16th January, 2009, Mr. Joseph H. Boardman, President and Chief Executive Officer, NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION, Re:  Amtrak Rolling Stock Investment Plans.          Dear Mr. Boardman:  As you take up your new duties as President of Amtrak, albeit so far on temporary assignment, we’d like to draw your attention to some distressing tendencies in Amtrak policy over recent years.

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Posted in Issues

California Corridors December stats   January 14th, 2009

Reported by  Eugene K. Skoropowski, Managing Director, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority  After the relatively modest November growth in Capitol Corridor riders (+2.7%), we were expecting to see a significant slowing of ridership growth on the Capitol Corridor in December, reflecting the impacts of both the economic downturn, as well as falling gas prices.  It did not happen.

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Posted in Reports

Reported by Bruce Jenkins, RailPAC Director

The San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee met in Merced Thursday, January 8, 2009.  RailPAC Associate Director George Gaekle, from Modesto, who also is a SJVRC committee member, introduced the new committee member for Stanislaus County, County Supervisor Vito Chiesa.

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Posted in Reports

By Noel T. Braymer

The simple fact is most intercity passenger trains make money, on their direct operating costs. The problem at Amtrak is it doesn’t run enough trains to bring in enough money to cover all its overhead costs. Amtrak has some large overhead costs, centered mostly in the Midwest and East Coast. Yet Amtrak usually tries to save money by cutting back on passenger service.

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Posted in Editorials

RailPAC President Paul Dyson writes to NARP Chairman George Chilson:

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF RAILROAD PASSENGERS, 900 Second Street NE Suite 308, Washington, DC 20002, Via E-Mail, hard copy by US Mail              Dear George:  I am writing on behalf of RailPAC to express our deep concern at the future of Amtrak’s western routes. The trains west of Chicago have been starved of capital investment by Amtrak for many years, and the current 5-year rolling stock plan does nothing to redress this situation. The Superliner fleet is showing its age, now mostly over 30 years, and yet in spite of crowded trains and solid returns on investment from long haul ticket and sleeper revenue Amtrak continues to spend 95% of its capital dollars on the NEC. This should be as unacceptable to NARP as it is to us.

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Posted in Commentary

    . . . Photos and Commentary by Russ Jackson…  January, 2009.  Happy New Year, everyone!  Let’s start with some good news from the Capitol Corridor’s holiday message to its riders:  “You have spoken…and we listened.  Back by popular demand is the pot roast sandwich on an onion roll. Visit the Cafe Car today and enjoy a hot sandwich on your ride home.” 

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Posted in Tracking Rail News

First Things First Mr. Boardman   January 3rd, 2009

Editorial by Noel T. Braymer
“In my view, a national intercity, interconnected passenger rail service is critically important for the mobility and energy independence of the United States.” Joseph Boardman

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Posted in Editorials