Issue 12, June 25, 2003

Linsey Ettlin Message To Riders

From Me to You – What Is going on with our trains?

I need not tell you that service has deteriorated along the entire Capitol Corridor Route during the last several weeks, with an all time low of 45% on-time reached yesterday (June 24), and today is not looking much better. And these stats include the 10-15 minutes of “recovery time”, plus an additional 10 minutes tolerance for Union Pacific at the destination station.
I don’t have all the answers yet. Here is what I know. There are two Union Pacific track gangs scheduled to be out on the Capitol Corridor territory; one at Oakland Coliseum (impacts only trains to/from San Jose), and one between Richmond and Martinez doing ballast cleaning. Today there were at least two additional gangs working on the track between Martinez and Davis. Their presence and the nature of the their work added to the delays. This further slows down trains. We are trying to get additional information about these events right now.
Also this morning, freight cars were being switched on the main track in two places during the morning peak travel times for passenger trains, further restricting normal train movements. Again, this is not supposed to be done at this time of day.
Further complicating matters was a report of a disabled freight train (not yet confirmed) and three brush fires. It is the hottest day of the year.
All I can do is apologize for what’s going on. Yes, I know you have heard that story before, but I do not have any more information yet. I will post it as soon as it is available. I do not know what this evening will bring. It is a sorry state of affairs, and very discouraging, especially given the team effort led by Union Pacific to improve Capitol Corridor service to 95% on-time by August 1st.

Action to Be Taken:

We have a meeting of the Corridor Improvement Team (CIT) at Union Pacific’s offices in Roseville on Friday. I expect the events of this week will be a major topic of discussion. And I expect to be on the telephone during the next 24 hours getting details about all of this.
Again, my sincere apologies. I advise you all to check train status via the website in the morning and evening before traveling to see how things are going. You might find yourself able to catch the train that was scheduled BEFORE the train you planned to catch. Not a very good way to run a “scheduled” transportation service, but these are the harsh realities we are facing right now.