Amtrak on modified schedule west of St. Paul

Amtrak Empire Builder trains will operate on a modified schedule, starting April 15, with most of the change affecting passengers between St. Paul, Minn., and Portland, Ore., or Seattle, Amtrak officials announced Thursday.

The eastbound Empire Builder trains leaving Seattle (Train 8) and Portland (Train 28) will originate three hours earlier than they did today. The trains are combined leaving Chicago and St. Paul (Train 7/27) and are separated at Spokane, with about 90 minutes added to the current westbound schedules between St. Paul and Seattle or Portland. Schedules between St. Paul and Chicago are largely unchanged.

“We are working closely with BNSF Railway Co., which owns the tracks and controls the dispatching of the Empire Builder trains between St. Paul and the West Coast, in order to publish a schedule that accounts for the freight train congestion and the condition of the BNSF-owned infrastructure,” said Jim Brzezinski, the route director for the Empire Builder.

“We will assess the ability of BNSF to dispatch the Empire Builder with better reliability on this schedule, with further schedule changes possible in June.”

Amtrak routinely notifies customers with existing reservations who are affected by schedule modifications such as this one.