The week that was
ALL ABOARD Amtrak officials announced this past week that they are changing the schedule for its Empire Builder passenger train, which runs daily between Chicago, Seattle, and Portland, Ore. The Empire Building, which stops in several North Dakota cities, including Minot, has been consistently running late because in large part overcrowding issues on the line. An increase in the number of trains carrying oil from western North Dakota’s Bakken region have contributed to the delays, as have freight derailments. But the largest impact on Amtrak’s schedule has been the congestion caused by the number of oil trains also using the tracks. Eastbound trains from Seattle and Portland will now depart three hours earlier, at 1:40 p.m., beginning April 15. Westbound trains will run more than an hour later than they normally do, officials said. Obviously, the changes will impact every stop along the route, including Minot and Rugby. Amtrak officials hope to return to the normal schedules in June. We’re guessing passenger will adjust to the temporary schedule, but it’s just another impact of the growing oil business in North?Dakota.
THIS IS SPRING? After a one-day teasing on Saturday this past week, Mother Nature blasted much of the state with a strong reminder of what winter weather feels like. Blustery winds and heavy snow combined to make conditions bad enough to close schools seemingly everywhere except the Minot region, not that we’re complaining. Certainly spring snowstorms aren’t rare, and we’ve had worse storms than the one this past weekend. Still, once the calendar creeps toward April, it’s disheartening to say the least when we’re smacked in the face with another dose of winter.