Amtrak change could impact Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society’s “Joliet Rocket” excursion

Former Nickel Plate locomotive No. 765 will be at the Railroad Historical Society open house this weekend. (News-Sentinel.com file photo by Kevin Leininger)

A policy change announced by Amtrak earlier this week may have an impact on the excursions for the Nickel Plate No. 765 steam locomotive.

According to the new policy released on Wednesday, Amtrak “will no longer operate charter services or special trains,” citing operational distractions and delays for paying customers on its main routes.

In reference to this change, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society has postponed the planned sale of tickets for September’s “The Joliet Rocket” excursion. The tickets were scheduled to go on sale next week.

“While the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society does not have any Amtrak charters planned in 2018, the privately-owned, historic cars included in our excursions commonly use Amtrak terminals for staging and use Amtrak trains to travel to different venues around the country,” said the FWRHS in a release. “The new Amtrak policy will undoubtedly disrupt…or delay car movements for ‘The Joliet Rocket…'”

According to Trains Magazine, while detailed information is still unclear on how this will impact dozens of special trains and charters around the country, some operators are already being denied movement of cars by Amtrak that was previously done in the past.

“At this time, it would be imprudent to open ticket sales as previously scheduled before we have more clarity on the situation,” said FWRHS in a release. “As such, this policy will force us to revisit our contractual agreements with car owners, re-affirm both their availability and costs, and confirm Amtrak’s ability to transport them to our venue. Amtrak’s participation was critical to last year’s ‘Joliet Rocket’ trips.”

The FWRHS hopes to open ticket sales for the excursion once some of its questions have been answered. You can get more information and join the waitlist here.

COMMENTS