Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

UPDATE: WSJ: Congressional investigation of Amtrak IG

This goes to show the system works and, very honestly, I would prefer this kind of thing happen before Amtrak gets neck deep in its desperately needed equipment repairs and (hopefully) placing orders for desperately needed equipment.

The Wall Street Journal reports.


WASHINGTON — A House committee is investigating the recent resignation of Amtrak’s inspector general, citing concerns about oversight at the publicly funded corporation at a time when it is set to spend more than $1 billion in federal stimulus funds.

Reps. Edolphus Towns (D., N.Y.) and Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), the chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, launched an investigation Monday following the resignation this month of Fred Weiderhold, Amtrak’s longtime inspector general.

Further note the sudden and suspicious departure of former president Alex Kummant and the “activist” reputation of the Amtrak board.

No excuses, no whining. I beat the daylights out of my enemies for this kind of thing, I can hardly let it pass when my friends are under the microscope.

It is, however, possible that the typical bunch of neocons might save the chest thumping for a more appropriate occasion. All this proves is that the system can be made to work.

UPDATE: While Michelle Malkin may fall into the general classification of neocon chest beater, her commentary on the Amtrak IG affair bears consideration. Memo to Michelle: Amtrak is hardly “awash” in $1.3 billion dollars in stimulus money. Amtrak is capital starved and management impaired with a meddlesome board and micr0-managing congress. Every sensible person wants the Amtrak money to be used as advertised, station improvements and desperately needed repairs of rolling stock.


Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

Midwest High Speed Rail Association proposes 220 mph. for Chicago-St. Louis

The Chicago Tribune says that a new study on the St. Louis-Chicago corridor will be released today. Currently, Amtrak operates at around 79 mph. on this route and the latest plans would raise speeds to 110 mph. There is good cause to be thinking of something very much faster, according to the Midwest High Speed Rail Association.

By going 220 m.p.h., however, those improved trip times would be cut roughly in half, to 1 hour and 52 minutes, according to the association. The estimate includes making intermediary stops in Champaign and Springfield, while providing customers with downtown-to-downtown service and beating the door-to-door trip times of airline travel.

This is a very old railroad right-of-way, and in this case it is a good thing. Originally the Chicago and Alton, the Lincoln funeral train used this route from Chicago to Springfield. It is the old GM&O, which is my family railroad. The point is that it is straight in many places and people are accustomed to its operation.

This is a situation in which it makes a great deal of sense to relocate freight traffic and completely rebuild the line for the fastest trains possible. The $11 billion price tag tells me that the AHSRA is making a strong bid for a major slice of the federal money.

There are several excellent reasons to favor this route, including the existance of a “mature” base of consummers who already use rail transportation.

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

France plans new TGV line

The reports from France could not be better. Here is the latest item of interest from The Connexion.  

THE ROUTE of a new high-speed rail link across the South-east will pass through Marseilles and Toulon on its way to Nice.

The route will make it possible to reach Paris from Nice in 3hrs 50mins compared to 5hrs 25mins at present.

Those hopeless French morons! Don’t they know that Paris is 387 miles fron Nice and that is far too long a trip by high speed rail? Those buffoons! If only they had some tried and true American know how, they would already know that what they are planning is impossible! French cities are just too far apart. I mean, don’t misunderstand, high speed rail is a sweet childish dream, but you can’t expect to actually construct high speed rial lines because there’s always a reason why not. It just won’t work. End of story.

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

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June 2009