Monday, July 18, 2011

Derailment update, and some Central Corridor news

BNSF is still working hard to restore service at the site of the derailment on Saturday in Fridley. It's not yet clear to me if the line is open, though I expect it will be soon if it isn't already. Yesterday, the Star Tribune reported one track would be open by noon, but they seem to have missed that deadline by a few hours at least. Updates today indicated the first track wouldn't be open until this evening, with the second track not opening until sometime Tuesday morning or perhaps a bit later. [Update (1 AM): Buses will be used Tuesday morning.]

The Northstar will likely skip any stops at the Fridley station in the morning, but may be able to serve the station in the afternoon. Barring that, trains should start stopping at the station on Wednesday.

Amtrak's eastbound Empire Builder (#8/#28) originating yesterday in Seattle/Portland, has continued past Havre, Montana for the first time in weeks. Amtrak is also originated a #7 westbound train from Chicago today, which should be able to continue west through the Twin Cities tonight. You can follow their progress online here.  [Update (10 PM): the westbound #7 may detour via Willmar.]

BNSF crews in North Dakota also restored the Devils Lake Subdivision to service, so it appears the Empire Builder may take its normal route and won't have to detour onto the Surrey Cutoff. The train won't stop at the station in Minot due to flood damage there, but Rugby, Devils Lake, and Grand Forks could see their first service in a long while.

Back in the Twin Cities, the weekend storms slowed progress on Central Corridor construction. Traffic was expected to shift from the north side of University Avenue to the south side between Emerald and Hampden on the west side of St. Paul today, but that's been delayed until Wednesday.

In downtown Saint Paul, track has started going in on 4th Street next to the Farmer's Market.

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