California Is The Winner In November’s Election December 1st, 2006
Editorial by Noel Braymer
Transportation remains a major issue in the whole country with 70% of transportation measures winning nationwide this November 7th. This is according to the Center for Transportation Excellence in Washington. In California 10 counties were voting to enact or renew local sales taxes that would go for transportation. Tulare County passed a new sales tax. Fresno, Orange and San Joaquin Counties voted to extend existing sales taxes. Sale tax measures for transportation in Kern, Merced, Santa Barbara, and Stanislaus Counties all received majority approval, but failed to win a two/thirds vote required for passage. Marin and Sonoma Counties had a joint sales tax measure. The measure won two/thirds in Sonoma but not in Marin County. The result was the measure failed.
TRIP REPORT: A Canadian Long Distance Rail Journey December 1st, 2006
By Bruce Jenkins, RailPAC Director
On Sunday, 9/24/06, my wife and I boarded VIA train #2 “The Canadian” at Vancouver. Sleeping car passengers are required to check in at 1630 (1 hr prior to departure time). You are then entertained on “the patio” (the old platform adjacent to the stub end of the tracks at Central Station) by live music and refreshments. Luggage is deposited in your bedroom, all part of the “Silver & Blue” service. The train is in two sections on adjacent tracks and is connected by pulling out the forward section then backing to the aft section. The total consist comprises 30 cars, made up of 1 baggage car , 2 coaches, 5 dome club cars, 3 diners and 19 sleeping cars. Three locomotives are required, 2 for prime movers and 1 for hotel power. The consist is made up into groups of 3 or more sleepers, dome and diner. The baggage, coaches and a dome are behind the locomotives. The east bound trains dead head about 6 sleepers and one diner to Toronto.
Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority November 15th, 2006
at Suisun City Hall
Reported by Russ Jackson, RailPAC Secretary
San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee November 9th, 2006
Hanford, Calif.; Reported by Bruce Jenkins, RailPAC Director. — The San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee met in Hanford on Nov.9, ’06, chaired by Mayor Harvey Hall of Bakersfield.
No Way To Build A New Airport November 1st, 2006
By Noel Braymer, Editor, Western Rail Passenger Review
San Diego no longer calls itself “America’s finest city.” As it is, San Diego is trying to avoid being called America’s most corrupt city. There is of course former San Diego Congressman Randy Cunningham who pleaded guilty to corruption. A City Councilman and Deputy Mayor of San Diego were convicted of accepting bribes from a strip joint owner last year. The city pension plan is 2 billion dollars in the red and under Federal investigation. The Mayor during this time was Dick Murphy, who was re-elected on a technicality despite his write-in challenger getting slightly more votes in December 2004. However Mayor Murphy resigned in disgrace by July 2005. Dick Murphy ran for Mayor claiming he was going to get things done. On the top of his agenda was a new airport to replace Lindbergh Field. A small old airport of 660 acres, it is not able to handle fully loaded jumbo jets and has no room to add a second main runway to handle future expected air traffic growth..
My Meeting With Amtrak President Alex Kummant November 1st, 2006
By RailPAC President Paul Dyson. — I met with Mr. Kummant for 45 minutes at the Amtrak Offices in Washington D.C. Joining the discussion were Cliff Black, Amtrak Director of Media Relations and Marcus Mason, Senior Director of Government Affairs of Amtrak. My meeting was very cordial and covered a wide range of topics. This ranged from the lessons of British Railways privatization to dealing with the Union Pacific. Also covered were specific issues such as NEC infrastructure costs, the long distance trains, and California Corridors.
RailPAC North October Meeting Report October 28th, 2006
Reported by Russ Jackson, RailPAC Secretary – A crowd of over 35 people participated in the first RailPAC meeting to be held on the Peninsula, this one at the Samtrans office in San Carlos. Many were regular Caltrain riders, as well as Amtrak riders. RailPAC VP North Art Lloyd hosted the meeting, also attended by several RailPAC Directors, with VP South James Smith and former Treasurer Jim Clifton joining us from Southern California. It was a successful meeting with many good questions from those attending! This report with pictures from the event will be in the November Western Rail Passenger Review, and on railpac.org after November 1. Read the rest of this entry »
2006 Passenger Trains On Freight Railroads Conference October 19th, 2006
Report by Paul Dyson, RailPAC President — This was my first opportunity to attend this event although it’s in its thirteenth year. The Conference was organized by “Railway Age” Magazine and held October 16 – 17 in Washington, DC. Almost all of the major freight railroads attend as well as Amtrak, and in addition there are delegates from APTA, commuter agencies, suppliers, overseas railroads, (East Japan Railway Company, for example), engineering companies, consultants, and a few public advocates such as myself. My overall impression was that this was a group of professionals with a lot of experience in the industry.There were 13 sessions, an opening keynote address, and two lunchtime speakers. I intend to summarize the highlights that are of greatest interest, and end with a list of the panels. If anyone would like more information about any particular presentation I’d be glad to share whatever I have.
Amtrak 4, 3, and Me: I’m Impressed! October 15th, 2006
A Trip Report for October 7-11, 2006. Commentary and Photos by Russ Jackson, RailPAC Secretary.
After the successful RailPAC meeting in Fullerton, CA, on October 7 it was time for me to return to Los Angeles Union Station (parking in the MTA Building garage was suggested by James Smith) and prepare to board Train 4, Amtrak’s Southwest Chief to Albuquerque and Lamy, New Mexico. Because I now live in Northern California I don’t get to go to Phillippe’s restaurant near LAUS very often, so I went there for dinner. Soon Surfliner train 583 arrived at LAUS and RailPAC VP Smith and Associate Director Ken Ruben were there, having traveled back after the meeting. Read the rest of this entry »