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Text Version   RSS   Subscribe   Unsubscribe   Archive   Media Kit            May 06, 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.

Why can't America have high-speed trains?
Imagine being able to travel from New York to Los Angeles without having to step on a plane, yet be able to do so in a fraction of the time it would take to drive. On the surface, that tantalizing prospect took a step closer with the news that a Japanese maglev train had reached a top speed of close to 400 mph, breaking its own world record in the process. And the sight of futuristic looking trains whizzing past platforms at hundreds of miles per hour isn't confined to Japan: China, France and Spain, to name a few, have their own high-speed rail networks.
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Senator slams GOP plan for Amtrak
The Hill
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., sharply criticized a House Republican plan to separate Amtrak's popular rail service in the northeastern U.S. from money-losing routes in the rest of the country. The No. 2 Democrat in the Senate said in a letter to the chairman of the upper chamber's Transportation Committee that the plan would harm rail service in his home state, which he said historically helped finance trains in the northeast.
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New Jersey's Fox talks tunnel with US transportation secretary
NJ Biz
Amtrak executives have floated the Gateway project in recent years as the answer for a new trans-Hudson rail tunnel, but New Jersey officials have been mum on the issue ever since Gov. Chris Christie killed the controversial ARC tunnel project in 2010. At least until now. Recently, state Department of Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox said he met earlier with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
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  Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad

A steam locomotive that has spent the last 37 years at the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer will be going home to West Virginia this spring. The engine, known as the Buffalo Creek & Gauley 2-8-0 No. 4 (nicknamed "Slobberface"), will be trucked to Cass, W.Va., where the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad will get it back in running condition to run mountain excursions in 2016.

California's high-speed rail from Bakersfield to Palmdale
Kern Golden Empire
We've heard plans for the train coming from the north, but what about the route it would take heading south over California's Tehachapi mountains? High-speed rail officials say the main reason we haven't heard much about the high-speed rail section to Palmdale is because the plans aren't set yet. And from an engineering standpoint, crossing the Tehachapi mountains might leave the train stuck between a rock and a hard place. High-speed rail officials were at the Tehachapi City Council meeting Monday night to begin the first steps in planning the route from Bakersfield to Palmdale.
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Hoosier State train forging ahead
Lafayette Journal & Courier
For a fourth time, Amtrak and the Indiana Department of Transportation announced they've extended an agreement to operate the Hoosier State passenger rail line. On the eve of the contract end date, spokesmen for both entities said the four-day-a-week Indianapolis-Chicago route, which stops in Lafayette, will run through June 30. Combined with Amtrak's long-distance Cardinal, passengers have daily service.
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CTA releases details of 1st phase of Red and Purple Lines modernization
Progressive Railroading
As part of its modernization project for the Red and Purple Lines, the Chicago Transit Authority released an environmental assessment document providing an analysis of station and track rehabilitation work between the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr stations. This phase — known as the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project — calls for the reconstruction of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations, in addition to rebuilding more than a mile of track, CTA officials said.
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Sen. Durbin meets with SIU president to discuss Amtrak
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin met with Southern Illinois University President Randy Dunn. According to a news release, the meeting was held to discuss higher education issues and the importance of state and federal funding for Amtrak to the university community. Sen. Durbin and President Dunn talked about the impact proposed state budget cuts could have on passenger service to downstate Illinois communities.
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Opinion: Virginia panel on transit supports light rail your views
The Virginia-Pilot
According to author John F. Malbon: As a member of Virginia's Commonwealth Transportation Board, I represent the people and transportation initiatives of Hampton Roads. Having been born and raised in Virginia Beach, I am very proud to be able to serve my community. I have watched our city develop over the years, and I've experienced the rewards that come not only from living in such a desirable area, but also among the wonderful community of people that we have.
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Unions to Senate: Get moving on Amtrak funding
The Hill
The AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Department said that the Senate should take up a $7.8 billion funding bill for Amtrak that was passed earlier this year by the House. Lawmakers have been focusing on a looming deadline involving federal highway funding that is set to expire at the end of the month, but AFL-CIO TTD President Ed Wytkind said the upper chamber should also make room on its agenda this month for Amtrak.
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GOP spending bill cuts DC Metro funding in half
The Hill
Lawmakers who represent House districts in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area are criticizing a Republican spending bill for cutting federal funding for the capital's Metro as the subway system deals with safety issues. The federal government typically provides about $150 million annually to the subway system in and around the nation's capitol, the second busiest transit network in the U.S. A $55 billion funding bill for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development that was unveiled by the House Appropriations Committee reduces the funding to $75 million.
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The US is getting serious about oil train explosions
Oil is a global commodity, traversing vast distances by pipeline, tanker and recently in the U.S. by rail car. A resurgence in domestic crude oil production due to technological advances in drilling has led to a transportation bottleneck between landlocked oil fields and coastal refineries and ports, and that bottleneck has opened up the door for more oil shipment via rail. But increased shipment by rail has also led to an increase in accidents, and the U.S. Department of Transportation released long-awaited safety standards for train cars carrying oil and other flammable materials following a series of dangerous derailments.
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Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Riding Amtrak to photograph the faces (San Francisco Chronicle)
Low-speed rail: California's other option (Breitbart News)
Passenger rail route from Las Vegas to Los Angeles gaining momentum (Las Vegas Sun)
Amid Capitol Hill opposition, high-speed rail gets second wind (The News & Observer)
All pets aboard! Small cats, dogs can now ride Amtrak downstate (Chicagoist)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.

Hotline Midweek Brief
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