Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 91,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 4 days for that many people to see it.

 

In 2010, there were 281 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1270 posts. There were 15 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 843kb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was January 28th with 1,173 views. The most popular post that day was White House to Dole Out $8 Billion for Fast Trains – NYTimes.com.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were Google Reader, narprail.org, cahsrblog.com, citytransit.blogspot.com, and google.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for trains for america, trains 4 america, bullet trains in america, amtrak train status, and talgo wisconsin.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

White House to Dole Out $8 Billion for Fast Trains – NYTimes.com January 2010
1 comment

2

Talgo will bring new high speed trains to Wisconsin July 2009
38 comments

3

Amtrak Train Status Map March 2009
13 comments

4

Autotrain Sanford, Florida Amtrak station groundbreaking May 2009
11 comments

5

Maglev v. High Speed Rail August 2009
50 comments

Filed under: Administration

Your High Speed Rail 501 (OK, we’re being pretty demanding) emd of term exam

A reader became as irritated, as I often do,  with some of the grain of truth but generally misleading opinion pieces we so often encounter The column under consideration came from the Boston Herald. It’s a real piece of work form a guy named Guy Darst (clever play on words, aye?). His technique is to use a scatter gun approach with half-truths, unimportant factoids, and confusion.

Since I am tied up with an academic paper these days, I have a plan to keep you people out of my hair.

OK. Settle down. Can’t anybody take a joke anymore?

Your exam is open-book. Deal with one issue raised by the column. Identify the issue properly and state your response using whatever sources you may wish to cite. Cite two for extra “points”

By the way, points are worth nothing, but everybody will know that you REALLY know your stuff. Here is the email that raises the questions/issues.

I get mad when I see stupid stuff going unchallenged.

Here are the contentious points in his article, as I see them:

“It’s doubtful there are many like that.” He says there aren’t many “shovel-ready” projects. Well, from what I’ve seen, there are many of them, even on the California HSR plan. Agree? How could I substantiate it?

“the European trains so praised by the president all eat large subsidies (about $88 billion per year overall).” I live near the current eastern end of the TGV Est line in France. From what I’ve heard, the SNCF makes an operating profit on its TGV operations, enough to cross-subsidize the rest of the network. But it’s not unusual for public transit to require an operating subsidy, much as do cars and planes, which get concealed subsidies. But this figure sounds silly and extreme. How to attack it?

“Despite their splendid trains, Europeans drive almost as much as we do.” Well, sure, but that’s specious. If there weren’t all these filled to capacity (try to buy a ticket from Luxembourg to Paris less than a week an advance and you run the risk of it being sold out) trains, where would the excess go? Back into planes and cars, in that order.

“This is hard to believe – unless the trains are to be powered by electricity generated from nuclear reactors and hydroelectric plants.” Or how about windmills or geothermic or solar? Isn’t Spain committing to drive all of its high speed trains from wind power? Has anyone written about this?

“Amtrak and private automobiles emit about the same amount of carbon dioxide per passenger mile.” This strikes me as either wrong or misleading. First of all, Amtrak uses diesels, and operates them inefficiently. But even so, I’ve heard figures of 1/3 less CO2. Am I right?

“Remember the claims for Acela?” What is he talking about? The Acela runs over barely upgraded tracks from the early 20th century. The only money spent on it went into getting trains that can go faster where possible, and keeping the electrical overhead from falling down. What is his point, anyway? There has never been multi-billion investment into the NEC. Maybe $1 billion?

My problem in dealing with this stuff is I know when it’s wrong, but I don’t have a set of facts close to hand that I’m sure of to tackle these fellow. Maybe one day.

Anyway, thanks for listening.

Filed under: Administration, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

Call for better passenger rail advocacy

Jim Cameron, up in Connecticut, relates his recent experience addressing a gathering of the National Association of Railroad Passengers. I could not agree more with his desire to see a more inclusive broad based representation of this essential transportation segment.

I dearly wish I had the financial capacity to work on this full time because we, as advocates of good ground transportation, have been segregated into the slums of public policy with a bunch of pass riding, sentimental, blowhards that reflect nothing of the people on the trains. Amtrak’s customer base includes students, business people (even in the middle of America), minorities, and women with their families.

NOTE: It was too harsh. I apologize sincerely.

Let me add that the current deplorable situation is not NARP’s fault. They, like all the rest of us, have their hands full. I come from a railroad family (GM&O) and I know the difference between history and nostalgia. I recommend you read “Advocacy” above (and I am sure it could use some improvement).

The other main contributor to this endeavor, Logan Nash, is a college age man who is perfectly tuned in to the culture and issues. He gives us a real”edge.” I think an internet community can more easily reach out to people of different age groups and backgrounds and include them in the national discussion. That is what Trains for America is about.

Here is part of what Jim had to say and a link.

Rail advocates must be taken seriously, not seen as eccentric hobbyists. And NARP should do more to really represent all rail passengers, not just “foamers”.

Filed under: Administration, Amtrak, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

TFA TWITTERS

It had happen. You can keep up with Trains for America on Twitter. I’m looking forward to getting to know yuu and getting the word out about this great and growing site.

http://twitter.com/Trains4America

Filed under: Administration

“Live” blogging on election results at Lynch at Large

I am on KARK TV in Little Rock tonight.They have lots of studioweb cams, so you may see me AND I am blogging on lynchatlarge.wordpress.com. Check it out. AND LEAVE A COMMENT

Filed under: Administration

Some shameless self-promotion from Pat Lynch

Those of you in the KARK TV Channel 4 coverage may want to check out the election night coverage Tuesday evening when  Bill Vickery and I add color and commentary to the evening’s election results. They may even have some video   segments online. Here is the link.

Filed under: Administration, Passenger Rail Politics

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