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Text Version   RSS   Subscribe   Unsubscribe   Archive   Media Kit            February 18, 2015





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Panel approves $7.8 billion for Amtrak
The Hill
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee quietly approved nearly $8 billion in funding for Amtrak. The measure calls for spending approximately $1.7 billion annually over the next four years on the rail service, a slight increase from the present level of funding. Prior Amtrak funding debates in Washington have been contentious affairs, but lawmakers said this year's bill — which was approved unanimously — is fair to both supporters and critics of the national rail service.
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As high-speed rail gains momentum, US can look to Europe's example
Los Angeles Times
Most of the debate over the building of the nation's first bullet train, in California, has focused on the economics of such a monumental undertaking and its projected $68 billion first-phase price tag. Largely ignored amid the excitement over the railway's recent official groundbreaking — on a vacant lot in a depressed industrial area of Fresno — is the physical impact and design challenges that cities will need to grapple with as they prepare for high-speed rail.
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Amtrak passenger films frozen car en route to Boston
Fox News
As the East Coast deals with another bout of wintry weather, millions of people have been forced to rethink their travel plans. While thousands of flights have been cancelled or delayed, traveling by rail may literally leave you out in the cold. A YouTuber that goes by the name HeReCoMesMaX recently uploaded a video that looks more like a scene from "The Day After Tomorrow" than real life. According to the Daily Mail, an Amtrak passenger was traveling from New York to Boston and decided to do a little car-to-car exploring.
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Texas Central Railway recommends final corridor selection for proposed high-speed rail
Community Impact
After two possible rail lines were identified by the Texas Department of Transportation last fall, Texas Central Railway announced its final corridor recommendation Feb. 17 for the proposed construction of a 240-mile high-speed rail from Houston to Dallas by 2021. TCR officials recommend the Federal Railroad Administration move forward with consideration of the utility corridor expected to travel near Hwy. 290 in Harris County and north through a portion of Grimes County.
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Metra posts 1.3 percent ridership gain in 2014, announces $91 million locomotive rehab project
Progressive Railroading
Metra's ridership grew 1.3 percent in 2014 to 83.4 million passenger trips compared with the previous year, marking the second-highest ridership number in the commuter railroad's history. All but two of Metra's 11 lines posted ridership growth in 2014. Although the BNSF Line recorded a somewhat smaller gain than other lines, it remained the railroad's most heavily used line at 16.7 million passenger trips. The Union Pacific Northwest Line came in second at 11.6 million trips.
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Lawmakers push Amtrak to allow pets on trains
Detroit Free Press
It all began with Lily, a 15-pound snowball of a French bulldog with the face of a tough guy and the personality of a princess. She and her owner, Rep. Jeff Denham of California, take the occasional coast-to-coast plane ride together. But when he tried to take her on Amtrak a couple years back, he learned that only service dogs were allowed aboard. It's a policy he has been trying to change, and he appears to be gaining momentum.
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DC Metro officials put off decision on whether to increase fares, cut service
The Washington Post
One month to the day that an Alexandria, Virginia, woman died after being trapped in a smoke-filled Washington, D.C., Metro rail car for more than 30 minutes, board members of the embattled transit agency held a hearing on possible fare hikes and service cuts. The timing could not have been more awkward. A day earlier, federal safety investigators revealed that Metro officials made mistakes in deploying fans in the deadly Jan. 12 incident, forcing smoke toward a train trapped in a tunnel while riders gasped for air.
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Feds won't delay crash-avoidance for trains
Poughkeepsie Journal
A Dec. 31 deadline for railroads to equip all trains with crash-avoidance technology known as "positive train controls" won't be extended, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. Testifying before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Foxx said his department is "continuing to hold the industry's feet to the fire in getting PTC done as quickly as possible" instead of allowing "a blanket extension."
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Mexico suspends multibillion dollar HSR project at center of scandal
Forbes
The Mexican government postponed again, this time indefinitely, a controversial $3.7 billion dollar high-speed train project. Finance Minister Luis Videgaray made the announcement at the end of January claiming lack of funding. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto confirmed that the train was the victim of budget cuts. Recently, the Ministry of Communications said the Mexican government will compensate the Chinese-led consortium that was awarded the first contract in 2014.
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High speed rail firm examining Texas I-10 route
Houston Chronicle
Options are narrowing for how a proposed high-speed rail link between Dallas and Houston, Texas, will snake through urban parts of Harris County, with backers of the project stressing they are trying to avoid developed neighborhoods after neighbors voiced opposition to some parts of the line. Texas Central High-Speed Railway announced its intent to build the line in a utility corridor previously identified as one of two possible routes last year when federal officials held public meetings along the route.
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Illinois town leaders continue to push for Amtrak route through town
Daily Chronicle
Efforts to get an Amtrak stop in the city resembles the story of the little engine that could: City officials keep chugging along, hoping the passenger rail service one day makes a stop in Genoa, causing a boon for the community. In a letter to the governor last month, Genoa Mayor Mark Vicary pleaded that Gov. Bruce Rauner derail plans by former Gov. Pat Quinn to restart Amtrak service from Rockford to Chicago, but not include Genoa and Freeport.
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Planners to study Florida high-speed rail station sites
Florida Today
What would the best site for an All Aboard Florida passenger rail station between Cocoa and the Indian River County line? Brevard leaders will likely finance a professional analysis to find out. Afterward, they'll learn whether the high-speed trains will stop in the county. The Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization unanimously voted to scrutinize potential station locations along the planned All Aboard Florida route through Brevard. As of now, the new rail line has no plans to make any stops between Orlando and West Palm Beach.
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RTD ramps up public safety campaign aimed at new rail lines
Progressive Railroading
The Regional Transportation District of Denver soon will begin a public outreach campaign to educate area residents about the need to practice safety around three new commuter-rail lines the agency plans to open in 2016. Through the national Operation Lifesaver model, RTD will plaster "Safety first" on every light-rail vehicle and bus to raise awareness, agency officials said in a press release.
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People stranded on Amtrak train in Pennsylvania county overnight
WHTM-TV
Passengers on an Amtrak train headed for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, are safe after being stranded for nearly two hours. An Amtrak spokesperson confirmed that a mechanical problem lead to Train 671 breaking down in Lancaster County. Upon finally arriving in Harrisburg, several passengers told abc27 the train had no power, so it was dark and cold while they waited on the tracks for the train that was sent to rescue them.
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Hotline Midweek Brief
National Association of Railroad Passengers
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