Jump to content
Guest KJP

Amtrak & Federal: Passenger Rail News

Recommended Posts

A terrific news segment from May. HSR is already operating beyond Europe and Asia, including in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan -- but barely in the USA....

 

Japan has trains that can reach nearly 200 miles per hour. France began high-speed train service in the '80s. China has the world's fastest and largest high-speed rail network. And the U.S., well the U.S. has next to nothing. Watch the full video here:

 

The US is terrible at building high-speed rail — here’s why

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/07/why-is-there-no-high-speed-rail-in-the-us.html

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An article in today's WSJ makes it sound as if AMTRAK's management and the House Transportation Committee's chairman are working at cross purposes. Rep. Peter DeFazio: " ... I think they should think about efficiency but not profit..." 

 

I did like AMTRAK's chairman's comment, "What we're after here is the person who lives in Atlanta or Charlotte who doesn't have train service ... the person who has to wake up at 3 in the morning in Cleveland to take a train."

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/surging-amtrak-seeks-green-light-from-congress-11577889706?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amtrak seems to want to change federal law so that it can chop up the national system trains and run multiple daily trains per day. Unfortunately that's using Peter to pay Paul and it also requires Amtrak to turn to the States to fund these trains. Under federal law all train routes under 750 miles must be funded by the States. I don't think Ohio is ready to support passenger rail. We should have state-supported AND national system trains. 

  • Like 2

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, KJP said:

Amtrak seems to want to change federal law so that it can chop up the national system trains and run multiple daily trains per day. Unfortunately that's using Peter to pay Paul and it also requires Amtrak to turn to the States to fund these trains. Under federal law all train routes under 750 miles must be funded by the States. I don't think Ohio is ready to support passenger rail. We should have state-supported AND national system trains. 

 

So the main reason trains leave CLE at 3am is because they're part of an extended Chicago to NYC or Chicago to DC route? If the route were just split for CLE to Chicago, would daytime service be feasible or would existing freight traffic on the route prevent that?

 

I love visiting CLE but frustrating my options from Chicago are: 6+ hr drive (if I owned a car), <1 hr flight that can run around $200-300 RT and with any delay time savings are lost, 6.5 hr Megabus, 7+ hr Amtrak that simulates jet lag on the return trip to Chicago. I understand why Chicagoans bypass Ohio cities all together as time and money can be spent going elsewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, flee2thecleve14 said:

 

So the main reason trains leave CLE at 3am is because they're part of an extended Chicago to NYC or Chicago to DC route? If the route were just split for CLE to Chicago, would daytime service be feasible or would existing freight traffic on the route prevent that?

 

 

The only thing preventing it is the State of Ohio and the lack of a political constituency for Ohio purchasing service from Amtrak. Amtrak cannot run more trains unless they earn more revenue than the costs they incur, or if a state offsets the difference with a purchase of service contract.

  • Like 1

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, mrnyc said:

 

My friends in NY state are all geeked about this -- and that Cuomo has seemingly found a little rail religion.

Edited by KJP

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Robuu said:

Without increasing capacity under the Hudson, is a Penn expansion all that useful?

 

I think the LIRR would be happy with a few more tracks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Dougal said:

 

I think the LIRR would be happy with a few more tracks.

 

So would Amtrak's Empire Corridor and the potential for future Metro-North trains from the Hudson and the New Haven lines to serve Penn Station.

  • Like 1

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, KJP said:

 

So would Amtrak's Empire Corridor and the potential for future Metro-North trains from the Hudson and the New Haven lines to serve Penn Station.

 

I thought about higher-speed Albany trains, but I'm not sure how that proposal to route Penn Station-northward trains through Queens is going to work - or if it's affordable ever. (I admit to very sketchy knowledge about this.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The folks I follow seem to think through-running trains would eliminate the need for new tracks and platforms. But changing operations and making separate bureaucracies work together is much harder than spending money. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

service to the west is more important than thru running at penn.

 

so yeah, those tunnels ...

 

maybe this new annex will help force that to happen?

 

in the meantime, here's a render (which i see includes a tower proposed for the old pennsylvania hotel across the street from penn station).

 

 

spacer.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^Through running would make it easier to improve service to the west. One of the main benefits would be allowing capital dollars to be redeployed from station expansion to new tunnels. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ to do thru running properly, it would still involve a new station, except it would involve booting msg and basically remaking the old penn station. unfortunately cuomo is dodging the dolans and amtrak doesnt care. so apparantly this is an easier get. it serves western commuters well. they can change to lirr to the airports. there is no other reason for them to go east.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cross-posted in the Cleveland Hopkins Airport thread:

 

Here's why Cleveland lost its United Airlines flights to NY LaGuardia and to Washington-Reagan National....because United needed the slots at those over-congested airports to provide hourly NYC-WDC flights!

 

It's bad enough when we don't even have one comfortable, well-scheduled overnight train between Cleveland or other Ohio cities to/from the East Coast's big cities. Or European- and Pacific Rim-standard high-speed with 3-hour trip times from Ohio's largest downtowns to the East Coast's largest downtowns.

 

But when a passenger rail service in America's best passenger rail corridor, the Northeast Corridor, still crawls through 19th-century tunnels and over 100-year-old bridges it isn't good enough to achieve First World standards. Nor is it good enough to render obsolete airline service between those cities separated by just 225 miles. This case example makes it obvious how poor our nation's infrastructure really is.

 

Here's why Cleveland lost its United Airlines flights to NY LaGuardia and to Washington-Reagan National....because United needed the slots at those over-congested airports to provide hourly NYC-WDC flights!

 

It's bad enough when we don't even have one comfortable, well-scheduled overnight train between Cleveland or other Ohio cities to/from the East Coast's big cities. Or European- and Pacific Rim-standard high-speed with 3-hour trip times from Ohio's largest downtowns to the East Coast's largest downtowns.

 

But when a passenger rail service in America's best passenger rail corridor, the Northeast Corridor, still crawls through 19th-century tunnels and over 100-year-old bridges it isn't good enough to achieve First World standards. Nor is it good enough to render obsolete airline service between those cities separated by just 225 miles. This case example makes it obvious how poor our nation's infrastructure really is.

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Sad 3

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, KJP said:

But when a passenger rail service ...  is [not] good enough to render obsolete airline service between those cities separated by just 225 miles. This case example makes it obvious how poor our nation's infrastructure really is.
 

 

Rail service already has about 66% of the passenger traffic in the total NE Corridor and an even greater percentage between NY and DC.  I'm not at all sure UA is going to make much money on their DCA-EWR schedule. The DC end of the route is not a big user of premium-fare products and that is how UA is promoting these flights.   

 

Edited by Dougal
spelling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The new Acela train was passing through Ohio tonight on its way to Colorado. Here it is going through Sandusky. Was cool to see. 

 

Edited by TPH2
  • Like 3
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^what is the backstory on this?   Why is an Acela train set headed for Colorado?  I can’t see this climbing mtns. Or being used for prairies. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Federal Railroad Administration's/American Association of Railroads test facility is in Pueblo, Colorado. All new trains, railcars, locomotives get tested and certified there.

https://www.aar.com/

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Trump Administration is guilty of malfeasance by refusing to fund this project. It is an interstate infrastructure project. It is the essence why we have a federal government and a Commerce Clause in the US Constitution.....

 

FTA rates Hudson River rail tunnel project 'medium-low' priority

 

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) earlier this week announced it has rated the Hudson River rail tunnel rehabilitation project a "medium-low" priority, a designation that serves to delay the project's eligibility for federal funding under the Capital Investment Grant program…. "This is not a game – this is real life, and at any point, the existing tunnels could fail, which would have a dire impact on millions of people and a profound negative effect on the national economy,” said PANYNJ Executive Director Rick Cotton in a prepared statement. Earlier this week, 15 U.S. Democratic senators sent a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration demanding to know why that federal agency had not yet acted on an environmental impact statement nor a record of decision for the Gateway Hudson River tunnel project. 

 

https://www.progressiverailroading.com/federal_legislation_regulation/news/FTA-rates-Hudson-River-rail-tunnel-project-medium-low-priority--59730

 

Edited by KJP

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yeah the trumpies are really taking it out on metro ny. new tunnels are one thing, but this particular idiocy is going to cause the deaths of people and financial disaster when the old tunnels fail if they dont act to fix them asap.

 

and that news isnt even the only horrid hit to the region by trump this week. he’s also trying to block reinstating manhattan commuter/congestion pricing tolling that would be used to fund mta.

 

some news week, sheesh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is some good news on Amtrak proposing new federal programs and upping its own contribution to help new corridor services started, especially in states that don't have rail programs -- like Ohio. In 2010, I thought the stimulus with 100% federal capital share was a once-in-a-generation-or-two opportunity. I was wrong. What is being proposed now is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

 

 

  • Like 3
  • Love 1

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

  • Like 2

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amtrak names William J. Flynn as its next Chief Executive Officer and President. For more information, visit here:

https://media.amtrak.com/2020/03/amtrak-names-william-flynn-as-ceo-and-president/

 

A little more:

 

Transportation Veteran Flynn to Succeed Anderson at Amtrak

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/intercity/transportation-veteran-flynn-to-succeed-anderson-at-amtrak/

Edited by KJP

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Dougal said:

 

According to a WSJ news report Amtrak asked for $1.018 billion; so that's just what they wanted.

 

Here's the breakdown from the CARES Act (stimulus) on how much Amtrak will get.....

 

$492 million - Northeast Corridor/state-supported services grants
$526 million - National Network grants

Amtrak is required to recognize unions, provide worker benefits and unemployment assistance.

  • Like 2

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/2/2020 at 12:27 PM, KJP said:

Amtrak names William J. Flynn as its next Chief Executive Officer and President. For more information, visit here:

https://media.amtrak.com/2020/03/amtrak-names-william-flynn-as-ceo-and-president/

 

A little more:

 

Transportation Veteran Flynn to Succeed Anderson at Amtrak

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/intercity/transportation-veteran-flynn-to-succeed-anderson-at-amtrak/

 

This sounds like really good news!  Anderson can't go fast enough.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, jam40jeff said:

 

This sounds like really good news!  Anderson can't go fast enough.

 

I actually don't hate Anderson. I think his proposed growth program is one of the most wonderful things Amtrak has ever proposed.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, KJP said:

 

I actually don't hate Anderson. I think his proposed growth program is one of the most wonderful things Amtrak has ever proposed.

 

The dining car fiasco is enough for me to want him out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, jam40jeff said:

 

The dining car fiasco is enough for me to want him out.

Why are we such a third world country when it comes to transportation amenities?  I watch you tube video of airports, airline travel, train travel and metros around the world and drool.  It is practically embarrassing.  But I must admit, our gated communities are some of the nicest on the planet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Htsguy said:

Why are we such a third world country when it comes to transportation amenities?  I watch you tube video of airports, airline travel, train travel and metros around the world and drool.  It is practically embarrassing.  But I must admit, our gated communities are some of the nicest on the planet.

 

I travel the world and see the airports and trains.  I can tell you that Denver International is about the only one in this country that competes on the world stage (which makes sense as it was the most recent large airport constructed).  Infrastructure was the one thing I had gotten behind Trump for upon his election and thus far not much has changed.  

 

 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats kind of what i had hoped that he would have more NY and NJ people in his administration that cared about at least the tunnels.  I figured as a NYer even if he never used the subway he would understand that it is a priority for the economy of NYC. As a “builder” he would be all about helping his friends in the concrete business. But alas no. He has moved beyond NY and has no need for them so they and the rest of NY are dead to him. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Htsguy said:

Why are we such a third world country when it comes to transportation amenities?  I watch you tube video of airports, airline travel, train travel and metros around the world and drool.  It is practically embarrassing.  But I must admit, our gated communities are some of the nicest on the planet.

 

One big reason is that infrastructure development/construction in the US has become insanely expensive. And this is for many reasons. Anyone who points to one specific factor doesn't grasp the scope of the problem. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Major airport improvements and virtual rebuilding in some cases are starting across the country. airport-world.com/news/general-news/7100-blog-us-airports-launching-huge-renovation-projects.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jam40jeff said:

 

The dining car fiasco is enough for me to want him out.

 

Dining cars are extremely expensive and fewer and fewer rail travelers buy food on board anymore.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, KJP said:

 

Dining cars are extremely expensive and fewer and fewer rail travelers buy food on board anymore.

 

All sleeping car passengers "buy" food, and most buy alcohol while they're there.  If they were losing a few dollars on the food, raise the sleeping car ticket prices by a few dollars.  It's a drop in the bucket of the overall cost of the ticket.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, jam40jeff said:

 

All sleeping car passengers "buy" food, and most buy alcohol while they're there.  If they were losing a few dollars on the food, raise the sleeping car ticket prices by a few dollars.  It's a drop in the bucket of the overall cost of the ticket.

 

Amtrak loses a tremendous amount on food/beverage service and the dining car is the worst money loser of all. I recall from 20-25 years ago that Amtrak loses up to $5 million per year on a given long-distance train's cafe car and $2 million-$3 million more for the dining car. Most of the rest of the world uses a food cart to serve food/beverages but I've ridden four overnight trains throughout the world and only one had on-board food/beverage service -- and we were the only one in the cafe car on a sold-out train of 20 cars.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, KJP said:

 

Amtrak loses a tremendous amount on food/beverage service and the dining car is the worst money loser of all. I recall from 20-25 years ago that Amtrak loses up to $5 million per year on a given long-distance train's cafe car and $2 million-$3 million more for the dining car. Most of the rest of the world uses a food cart to serve food/beverages but I've ridden four overnight trains throughout the world and only one had on-board food/beverage service -- and we were the only one in the cafe car on a sold-out train of 20 cars.

 

The dining car especially is a loss leader.  They might find they lose even more sleeping passenger revenue without it, considering how expensive those tickets are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...