Amtrak Coast Starlight Detour
Between Sacramento, CA and Klamath Falls, OR
Over UP's Canyon Subdivision and BNSF's Gateway Subdivision
Via Keddie and Bieber
March 15 - May 7, 2003
Update, April 23, 2003
TrainWeb has learned that Amtrak has cancelled all Coast Starlight detours for the duration of the Union Pacific trackwork.
Trains 11 and 14 will operate on their normal route regardless of their on-time performance, subject to delays.
Chico, Redding, and Dunsmuir have been reinstated to ARROW for all dates. Below is the official Amtrak advisory.
UPDATE ON COAST STARLIGHT SITUATION
DESPITE THE UNION PACIFIC TRACK PROJECT MENTIONED IN EARLIER
MESSAGES, THE COAST STARLIGHT HAS BEEN OPERATING MOST OF THE
TIME OVER ITS NORMAL ROUTING, ALBEIT WITH SOME DELAY.
AS A RESULT, THE SUSPENSION OF SERVICE FOR CHICO, REDDING AND
DUNSMUIR HAS BEEN CANCELLED. ALSO, THE DISCHARGE-ONLY STATUS
BETWEEN EUGENE - SEATTLE AND SANTA BARBARA - LOS ANGELES HAS
BEEN LIFTED. TRAINS 11 & 14 WILL MAKE ALL REGULARLY-SCHEDULED
STATION STOPS TO PICK UP AND DISCHARGE PASSENGERS. ARROW
AVAILABILITY HAS BEEN RESTORED TO REFLECT THESE CHANGES.
IF THE COAST STARLIGHT DOES DETOUR, PASSENGERS BOOKED TO ANY
MISSED STOPS WILL BE PROTECTED WITH ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION.
AMTRAK TARIFF & SCHED MGMT
Update, April 20, 2003
Below is the official Amtrak update reflecting the information posted here on March 24.
TRACKWORK ON UNION PACIFIC -- COAST STARLIGHT AFFECTED
** UPDATED MARCH 31, 2003 **
THE UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD WILL BE PERFORMING TRACKWORK
BETWEEN SACRAMENTO, CA. AND KLAMATH FALLS, OR. AFFECTING
COAST STARLIGHT TRAINS 11 AND 14 THAT ORIGINATE ON THE
MARCH 31 THROUGH APRIL 09
APRIL 15 THROUGH APRIL 22
APRIL 26 THROUGH MAY 07
** IF THE TRAINS ARE OPERATING ON TIME, THEY WILL RUN OVER
THEIR NORMAL ROUTING. AS A PRECAUTION, BOOKINGS FOR
CHICO (CIC), REDDING (RDD) AND DUNSMUIR (DUN) ARE
SUSPENDED FOR THE DURATION OF THE TRACKWORK PROJECT
REGARDLESS OF THE ROUTE THE TRAIN OPERATES ON. TRAINS
OPERATING ON THE NORMAL ROUTE CAN EXPECT APPROXIMATELY
60" DELAY DUE TO CONGESTION.
** IF THE TRAINS ARE OPERATING LATE, THEY WILL BE RE-ROUTED,
MISSING CHICO, REDDING AND DUNSMUIR. PER THE UNION
- TRAIN 14 WILL BE REROUTED IF IT IS 60" OR MORE LATE
- TRAIN 11 WILL BE REROUTED IF IT IS 5'00" OR MORE LATE
TRAINS OPERATING ON THE REROUTE CAN EXPECT APPROXIMATELY
4'00" TO 5'00" DELAY.
DURING THE TRACKWORK PERIOD, THE COAST STARLIGHT IS LIKELY TO
ENCOUNTER SOME DELAYS GETTING THROUGH THE WORK SITE. AS A
RESULT, CONNECTIONS ARE NOT GUARANTEED TO TRAINS 28 (PDX),
712/4 (MTZ/LAX) OR 2 (LAX). THESE CONNECTIONS HAVE BEEN
DELETED FROM ARROW AVAILABILITY FOR THE DURATION OF THE
Update, March 24, 2003
The detours of the Amtrak Coast Starlight over the past nine days have caused significant operational complications for
Amtrak. Due to a variety of factors, trains 11 and 14 have been running anywhere from 4 to 26.5 hours late. The
case of a 26.5 hour-late train was isolated, having happened after a series of negative events on the train 14 of March 18,
which ultimately terminated in Eugene. However, in light of the delays of train 14(18), Amtrak and Union Pacific held an
emergency meeting on March 20 to determine how to handle the detours from that point forward. It was decided that train 11
would no longer take the detour, and that train 14 would take the detour only if it is already running at least 45 minutes
late by the time it arrives
into Sacramento. This is because the UP trackwork window on the Valley Subdivision begins at 7 AM on each day that work
occurs (in the vicinity of Dunsmuir), and that the risk of any Amtrak trains delaying the work must be minimized. The
situation was further complicated by a UP derailment in the area of the trackwork in the early morning of March 23, causing
both trains 11 and 14 to detour once again. It is not yet known if or when any regular operational patterns for the Coast
Starlight will be solidified for the remainder of the scheduled trackwork, and Amtrak, UP, or BNSF have not issued any
official updates. To summarize, delays, cancellations, and bus substitutions are now the norm for trains 11 and 14, with
delays often reaching into the double digits of hours. We will bring you any new information as it becomes available.
Due to a track and tie replacement project on the Union Pacific Railroad's Valley Subdivision, Amtrak is temporarily
detouring trains 11 and 14, the Coast Starlight, intermittently from mid-March to mid-May. UP track crews will work
in the pattern of 10 days on, 5 days off. This cycle will occur four times, or until the track work is complete. The
Coast Starlight will detour between Sacramento and Klamath Falls over UP's Canyon Subdivision and BNSF's Gateway
Subdivision via Keddie and Bieber, a distance of roughly 300 miles. The normal station stops at Chico, Redding, and
Dunsmuir will be missed, with no alternate transportation provided. However, trains 11 and 14 will operate normally
during the 5-day periods in which track work is not being performed. Amtrak is advising passengers to expect delays
of about 3.5 hours, but the Coast Starlight taking this same detour in the past has seen delays between 4 and 12
hours, depending on operating conditions. Because this is a planned detour, Amtrak is working with the host railroads
to maximize efficiency and minimize delays for all parties.
The route of the detour is largely historical in nature.
The UP (ex-Western Pacific) Canyon Sub traverses the scenic route of the North Fork Feather River Canyon, which was once
a main scenic highlight (and marketing tool) of the WP California Zephyr before Amtrak eventually reinstated the
service over Donner Pass. In other words, the last time the Canyon Sub saw a regularly scheduled passenger train was
on March 22, 1970. From
Keddie northward, the Coast Starlight will detour over the BNSF Gateway Sub, a 203-mile amalgamation of two
once-separate lines (a branch of the former WP from Keddie to Bieber, and a former Great Northern line from Bieber to
Klamath Falls). As a whole, this line, which is completely unsignalled, has never seen regularly scheduled passenger
Below is Amtrak's employee advisory regarding the Coast Starlight detour:
TRACKWORK ON UNION PACIFIC -- COAST STARLIGHT WILL DETOUR
THE UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD WILL BE PERFORMING TRACKWORK
BETWEEN SACRAMENTO, CA. AND KLAMATH FALLS, OR. THAT WILL
REQUIRE A RE-ROUTING OF THE COAST STARLIGHT (TRAINS 11, 14).
THE RE-ROUTE WILL CAUSE MISSED STOPS AT CHICO, REDDING AND
DUNSMUIR. NO ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION WILL BE PROVIDED
TO OR FROM THE MISSED STOPS.
THE FOLLOWING TRAINS WILL BE AFFECTED:
TRAINS 11,14 **ORIGINATING** 15-24MAR03
TRAINS 11,14 **ORIGINATING** 31MAR-9APR03
TRAINS 11,14 **ORIGINATING** 15-22APR03
TRAINS 11,14 **ORIGINATING** 26APR-07MAY03
FOR DATES NOT LISTED ABOVE, THE COAST STARLIGHT WILL OPERATE
OVER ITS NORMAL ROUTING, MAKING ALL SCHEDULED STOPS.
DURING THE RE-ROUTE PERIODS, THE COAST STARLIGHT IS EXPECTED
TO OPERATE APPROXIMATELY 3.5 HOURS LATE. AS A RESULT OF THIS
LATE OPERATION, CONNECTIONS WILL NOT BE GUARANTEED TO TRAINS
28 (PDX), 712/4 (MTZ/LAX) OR 2 (LAX). THESE CONNECTIONS HAVE
BEEN DELETED FROM ARROW AVAILABILITY FOR THE DURATION OF THE
CONNECTIONS WILL BE GUARANTEED FOR ALL TRAVEL DATES OF 08MAY03
If you have photos and/or travelogues of this detour of the Amtrak Coast Starlight, please e-mail them to
firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post them to this page! If you already
have photos or travelogues hosted at another web site, you may send us the link and we will post it here. Please also
send us e-mail if you wish to announce group trips on the Coast Starlight during this detour. TrainWeb's Matthew Melzer
will be traveling on northbound train 14 from Oakland to Eugene on April 5, and on southbound train 11 from Eugene to
San Jose on April 6. TrainWeb's Steve Grande and Ray Burns will be traveling on northbound train 14 from Los Angeles to
Klamath Falls on April 15, and on southbound train 11 from Klamath Falls to Los Angeles on April 16.
Photos and travelogues of Coast Starlight detour:
- Photos of the first detouring train 14 at Crescent Mills, CA, 3/17/2003
- Abbreviated Story of Chris Guenzler's detour trip, 3/21/2003
- Complete Story of Chris Guenzler's detour trip, 3/21/2003
- Photo of train 14 at Clear Creek Junction, CA, 4/2003
- The Coast Starlight Detour That Wasn't, by TrainWeb's Matt Melzer, 4/5/2003
- Amtrak Coast Starlight Trip with No Detour, by TrainWeb's Steve Grande, 4/15/2003
Click here for a summary of TrainWeb's attempts to ride the detour!
News articles about the detour:
Related web sites and information:
TrainWeb wishes to thank travel agents Gene Poon and Ed Von Nordeck for their invaluable contributions to this page.