eNewsletter for November 21, 2011   November 25th, 2011

This is the way progress has always been made in California for rail service, one grant at a time. A million here and a million there and soon you are talking real money. Local projects and High Speed Rail will continue to be built one step at a time. When you try to build rail service in one giant leap you get shot down by critics crying about the cost and saying no one will ride it. When people are have decent rail service they will demand more. NB

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Report and photos by Robert Manning, RailPAC Executive VP

The temporary Transportation Center in the heart of downtown Indio, witnessed more people then anyone could have imagined on this special day. Two temporary modular buildings now house the Greyhound bus station and the future passenger train facility which will be built.

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eNewsletter for November 14, 2011   November 17th, 2011

 Lately there has been a great deal of hysteria about the possible 98 billion dollar price tag for California High Speed Rail adjusted for inflation for an 800 mile system. Below the radar  are plans by Amtrak to build a new 200 mph plus High Speed Rail line on the 457 miles between Boston and Washington for around 120 Billion dollars. There is little talk about the states of the NEC paying for this project and it looks as though the plan is for this to be fully funded by the Feds. Last week House Transportation Chair  John Mica gave up on his ill conceived plan to get private financing and operation for HSR on the NEC and he said he supports transferring money to the NEC from HSR funding allocated for California which he expects will be returned by the State to the Feds. NB

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Report by Mike Barnbaum, RailPAC Associate Director

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Board of Directors met for the final time in 2011 on November 16 in the City Council Chambers at the City of Suisun City. Chair Bob Franklin (San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District) opened the meeting with his “Report of the Chair” that included news of all-time records being set for the Capitol Corridor in three key categories of Ridership, Revenue, and On-Time-Performance. Chair Franklin also mentioned that there will also be $42 Million coming in in Proposition 1B Funds that will include 42 rail cars and 6 Locomotives for Amtrak California, of which the Capitol Corridor will get 10 cars and two locomotives. Chair Franklin went on to highlight Section 209 in regards to Amtrak Operations Pricing Policy and that December 11th is the 20th Anniversary for the Capitol Corridor.

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Posted in Reports

Traveling The Web Of California Bus/Rail Connections
Report and Comments by Ralph James

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Posted in Commentary

Traveling The Web Of California Bus/Rail Connections
Report and Comments by Ralph James

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Posted in Commentary

eNewsletter for November 7, 2011   November 10th, 2011

 I have it on good authority that Boardman, in discussions with his top aides, defines Amtrak’s priorities toward train service as Northeast Corridor first, state-supported short-distance trains second, and long-distance trains a distant third. Were I in his shoes, I’d do the same thing. There was also a defining moment in a Senate hearing this year, when asked by Susan Collins, R-Maine, why Amtrak’s deficit for 2011 was rising despite increased ridership, that Boardman blurted in response, “It’s the long-distance trains!”… Is Amtrak considering another round of cut backs on Long Distance Trains in the face of  Congress likely turning down their full subsidy request? Every time Amtrak has cut Long Distance Trains they end up with a deeper deficit.

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Commentary by Russ Jackson

We passenger rail advocates prefer traveling cross-country on one or more of Amtrak’s long-distance trains whenever possible. We do it because we love it. We do it because we want them to be a part of the continuing heritage of this great country. We do it because we want that transportation alternative. We expect Amtrak to preserve that picture for us, and for the generations that follow us. What kind of job are they doing to help us in that regard?

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Posted in Commentary

What’s it like to ride the train?   November 3rd, 2011

Commentary and Trip Report by Dana Hawkes

I am taking the train from LA to Houston. It is nearly universal that people are surprised, they have never taken a long distance train ride, and they are very curious about what it is like, and when they learn it takes longer than a plane they wonder what you do with all that time.

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Posted in Commentary

Enewsletter for October 31, 2011   November 3rd, 2011

What will the future hold for Palmdale? Metrolink is studying running trains at speeds over 100 miles per hours to Palmdale. The Las Vegas High Speed Train to Victorville is closer to starting construction next year: a connection to Palmdale make sense for that service. It looks more likely that future Higher Speed Rail service in the immediate future will have to use more improved existing rail lines than originally thought.

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