Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Subsidized air service

I post this item for no other reason than to remind folks of the existence of a federally subsidized program to provide air service to small communities. It is useful and necessary and we at TFA are pleased that small towns in Montana will have essential air service.

We also believe that Billings, Great Falls, Helena and Missoula deserve daily service as well.

Replacement airline welcomed
News that a Cheyenne, Wyo.-based airline will take over federally subsidized rural flights in Montana from Big Sky Airlines is good new for seven small Montana communities.

Big Sky Airlines’ parent company, MAIR Holdings, an-nounced on Dec. 17 that it will cease its East Coast operations on Jan. 7 and work to find another carrier for Montana’s Essential Air Service flights.

The federal EAS program subsidizes flights to rural communities. Big Sky Airlines was awarded the contract to provide EAS flights to Glasgow, Glendive, Havre, Lewistown, Miles City, Sidney and Wolf Point.

“We don’t know when the transition will take place, but we can confirm that Great Lakes Airlines will be providing service to the seven EAS Montana destinations,” said Monica Taylor, spokeswoman for Great Lakes Airlines. “We will use the same type of 19-passenger planes that Big Sky is using now.”


Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

Japan plans Maglev project

An attentive reader nudged me on this story, which I somehow missed. It is important too. Among the better reports is this one from the Wall Street Journal.

Central Japan Railway Plans
$44.7 Billion Maglev Project

December 27, 2007; Page B2

TOKYO — Japanese rail travelers may soon be riding one of the fastest trains in the world: a maglev that would zoom between Tokyo and the Nagoya area at double the speed of the current rail link.

But investors weren’t exactly ecstatic over Central Japan Railway Co.’s announcement that it will spend about 5.1 trillion yen ($44.7 billion) on a magnetically levitating train project over the next two decades. The railway’s share price tumbled 8.8% yesterday amid concern that the company will be saddled with heavy debt for a rail line that won’t generate much profit.

The bullet-train operator, known as JR Tokai, said late Tuesday it plans to begin operating the line in 2025.

The company expects pretax profit to fall to about 70 billion yen in fiscal 2026 because of operating costs and depreciation charges, compared with 237 billion yen in the fiscal year that ended in March. Profit would then gradually rise to an average of about 140 billion yen over the next 10 years, starting in 2027.

Filed under: International High Speed Rail

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December 2007