Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Equipment Imbalance

Amtrak #5, the westbound California Zephyr, has been having severe difficulty this week. When on time, it passes Fernley about 0735. A couple of days ago, it came by more than fifteen hours late. The following day's #6, the eastbound counterpart, which I think uses the same train set, was more than four hours late because its equipment arrived so late that they didn't have enough time to clean and service it for the return trip to Chicago.

This morning, I saw something I'd not seen before here in Fernley: Two #5's in the same day, one about an hour behind the other. I heard the dispatcher talking about it earlier this morning and referring to one as "the Amtrak from three days ago." I do not know the story behind it. I couldn't tell if the second train actually had anyone on it, or was simply being deadheaded back to Oakland to get the equipment equalized. I'm just glad that I wasn't using it to get between Reno and the Bay Area right now, although had things gotten that badly tangled, they probably would have put me on the Amtrak bus that connects to the Capitol at Sacramento instead.

Update, 14:00: I had to call Amtrak to deal with a schedule change on our trip to Detroit (our scheduled Chicago-Detroit train is canceled due to planned track work), and took the opportunity to ask what was going on. Apparently there's been a big slide that's blocked the Moffat Tunnel (west of Denver), and service is disrupted all over the route of the Zephyr. Passengers are being bussed here and there, and trains are short-turning at Denver and elsewhere.
Tags: amtrak, fernley, trains

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