Category Archives: Press Releases

CP commits to support Amtrak service expansions in two U.S. regions

From an Amtrak press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C., and ​CALGARY, Alberta – Amtrak and Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (CP) (TSX: CP) (NYSE: CP) today announced an agreement with Amtrak supporting the proposed combination of CP and Kansas City Southern (KCS) railways.

“CP has been an excellent host of Amtrak intercity passenger service year after year and has established itself as a leader in the railroad industry,” said Stephen J. Gardner, Amtrak President. “We welcome CP’s commitment to our efforts with states and others to expand Amtrak service and are pleased to have reached an agreement formalizing CP’s support of Amtrak expansion in the Midwest and the South.

“Given CP’s consistent record as an Amtrak host, we support CP’s proposal to expand its network,” Gardner added. “This is exactly what Congress and the Administration are seeking: Amtrak and the freight railroads working together to benefit freight customers, Amtrak passengers, our state/regional partners and the general public.”

“We are proud of the success we have achieved as a host railroad providing industry-leading service to Amtrak on our lines,” said Keith Creel, CP President and Chief Executive Officer. “We thank Amtrak for its support of our historic combination, which will have no adverse effects on intercity passenger service. CP is pleased to continue to support Amtrak and its infrastructure projects to provide capacity needed to accommodate additional service.”

CP has consistently received an A rating from Amtrak in its annual host railroad report card, recognizing its industry-leading on-time performance record. CP is also the first Class I railroad to complete 100 percent certification of its Amtrak schedules to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB).

CP has committed to maintaining its industry-leading role as a host railroad and to cooperating with Amtrak to implement its long-term strategic vision to bring new and expanded intercity passenger rail service to more North Americans, including:

  • Increased frequency on the Hiawatha Service between Chicago and Milwaukee.
  • Extending Hiawatha Service from Milwaukee to St. Paul, Minn., to create a second round-trip on the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago corridor.
  • Passenger service through the Detroit River Tunnel between Michigan and Ontario to Windsor and Toronto (with connections to VIA Rail Canada).

Subject to CP’s application for control of KCS being approved by the STB, the agreement also includes CP’s commitment to support Amtrak efforts to work with the Southern Rail Commission (SRC) and others for the first service in more than 50 years on two U.S. routes:

  • Establish Amtrak service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La.
  • Study the potential for Amtrak service between Meridian, Miss., and Dallas.

“We appreciate Amtrak’s efforts to provide additional intercity passenger rail service that will benefit the people and economies of both Minnesota and Wisconsin,” said Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher. “Once complete, the second daily round trip between Saint Paul and Chicago is expected to improve existing infrastructure and provide increased choice for residents traveling between some of our major cities – with stops in towns and cities of all sizes along the way.”

“WisDOT looks forward to continue working with Minnesota DOT, Illinois DOT, Amtrak, CP, and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to implement planned additional daily passenger trains on the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago and Milwaukee-Chicago Amtrak Hiawatha Service routes,” said Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary Craig Thompson. “The agreement between Amtrak and CP facilitates the realization of the full benefits of WisDOT’s FRA grants for the Twin Cities-Milwaukee Chicago Intercity Passenger Rail Project and the Muskego Yard Freight Bypass of Milwaukee Intermodal Station Project. Amtrak and CP continue to be strong partners in our efforts to achieve improved transportation options for rural and urban areas across Wisconsin.”

“We appreciate the work Amtrak is doing to unite more of the south with passenger trains, from Mobile to New Orleans to Baton Rouge and now opening the door in this agreement to directly connect Mississippi and Louisiana with Texas on the I-20 Corridor,” said SRC Chairman Knox Ross of Mississippi. “The SRC continues to be impressed by CP welcoming the start of new Amtrak service west of New Orleans to Baton Rouge, while other railroads have fought new Amtrak service.”

Amtrak and CP will file their agreement as part of the docket in the CP-KCS proceeding at the STB.

Unique ‘Great Dome’ car adds seats and scenic views on selected dates

From an Amtrak Press Release:

Amtrak is operating all available railcars and locomotives on trains to and from the Chicago area in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday travel season. Fresh from fall colors trips to and from the East Coast, starting today the historic Amtrak “Great Dome” rail car will provide a unique opportunity to experience city and prairie views to and from Chicago as it adds extra seating capacity to super-size the busy trains.

The dome car features an upper level with windows on all sides – as well as overhead – to provide passengers with panoramic views. The dome section runs the full length of the car, a rare feature even when dome cars were more numerous on the nation’s railroads.

The dome car is scheduled to operate on the following Lincoln Service, Saluki/Illini and Wolverine Service trains to and from St. Louis, Carbondale and Detroit/Pontiac on the following dates: Trains 301 & 304 on Nov. 17, Nov. 19 and Nov. 25, Trains 303 & 306 on Nov. 18 and Nov. 26, Trains 391 & 392 on Nov. 21, Train 305 on Nov. 22, Trains 300 & 352 on Nov. 23, Train 351 on Nov. 24, Train 393 on Nov. 27 and Train 390 on Nov. 28.

Seats in the dome car are not reserved and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The heaviest single travel day of the year for Amtrak is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving which set a record last year of 134,230 passengers for the day. Amtrak also set a record last year by transporting 704,446 passengers for the holiday week. Amtrak anticipates similarly strong ridership for this year’s Thanksgiving travel.

From Nov. 23 to 25, passengers traveling on Amtrak long-distance trains will be offered a menu item of a traditional Thanksgiving meal featuring a fully-cooked turkey breast with gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and side accompaniments. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream and maple walnuts will be offered as a dessert option.

Amtrak is working to make the holiday travel experience as pleasant as possible and encourages passengers to consider the attached holiday travel tips to help ensure a smooth trip.

About the “Great Dome” Car

The only remaining dome car in Amtrak service, car number 10031, is a Great Dome car previously used on the Chicago-Seattle Empire Builder when the train was operated by the Great Northern Railway and the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad (later the Burlington Northern Railroad). It was built in 1955 by the Budd Company for the Great Northern and carried the name “Ocean View,” car number 1391. It was conveyed to Amtrak in 1971, with this car first being given the number 9361. It was renovated in 1985, renumbered 9300, and used in daily service on the Amtrak Auto Train to and from the Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Fla., areas through 1994. It was further refurbished in 1999, renumbered to 10031. This year, the “Ocean View” has been freshly re-painted in honor of Amtrak’s 40th Anniversary in the Amtrak Phase III paint scheme and wears stripes comprised of equal red, white and blue stripes, symbolic of Amtrak being America’s Railroad®.

Greyhound Launches Nationwide Program for Convenient Cash-Payment Options

Greyhound and 7-Eleven press release:

Partnership with 7-Eleven and PayNearMe allows customers to book online, pay in cash

 DALLAS, Nov. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Greyhound, the largest North American provider of intercity bus transportation, and 7-Eleven, Inc., the world’s largest convenience retailer, today announced that customers nationwide can purchase bus tickets online or over the phone with cash, giving them access to special fares and offerings currently available only via the Internet with a credit or debit card.

Through an innovative program in conjunction with 7-Eleven® stores and PayNearMe™, Greyhound’s cash customers can now purchase online and pay for their bus tickets at 7-Eleven® neighborhood stores, turning them into local “Greyhound ticketing offices.”

“About 50 percent of Greyhound’s customers use cash to pay for their bus tickets, but until now there has not been a way to deliver exclusive online discounts to this constituency or even to allow these customers to pay for tickets in advance by phone or over the web,” said Dave Leach, president and CEO of Greyhound. “Through our relationships with 7-Eleven and PayNearMe, we can now increase savings for all of our cash customers while eliminating the hassle of making an extra trip to the terminal. This is our way of making life easier for our loyal cash customers.”

Starting today, consumers interested in purchasing a Greyhound ticket with cash can go to to select a schedule and put a ticket on hold for up to 48 hours. Customers then print a payment barcode and take it to 7-Eleven stores operated and franchised by 7-Eleven, Inc., where they can purchase the ticket at the register.

To make a reservation by phone, customers first go to any one of the 6,400 participating 7-Eleven stores nationwide to pick up a re-usable Greyhound card. After booking with an agent over the phone and giving the agent the unique card number, the customer’s card is swiped at a 7-Eleven outlet’s cash register, and the transaction is complete.

Payment Innovation Big Success for Unbanked in Dallas

These new ticketing options are particularly significant to the 25 percent of American households that do not have a debit or credit card. For these unbanked and under-banked consumers, purchasing a transportation ticket with cash has traditionally been a time-consuming and difficult process, requiring special trips to a ticket office or the purchase of an expensive pre-paid debit card. In contrast, PayNearMe’s innovative technology allows consumers to use payment barcodes or Greyhound cards to obtain tickets in their own neighborhoods 24-hours a day.

“PayNearMe was developed under the premise that all consumers deserve the right to the same goods and services, regardless of their preferred method of payment or financial situation,” said Danny Shader, PayNearMe CEO. “Our partnership with Greyhound and 7-Eleven provides un- and underbanked consumers with more fare options, because they now have access to discounts only available on”

Greyhound tested this first-of-its-kind program in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex over a three-month period earlier this year. All 270 7-Eleven stores in the Metroplex completed a Greyhound cash transaction while ticket sales climbed. Based on the success of the pilot program, the companies decided to roll it out nationally.

“7-Eleven has made a strong commitment to delivering valuable services to consumers, and clearly our Dallas/Fort Worth-area customers responded positively to the option of purchasing Greyhound tickets through our stores,” said Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, 7-Eleven senior vice president of merchandising, marketing and logistics. “By working with Greyhound and PayNearMe, we can offer consumers a simple and innovative cash-payment solution for their traveling needs.”

PayNearMe’s Greyhound cards are available today at participating 7-Eleven stores.

About Greyhound

Greyhound is the largest North American provider of intercity bus transportation, serving more than 3,800 destinations across the continent. The company also provides Greyhound Package Express (GPX) and charter services. For fare and schedule information and to buy tickets call 1-800-231-2222 or visit the website at For the latest news and travel deals, follow GreyhoundBus on Twitter at and Like us on Facebook at

About 7-Eleven, Inc.

7-Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Based in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses close to 8,900 7-Eleven® stores in North America. Globally, there are approximately 43,500 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries. During 2010, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales close to $63 billion. 7-Eleven has been honored by a number of companies and organizations recently. Accolades include: #2 on Forbes magazine’s 2011 list of Top Franchises for the Money; #4 spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list for 2009, #3 in Forbes magazine’s Top 20 Franchises to Start, and #2 in Franchise Times Top 200 Franchise Companies. Hispanic Magazine named 7-Eleven in its Hispanic Corporate Top 100 Companies that provide the most opportunities to Hispanics. 7-Eleven received the 2010 Retailer of the Year honor from PL Buyer because of the company’s private-label brand initiative. 7-Eleven is franchising its stores in the U.S. and expanding through organic growth, acquisitions and its Business Conversion Program. Find out more online at

MDOT seeks to improve both passenger and freight rail lines with purchase of Norfolk Southern Railway track

From an MDOT press release:

October 5, 2011 — The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) today announced an agreement with Norfolk Southern Railway (NSR) to purchase a critical 135-mile segment of railroad track between Kalamazoo and Dearborn. The track is part of Amtrak’s Wolverine passenger rail service and also provides freight services to major Michigan companies, including Ford Motor Co. The $140 million purchase was made using Federal Railroad Administration grant funds, which includes an affordable state match.

The purchase will enable MDOT to stabilize and upgrade the track for both passenger and rail freight services. NSR will retain an exclusive freight easement to preserve and grow its freight business.

“Investing in rail service will spark economic development in communities along a corridor linking Detroit and Chicago, two vital Midwest cities,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “A faster, reliable passenger rail system is a priority for younger generations and vital to Michigan’s ability to compete globally as businesses look to locate or expand. The rail improvements will also hasten the transport of freight, a priority for Ford Motor Company and other Michigan businesses along the route.”

MDOT ownership of the Kalamazoo-Dearborn segment, combined with Amtrak ownership between Kalamazoo-Porter, Ind., will ensure that nearly 80 percent of the Chicago-Detroit/Pontiac Accelerated Rail Corridor will be in passenger-friendly ownership, giving greater control over the services.

“This important rail infrastructure upgrade will lead to long-term economic benefits for Michigan,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “We plan to work with Norfolk Southern and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to grow the freight business along this corridor, while supporting intercity passenger rail travel, which has shown remarkable growth in Michigan in the past several years.”

“Norfolk Southern is pleased to support Governor Snyder and Secretary LaHood in this important transportation infrastructure improvement project,” said CEO Wick Moorman. “Ensuring capacity for freight operations while improving service for passengers will help the Detroit to Kalamazoo rail line reach its highest, best use. Norfolk Southern will continue to serve freight customers on the line.”

MDOT has been working in cooperation with the FRA and Amtrak in planning for implementation of 110 mph passenger service over this route. The FRA had selected for award approximately $350 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding and High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program funding to MDOT for the acquisition and upgrade of the line.

In addition to the purchase and upgrades, MDOT agreed to build a double track on the busiest freight segment of the line east of Ypsilanti to ensure adequate capacity for both freight and passenger operations. The new track will benefit the production operations of Ford Motor Co., among others.

“We believe this investment in intercity passenger rail will reduce travel times, improve service reliability and allow for future increases in services, which will increase ridership and revenue,” said Timothy Hoeffner, administrator, MDOT Office of Rail. “It will set the stage for additional passenger rail service after the completion of the accelerated rail project. And, because NSR retains the freight business, Michigan has a nationally recognized Class 1 operator willing to grow and enhance freight business, which is critical to Michigan’s economic growth.”


– Record 480,000 passengers on the Wolverine in FY 2010, with FY 2011 ridership exceeding those numbers by 13 percent (one month left to report.)
– Improvements will allow speeds up to 110 mph on nearly 80 percent of the route between Detroit and Chicago, resulting in a 30-minute reduction in travel time, improved reliability and on-time performance.
– $140 million purchase price, using FRA High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program grant funds, which includes a state match.


U.S. DOT awards $196 million grant for Detroit to Chicago Amtrak rail line

Press release from U.S. DOT:

U.S.  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today awarded a $196.5 million grant to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for track and signal improvements between Detroit and Kalamazoo, MI.  These improvements will allow for speeds up to 110 mph on 77 percent of Amtrak’s Wolverine and Blue Water services between Detroit and Chicago, resulting in a 30 minute reduction in travel time between those destinations.

“This is an important investment that will reduce travel time, improve reliability and on-time performance, and attract more passengers,” said Secretary LaHood. “We are creating jobs in Michigan, building our rails with American-made materials and growing the regional economy.”

Dollars for this 135 mile segment between Detroit and Kalamazoo will support preliminary engineering, final design and construction.  The project includes new, continuously welded rail and ties, fiber optic lines and infrastructure to support a positive train control system, rebuilding 180 highway-rail grade crossings, and gates and flashers at 65 private highway-rail grade crossings.  The project will create approximately 800 new jobs during the construction phase, which is expected to begin late spring 2012, and will facilitate service to current and future freight rail customers, including major shippers like Ford Motor Company.

“Investing in rail service will spark economic development in communities along a corridor linking Detroit and Chicago, two vital Midwest cities,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “A faster, reliable passenger rail system is a priority for younger generations and vital to Michigan’s ability to compete globally as businesses look to locate or expand. The rail improvements will also hasten the transport of freight, a priority for Ford Motor Company and other Michigan businesses along the route.”

“This funding will help move Michigan and the nation forward by making high-speed rail a part of our economic infrastructure,” said Senator Carl Levin. “Our economic competitors around the world have long enjoyed the benefits of high-speed rail service between their cities. They have demonstrated that high-speed service can create jobs and promote economic growth, and that it can provide a more energy-efficient alternative.”

“Construction of new high-speed lines will create jobs and generate more business activity in Michigan,” Senator Debbie Stabenow said. “This effort will not only boost our economy, it will provide residents with more transportation options. With gas prices as high as they are it is critically important that travelers have more choices in addition to driving.”

“The obligation of Michigan’s rail funding is a critical step forward for high-speed rail service from Detroit to Chicago,” said Congressman John Dingell.  “As a co-author of legislation that created one of the first high-speed rail assistance programs in the country, I believe rail is essential to maintaining and improving the economic competitiveness of the United States.  The development of rail and transit creates immediate and needed construction jobs, retains and recruits local businesses, and reduces our Nation’s dependence on foreign oil.  I thank Secretary LaHood, FRA and the Michigan Department of Transportation for their hard work on this project.”

In addition, MDOT is designated to receive $150 million DOT grant later this year to purchase this 135 mile segment of track, when grant conditions are met.  This will allow for the implementation of 110 mph service along the corridor that will bring improved passenger service, ensure capacity for freight operations through double tracking on the busiest freight segment and deliver long-term economic benefits to the State of Michigan.

The Wolverine and Blue Water routes are part of the Midwest rail network, which has a population base of about 29 million people 100-500 miles from one another.   Midwestern states have been working cooperatively together to plan and further develop an integrated, multi-state passenger rail network.   In addition to the goal of expanding service to new cities, trains in the system will travel at 110 mph on the primary routes and 90 mph on secondary lines, reducing travel time, and increasing reliability and on-time performance.