By Ralph James

Railroad Operations.All three routes we used, California Zephyr, Empire Builder and Coast Starlight, incurred very substantial delays enroute. The causes of delay, however, were very different on each route, as were the operating responses of the host railroad. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Commentary, Reports

By Ralph James, RailPAC member

Trip Overview
My wife and I booked a one week cruise on Lake Michigan, which created the opportunity to include Amtrak in our travel plans between California and Chicago. We booked an economy sleeper between Sacramento and Chicago arriving two days before the cruise date with return from Chicago to Portland to Sacramento via connection to the Coast Starlight. As our travel plans developed, we ultimately departed from Colfax and detrained at Naperville to best accommodate our arrangements to be dropped off at the beginning of the trip and to pick up our rental car in the Chicago area. Our return leg also included the final bus segment back to Colfax from Sacramento. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reports

San Luis Obispo — Reported by Bruce Jenkins, RailPAC director — Discussion of a slot for the proposed Coast Daylight train on CT (Caltrain) led to a probable solution (suggested by RailPAC VP North Art Lloyd, who also represented Caltrain at the meeting) in that the morning train, #799, would depart San Francisco at 8:15am and use a “Caltrain Bullet train” slot. This would give CT a southbound train to Gilroy in the AM. This same solution is used by Metrolink for the San Luis Obispo Surfliner.There is a major problem in getting a funding source for the new train on the ’07-’08 budget. SLOCOG’s Peter Rodgers gave a presentation on the use of “Spillover Funds”: “These are generated when gasoline prices increase at a rate faster than all other taxable items. Hence we are presently seeing unprecedented amounts of revenue in the spillover.” In recent years the Legislature has diverted $694 M of these spillover funds to the general fund for other purposes. This could very well be the source for the Daylight.

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Posted in Reports

Below are three documents RailPAC published which helped defeat this legislation on June 27.


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Posted in Issues

Suisun City Hall — Reported by Russ Jackson — The good news is the expansion to 16 daily round trips between Sacramento and Oakland will take place August 28.CCJPB Chairman, Roger Dickenson, opened the meeting with comments about the Bond issue package which the Governor and the Legislature have placed on the November ballot, and reflected on how “Much will be said over the next months about how important this measure is.” If the voters approve it, $400 million will be designated for the three state rail corridors with $125 million for new rolling stock which will “allow us to increase capacity on these routes, by adding cars to the existing trainsets.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reports

RailPAC Policy, June, 2006.  Story by Paul Dyson, RailPAC President — RailPAC has long advocated the extension of Southern California regional passenger services to the Coachella Valley, and indeed into the Imperial Valley and to Yuma and Phoenix. The line is an Amtrak route and so the tracks are maintained to passenger standards. However, the tracks are owned by Union Pacific Railroad, a publicly held corporation whose primary purpose is to make a profit for its owners operating freight services. Any proposal must take this into account.RailPAC strongly believes any new passenger rail link must be properly planned and operated. An ill conceived, poorly executed service will not attract riders and will not survive. RailPAC advocates the following criteria should be met prior to implementation: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Issues

TAMC Rail Policy Committee   June 5th, 2006

Reported By Chris Flescher, RailPAC Associate Director — The RPC will release a RFP (request for proposals) for legal services related to the easement negotiation. This is about the proposed water pipeline that would go underground, in the Monterey branch line row (around Marina). The water agency is doing an appraisal for the easement value, and TAMC wants a legal firm to prepare easement documents. The legal firm will then subcontract the services of an appraiser, and the two will prepare an appraisal for TAMC. The RPC approved sending this request to the TAMC board of directors.

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Posted in Reports

RailPAC Meeting Report, Reported by Noel Braymer — Over 60 people filled the Mizell Senior Center on June 3rd. Guest Speakers included Mayor Ron Oden of Palm Springs, Robert Parkins, former City Manager of Palms Springs, Jack Wilson, Assistant Superintendent of Road Operation for Amtrak, Lea Simpson of Caltrans Division of Rail, and Sheldon Peterson of the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC). Joining in the discussion was Mayor C. Robin Resser Lowe of Hemet who is a former chair of the RCTC. Also at the meeting was John Chlebnik, Mayor Pro Tem of Calimesa and RCTC Representative, as well as Lorena Marie Da Costa from the office of Representative Mary Bono of the 45th District which includes the Palm Springs area. There was media coverage with cameras from Channels 2 (CBS) and 6 (NBC) in Palm Springs. RailPAC President, Paul Dyson, was the host.

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Posted in Reports