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Text Version   RSS   Subscribe   Unsubscribe   Archive   Media Kit            December 03, 2014





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Railroad's mixed signals
The Baltimore Sun
The National Association of Railroad Passengers, the country's largest train and transit advocacy group, issued a warning last month that deserves to be repeated here. The final numbers on Amtrak's ridership and revenue in fiscal 2014 are in, and the railroad did record-breaking business over the past year. But the failure to invest sufficiently in the nation's railroad system is threatening to grind Amtrak trains to a slow crawl.
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Amtrak posts best year since '73
Sioux City Journal
Amtrak had its best year since 1973, three years after it was created as a passenger service from the financial wreckage of America's regional railroads. That doesn't mean it made a profit. In fiscal year 2014, which ended Sept. 30, Amtrak reported its lowest operating loss, $227 million, since 1973, a 37 percent improvement from fiscal year 2013. The passenger rail system reported unaudited record revenue of $3.2 billion, the fifth consecutive year of revenue growth, and the eighth out of the past nine years.
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Southwest's decline boosts high-speed rail
The Sacramento Bee
I may have to take back everything bad I ever said about California's high-speed rail project. This thought ran through my head one morning last week at Gate A3 of Burbank airport, as I engaged in another of my now-frequent battles with Southwest Airlines. My morning flight to Oakland had been canceled with little warning or explanation. But Southwest wouldn't let me on an earlier flight that had room and was still sitting at the gate. The Southwest agent said he couldn’t get me to Oakland before 3 p.m. — and I was scheduled to give a talk at 4.
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The US is on the slow track of passenger rail service
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Post-Gazette articles about the poor on-time performance, less than 3 percent, of the Capitol Limited to Chicago have not pointed out that even at 100 percent on-time performance it's a poor comparison to a modern passenger rail system. Consider a few examples. The Capitol Limited from Pittsburgh to Chicago will make the 456-mile trip in nine hours and 46 minutes. From Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, 297 miles, on Amtrak will take seven hours, 25 minutes.
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Texas residents battling Dallas-Houston bullet train project
KTRK-TV
A proposal for a high-speed passenger rail in Texas has picked up sufficient steam to be reaching the public hearing stage. Backers call it the future. In Grimes County, there are those who say they've seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and it's a high-speed rail heading straight for their property. Under one of the proposed alignments, a high-speed rail line would cut through parts of the rural county. Some property owners fear it would bisect land that's been in their families for generations.
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Amtrak appoints Learner to blue ribbon panel studying Chicago traffic
Progressive Railroading
Amtrak has named Chicago attorney Howard Learner a member of the Chicago Gateway Initiative, the railroad's blue ribbon panel charged with identifying infrastructure and operational improvements that can address rail gridlock in the Chicago area. Learner serves as president of the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center and has "deep local expertise in regional issues," Amtrak officials said in a press release.
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Northeast Corridor may get high-speed rail boost
Poughkeepsie Journal
Administration officials see a bright future for high-speed passenger rail despite a House bill that would send federal money for those trains only to the Northeast Corridor, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says. Foxx told USA TODAY reporters the administration would not block efforts to help the Northeast Corridor, where Acela trains between Boston and Washington travel at 150 mph only in limited locations.
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Why more Northeast US travelers take trains instead of planes, in 2 charts
City Lab
According to author Eric Jaffe: Just in time for the busiest travel day of the year, we get a great chart from Camille Kamga, director of the University Transportation Research Center at CCNY, showing Amtrak's gradual conquest of the air-rail market in the U.S.'s Northeast Corridor. In 2000, passenger rail captured about 37 percent of this market between New York and Washington, and 20 percent between New York and Boston. By 2012 those figures had reached 75 percent and 54 percent, respectively.
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California assemblyman's bill redirects high-speed rail funds to education
Santa Clarita Valley Signal
Recently California Assemblyman Scott Wilk, introduced a bill to stop the further sale of any bonds for high-speed rail purposes and redirect funds for construction of school facilities for K-12 and higher education. "The high-speed rail boondoggle has been a proven failure and it's time we spend taxpayer dollars in a responsible way. California hasn't passed a school bond since 2006 and there is no more money. Projects are shovel ready and Sacramento must act." Wilk said.
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New round of high-speed rail meetings planned
Santa Clarita Valley Signal
Officials from the California High-Speed Rail Authority will hold a series of open houses in the coming weeks, including two locally, to present information on possible paths for the controversial bullet train as it travels from Palmdale to Burbank — a segment that includes potential routes through the Santa Clarita Valley. Voters originally approved the high-speed rail project in 2008 with the idea to connect Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim to San Francisco, with links at other large state population centers. The train is projected to travel at speeds of up to 220 mph.
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AMT launches commuter-rail service to Montreal, Canada, suburb
Progressive Railroading
The Agence Metropolitaine de Transport's new commuter-rail line began service in the Montreal suburb of Mascouche, Quebec, Canada. Construction began in October 2010 on the line, which will serve about 700,000 people in the eastern part of the city and its northeastern periphery, according to government and transportation officials. "The Mascouche line's entry into service is great news for public transit," said Robert Poeti, Quebec's Minister of Transport and the minister responsible for the Montreal region.
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Amtrak has priority over freight — but passengers don't benefit
San Francisco Chronicle
Most any repeat Amtrak customer knows the ritual. You're clipping along nicely on the rails when the engineer applies the brakes and puts the train onto a side rail. Then in five minutes — or maybe 30 — you get to watch a line of boxcars roll triumphantly past your window. That's right: a freight train got priority once again and you're going to be late. This "Amtrak two-step" has become a major contributor to passenger rail's continuing bad reputation. It may also be illegal, and the federal government has had the power all along to stop it.
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Falling gas prices may derail Amtrak's gains
Providence Journal
The trend toward public transportation, including using trains, may yet be disrupted by falling gas prices that drive commuters back to highways. But in the last year, Amtrak, the nation's long troubled passenger railroad, has been gaining passengers and revenue. For the year that ended Sept. 30, Amtrak reported revenue of $3.2 billion, up 8 percent from the prior year. Total passengers were 31 million, up .2 percent from 2013.
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Hotline Midweek Brief
National Association of Railroad Passengers
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