Amtrak Asks Surface Transportation Board to Investigate Norfolk Southern and CSX Railroads

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  • November 17, 2014

Christina Leeds

Media Contact


202 906.3860
Christina.Leeds@Amtrak.com

Freight train interference causing unacceptable delays to passengers traveling between Chicago and Washington, DC

WASHINGTON – Amtrak is taking action to improve the on-time performance (OTP) of its trains that operate over tracks controlled by other railroads. In a complaint filed on Nov. 17, Amtrak is asking the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to investigate Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) and CSX Transportation (CSXT) for causing unacceptable delays for passengers traveling between Chicago and Washington, D.C., on the Capitol Limited service.

Amtrak is taking this action under Section 213 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act which mandates that the STB initiate an investigation upon the filing of a complaint by Amtrak if the on-time performance of an intercity passenger train falls below 80 percent for two consecutive quarters. In addition, under federal law, Amtrak has a statutory right to preference in the dispatching of intercity passenger trains before freight trains.

Due to persistent excessive delays caused by NS and CSXT freight train interference, the OTP of the Capitol Limited at its endpoint terminals was 2.7 percent for the quarter ending Sept. 30, down from an already substandard 33.6 percent the previous quarter. The delays are continuing as Amtrak had to provide bus transportation between Toledo and Chicago for six days in October to better accommodate passengers when Capitol Limited trains had often been eight to ten hours late.

Poor on-time performance creates a major disruption for Amtrak customers due to delayed trains and missed connections. It also negatively impacts Amtrak and state-supported services through decreased ridership, lost revenues and higher operating costs.

Amtrak has taken additional actions to help improve the OTP of passenger trains including filing an amended complaint with the STB seeking an investigation of Canadian National Railway for causing unacceptable delays for passengers on the Illini/Saluki service in Illinois; twice testifying before the STB about the poor OTP of Amtrak trains; and establishing a Blue Ribbon Panel of rail and transportation leaders to identify infrastructure and operational improvements to address rail traffic gridlock in Chicago.

The Capitol Limited operates daily between Chicago and Washington, via Harpers Ferry, W. Va., Cumberland, Md., Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Toledo, South Bend, Ind., and intermediate stops.

About Amtrak®

Amtrak is America’s Railroad®, the nation’s intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator. Amtrak and its state and commuter partners move people, the economy and the nation forward. Formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak is governed by a nine member board of directors appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Anthony R. Coscia is board chairman and Jeffrey R. Moreland is vice chairman. In FY 2014, nearly 31 million passengers traveled on Amtrak on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Enjoy the journey® at Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter (@Amtrak) and check out our blog at blog.amtrak.com.

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