Notes submitted by Bill Kerby, January 10, 2008

Commissioners were relieved when Executive Director John Barna corrected the minutes from the past meeting that stated “no members were present” to “no members were absent.”

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Monterey County Rail Meeting Report   January 17th, 2008

The Transportation Agency for Monterey County Rail Policy Meeting, held on January 7, 2008
“Progress is being made on the Monterey Branch Line service!”
Reported by Chris Flescher, RailPAC Associate Director

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Posted in Reports

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Commentary By Paul Dyson, RailPAC President

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Posted in Commentary

January 10, 2008
Merced, California

Reported by Bruce Jenkins, RailPAC Director

The meeting was abbreviated because train #701 (north) was delayed due to a grade crossing accident south of Merced.

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By Noel T. Braymer

George Skelton of the Capital Journal from Sacramento wrote some rather discouraging things about what is being proposed for the California High Speed Rail Project. This is what he wrote as published in the December 24 issue of the Los Angeles Times.”Turns out, as a Sacramentan, I wouldn’t be allowed to use the train for a very long time. Neither would people in San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Modesto or Stockton. We’d only get to watch from a distance as the bullet became the plaything of people in San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno, Bakersfield, Palmdale, Los Angeles and Anaheim… This happened when the authority approved a Pacheco Pass route from the San Joaquin Valley to the Bay Area- a path through rural Los Banos roughly 60 miles south of an alternative Altamont Pass line near fast-growing Tracy. If the bullet line had been extended north to Tracy, it could also have served Modesto and Stockton. And then it might have been feasible to lay another 40 miles of track to the state capital. But the Pacheco Pass route was more direct to San Francisco, less expensive and a detour around enviromental slow-downs.”

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Posted in Commentary

By Noel T. Braymer

Back in November 4th of last year PARADE Magazine ran a story about Amtrak entitled “With high gas prices and airport delays, could we make our trains…A Better Way To Travel?” With this story PARADE Magazine ran a poll of its readers asking “Should America Invest more in Trains? In the December 9th issue PARADE published the results of this poll in which its responding readers replied an overwhelming 97% in favor of spending for more rail passenger service. While hardly a scientific finding, it does show there is a strong demand for rail passenger service nation wide. PARADE Magazine is about as Middle Amerincan as a publication can be and is in most Sunday newspapers around the country. It is no secret that letters in support of Amtrak often run second only for support of Social Security in Congressional Mailboxes.

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Special Amtrak release sent to RailPAC by Ed von Nordeck

BLIZZARDS IN CALIFORNIA AFFECTING SERVICE
.
EXTREME BLIZZARD CONDITIONS WILL AFFECT THE SIERRA NEVADA AND
SISKIYOU MOUNTAINS IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA THE NEXT FEW DAYS,
WITH HEAVY SNOWFALL CLOSING THE HIGHWAYS.
.
ON FRIDAY, JANUARY 4 AND SATURDAY, JANUARY 5:
– ALL THRUWAY BUSES BETWEEN SACRAMENTO AND RENO/SPARKS OPERATE
ONLY AS FAR EAST AS AUBURN. (3524/3528/3534/3537/3543/3553)
– ALL THRUWAY BUSES BETWEEN SACRAMENTO AND SOUTH LAKE TAHOE
OPERATE ONLY AS FAR EAST AS PLACERVILLE. (3424/3447)
.
– ALL THRUWAY BUSES BETWEEN SACRAMENTO, DUNSMUIR AND MEDFORD
OPERATE ONLY AS FAR NORTH AS REDDING.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 3: 3701.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 4: 3701, 3704.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 5: 3704.
.
NO ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION OF ANY KIND IS OR CAN BE
PROVIDED. ..P12

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I was delighted to receive an invitation from NCTD to represent RailPAC at these ceremonies in Escondido this past Friday. It’s been nearly 27 years since a group of us, including the late Byron Nordberg and Adrian Herzog, and the very much alive Russ Jackson and Noel Braymer, met at Oceanside and discussed the possibilities of the then freight only A.T. & S.F. Escondido Branch. Byron had the vision of frequent inter city and commuter trains on the “Main Line” to and from Los Angeles, with the Escondido branch providing local and feeder services. I was proud to see the engraved stone at the Oceanside T.C. dedicated to Byron’s work. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reports