Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

A quick Tuesday roundup of Amtrak news

Since we seem to have spent yesterday sipping Lattes, it is definitely time to sample a few Amtrak related stories.

The Vermont newspaper is rethinking proposed Amtrak cuts.

It was very disturbing to see the recent media articles suggesting that the Vermont Agency of Transportation was flirting with massive cuts in Vermont’s Amtrak services. Most particularly it’s alarming in the face of the unprecedented recent ridership gains on our trains, just as the federal government is making new commitments to support Amtrak. Our congressional delegation just got language into the new Amtrak authorization making Vermont/Amtrak projects like the purchase of new diesel multiple unit cars potentially eligible for 80 percent federal funding.

Meanwhile, the Burlington Free Press runs a dismissive sentimental summary leading unwary readers to believe that passenger rail travel is for grandmas and toddlers. For gosh sakes, passengers do not ride end-to-end. It also asks reader comments. Take a look.

An incident reported in Illinois.

Ten people suffered minor injuries Monday morning when a St. Louis-bound Amtrak train slammed into a tractor-trailer truck stalled on a rural crossing just north of Brighton.

Although we do not do local transit news, Durham, North Carolina is opening such an impressive transit center, TFA must take note. It is supposedly an easy walk from a new Amtrak station opening next year. You need to read the whole report, but here is the lead.

Durham is less populous than Raleigh and Greensboro, but its buses are busier. In a couple of months, Durham’s neglected bus riders finally will move into a home they can be proud of.

DATA will open its $18.7 million Durham Station Transportation Center in February, at the old Heart of Durham Hotel site on Chapel Hill Street.

When that happens, DATA riders — a record half million of them in October — will be liberated from a cramped, squalid transfer center on Morgan Street.

And there is the continuing soap opera in Beaumont, Texas. It should be a major stop on the sunset. Here is the newest development from the local paper.

Beaumont officials are still trying to figure out how to upgrade the city’s Amtrak station – and anything would be an upgrade over the current situation. The city has a non-station rather than a station. Passengers simply get on or off the train at an open site on a dead-end street off 11th Street

That’s deplorable. Yet city officials don’t want to spend any money for a station because they say it’s Amtrak’s responsibility. Previously, Amtrak had no money for new stations.

That could change. State and federal officials are studying the expansion of Amtrak service in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Amtrak is considering adding new stations in several locations.

Good news for folks in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Local rail supporters are thrilled that despite the economic odds, a state-proposed $17 million three-year pilot program includes long-awaited U.S. 29 passenger rail improvements.


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

One Response

  1. Peter Gibson says:

    Beaumont, Texas….like most American Cities, has no money for AMTRAK, but I’ll bet the city provides tax-payer funding for its local air-service as well as all city provided amenities for a commercial bus service. Typical.

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December 2008


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