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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.
Gov. urges University of Illinois employees to use Amtrak
University of Illinois employees are being encouraged to take the Amtrak more often during travels to and from Chicago in support of the recent executive order issued by Gov. Bruce Rauner to reduce unnecessary travel, The Daily Illini reported.
Executive Order 8 addresses Illinois' fiscal crisis by recommending that state agencies require employees, whenever possible, to take public transportation or carpool when traveling.
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Does New Orleans need Amtrak service to Florida
One of the many lingering scars of Hurricane Katrina is Amtrak's still-scuttled passenger rail service from New Orleans to all points east along with Gulf Coast. After that 2005 storm ended, Amtrak was quick to return service to several lines, including the City of New Orleans to Chicago and the Crescent to New York that October. But the route to Orlando and Jacksonville never returned, despite the tracks' owner, CSX Transportation, rebuilding them by spring 2006.
US snoozes while rest of world invests in infrastructure
Megaprojects are proliferating and infrastructure investments are seen as essential to national economies, well-being and pride.
The tunnel meant to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct seems to say much of what is wrong with American infrastructure.
At $3.1 billion just to replace the viaduct, it sounds outlandishly expensive. Bertha, the tunnel-boring machine, was only recently rescued from useless underground purgatory.
The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad operates historic steam-driven locomotives and vintage diesel-powered passenger trains departing three historic depots – Elkins, Durbin and Cass – April thru December. Excursions explore remote mountain regions where even automobiles cannot access! At Cass, experience the world’s largest fleet of geared Shay locomotives and 1900s town.
Chinatown businesses unhappy about impacts of California HSR work
The Fresno Bee
Around 25 business owners and supporters of Fresno, California's, Chinatown gathered recently to share their concerns about the imminent high-speed rail construction along Kern and F streets.
Road closures and construction are set to begin March 30, moving utility lines to make way for the future rail line.
Jeremy Brownstein, a business owner and board president of Chinatown Revitalization Inc., listed many concerns, including that Spanish- and Chinese-speaking business owners have not been notified of the construction or had their questions answered by the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
Illinois congressmen call for full funding of mass transit, passenger rail
Illinois congressmen called for full funding for mass transit and passenger rail in a letter to a transportation subcommittee.
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a Democrat and the only member of the Illinois delegation on the House Appropriations Committee, led the letter to the subcommittee on transportation, housing and urban development, according to a press release from his office.
"Today in Chicago, transit and rail as a whole generate an estimated $12 billion in annual economic benefits and 120,000 jobs to the region," Quigley wrote.
New Amtrak line sees early boost in riders, business impacts remain unclear
New England Public Radio
The new route for passenger rail through the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts is exceeding expectations. That's according to numbers from Amtrak.
The service shifted west in late December, taking away a stop in Amherst, and adding new ones in Northampton and Greenfield. State officials planned the move to speed up the trip and boost the number of riders. But it was also expected to help the local economy. So far, it's hard to tell if that's happened.
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West Michigan groups spend $10,000 for passenger rail study
Several local organizations have pledged support for a study, which begins soon, to examine the possibility of a West Michigan to Detroit-area passenger rail line.
The Holland Visitors Bureau, Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council and Experience Grand Rapids each made a contribution totaling about $10,000 to fund a ridership and cost estimate study that could lead to actual service several years from now, project manager Liz Treutel said.
New SEPTA budget spares riders a fare hike
Mainline Media News
A budget proposal for SEPTA's upcoming fiscal year projects an increase in spending by the regional transit authority, but no fare hike on any of its bus, train or trolley routes.
The $1.36 billion spending plan is just under three percent more than the current year budget, and it includes no cuts to service, instead adding overnight rail options. The plan calls for 24-hour weekend service on the Broad Street Line and the Market-Frankford Line, a pilot program begun this year that will be made permanent.
Michigan transport chief delays Amtrak cars purchase
The Detroit News
The state transportation chief has delayed the purchase of a set of new passenger cars for the Detroit-Chicago Amtrak route following an audit critical of his department for leasing another set of cars that are idle.
While track upgrades continue toward 110-miles-an-hour service throughout the popular passenger route, Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle "has asked the rail staff to complete a much more thorough review of the plan for the Amtrak cars," department spokesman Jeff Cranson said.
DART debuts 1st streetcar for testing
Dallas Area Rapid Transit began testing its new streetcar. Slated to open officially April 13, the Dallas Streetcar will run from downtown Dallas to north Oak Cliff, Texas.
Designed and manufactured by Brookville Equipment, the streetcar will use wireless traction power, meaning it will be powered by overhead lines while on surface streets, but by an on-board stored energy system when crossing the Houston Street Viaduct, DART officials said in a press release.
Plan to expand high-speed rail from Springfield to Boston, and beyond
A decade from now, you might be able to get from Springfield, to Boston and to Canada through high-speed rail service. That was one of the subjects discussed during a recent meeting in Springfield, promoting the benefits of rail service to western Massachusetts.
Sen. Eric Lesser sponsored a bill in January that would look at the feasibility of a high-speed rail line running between Springfield and Boston.
IDOT: Amtrak project in Illinois may be derailed
Local lawmakers say it appears the state is leaning towards putting the brakes on possible Amtrak service to Rockford, Illinois.
In a reply to state representative John Cabello, IDOT officials said there is a possibility it may be terminated. Lawmakers say it's clear former Governor Quinn never actually allocated any money for it and it's under intense scrutiny by Governor Rauner.
Official: 2 southern California counties to see commuter-rail service by 2016
Amtrak commuter service between Ventura and Santa Barbara, California, counties is expected to begin running in spring 2016, State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson announced.
Specific operating and service agreements with Union Pacific Railroad, Metrolink and Amtrak still need to be worked out, but Jackson expects the train to begin running around 6 a.m. in Moorpark and arrive in Goleta just before 8 a.m. The exact location of the stops is still in the works as well.
High-speed rail bill skips state, sparks debate
Yale Daily News
Federal, state and city officials convened at Union Station to criticize the federal proposal for a new high-speed railway line in the Northeast Corridor that would skip over Connecticut.
The proposal would require Amtrak to investigate adding a high-speed railway service between Washington, D.C., New York and Boston. In early March, the proposal passed the House of Representatives as an amendment to a larger bill that would authorize $7.2 billion in spending for Amtrak between 2016 and 2019.
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