Reported by Bruce Jenkins, RailPAC Director

February 23, 2007
Inn at Spanish Bay, Monterey
The primary interest of this group is establishing the Coast Daylight train, which will run from downtown San Francisco to Los Angeles.

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Posted in Reports

CA Rail PHOTOS for March   February 26th, 2007

Los Angeles Union Station. What to look for when you come to the RailPAC/NARP Meeting on March 17!

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The CZ: Amtrak’s forgotten train   February 20th, 2007

Report and Commentary by Russ Jackson, RailPAC

As of the date this was written on February 20, 2007, the On Time Performance (OTP) of Amtrak trains 5 and 6, the California Zephyr, was 0.0%. That’s ZERO per cent, meaning NOT ONE of the trains has reached either end point within 30 minutes of its scheduled arrival time since October 1, 2006!

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Posted in Commentary

CA Rail PHOTOS for February   February 10th, 2007

What’s new at the Sacramento train station.

A January 31, 2007, PHOTO report by Russ Jackson

sac-station-p-32s.jpg
When did you last see two P-32 locomotives together? The State of California owns two like the one on the left, and borrows one from Amtrak when power is needed due to maintenance of the other fleet locomotives. Here are two Capitol Corridor trainsets being refueled at the Sacramento station. With 16 round trip Capitols daily, the new Sacramento RT light rail line, and other improvements, this historic station property is looking better for passengers every day.

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RailPAC Alert: Ridership Report for Amtrak California Trains

FROM Capitol Corridor Manager Eugene K. Skoropowski

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Posted in Reports

Commentary and Report by Hal Wanaselja

I attended the CAHSR Authority meeting in Sacramento on January 29, and as they say “there is good news and bad news.” First, let me say that the choice of Quentin Kopp as chair is a godsend. He is very astute and knowlegeable. He really belives we shoud have HSR, and has a huge number of political connections around the state. If anyone can pull this off, he can. It is also clear that our Governor, now that he has been re-elected as a “Democrat” and is a lame duck, has reverted to his Republican self. He is busily trying hard to kill HSR!

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Posted in Commentary, Reports

Trip on Amtrak 4 and 5   February 6th, 2007

In mid January 2007 I rode the Southwest Chief from Lamy to Chicago and the California Zephyr from Chicago to Sacramento in an economy sleeper. Overall it was an excellent trip, due primarily to an attentive, congenial staff, excellent weather, interesting people, and with some exceptions, a timely schedule. Food ranged from very good to “needs improvement.”

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Posted in Reports

Chairman Brown and Members of the Board

LOSSAN RAIL CORRIDOR AGENCY JOINT POWERS BOARD

January 10, 2007

I’d like to comment on item 6B and 6C, on time performance Ad-Hoc committee and Amtrak’s customer service and performance report. I spent a good part of the first few years of my career with British Railways investigating delays and compiling statistics on punctuality, so I have some experience with the matter. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Commentary

January 30th marked the 10th anniversary of the passing of Byron Nordberg.  Called the “heart and soul of RailPAC”, our “founding President” was known for his tireless efforts at promoting passenger rail.  Read Noel Braymer’s photo report at http://www.unitedrail.org/2007/01/30/byron-nordberg-remembered/

Posted in Reports

Editorial
Growth is Amtrak’s only option
By Noel T. Braymer

Last month we republished excerpts from an article from the NEW YORK TIMES with the headline Surprising Forecast for Amtrak: Growth. This is a sad commentary on the current state of Amtrak that the media would consider a marketing plan for Amtrak surprising. But in any business if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Amtrak now is only getting a small percentage of the huge travel market in this country. The reasons for this stagnation are years of a totally clueless marketing department, a flawed accounting system which hides problems and successes and a fixation by Amtrak to beg money from the Government, while ignoring opportunities to raise income from passenger travel. Growth will make Amtrak stronger. It will increase income; it will increase Amtrak’s value as a part of the transportation system, and widen Amtrak’s political support around the country.

We wish Amtrak President Kummant all the luck in the world. He is clearly on the right track. The proposals on the table will take some time to be put into effect. But there are things, many of them simple which can increase ridership and revenues in a short time. Simply running longer trains where there is already strong demand is the place to start. As Bruce Richardson of URPA has pointed out, having equipment displays at stations draws crowds, introduces people to passenger rail service and draws media attention which generates lot of free advertising. All of which increases ridership and it doesn’t cost Amtrak much. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Commentary