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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak to detour Empire Builder westbound trains in North Dakota


Amtrak has agreed to a request by BNSF Railway Co. to temporarily detour the westbound Empire Builder in North Dakota to speed the improvement of BNSF infrastructure between Fargo and Minot, N.D., Amtrak officials announced this week.

Chartered buses will cover the missed Amtrak stations in Grand Forks, Devils Lake and Rugby through Sept. 30. The use of an alternate route will enable BNSF to complete work in less time. The eastbound Empire Builder will operate normally and serve all scheduled stops, Amtrak officials said in a press release.

Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman was expected this week to visit the areas, where the Empire Builder has been affected by lengthy delays. The delays will be a "major topic" in his meetings with local leaders, Amtrak officials said.

"BNSF needs to speed repairs and upgrades in order to return the Empire Builder to its reliability as fast as possible," said DJ Stadtler, Amtrak's vice president of operations. "We fully expect this work to be done by the end of September, at the latest."

BNSF has announced it's investing $400 million in North Dakota infrastructure improvements and positive train control implementation.

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