Amtrak’s Empire Builder passenger trains, which travel daily between Seattle and Chicago, will operate on a modified schedule, affecting passengers to and from Seattle, because of increasing congestion from oil freight, Amtrak has announced.
The modified schedule starts April 15, with most of the change affecting passengers between Seattle or Portland and St. Paul, Minn. Eastbound trains leaving Seattle and Portland will leave three hours earlier than the normal schedule. Westbound trains will add about 90 minutes to travel times, according to a news release from Amtrak.
The train has been consistently late because of freight traffic, particularly trains from the Bakken oil region in North Dakota and Montana.
Amtrak is working closely with BNSF Railway, which owns the tracks and controls dispatching of the trains, to create a schedule that accounts for the freight-train congestion, Empire Builder route director Jim Brzezinski said in the release.
More schedule changes are possible in June, Brzezinski said.