Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

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

Why does John McCain hate trains?

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

First it was Sputnik, now Russia embraces HSR

Something for our California friends, and everybody concerned about good transportation to consider. This comes from Russia Today.


Spain to help build Russian railwaysNovember 3, 2008, 19:44

Spain to help build Russian railways

Russian Railways is seeking Spanish expertise in a multi-billion dollar investment project. Spain is ready to help build high-speed railways in mountainous areas and supply trains with an automatic gauge changing system.Welcomed by the King of Spain and the country’s top officials, the head of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin, went to Madrid as an old friend and a trusted partner.

Russian Railways has a multi-billion dollar investment plan for rail infrastructure – a vital project in times of economic turmoil, according to Yakunin.

“The problem is not only the liquidity of banks, but also the support of the demand – the market, the real economy. So, because of that, we consider it is absolutely essential to keep the infrastructural investment programmes in tact,” he says. 

Russian authorities are considering co-operation with Spain’s INECO to build a high speed railway that will carry passengers from Moscow to Sochi in less than 24 hours.

As for international cargo, even high-speed trains have to cope with a variation of track gauge among different countries.

Spain has a solution – Talgo carriages that can alter the gauge on the go.

Mario Oria, Talgo’s export and marketing manager says: “We are hoping that the  Russian market becomes the biggest in that share. Ideally, we’d be talking about 20-30 % of overall sales.” 
Talgo’s trains can boost cargo volumes from Russia to the EU countries and significantly cut delivery times. Russia has already finished testing the Talgo system and is likely to buy the first ten trains, worth 15 million euros each, as soon as 2011.

Related links:

Oil and gas dominate Gaddafi’s visit to Moscow

Railways shunt into investment spotlight


Filed under: International High Speed Rail, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

Congressional representatives call on Amtrak to expedite study for restoring Pioneer service in Idaho and Oregon

Of all the boneheaded and totally wrong ideas ever matched at Amtrak, axing the Pioneer is way up the top of the list. Now, rightly, some Congressmen are getting after Amtrak management to correct a decade old error. The Idaho Mountain Express has the entire story, which we highlight here.

Five members of the Idaho and Oregon congressional delegations have written the president and CEO of Amtrak to request he expedite a study on the return of passenger rail service though Oregon, Idaho and points east. The study, inserted into an Amtrak spending bill by Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, was the focal point of the letter signed by Crapo, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, and Reps. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, and Greg Walden, R-Oregon. 

“We have heard from families in our states who have been waiting more than a decade for rail service to return,” the delegation members wrote in the letter sent today to Amtrak’s Alex Kummant. “Recent sharp increases in Amtrak ridership show that more and more people are turning to intercity rail for transportation. We believe that there is substantial interest in reinstating the Pioneer Route in our states and returning this economic and transportation network to our communities and neighborhoods.”

Nationally, Amtrak ridership is up this year compared with last year. The increases were 13.9 percent in July, 10.5 percent in August and 9.7 percent for September. For the fiscal year, ridership is up 11.1 percent over last year. Crapo and Wyden originally requested that Amtrak begin studying the return of the Pioneer Route back in 1999.

The Pioneer Route served cities in Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming before it was discontinued in 1997. In Idaho, it passed through Shoshone, south of the Wood River Valley.

This is not nuclear physics either. There have been some new obstacles introduced. Union Pacific has ripped out the trackage from Portland Union Station that would lead directly to the river bridge and the Pioneer route. These are relatively insignificant and should be addressed immediately, and that includes putting downtown Boise back on the nap too.

Amtrak provides essential service to small town America and this would be an inexpensive but vital link in the national system.

The Pioneer, at one time, was an essential link between the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest as an alternative to the Empire Builder.

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

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November 2008