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Text Version   RSS   Subscribe   Unsubscribe   Archive   Media Kit            March 04, 2015


 
The Mid-Week brief is an unfettered look at what the press is saying about passenger rail — if you see something you dislike, or know to be inaccurate, don't hesitate to reach out to those responsible for the article by using the comment board of a linked website, or emailing the publication directly.

GOP, White House agree — Amtrak funding (and pets on a train)
The Washington Post
An unusual statement came out from the White House: Support for House legislation. The Republican-controlled House is expected to pass a bill reauthorizing funding for Amtrak, and while the Obama administration isn't 100 percent happy with it, the White House declared its support. A bipartisan bill is a rarity these days — the vote on the rules of debate for the bill passed unanimously! — and so is GOP legislation that President Barack Obama wouldn't veto.
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FRA launches crossing safety campaign, schedules trespassing prevention workshop
Progressive Railroading
The Federal Railroad Administration announced it's taking the first step in a new, multifaceted campaign aimed at strengthening enforcement and safety awareness at grade crossings. The FRA is calling on local law enforcement agencies to increase their presence at crossings, issue citations to drivers that violate crossing rules and consider rapid implementation of best practices for crossing safety.
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NJ Transit to receive $147 million in Hurricane Sandy funds
Progressive Railroading
The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded New Jersey Transit $147.1 million through the Federal Transit Administration's Public Transportation Relief Program for repair, recovery and resiliency projects related to Hurricane Sandy. The funding will be used to continue work on the Morris & Essex and North Jersey Coast lines' signal and communications systems; repair traction power and distribution systems that support the Hudson-Bergen light-rail system; and advance other long-term recovery efforts, according to a press release issued by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's office.
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All aboard? State cuts could mean fewer Amtrak trains
The State Journal-Register
Jacksonville, Illinois, residents John and Barbara Fritsche had to stand while waiting at a crowded Amtrak station in Springfield for a popular late-afternoon train to Chicago. Not that they minded. "We probably take it twice a month," said John Fritsche. "We can read and work, and not be stuck in traffic."Amtrak has been on a run in Illinois. Passenger numbers and ticket revenues have steadily increased on each of the state's three corridors, especially after gasoline spiked to $4 a gallon and up.
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Bullet train contractor seeks state compensation for project delays
Los Angeles Times
The contractor building the first segment of the California bullet train system said it is seeking compensation for delays in the project and is not likely to start any major construction until June or July — months later than state officials said just weeks ago. Ronald Tutor, chief executive Tutor Perini, said the Sylmar firm has begun discussing compensation for a 1 1/2-year delay, but so far he has not filed a formal claim against the state.
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Amtrak adds 2nd Winter Park ski train trip from Colorado
The Denver Post
Amtrak has added a second Ski Train trip from Denver, Colorado, to Winter Park Resort later after overwhelming demand for what was originally planned as a one-time-only revival. All 400 tickets for the first trip — created as part of the ski area's 75th anniversary — on March 14 sold out in 10 hours. The second trip will run the next day, March 15, Amtrak announced. Each round-trip adult fare will cost $75 and passengers will receive a $15 gift voucher for use at resort restaurants and retail stores.
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Critics fear bullet train will bring urban sprawl to California Central Valley
Los Angeles Times
Against a rural tableau draped in a gray winter sky, a fleet of heavy, clawing earth movers rumbles back and forth across a fallow, 953-acre field that for decades produced bell peppers, carrots and alfalfa. Gossamer Grove, a planned development of 3,432 homes just north of Bakersfield between irrigation canals and a busy freight track, is among the largest residential projects in the Central Valley.
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Amtrak funding bill isn't good news for Northeast Corridor passengers
Skift
The annual clash in the U.S. Congress over Amtrak funding is under way as the national rail company faces the prospect of a continued deterioration of its equipment and operations. The annual funding battle goes back decades and can get tangled. For example, when one funding reauthorization expired in 2002 it took Congress six years to pass a new bill. The government doesn't keep a bank account solely for Amtrak and there's no dedicated funding set aside for passenger rail each year.
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Siemens looks to wow California city with high-speed rail demo
KXTV-TV
There's a $1 billion contract up in the air for California's high-speed rail project — and Siemens is looking to win it. The German engineering company is exhibiting one of its high-speed train cars in front of the State Capitol in Sacramento, giving people a glimpse of what could be the future of rail transportation in California. Siemens already has a strong presence in the state's capital.
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Metro's fancy new railcars were supposed to be rolling by now
The Washington Post
After more than a year of running tests and blowing past expected deadlines, Metro promised that it was only a few weeks away from announcing the launch date for a new series of advanced railcars. The stainless steel 7000-series subway cars represent a planned $2 billion modernization of Metrorail's stock. The transit agency hopes to introduce 748 of the cars over the next three years as part of a plan to run all eight-car trains during rush hour, while also replacing the transit agency’s oldest cars, which date to the 1970s.
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Hotline Midweek Brief
National Association of Railroad Passengers
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