Amtrak's westbound Empire Builder is temporarily detouring in North Dakota to speed up track and signal improvements being done by BNSF between Fargo and Minot.
Chartered buses are covering the missed Amtrak stations in Grand Forks, Devils Lake and Rugby through Sept. 30.
The eastbound Empire Builder is operating normally and serving all scheduled stops.
Joe Boardman, Amtrak president and chief executive officer, is visiting North Dakota this week. The lengthy delays the Empire Builder has incurred will be a major topic in meetings with leaders at his stops in the state.
Amtrak officials said they fully expect the track and signal work to be done by the end of September at the latest.
BNSF announced it is investing about $400 million in North Dakota to expand, replace and maintain its infrastructure, and for the implementation of Positive Train Control.
Amtrak CEO at Minot event Saturday
Joe Boardman, Amtrak president and chief executive officer from Washington, D.C., will be at the National Train Day open house Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Minot Amtrak passenger station.
A year ago Paul Nagel, lead agent at the Minot station, invited Boardman to the event in Minot.
The Minot event will be Boardman's only engagement in the country on National Train Day. North Dakota elected officials will also participate in the open house.
The event is open to the public.
Expansion projects include:
- Completing construction of a second mainline track, referred to as double track, between Minot and Glasgow to expand capacity for all traffic moving on this route in the Northern Corridor.
- Constructing new sidings, tracks adjacent to the mainline track, to expand capacity by enabling more trains to meet and pass one another on the predominately single track routes between:
- Fargo and Grand Forks.
- Fargo and Minot.
- Bismarck and Glendive, Mont.
- Minot and Grand Forks.
- Upgrading to a Centralized Traffic Control signal system to improve train movements between Bismarck and Fargo.
- Maintenance projects include:
- Surfacing and undercutting of more than 930 miles of track.
- Replacing about 110 miles of rail.
- Replacing more than 330,000 ties.
Overall, in states along BNSF's Northern Corridor, the railway plans to invest about $1 billion to improve and expand rail capacity. The Northern Corridor spans the northern U.S. between the Pacific Northwest and Chicago, including North Dakota.