Canadian National Railway Causing Delays to Amtrak Service
On August 29, Amtrak filed an amended complaint with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) seeking an investigation of Canadian National Railway for causing unacceptable delays on the Illini/Saluki service that uses the CN-owned line from Chicago to Carbondale, Illinois (PR Newswire). According to Amtrak, the action is being taken under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, which indicates Amtrak has a statutory preference in the dispatching of intercity passenger trains before freight trains.
The amended complaint is part of an ongoing case initially filed by Amtrak in January 2012 regarding CN’s performance, which has caused a significant decrease in Amtrak’s on-time performance. Amtrak is asking the STB to investigate the causes of delay on the Illini/Saluki service, and to award damages and other relief if CN is found to have violated Amtrak’s right to preference.
Amtrak claims 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.
An online petition was started in February 2013 by Amtrak customers who asked CN Railway to please stop delaying Amtrak passenger trains. The petition reads, “By ending your delay of Amtrak passenger trains, you’ll help make the use of passenger rail in the United States more attractive and help us reduce our carbon emissions and our contribution to climate chaos.” The petition remains active.