Special Message to Riders

Linsey Ettlin Message To Riders

Many of you experienced delays during your evening travel home on Monday evening (October 20, 2008) and I wanted to apologize for the lack of communication to you, our riders.
First, what happened Monday evening? It started when a vehicle ignored the crossing gates and bells just east of Richmond and attempted to cross the tracks ahead of San Joaquin train 713. The locomotive struck the rear bumper of the car and the driver of the car continued on without stopping. As a result of the incident, Union Pacific closed the railroad in both directions until the tracks were inspected and the investigation was complete, which is a normal safety procedure when an incident occurs at a grade crossing. Unfortunately, tracks remained closed for nearly an hour, which is more than usual for this type of incident, and the closure excessively delayed the operation of passenger and freight trains and resulted in the delays to trains 538, 540, and 549.
It is my understanding that our passengers were given limited information about this incident and ensuing delays. I understand how frustrating this can be and want to assure you that we are taking steps to improve our communication with passengers during service incidents. We know that timely information allows you to plan for your trip and make alternative arrangements, if needed. To that end, a joint committee of Amtrak and CCJPA staff has been assembled to review Monday’s incident and improve procedures to enhance direct communication to our passengers when an incident such as this occurs. We hope to have an improved communications plan in place within the next month.
While I cannot change the situation you experienced, I felt that you were entitled to as complete an explanation as I can provide, and to apologize to those of you who were delayed without information during this service incident.