Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

FRA Not Cooperating on Acela-2 | Systemic Failure

As a wholly-owned subsidiary of the trucking and highway interests, do you think the Federal Railroad Administration wants high speed rail to operate in the USA? Case closed. Read a great post here.

FRA Not Cooperating on Acela-2 | Systemic Failure.

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

Wisconsin Talgo train story: a political disgrace

Disgrace for Wisconsin, nice job Oregon and Washington State. This is the “why” part of the fact that not one mile of true high speed rail will be built in the United States. It goes against the powerful corporate interests that oppose it and have all the political power.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, United States High Speed Rail

5 top issues between Amtrak and House GOP – Burgess Everett – POLITICO.com

In other words, things have changed not one little bit since Amtrak was formed as a centerpiece of Nixon’s corporate welfare. Good outline.

Former House transportation committee Chairman John Mica is putting everything on the table for Amtrak reform. That includes a cup of coffee and a hamburger.

Mica’s long-standing complaints about losses on the railroad’s food service produced a tense exchange between him and Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman during a subcommittee hearing Thursday. And it provided an example of the host of issues Congress must haggle over as transportation leaders work toward passing a new passenger rail bill.

In addition to Mica’s objections to the cost of a cup of joe and his push for private-sector competition, the list of contentious issues includes stemming losses on coast-to-coast routes, getting states to share Amtrak’s cost burden and deciding the future of high-speed rail. But even with that litany of controversies underway, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and railroads subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) exude nothing but confidence that they can get a bill done by the end of September.

Denham told POLITICO after the hearing that he wasn’t dissuaded by some of his subcommittee members’ entrenched positions — and the work is really just beginning.

“I would say it’s what we expected,” he said.

Boardman said he’s encouraged by Denham and Shuster’s approach. “They’re trying to be thoughtful,” he said.

Here’s a quick glance at the items members are expected to concentrate on:

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

National Association of Railroad Passengers – President Pushes Bold Plan for Passenger Rail

$40 billion for passenger rail over 5 years. This must not stand! Surely there is some developing nation we can bomb back to the stone ages. That is a far superior use of taxpayer money.

The Obama Administration released its budget request for Fiscal Year 2014 today, and the President has once again put forth a bold plan for transforming and expanding train service in the United States, with $40 billion in passenger rail investment over the next five years.

The Administration’s budget allocates $6.6 billion to the Federal Rail Administration for fiscal 2014, with increasing amounts each subsequent year through 2019, then decreasing amounts to 2023. The request will be a boost for Amtrak, coming a day before the House Committee on Transportation holds a hearing on the railroad’s FY 2014 budget.  The hearing, Amtrak’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget: The Starting Point for Reauthorization [which can be streamed live] will address Amtrak’s funding needs, as well as the coming rail reauthorization (the current law will expire at the end of this September). Amtrak announced yesterday it had set a new ridership record during the first half of this fiscal year, and will be looking to translate its steady increase in popularity into an increase its funding for badly needed equipment purchases and infrastructure upgrades.

Here is a link to the rest.

National Association of Railroad Passengers – President Pushes Bold Plan for Passenger Rail.

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

Amtrak haters: Bullies with no public purpose | Railway Age

Conservative columnist and American Enterprise scholar Michael Barone, with degrees from Harvard and Yale, is a smart fellow. But a recent column about Amtrak suggests his research consisted of wandering into the posh Capitol Grill in Washington, D.C., and sitting at Amtrak baiter-in-chief Rep. John Mica’s luncheon table, absorbing Mica’s jihad against publicly funded intercity rail passenger service.

Amtrak FLORIDA P-42Mica’s endless blistering attacks against Amtrak for failing to earn a profit hang as a sword of Damocles, diverting scarce managerial resources from effectively improving efficiency and customer service to explaining, without respite, why Amtrak should exist at all.

Thirty-one million passenger boardings, up 55% since 1997 — coupled with increasing highway and aviation congestion and a rapidly aging population — should be reason enough, but not for Mica, Barone, and other Amtrak haters.

You may read it all at the link below.

Amtrak haters: Bullies with no public purpose | Railway Age.

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

Visualizing How Poorly Amtrak’s Route Network Serves Most of the U.S. – Jobs & Economy – The Atlantic Cities

Here is an excellent item that aptly demonstrates (with several maps) failings and opportunities within the nationwide Amtrak “system.” You need to follow the link below to see they maps. They are worth your time.

Like the classic electoral college map filled in each Election Night, train maps don’t tell you much about the stuff that counts: people.

For Amtrak, the route map can be particularly unhelpful. Not only are the longest lines the least popular, their train frequency can be one-sixtieth that of the system’s busiest lines.

With that in mind, Mike Hicks, a transit blogger in Minneapolis, plotted boardings and alightings on a simple state map. Using numbers from Amtrak’s State Fact Sheets and a list of GPS coordinates for Amtrak stations published by Bill Ensinger, Hicks funneled ridership data into circular, geographic containers.

As you might expect, the result drives home the preeminence of the Northeast Corridor route — individual cities are lost in a foam of overlapping bubbles.

But a visual representation calls attention to other rail travel hotspots as well. California and the Pacific Northwest both have substantial (if largely separate) traffic on the rails, as does the Chicago area, with heavily traveled prongs extending east into Michigan, south to St. Louis, and north to Milwaukee.’

Read it all at the link below. It is very informative.

Visualizing How Poorly Amtrak’s Route Network Serves Most of the U.S. – Jobs & Economy – The Atlantic Cities.

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

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