Amtrak’s daily California Zephyr service that begins and terminates in Emeryville will be temporarily suspended west of Denver. The result of an Amtrak employee testing positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus according to a press release by an Amtrak spokesperson.
That positive coronavirus diagnosis prompted the self-quarantine of other Amtrak employees on the Zephyr route for 14 days, meaning there aren’t enough crew members to operate the train west of Denver.
“Under Amtrak policy, employees are directed to take time-off from service to care for themselves or family members who are symptomatic or have tested positive (for coronavirus),” Amtrak spokeswoman Olivia Irvin said in an email Tuesday.
“A resulting lack of sufficient staff is causing a temporary suspension of Amtrak service between Denver and Reno,” and, by extension, Emeryville, she said. Irvin said passengers can use a combination of other Amtrak trains, including the Capitol Corridor route to Sacramento, and Amtrak Thruway buses to reach points between Emeryville and Reno.
Starting March 21, Capitol Corridor service has been reduced in response to fewer people traveling by rail. The last eastbound Zephyr to leave Emeryville for points east departed Saturday; since then, the train’s western terminus has been Denver.
Irvin did not say whether there was any sort of planned replacement transportation to reach Emeryville, or intermediate points (like Martinez and Richmond, regular station stops in the Bay Area), or give an anticipated restart date.
Feature Image: Loco Steve via Wikimedia Commons.
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Amtrak does show service to Denver. 38 hours first by bus from Emeryville to Bakersfield. Then Southwest Chief from LA to Raton, NM. Then bus from New Mexico to Denver.
Amtrak rep told me that Amtrak tried booking train half full to facilitate social distancing.
Amtrak’s Zephyr will run again June first. I called customer service today.