Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Everything you ever wanted to know about rail stimulus spending

UPDATE: link issue is improved. It should take you to an FRA page that will give you the needed information and I apologize for the inconvenience.

Yes, grasshopper, all mysteries on rail usages of the recovery money will be revealed if you follow this excellent link to obtain a PDF file from the FRA. You can also look at it in html. Of course, grasshopper, you must beleive that you will receive enlightenment and humbly receive all wisdom.


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

Amtrak long distance ridership up, despite corridor losses

Bloomberg reports on possible fare cuts because of declining Acela passenger loads.

By Chris Dolmetsch

March 3 (Bloomberg) — Amtrak, the national passenger railroad company that cut fares on its high-speed Acela last month, may lower ticket prices on other trains as ridership drops, Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman said.

Passengers are switching to slower, cheaper regional trains from the Acela, and the railroad is examining whether to reduce fares on all of its routes, said Boardman, 60, a former New York state transportation commissioner who replaced Alex Kummant in November.

And now, as the late Mr. Harvey would say, the rest of the story.

The railroad isn’t seeing a similar drop on its long- distance trains, Boardman said. Projections show passenger loads on those routes are up 6.1 percent for the fiscal year to date, with a 3.5 percent increase in February, Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black said.

It is important for Congress and journalists to know that there is an Amtrak out beyond the northeast corridor.

Now before somebody accuses me of the typical “us versus them” circular firing squad attitude common among rail advocates, let me assure you that it is not so. The Washington-Boston service is an essential part of the national transportation system.

Nonetheless, Amtrak’s long distance trains are subject to constant nit-picking despite excellent performance in the face of a harsh economic downtown. These trains suffer many difficulties.

  • Typically dilapidated stations with inadequate staff and platforms.
  • Gross shortages of equipment cause very inventory necessary to build revenue.
  • Host railroad dispatching often causes unnecessary delays.. Passengers hold Amtrak accountable for something over which it has absolutely no control.
  • Most intermediate cities have only one train a day in each direction. This means that some significant towns, like Little Rock where I live, have trains that come and go in the middle of the might. That means they are essentially unserved.
  • Dining car operation is under direct congressional supervision. (only a slight exaggeration.)

Long distance passengers may not be high end business travelers, but they bring a notable share to the bottom line. They are students, families, working folks and retired people on personal business. They count too.

If passengers are paying for trips on long distance trains, why would you cut the fares that seem to meet market needs? That is the bad news.

The good news is much better. Amtrak long distance service is proving its worth in tough economic times. It deserves more financial support to increase ridership and revenue.

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

U. S. lags world on transportation technology

Obstructionists will surely deny it, but the proof is overwhelming. This will make you wonder why taxpayers are being asked to prop up the Big Three automakers. Rail news reports on an event that sounds a lot like the Academy Awards.

Night of glory for Translink

Posted: 3rd March 2009 | From Railnews Mar 2009 print edition No Comments

Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane

TRANSLINK-Northern Ireland Railways swept the board at the prestigious HSBC Rail Business Awards in London, taking back to Belfast a caseful of trophies that included the Rail Business of the Year Award.

The operator, which has seen big passenger increases and improvements to train service reliability with a new fleet of trains, was also runner up in the SSP Train Operator of the Year.

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

Plan emerges for first leg of California HSR

The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Officials of the California High-Speed Rail Authority say a flat, straight stretch through the San Joaquin Valley connecting Merced and Bakersfield will likely be the first completed.

Regional Manager Thomas Tracy told the Visalia City Council Monday that the 800-mile project will be built in eight phases. The first segment, due by 2015, would stretch from Bakersfield to Merced on an initial run from San Diego to Sacramento.

At its full 220 mph speed, the normally three-hour car trip from Merced to Bakersfield would take 45 minutes.

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


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.

Filed under: Administration

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March 2009