When the airports closed and portions of the interstate system shut down during the storm, one mode of transportation was still on track — Amtrak.
Rod Massman is the Rail Administrator for the Department of Transportation. He says the tracks and the trains are designed to handle some pretty harsh weather. Massman says Amtrak follows the lead of Union Pacific, which owns the tracks.
“It’s heavily influenced by if Union Pacific is running their trains,” he says. “If they for some reason they can’t run their trains, Amtrak will not as well. As of yet, they have no plans to shut down their trains so Amtrak will not either.”
Massman says none of the Missouri routes were cancelled during the storm, and reminds Missouri travelers that trains do run through states where blizzard conditions aren’t the rarity they are here.
Last night’s routes were filled with people trying to get home from the airports and legislators and Missouri Capitol staff returning to their homes after the legislature called it quits for the week.
An Eastbound passenger train out of Kansas City had to make an unexpected stop after almost hitting a snow plow crossing the tracks. There were no injuries and the train was back on its way in no time, getting passengers to Jefferson City, St. Louis and other whistle stops along the way.
One legislator on board headed to University City said he’d work to expand passenger routes in Missouri and implement a higher speed rail to encourage even more people to use the train to get where they’re going.
Amtrak reminds passengers wishing to travel today throughout the Midwest to check specific train status reports before attempting to travel to stations on routes to and from Chicago, Carbondale, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Port Huron, Indianapolis, Kansas City/Omaha, Milwaukee, Quincy, St. Louis, St. Paul and Toledo/Cleveland.
Click the “Status” tab on www.Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL.
“Weather-related issues, including infrastructure and equipment, availability of crews and local services have led to some service changes,” Amtrak reports.
The list of cancellations does not include any routes in Missouri, although most routes that are in and out of Chicago are cancelled.