Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

In ‘Keeping Them Honest,’ truth not necessary to ‘report’ on rail – From the Editor’s – METRO Magazine

For your consideration, follow the link below for the entire story.

April 12, 2013

In ‘Keeping Them Honest,’ truth not necessary to ‘report’ on rail

By  Nicole Schlosser

While the typical griping continues in California over its plans for high-speed rail, projects across the U.S. were subject to a recent hatchet job, ironically, by CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360◦” in the segment, “Keeping Them Honest.”

The story, “High-speed rail Boondoggle,” claims to be about how $800 million in federal funds was spent only to take 10 minutes off a rail trip between Portland, Ore. and Seattle, while promising high-speed rail. However, it was really just making out the concept of bullet trains in the U.S. as a waste of money for something nobody wants without sharing any facts.

“Investigative Correspondent” Drew Griffin begins spinning his colorful yarn about how the public is supposedly being cheated with a really premature statement: “The dream, shared by those who stand to make money from high-speed rail, is turning into a pipe dream.”

He goes on to oversimplify the situation with this generalization: “Four years and $12 billion later, scattered projects across the country that slow trains moved just a little faster.” Griffin also implied that there was no other work being done to complete the projects nationwide.

Throughout the story, Griffin gave the false impression that building an entire high-speed rail program, basically from scratch, would or should only take four years, as the U.S. High-Speed Rail Authority pointed out in a release responding to the show.

In ‘Keeping Them Honest,’ truth not necessary to ‘report’ on rail – From the Editor’s – METRO Magazine.

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

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

Place of Dallas area high-speed rail stations debated | Your Commute | News from Fort Worth, Dallas,…

There is an interesting Little Rock angle in this very interesting story. Did you know the Wright Amendment expires in October of 2014? Changes coming for Southwest and cities it serves in neighboring states.

One of the partners in this private enterprise project is Central Railway of Japan. Of course, the usual opponents of good transportation can be expected to rise up against it, but one should watch anyway. Here is the link.

Place of high-speed rail stations debated | Your Commute | News from Fort Worth, Dallas,….

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

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

Amtrak Seeks Safety Changes to Allow U.S. Bullet Trains- Bloomberg

Despite Bloomberg’s deliberately misleading headline, this is a much needed shift in transportation policy. Of course, truckers and airlines will never allow lighter and faster trains.

Amtrak will recommend new U.S. rail- safety regulations to allow it to replace its Acela trains in the Northeast U.S. with lighter, faster equipment, Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman said.

U.S. crashworthiness standards force Amtrak to use trains that have locomotives on both ends and are slower and heavier than bullet trains used in Europe and Asia, Boardman said in an interview. Those standards reflect that U.S. passenger trains often share tracks with freight railroads rather than operating on their own lines.

Existing standards apply to trains traveling as much as 150 miles per hour (241 kilometers per hour). Writing new rules that relax railcar structural-strength requirements for faster trains “would allow for less use of fuel, quicker acceleration, a different performance profile,” Boardman, 64, said. “What we’re really looking for is a performance specification here.”

 

Amtrak Seeks Safety Changes to Allow U.S. Bullet Trains- Bloomberg.

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

UPDTE: Memphis-to-Little Rock high-speed rail to be studied » The Commercial Appeal

UPDATE: Be sure to read Dr. Bill Pollard’s remarks in the “comments.” Although he takes a somewhat, and much more positive approach, I have the highest possible respect for his opinions, especially concerning the so-called I-49 corridor.

***

This is a colossal rip-off, and I support high speed rail and am a resident of Arkansas. Again, the only people who benefit are the consultants and bureaucrats. First the news.

The State of Arkansas will study the possibility of high-speed trains traveling up to 200 mph between Memphis and Little Rock and Texarkana, reports the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

State transportation officials anticipate spending $1 million to $1.25 million in federal and state funds to conduct two long-range railroad transportation plans in the next 18 to 24 months, the newspaper reported Friday.

One study will look at issues surrounding freight rail transport and existing passenger rail service. The other will examine how Arkansas might participate in a national initiative on high-speed passenger rail.

Memphis-to-Little Rock high-speed rail to be studied » The Commercial Appeal.

Now a modest proposal. I have made this before, but here goes anyway.

There is not enough population to be served on a Little Rock to Memphis route, especially if we are talking true 200 mph European-style HSR. Multi-billions would be spent. My idea is as follows:

  • Conventional speed trains and right-of-way. (110-125 mph)
  • Build from Memphis International Airport to Little Rock National Airport.
  • Use existing UP right-of-way. Add dedicated fast track.
  • Add service to Searcy and Cabot (not every run).
  • Continue from Little Rock National Airport to DFW.
  • Use existing UP and add a dedicated fast track.
  • Serves Arkadelphia, Texarkana, Longview.

This more modestly priced plan connects 3 air hubs and numerous smaller communities. Price is relatively high but in the same “ball park” as highway construction. Airlines might want to participate as is done in Europe. lMuch less cost that European-style HSR. So there.

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

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