Dear Muddy River News,
You may want to ask Amtrak why for the past two evenings (Wednesday, Aug. 17 and Thursday, Aug. 18), the 383 train from Chicago to Quincy (the Illinois Zephyr) was cancelled with no notification to passengers.
On Thursday at 6:20 p.m., the station master told passengers to go track one in Naperville. Then at 6:27 p.m., the station master called me and asked me if anyone from Amtrak called me to say that the train had been canceled. Amtrak management had not even told their own personnel that the train had been canceled.
Twelve minutes later, the station master called again saying they were just notified that a bus would be available, but they had no idea as to when it would arrive in Naperville.
Amtrak did not even update the train status on its website.
Marc Magliari, public relations manager for Amtrak in Chicago, replied in an email Friday morning with the following message.
“We had an employee become unavailable about an hour before departure time on Wednesday night, which resulted in us chartering buses for Trains 383 (that night and Thursday night) and 380 (Thursday morning and Friday morning). We apologize for last-minute changes for both round trips and plan to operate normal service tonight and through the weekend.”
Chartered buses were used as substitute transportation for Carl Sandburg trains 381 (from Chicago to Quincy in the mornings) and 382 (from Quincy to Chicago in the evenings) earlier this month. Magliari said at the time the decision allowed Amtrak’s shop forces more time to provide a larger number of usable railcars to avoid cancellations.
“We have a shortage of railcars because we have a shortage of people to work on the trains,” Magliari said. “We’ve been pretty public about this shortage.”
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