eNewsletter-May 23, 2011   May 26th, 2011

“You are not going to cut costs far enough on the long-distance trains to make the long-distance trains profitable,” Boardman said…The kindest thing that can be said of Mr. Boardman’s testimony before the Senate Appropriation hearing last week is that he spoke nonsense. If we go back to the 1980′s and early 90′s when W. Graham Claytor was Amtrak President we find he expanded long distance service and increased Amtrak’s cost recovery from 42 % to 80%. When he retired the expectation was that Amtrak would soon recover 100% of costs. Amtrak after Claytor left cut back on long distance trains to  “save money ” , created the Acela and instead of being on a glide path to profitability almost went out of business.Enewsletter May 23, 2011

Reported by David B. Kutrosky, Managing Director, CCJPA

(Download:  April 2011 Performance Report)

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Posted in Commentary

eNewsletter – May 16, 2011   May 18th, 2011

U.S. Department of Transportation to Allocate $68 Million for State-of-the-Art Train Cars in California. The award for California fleet cars was included in the US DOT’s $2.02 billion in high-speed rail awards, which were announced yesterday on May 9, by US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.  In addition California received $300 million more for construction of High Speed Rail in the San Joaquin Valley.  RailPAC eNewsletter for May 16, 2011

Reported by Mike Barnbaum, RailPAC Associate Director

The San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee met at the California State Building on the Mariposa Mall in Fresno for their latest meeting on April 28, 2011.

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Posted in Reports

eNewsletter – May 9, 2011   May 11th, 2011

It appears at least to this editor that after almost 15 years of planning, economic reality is forcing major replanning for the California High Speed Rail Project. In most cases this seems to be for the best. The possibility of bypassing Palmdale may be motivated to save 30 miles and time to meet the goal of 2 hour and 40 minute running times between Los Angeles and San Francisco with slower speeds in some segments than had been planned. This could be opposed by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Michael Antonovich  who is a major supporter of High Speed Rail and has Palmdale in his district. Antonovich is a good example of why High Speed Rail is not a  “Liberal ” issue since he is the most conservative member of the Board of Supervisors. At the very least Antonovich will demand major upgrades for faster Metrolink service in his district. NB  RailPAC eNewsletter for May 9, 2011

CAHSRA Meeting Report   May 11th, 2011

“Linking the California High Speed Rail Segments in the North State” - May 5, 2011

Reported by Bill Kerby, RailPAC Treasurer

The California High Speed Rail Authority met May fifth to receive reports and approve consultant reports for further plans on building four segments of the line from San Francisco to Bakersfield and to approve a $700,000 study on closing the Bakersfield gap with a route to Palmdale via the Grapevine. As for closing the gap, the City of Palmdale argued against the expenditure, citing unnecessary delays in the project by half a year; a representative of landowners along the route cautioned the Board that the new alignment may be possible, but that land acquisition would be expensive; the California Rail Foundation thanked the committee for considering alternatives to the “forty to fifty mile kink” in the mix of alignment alternatives. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reports

Opinion by Noel T. Braymer

There is nothing new about participants in a debate being selective in the “facts” they use to make their points. Much of the hysteria about High Speed Rail is based on the claim that around the world there are only 2 High Speed Rail routes that have made any money. The basis for this can be traced to a study by the Cato Institute (a libertarian think tank largely funded by Oil interests). The original Tokyo-Osaka Shinkansan line and the Paris-Lyon TGV line are the only 2 so far that have paid off all of their capital costs. That is because it takes time to pay off an investment, these are the oldest HSR lines, and most High Speed Rail services are new. If we used the criteria that a business need pay off all capital costs before being considered “profitable” then we would have few profitable businesses. Lenders are more than happy to lend money as long as an enterprise has the revenue to service the debt. All business depends on credit to function. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter – May 2, 2011   May 4th, 2011

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will receive a $100 million grant to purchase domestically manufactured rail passenger cars and locomotives for the Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin corridors.

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Celebrations of National Train Day in California will take place in many locations. This year is the 40th anniversary of the founding of Amtrak. For a list of what will happen this Saturday, May 7, 2011, see: www.nationaltrainday.com/events/other/?st=CA

Posted in Reports

Movement on the Sacramento Railyards Project
Report, Comments, and Photos by Bill Kerby, RailPAC Treasurer, and Marcia Johnston, RailPAC Director.

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Posted in Reports