Amtrak Coast Starlight Detour
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 FOLLOWING DATES: 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 PACIFIC RAILROAD: - TRAIN 14 WILL BE REROUTED IF IT IS 60" OR MORE LATE DEPARTING SACRAMENTO. - 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 TRACKWORK PERIOD.
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 service.
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 RE-ROUTE. CONNECTIONS WILL BE GUARANTEED FOR ALL TRAVEL DATES OF 08MAY03 AND LATER.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: