Category Archives: FYI

Amtrak adds 10 extra trains to handle Thanksgiving travel in Michigan

Amtrak will operate 10 extra trains in Michigan for the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday in addition to its regularly scheduled service.

On Nov. 25 and 29, an extra eastbound morning train will depart Chicago bound for Grand Rapids and an extra westbound evening train will depart Grand Rapids bound for Chicago.

On Nov. 25, 28 and 29, an extra eastbound morning train will depart Chicago bound for Ann Arbor and an extra westbound evening train will depart Ann Arbor for Chicago.

Click on the timetable below for more details.

Amtrak plans on utilizing every available piece of equipment to handle one of their busiest travel weeks of the year.

Amtrak recommends that passengers book their trip early in order to best match desired travel times and days.


First day of service for Amtrak’s experimental platform in Ann Arbor

Amtrak and RLE International (an engineering firm) worked with the Michigan Department of Transportation to develop an innovative system for getting people easily onto trains. People needing wheels for their mobility have been a special concern, given that many trains’ floors are several feet above the level of the platform at most stations around the USA. With this system, gentle slopes lead up to a platform at the same height as the floor of train coaches. To allow freight trains to pass the platform safely, however, it must be a couple of feet from the train. This system bridges the gap with a sliding platform that can be remotely controlled by Amtrak iPhones, or deployed manually.

The first, experimental installation was built at the Ann Arbor, Michigan, Amtrak station. Dedicated on July 23, 2015 – the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act – the platform was not put into regular service until September 23, when it was used for train 353, Wolverine service Detroit/Pontiac to Chicago. The first full day of use, September 24, bagan with the station-stop shown in this video by train 351, also to Chicago.

Priority Boarding Available at Chicago Union Station in the Legacy Club

Priority boarding is now available at Chicago Union Station for an introductory price of $20, offering access to Amtrak trains ahead of general boarding.

The priority boarding fee includes access to the Legacy Club located in the southwest corner of the Great Hall where coach passengers, commuters and others can enjoy a quiet, comfortable atmosphere to wait for trains or unwind after traveling. The Legacy Club features include:

  • Priority boarding for all Amtrak trains
  • Comfortable, quiet lounge seating
  • Complimentary refreshments
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi and charging stations
  • Train status displays
  • Satellite TV

The Legacy Club is open daily from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Daily access passes are available for $20..

For more information, speak with a uniformed Amtrak employee at Chicago Union Station or stop by the Amtrak kiosk in the Great Hall.

Sleeping car passengers, Business class and Amtrak Guest Rewards Plus and Select Executive members will continue to have complimentary access to the Metropolitan Lounge in the Concourse level of the station.

Reservations and information are available at, our free mobile apps and at
1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).

Operation Lifesaver awarded grant to boost rail safety education and awareness

qi9kIxKKThe state is getting a new grant to boost rail safety education. Michigan Operation Lifesaver has been awarded $8,400 from Operation Lifesaver, Inc., in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration.

It is part of the nonprofit safety group’s ongoing “See Tracks? Think Train!” public awareness campaign.

The money will be used to boost awareness on billboards, movie theater advertising and displays for public events.

Federal statistics show that about every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States.

Michigan ranks 10th nationally for crossing collisions train incidents, with 13 deaths from 79 crashes in 2014 according to Sam Crowl, State Coordinator for Michigan Operation Lifesaver.


Amtrak Train Days at Grand Rapids Amtrak Station July 25, 2015

Vernon J. Ehlers Station 440 Century Avenue SW, Grand Rapids Michigan, 49503
Vernon J. Ehlers Station
440 Century Avenue SW, Grand Rapids
Michigan, 49503

All Aboard Grand Rapids to Celebrate Amtrak Train Days!  On Saturday, July 25, 2015, the Amtrak Exhibit Train is pulling into the Grand Rapids Amtrak Station from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Meet us at the station and come aboard for a free self-guided tour through Amtrak’s past, present and future.  For the youngest rail fans, stop off at Chuggington Kids Depot, featuring toy train and coloring tables.  There’s something that’s bound to strike a chord for everyone!

For additional details on the Exhibit Train Tour, please visit: