INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO BLN 1315 27 OCTOBER 2018
BRANCH LINE NEWS
This newsletter covers the World outside the British Isles from information
supplied by members.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS TEAM:-
International Editor (to whom all email and postal contributions should be sent):
Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ
Email: [email protected]
Deputy International Editor: Derek Woodward, 68 Church Street, Matlock, DERBY, DE4 3BY
Over-manning may be everywhere on Greek Railways, but one really must wonder how many station masters a
station like Kalambaka, at the end of a fairly quiet branch line, really needs.
 Albania – Information from the website
The Albanian Railways website can be found at http://hsh.com.al/ and actually contains some useful
information. A basic timetable, based on Durrës, is available by clicking on 'Orari Trenave Durres'. It is
a Word document dated 29 August 2018. As previously reported in BLNI, it shows that trains are now
running again to Fiër, on the line to Vlorë.
There is a 2019 Network Statement in English online at:
http://hsh.com.al/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Network-Statement-1.pdf. This contains much
information about the structure and status of HSH:
Paragraph 3.2.1 states that there are four operational main lines: Hani-i-Hotit – Vorë, Kashar - Vorë –
Durrës, Durrës - Elbasan – Librazhd and Rrogozhinë – Fiër
There are two regional lines (described as 'currently not ready for trains'): Librazhd - Xhyrë - Pogradec
(not ready Xhyrë - Pogradec), Budull - Fushë-Krujë and Kashar - km 33.100 is also described as 'not
The border crossing Bajzë (Albania) - Tuzi (Montenegro) via Hani-i-Hotit is described as 'open for
limited daily time traffic'.
Paragraph 3.4.1 states that the following lines are subject to 'permanent blocks' owing to poor
infrastructure: Xhyrë – Pogradec, Budull - Fushë-Krujë, Elbasan - Fabrik Cement, Gjorm - Kombinat
Kimiko Metallurgical Laç, Fiër – Vlorë and Fiër - Ballsh
The following lines are subject to 'temporary blockages' which 'require operational solutions': Kashar -
Tiranë (presumably the site of the new station as the old station has been swept away by a new road)
and Librazhd – Xhyrë
The access charge for a train of 1000 tonnes at 45km/h is 351 lek/km (about £2.50) plus VAT. There is a
lot of material about allocation of train paths, appeals and so on - they seem to have ideas of being a
 Austria – New station opens on the Wien to Bratislava line
The temporary station at Hausfeldstraße closed on 30 September 2018 and the new station at Wien
Aspern Nord opened on 1 October 2018. The two stations are one minute apart. From 9 December
2018 the S80 service is extended to Wien Aspern Nord.
 Belgium - Antwerpen trams
Antwerpen (Antwerp to the English) was visited by two members on their way back from covering
freight line diversions in Austria and the Netherlands, and they spent much of one day trying to travel
over the various extensions to the tram network which had opened since their last visits, approaching
a decade previously. The network is now such a size that it is probably not quite possible to cover it all
in one day, unless starting first thing in the morning and finishing last thing at night and not taking any
breaks, but they were also constrained by needing to depart on the 17.45 train from Centraal. A day
ticket currently costs EUR6, and is valid on the whole of the De Lijn network – including the trams in
Gent and the Kusttram, as well as buses. A short piece about the system appeared in BLNI Extra 27 last
Local trams and buses in Antwerpen are operated by De Lijn, the Flemish off-shoot of the erstwhile
Vicinal Railways, and a network map can be found at http://tinyurl.com/y9dw8uwf. A track plan of the
whole system can be downloaded as a PDF from the
http://treinfanaat.jouwweb.nl/informatie/sporenplannen website, although this is dated 2014 and
does not (yet) show many of the recent extensions (and closures), including the newer of the two sets
of pre-metro tunnels, the first part of which opened in April 2015 (BLNI 1244.394). There is also
another track plan of the system, split into several printable sections, available for download from
www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~mwaller/rail/plans/jbc/ (but note the contact e-mail address on that
page is currently out of date); this was drawn up by the writer following visits in 2008 and 2009 (the
latter for BLS tours) and is only slightly more out-of-date than the treinfanaat one and has a handful of
stop names spelled incorrectly, but (when time permits!) will be updated using information gleaned
during his August 2018 visit. All Antwerpen trams are single-ended with doors only on the right-hand
side, so everywhere a route terminates requires a balloon loop (or reversing triangle – there is one).
Track gauge is 1,000mm.
The members travelled the line extensions to P&R Wommelgem (described in BLNI 1244.394; it’s
currently route 9), P&R Boechout (route 15), Wijnegem (two routes were extended – 5 and 10 – and
join at Ruggeveld), P&R Luchtbal (referred to as P&R Havana in BLNI Extra 27 – presumably it was
renamed; route 6) and Eilandje (7), the short branch to P&R Olympiade (6), the new link between Zuid
and Bolivarplaats (4 and 8), and the new pre-metro tunnel (currently 8 and 10, with one branch – the
first to open – temporarily closed). The official De Lijn map also shows an orbital route 70 running
between P&R Luchtbal and Eilandje, running for a few stops on the same line as the 6 but then taking a
new route and terminating on the same turning circle as the 7. However, although the route number
appeared on tram stop flags, there were no timetables and no route 70 trams were seen; Wikipedia
suggests a summer 2018 start date.
Coming in from Wijnegem on a 10, the line goes underground immediately after the Hof Ter Lo stop
(which, contrary to earlier suggestions, has not closed), using the ramp which was due to open in
September 2017 (according to BLNI Extra 27); the old surface tracks from here towards the city centre
have been lifted. The tunnel is double track at first, but then separates into two single-track bores
with the northbound below the southbound. Just before Zegel station (where the southbound
platform lies above the northbound track, and the northbound platform below the southbound track)
the branch from the Silsburg direction trails in from the left (or, if going north, just after Zegel station it
diverges to the right); this route has gone underground after the Muggenberg stop (the ramp here
opened in April 2015). There are then two boxes for future stations (seemingly with the same
platform arrangement as at Zegel) before Astrid station is reached; here the lines are in a double track
tunnel, but they split again before the divergence of what was assumed to be the underground balloon
loop mentioned in BLNI 1244.394 (when Astrid was a terminus) – there is a similar underground
balloon loop near Sport at the northern end of the other pre-metro tunnels. There also looked to be a
diverging tunnel with no track just after departing from Astrid. After the two tracks come together
again is the box for the future Opera station (opening in summer 2019 according to official maps, and
providing interchange with the western leg of the other pre-metro route), and there were wooden
hoardings along the platform edge. The route then surfaces just before Stadspark (this ramp was due
to open in June 2017 according to BLNI Extra 27), where a new northbound platform has been built
opposite the southbound one, north of the road crossing – but trams were still stopping at the old one
south of the road crossing. The surface tracks from here to Rooseveltplaats are supposed to have
been lifted, but time did not allow confirmation of this – the points were still in place for the
temporary tracks around the outside of the tunnel mouth, however, although the overhead wires had
been removed and the southbound track was blocked with a pile of aggregate.
A few sections of line were closed for long-term engineering work. Three were spotted which involved
passenger-carrying trams using normally non-passenger connections or loops. First, with the line to
Silsburg closed for major track relaying (and road reconstruction), route 9 trams, which it is believed
normally turn right at Florent Pauwels and run to Silsburg, were running to P&R Wommelgem
(normally the terminus of the 8) and therefore running straight across the junction at Florent Pauwels
– believed to be a very short section of normally non-passenger track. In 2008 Florent Pauwels was
not a junction, but then the 8 was extended from Eksterlaar and made a triangular junction here, one
curve heading towards Silsburg and used by the 8, and the other being a non-passenger curve back
towards the city centre along the route currently being rebuilt. When the line to P&R Wommelgem
was built, this non-passenger curve was removed, but the extension was provided with curves both
The closure of the line to Silsburg means that route 24 trams from Melkmarkt (via the surface route
past Centraal Station) have to turn back at Stenenbrug. This is done in passenger service by running
clockwise round the loop shown on the track plans (down Engelse Lei, alongside the railway viaduct)
and terminating and starting at the inbound stop shown on the Treinfanaat map (but missing from
that of the writer). This loop was covered by the 2010 BLS tour.
A route 24 tram runs along Engelse Lei, the balloon loop at the route’s temporary eastern terminus
Both tracks towards Hof ter Lo have been removed as that route is now underground. The tracks
onwards to Joe English and Morckhoven (formerly Joe Englishstraat and Morckhovenlei – most stops
containing “Lei” or “Straat” seem to have lost these suffices recently) have been out of use since 3
April 2018 (according to a poster on display), and the rails are rusty with weeds growing in places.
Out of use since April (albeit only temporarily), the weeds are already starting to take over
at the Joe English tram stop on route 24 beyond Stenenbrug
The closure of the line to Silsburg is shown on maps as until the end of 2018.
The third non-passenger track in use is as a result of work at Hoboken from 6 August 2018 until spring
2019. The 4 terminates two stops short of the end, where in 2009 there was a reversing triangle
(presumably an out of service shunt – the 2009 BLS tour did it with participants on board), but the 2
turns back at Zwaantjes, using the loop which runs down Voetbalstraat as well as the north-to-east
curve, both in passenger service.
One other change which has taken place in the last few years (and discovered by accident) is the
routing of the 2 and 3 at their northern end. Routes 2, 3 and 6 run though the original pre-metro
tunnels and emerge just after Sport (there are surface connections to the Sportpalais route 12
terminus, done by the 2009 BLS tour); they then run in the central reservation of a dual carriageway
across the Gabriel Theunis Brug over the Albertkanaal, where there is currently a severe speed
restriction which resulted in trams often running very close together. After the bridge (at
Gasthuishoeve, formerly Gasthuishoevestraat), the 6 diverges to the left and the 2 and 3 used to
continue straight ahead, but the 2 and 3 have now been diverted to follow the 6 as far as the junction
just before the next stop (Bredabaan) where a new south-to-east curve has been built to allow the 2
and 3 to regain their normal route using the previously non-passenger line linking the outer ends of
these routes (this link was also done by the 2009 BLS tour). The original route via Heirmanstraat now
forms a single track loop: the outbound (northbound) line remains but now turns left at the end to link
with the inbound track of the 2 and 3 rather than the outbound (the other curve has been removed).
Burgemeester Nolf stop (previously Burgemeester Jozef Nolfplein) has been relocated as a result.
 Bulgaria – Sofia standard gauge trams
Most websites claim there are two standard gauge tram routes in Sofia when there are in fact three,
routes 20 and 22 that come into the city centre plus the 23 that runs in the eastern suburbs. This starts
from a large turning circle at Zh. k. Geo Milev on route 20, shares the same route for eight stops and
then heads south for five to Obikolna Street. This part of the route appears to have taken over the
course of an old BDZ freight line, with internet searches suggesting an opening in 2010. The BDZ
connection remains in situ but has not seen use for some time, as does a west to south inner curve and
a less sharp second and not electrified curve linking in with the route 23 branch south of the 20/23
junction stop at 28-ti-Pushtenski Klon. There is no trace of any sidings off this route 23 branch so it is
assumed it went further and has been lifted. Only double ended trams (currently elderly ex German
Dueweg's) can be used on route 23 as the turnback is just a crossover in the middle of a dual
carriageway. The above was encountered after the PTG Balkan Circular Tour, three members heading
for the eastern part of the broad gauge routes to find the route 22 branch shut that weekend with
those trams diverted to the route 23 starting loop. This meant rare use of the west to north approach
and departure curves at Zh. k. Geo Milev. On catching an inbound tram and arriving at its last stop on
the loop (but short of overlap with route 23 arrivals from the east), a Google Bulgarian request to stay
on to traverse the sizeable loop which on Reverse Translate showed "friends of the tram, so can we
drive the cycle" received approval.
 France – Plans to make it easier to get from Paris-Nord to Paris-Est
Your International Editor has made the short walk between Paris Gare du Nord/Magenta and Paris
Gare de l’Est more times than he cares to remember. It’s not difficult, but then again, it’s not obvious
as it is completely unsigned. The shortest route is about 500 metres long and from Gare du Nord goes
along Rue de Faubourg Saint-Denis before turning left into Rue de Deux Gares and descending the
steps of the Escalier Monumental to arrive at the western entrance of Paris-Est.
Now transport authority Île-de-France Mobilités has outlined a 10-point package running until 2024 to
rehabilitate the urban area around Paris-Nord/Magenta and Paris-Est stations as well as improving
access between them. Île-de-France Mobilités is seeking to improve access by increasing the priority
given to pedestrians in the busy streets around the stations, and by providing escalators to replace the
steps at Escalier Monumental near Paris-Est. There are also plans for excavation of a pedestrian
subway running from Magenta and the Rue d’Alsace to connect with an existing subway at Paris-Est.
Platforms 5 to 12 would be served by lifts and escalators to provide a suitable route for people with
 France - Ile de France trams; T1 connected to T8
It is well known that the Paris region tram network is unusual for a metropolitan area in that none of
the tram lines are inter-connected. It is apparently a deliberate policy. However, circumstances have
now obliged RATP to complete a permanent connection between T1 and T8 where the lines cross in
front of Saint Denis SNCF station. When T8 was recently built, crossing T1 at Saint Denis, points were
installed on each line but a gap of a few metres was left giving rise to sarcastic comments by some
observers. During two months this summer, the gap was closed and the two tram lines are now inter-
connected. So, what has obliged RATP to do this? It stems from the enormous delay that has arisen in
extending T1 eastwards from Noisy-le-Sec to Val-de-Fontenay. For 10 years, successive mayors at
Noisy-le-Sec have blocked the plans to prolong the tram line down their main street. Now this has
been accepted, but it is taking a long time to restart the project.
Meanwhile, it has become urgent to renew the rolling stock on T1 which dates from 1992. Longer,
more modern stock is needed. Originally a new depot was planned on the delayed eastern extension
of T1. So RATP had to search for an alternative depot for the new stock that will arrive sooner than the
new tram line from Noisy. Accommodation has been found at Villetaneuse depot on T8. Hence the
need for the physical link between the two tram lines. Courtesy of the French Railway Society
 France - Neufchâteau to Gironcourt-Houécourt freight line renovated
The line from Neufchâteau to Épinal opened in 1879 as a twin track route, but nowadays only the
western end survives (passenger traffic ended in 1989) as a single track freight line from Neufchâteau
to Gironcourt-Houécourt. Traffic is sand to a bottle factory at Gironcourt-sur-Vraine owned by US
group Owens-Illinois. Renovation works have been carried out in autumn 2016 and 2017, and the
latest two month closure ends in November 2018, so it seems the line has a secure future.
 Germany - Chemnitz to Aue closed and will reopen as a tram route
On 14 September 2018, the last heavy rail trains ran between Chemnitz Hbf and Aue (Sachs), with the
line closed for reconstruction until the timetable change in December 2019. At that time, the
Technopark Chemnitz - Aue section will be connected to the tramway network at Chemnitz Süd, while
the 3.6 km long section of line 6645 north of Chemnitz Süd permanently loses scheduled passenger
traffic. Line 6663 used to run Chemnitz – Aue – Muldenberg – Zwotental – Adorf. Today only the short
section from Muldenberg to Zwotental, which continues to be served by trains on the Vogtlandbahn, is
in use for passenger trains. The line, which was built by the Chemnitz-Aue-Adorfer Eisenbahn-
Gesellschaft (CAAE), was opened on 15 November 1875, but as a result of the construction of the
Eibenstock dam, the route has been interrupted since 1975. It was once planned to double track the
entire line, but only Chemnitz - Einsiedel and Siebenbrunn – Adorf were completed, despite
construction of all the bridge abutments and two tunnels on other sections.
 Greece - New lines and old lines in Central Greece
Two members arranged travels in Greece around the recent PTG Balkan Circular Tour, so can report on
the pending Athens - Thessaloniki main line realignments as at late September/early October. One
member’s trip was prompted by a limited local service resuming from 17 July 2018 on the 58 km old
route between Tithorea and Leianokladi, which had closed in about April 2018 when the new line
opened to passengers. This reopening was the result of pressure from the local town councils.
Unfortunately, the trains run in the dark midweek (early morning southbound; late evening
northbound) but at weekends a daylight journey is possible over this section: see EGTRE entry GR18/3.
Nevertheless, a journey was made on the 06:44 from Leianokladi, being the only option available on
this occasion. Only 17 passengers in total joined at the three reopened stations, so anyone else who
missed this line should perhaps visit before too long.
It was thought that Athens <> Kalambaka trains 884 and 885 might possibly use the old line despite
being non-stop between Tithorea and Leianokladi, owing to their running time being the same as the
local services. However, a journey each way on 4 October revealed that they run via the new main line
and just wait at Tithorea and Leianokladi respectively. A new connection has been made immediately
south of Leianokladi station, but our member’s train departed northwards and then reversed to access
this new line, about 1km in length and running west of the previous line. Returning later in daylight, it
could be seen that the train had run through a new low height platform at Leianokladi. Perhaps it had
not departed from that platform because either it was dark or had left from the south end of the
platform used by an arrival from Stylida, in order to make connections easier.
Both members were motivated by the forthcoming new line northwards from Leianokladi to Domokos,
which has been suggested as opening around Easter 2019. The 8km from Leianokladi to just north of
Ligaria is already in use from an unknown date, with trains using just the western track of the double
track line. Although the Ball European Atlas shows the new line running close to the existing one, the
scale gives the wrong impression as it is substantially different and, in many places, differs
considerably in both height and orientation from the 65.4 km long existing line. There are a number of
lengthy viaducts, at least two of which cross significant valleys. One north of Aggegai looks incomplete,
with the main span still supported in the middle by a temporary pier about 100 ft high. The line
appears to be fully wired as far as Aggeiai, about 2/3 of the way, but north of there only the masts
have been erected. The new line will cross the existing route on the level at a 45° angle just north of
Aggeiai station, so there is of course a break at this point. A complete possession will naturally be
needed to install this so it is hoped that there will be advice of a total suspension of services, giving a
clue as to the opening date. With so much work still outstanding, one of the members is somewhat
sceptical about the quoted Easter 2019 date. Owing to the wiring having been temporarily removed at
Domokos station, trains now change traction at Palaiofarsalos, the junction for the Kalambaka line.
 Italy – Lavis “vertical” deviation opens
The last part of the Lavis - Zambana variant, part of the Trento- Malé - Mezzana railway line, includes
the new underground station serving the town of Lavis. The deviation, a little less than a kilometre
long, is the final part of the Trento side of the variant, whose first part, including the underground
tunnel at Lavis station, was opened in 2007. Passenger services resumed between Trento and
Mezzolombardo from Sunday 28 July. A member travelling the line in August was surprised to see no
evidence of the former line – it appears the new line is directly below the course of the original line.
 Poland – The Chełm to Włodawa summer weekend service visited
This branch only sees a service of two return trips on summer weekends. A two car DMU which
provided a Saturday morning round trip was reasonably well patronised leaving Chełm, boosted by
three groups of cyclists. The line runs through typically flat Polish countryside, although it becomes a
bit more undulating and wooded as it approaches the end of the branch. All passengers except your
reporter alighted before the terminus. Włodawa station appears to be in the middle of nowhere,
which it is as the town itself is around 4 kilometres away, and in fact it is closer to the Belarusian
border. The track north of the station was shiny, although a lack of time and the presence of two
security guards, who had accompanied the train, precluded further exploration. Track was generally in
poor condition, with what appeared to be a 40kph speed limit, and had not been visited by a weed
killing train recently.
DMU at Włodawa
 Romania - Ploiești Sud to Mǎneciu bridge concerns
This branch (line 304) has had a serious bridge issue at Homorâciu where, since 2017, there have been
problems due to erosion of the pilings and a risk that in the event of a major flood, the foundations of
the bridge could be undermined and the bridge partially or totally collapse. The operator,
Transferoviar (TFC), has reminded CFR that repair work needs to start as soon as possible.
 Romania - Romanian Narrow Gauge update. 1. Sibiu area
The PTG tour of Romanian narrow gauge lines in September visited several railways in central,
northern and western Romania.
The former Sibiu to Agnita narrow gauge railway started at a low platform a short distance from Sibiu
station, and the minimalist ‘station’ is still there, though the NG tracks are overgrown. Once they
converged with the standard gauge railway to Brașov to form a dual gauge section which ended with a
flyover taking the NG over the SG line to start its journey north west up the Hârtibaciu valley. Today
the NG is overgrown as far as Cornățel where the efforts of a small group of local enthusiasts,
supported by work parties from the UK, have repaired the line for 7km as far north as Hosman,
restored the station building and water tower and operated steam trains on certain dates. They have a
cycle draisine and ‘moto draisine’ for hire. Work was about to start on the concrete base for a small
shed. A 13km branch once ran from Cornățel to Vurpǎr and almost all the track is still present, but
unfortunately just after the points and road crossing north of the station a homeowner has built an
extension to his house across the track bed – almost certainly totally illegally as it is still owned by CFR.
It had been intended to operate steam specials on the line on the day of the PTG visit, but pending
legislation had stopped that. It seems that the Romanian authorities had suddenly realised that
privately operated railways in Romania were not covered by any regulations and had decided to rectify
this, initially with a consultation, then with legislation, presumably similar to a Light Railway Order.
Something may be in place by mid-2019, but until then train operation at Cornățel has had to stop.
The history of the line may be found at: http://www.sibiuagnitarailway.com/history.php
The alternative was to visit the Sibiu tramway. The last tram ran on 27 February 2011, but a section of
the longest line, from Sibiu to Rășinari, was saved by the Răşinari local council and, following the
acquisition of a suitable vehicle, opened again in early 2018, though only for tourist operation.
Currently services run on Sundays departing Han Dumbrava 12:30 and 14:00 and Rășinari at 11:50,
13:10 and 14:30. The metre gauge line now runs for 6.9km starting in the outskirts of Sibiu at Han
Dumbrava, opposite the Sibiu Hilton, and runs through forest alongside a road, which is crossed at one
point, as far as Rășinari. Here there is a triangle, at two ends of which old trams are stored. Attempts
to get the PTG charter round one side of the triangle failed when the front pantograph lost contact
with the overhead. This was probably because the vehicle used is not a tram at all, but a railcar! The
municipality bought EMU ET26-111 (dating from 1951) for 6000 euros in 2016 from the Stern &
Hafferl transport company in Austria and it was transferred to Romania in September 2017. Our
member later consulted his records and discovered that ET26-111 had taken him from Voklamarkt to
Attersee and back in May 2003. The use of this vehicle raises the question of whether the line should
now be considered a tramway or a light railway. One for the purists to argue.
 Russia (European) – More on the Moscow metro line question
The question asked in BLNI 1312.346 and answered in 1313.374 has prompted another member to
point out that another reason to build a new deeper metro line was the perception that they were
nuclear bomb proof, which would obviously not be the case with cut and cover tunnels.
 Serbia – Ruma to Loznica confirmed as reopened
The extension of the Ruma to Šabac branch passenger service to Loznica duly happened on 1
September 2018, with three trains pairs, the first of which does not operate on Saturdays. A further
extension to Zvornik Grad, which is the end of the branch, is planned.
 Ukraine/Hungary – Standard gauge passenger service to start in December
Within Ukraine the 40km Chop to Mukačevo (also spelt Mukacheve) section of the Chop to L’viv line is
dual 1435 and 1520mm gauge to an industrial area just short of Mukačevo station. A new service is in
the process of implementation and will be on the standard gauge line from Mukačevo to Chop, then
over the border through Zahony into Hungary. The Ukrainians seem to be in a hurry – they wanted the
service to start on their Independence Day of 24 August, but the Hungarians could not produce
timetables at such short notice and now it will start 9 December 2018. The intention is to extend the
SG line at Mukačevo to the BG station, but in the short-term a platform has been built on the SG line
500 metres from Mukačevo BG station.
REST OF THE WORLD
 Russia (Asiatic) - Northern Latitudinal Railway concession signed
A formal formal concession agreement covering construction of the Northern Latitudinal Railway was
signed on 3 October 2018. This 353 km route would run between the current railheads at Labytnangi
and Nadym with construction expected to begin in 2019 for completion in 2025.
As part of the project, Russian Railways is to modernise the 1318 km Kotlas – Labytnangi line to the
west, and the 93 km Korotchaevo – Pangody line to the east. Gazprom will complete the construction
and commissioning of its own 112 km Pangody – Nadym line in the east.
 USA – South West Chief reprieved
The Southwest Chief operates between Chicago and Los Angeles, through Kansas, Colorado and New
Mexico in the southwest. The middle section, which has only two trains a day and does not have
Positive Train Control, was proposed for closure and replacement by a ‘bus bridge’ in 2019. Now an
Amtrak official has told a Senate hearing that the agency would continue to operate passenger
services through the Southwest on routes exempted from Positive Train Control. He said, “We are well
aware of the Senate’s position as well as the directive that is in the Senate’s version of the 2019
appropriations act. We plan on running the Southwest Chief, as is, through fiscal year 2019 and we
await the Congress’ dealing with the Southwest Chief issue during conference as well as in the final
spending bill.” The final sentence shows the threat is still there.