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Text Version   RSS   Subscribe   Unsubscribe   Archive   Media Kit            December 10, 2014

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Justices weigh Amtrak's power over nation's railroads
A divided Supreme Court wrestled with a task that may be beyond its control: making the trains run on time. Performance standards that Amtrak, the nation's passenger railway, helped to create in 2010 certainly moved in that direction. But when a federal appeals court negated them last year, performance dropped. The federal government wants them reinstated. At least half the justices appeared to agree with the lower court, rather than the government, on the case's crucial point: Amtrak, they said, was a quasi-private corporation that shouldn't be allowed to write the rules of the railroad.
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China flexes high-speed rail muscles, rolls out 32 new routes in 1 day
Tomorrow China launches another 32 new high-speed rail routes, including a new link that cuts the 1106 miles trip between Guangzhou and Shanghai to seven hours from 16. It's an impressive feat that, if successful, is more proof of China's resolve and capacity to become the global leader in high-speed rail technology. As we've reported, China has lofty expectations of becoming a global leader in high-speed rail technology, with projects in over a dozen countries, as well as plans to more than double its own domestic network of high-speed rail, which is already the world's largest.
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Amtrak struggles continue in Montana
Great Falls Tribune
Eight months after Amtrak adjusted its schedule through northwest Montana to curb delays, the long-distance passenger train is still struggling to stay on time during trips between Chicago, Seattle and Portland. Passenger rail advocates have blamed the delays on an increase in freight rail traffic across the northern part of the country, particularly oil trains coming out of North Dakota. Freight and passenger congestion in Chicago are other contributing factors.
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FRA mulls HSR 'Buy America' waiver
The Federal Railroad Administration said it intends to grant both Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority waivers from its "Buy America" requirement for the non-domestic final assembly of up to four prototype Tier III high speed rail train sets. CHSRA is advancing a 700-mile intrastate HSR network beginning in the Central Valley, with projected top speeds of 220 mph, while Amtrak is at work on the "New Jersey Raceway" portion of its Northeast Corridor to increase top speeds to 160 mph.
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Bullet train supposed to arrive in California town in a decade
Orange County Register
Anaheim, California's bullet train is expected to reach Anaheim in a decade, the head of the state's High Speed Rail Authority said Monday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the city's new transit hub. While declaring the new Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center, or ARTIC, as "the first high-speed rail station in the state of California," rail authority board chairman Dan Richard said he expected the entire $68 billion line to Northern California to be completed in 15 years.
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Canada's Bombardier bows out of Amtrak's Acela procurement
Canada's Bombardier Inc said it is not bidding for the contract to replace Amtrak's high-speed Acela, clearing the way for a rival to produce the next generation of the popular but sometimes troubled U.S. passenger trains. The first Acela trains, which Bombardier made with France's Alstom SA, went into service in 2000. Amtrak is to announce the new supplier this spring. Alstom declined to comment on whether it is bidding.
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California representative moves to block high-speed rail funding
Stockton Record
Rep. Jeff Denham continued to try to hinder California's bullet-train plans by asking the House Appropriations Committee to block federal funding for the project. Denham — whose district includes southern San Joaquin County — has been trying to halt the project since at least 2012, when he introduced an amendment to stop federal dollars from heading to the $68 billion project. Earlier this year, he introduced the same amendment to the appropriations bill, H.R. 4745.
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Railroad attorney makes case for HSR compensation to state Claims Board
Fox Business
A Canadian Pacific Railway attorney tried to persuade the state Claims Board to hand the railroad more than half a million dollars for helping develop a high-speed rail plan before Gov. Scott Walker killed the project. The railroad wants $500,715 for work performed in 2009 and 2010 to help the state prepare a bid for federal funding to build the line between Madison and Milwaukee.
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Security measures Amtrak uses to keep riders safe
Inside the new Vernon Ehler's Train Station in Grand Rapids, Michigan, passengers will not find body scanners and other electronic screening devices like those seen at airports. But one expert tells 24 Hour News 8 just because you can't see security measures; it doesn't mean they are not in place. "It doesn't have impact upon the passengers. Many of them don't realize that their luggage has been screened or that the checks have been made on them," said Brian Kingshott, Ph.D., a Grand Valley State Criminal Justice Professor.
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Laying it down: 1st mile of elevated track unveiled
The mist and low visibility didn't dampen spirits Wednesday as officials with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation unveiled the first mile and a quarter of completed guideway for the $5.3 billion project. "The views into the distance are a little bit hazy today, but I will tell you, for us, the sun is always shining right here," said HART Executive Director and CEO Dan Grabauskas. "It's a pretty exciting time."
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High speed Houston to Dallas train on the horizon
The Bay Area Citizen
Imagine going from Houston to Dallas by train in just under 90 minutes. It may sound like a daydream, but former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels says, "Hang on to your hat." It should become a reality by about 2021, if all goes well, Eckels told the audience at the monthly Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership luncheon at Cullen's Upscale Grille.
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Hotline Midweek Brief
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