CC Rail Mail – Special Message to Riders

Linsey Ettlin CC Rail Mail & Newsletters

Special Message to Riders from the Managing Director
To our passengers who were affected by the poor performance of the bus bridge between Martinez and Oakland Jack London at the beginning of this week, and the train cancellations and subsequent delays on Wednesday and this morning (Friday), I apologize to you for your
experiences and your delays.

As many of you have written in about your travel experiences this
week, I felt that you deserved an explanation for the delays, why they
occurred, and what we’re doing to correct mistakes made earlier this

During the schedule development for Phase 2 of this track work period,
CCJPA, Amtrak and Union Pacific had extensive discussions about
whether it would be possible to preserve the high level of frequency
of Capitol Corridor service through the Richmond to Oakland work area.
Originally, it was proposed that all trains operating between
Martinez and Oakland be cancelled from 7am until 5pm to give Union
Pacific crews a three-week work window. This plan was not acceptable
to CCJPA and eventually all parties collectively agreed that 1) Union
Pacific crews would shorten their schedule by eleven days by working
overtime, and 2) a bus bridge would be the only way to preserve
service during this 10-day period of work.

So, what happened this week? Most of the bus issues and delays that
occurred on Monday and Tuesday were a direct result of miscommunication between the bus company operating our bus bridge and the Amtrak staff directing operations at stations. This resulted in
buses not spotting in correct places, passengers not being directed to
board the correct buses and missed bus connections at Richmond,
leaving passengers waiting on the platform for over two hours. Please
rest assured that we have been working closely with Amtrak managers to ensure that the communication problems are resolved and that buses
will serve all of our designated stations.

Unfortunately, our service to you had not improved much over the
course of the week when Train 521 experienced a locomotive failure on
Wednesday. Passengers who normally travel aboard that train had to
wait over an hour for Train 523 to depart out of Sacramento.

To close out what has been a difficult operation this week, this
morning we were forced to cancel Train 518 to Sacramento, which
originates out of Oakland due to another mechanical issue. This
cancellation in turn cancelled Train 527 between Sacramento and
Martinez. Since it takes two sets of equipment to cover one train run
between Sacramento and San Jose for this track project (Train 1:
Sacramento – Martinez, Train 2: Oakland – San Jose), Capitol Corridor
service is operating without the luxury of having spare equipment at
our maintenance yard. In this situation, having an equipment failure
wreaks havoc on the temporary train schedule. This morning CCJPA and
Amtrak met specifically about the equipment issues we’ve been
experiencing, and Amtrak mechanical management is establishing a set
of action items to resolve these issues as soon as possible.

Thank you for taking the time to understand these delays – and for
your patronage and patience during this project. This extensive,
two-phase track work project has posed many challenges not only to you as passengers, but also to our Amtrak train and bus operations teams who coordinate with Union Pacific during large projects such as this one.

Most of the causes of this week’s delays were rooted in lack of
communication and inadequate planning and training. At the CCJPA, we
are working with Amtrak to take the lessons learned of this week and
ensure there is better coordination, resulting in the high standard of
train service that you deserve and have become accustomed to.

David B. Kutrosky
Managing Director