongs in a pipe! The left made a big mistake politicizing the Keystone. It never made sense attacking that proposed pipeline. and now many lefties are admitting it including MSNBC's Ed Schultz. Bring on that pipe, we need the jobs and the farmers need rail access, as crop yields continue to rise!

jimiekFeb. 6, 1410:44 PM

Use all that oil money and build so new tracks.

ificantucantFeb. 6, 1410:45 PM

Its not the trains fault as much as it is the placement of where the train must run. Thinking outside the box would run passenger trains near freeways rather than among freight lines. The delays will only get worse because of the freight lines right of way.

john287Feb. 6, 1410:46 PM

Amtrak was my favorite way to get from Winona to Chicago. It arrived on time during my last two trips. Once it was even ahead of schedule. I guess I won't be going to Chicago again soon.


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