Sometimes, the Only Solution is Whatever It Takes

Matt Hannes photo

News reports don’t always – no, make that almost never – tell the whole story. Case in point is the story of a difficult run made by Amtrak’s California Zephyr which operates daily in both directions between Chicago and the Bay Area.

Two of the Zephyr consists encountered some pretty ferocious weather early last month. Much of the media focused on the eastbound Zephyr which arrived in Chicago on January 6th some 19 hours late, generating predictable references to “the train from hell”, etcetera and so forth.

But the westbound train that day also had some big-time problems and an excellent story about it in the current issue of Trains magazine offers some real insight into what it sometimes takes to get trains through to their destinations under some pretty taxing conditions. Click here to read it.

In particular, note the extraordinary level of cooperation and assistance BNSF Railway provided to Amtrak in this case … and, of course, to the passengers aboard the westbound Zephyr.

Freight railroads get a lot of blame for delays to Amtrak trains operating on their track, and it’s well-deserved when it comes to several of the companies … Union Pacific probably being the worst offender. But for the past several years, BNSF has really been doing an excellent job of keeping Amtrak running on time and the railroad deserves recognition and praise for its efforts.