Chartered buses to represent westbound train in three cities; Amtrak CEO Boardman to visit affected region later this week
CHICAGO – Amtrak has agreed to a request by BNSF Railway to temporarily detour the westbound Empire Builder (Train 7/27) in North Dakota to speed the improvement of BNSF infrastructure between Fargo and Minot, N.D. Chartered buses will cover the missed Amtrak stations in Grand Forks, Devils Lake and Rugby through Sept. 30, 2014.
The use of an alternate route for the westbound Empire Builder will enable BNSF to accomplish work in shorter time. The eastbound Empire Builder (Train 8/28) will operate normally and serve all scheduled stops.
Amtrak has been notifying affected passengers and public officials. In addition, Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman is visiting the affected region later this week and the lengthy delays the Empire Builder has incurred will be a major topic in meetings with leaders in each of these North Dakota communities.
“Local community and business leaders prize the Empire Builder and see Amtrak service as an important public transportation link,” said DJ Stadtler, Amtrak Vice President, Operations. “BNSF needs to speed repairs and upgrades in order to return the Empire Builder to its previous reliability as fast as possible. We fully expect this work to be done by the end of September — at the latest.”
BNSF has announced it is investing approximately $400 million in North Dakota to expand, replace and maintain its infrastructure, and for the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC).
This includes three siding projects between Grand Forks and Minot and four siding projects between Fargo and Grand Forks. Other work along the route involves installation of new turnouts, high speed surfacing/shoulder ballast cleaning, replacement of ties, rail relay and signal upgrades.
“We are committed to investing in our infrastructure to support the region’s growing economy and to better serve all of our freight customers and Amtrak’s passenger service,” said DJ Mitchell, AVP Passenger Operations, BNSF Railway. “This plan will allow the work to occur more efficiently and will benefit everyone.”
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About BNSF Railway
BNSF Railway is one of North America’s leading freight transportation companies operating on 32,500 route miles of track in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. BNSF is one of the top transporters of consumer goods, grain and agricultural products, low-sulfur coal, and industrial goods such as petroleum, chemicals, housing materials, food and beverages. BNSF’s shipments help feed, clothe, supply, and power American homes and businesses every day. BNSF and its employees have developed one of the most technologically advanced, and efficient railroads in the industry. We work continuously to improve the value of the safety, service, energy, and environmental benefits we provide to our customers and the communities we serve. You can learn more about BNSF at www.BNSF.com.