Rail Improvements in California over the Next 5-7 Years October 27th, 2012
Story and Photos by Noel T. Braymer
With all the talk about High Speed Rail and 130 miles of new construction in the San Joaquin Valley by 2018, what can we expect between Los Angeles and San Diego? The projects we can be sure of have been in the works for years. In San Diego County there are about 60 miles of passenger railroad of which over half is now double tracked. By 2018 we can expect at least 8 miles of additional double tracking making 2/3′s of the railroad in San Diego County double tracked.
eNewsletter for October 22, 2012 October 27th, 2012
Amtrak snack bars lost $84.5 million last year; $833 million in 10 years Washington Examiner-Oct 16, 2012 Federal spending over the past 20 years has surged 71 percent faster than inflation, much of it on bloated and wasteful programs and services, …The use of Fully Allocated Accounting by Amtrak opens it to these misleading headlines. The snack bars didn’t lose millions of dollars and cutting out the Cafe Cars wouldn’t save millions. The problem with Fully Allocated Accounting is every segment is charged a share of the total overhead for Amtrak. The problem is Amtrak has more overhead than sources of revenue . For Amtrak to be profitable it needs to expand to bring in the revenue to cover its overhead. To bring in more revenue it needs more equipment, better connections and more trains to serve more markets without greatly increasing its overhead. Cutting back service cuts revenues and makes things worse. NB
PHOTOS of the Month: October, 2012 October 25th, 2012
5 new Rail PHOTOS taken by RailPAC Photographers!
Caltrain Modernization Program October 25th, 2012
Report by Bruce Jenkins, RailPAC Director
Caltrain is the commuter railroad operating on it’s own Right of Way (RoW) from San Francisco to San Jose with a limited six train service further south to Gilroy on Union Pacific RoW. The San Francisco/San Jose leg has been a rail commuter line since 1863 and was known as the San Francisco San Jose Railroad Company. Caltrain is owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (PCJPB),formed in 1992 and is made up of three representatives from each of the three counties served, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara. SAMTRANS of San Mateo is the managing agency, providing administration and the oversight of the operating contract.
Where I Would Like to Go by Train; but Can’t October 20th, 2012
By Noel T. Braymer
The best places to go to by train are those with lots of traffic, congestion and expensive parking. One place like that which is hard in California to go to by train are airports. There are several California airports with transit connections to train stations. The last time I tried to take the Coaster to the San Diego Airport I had to be at the airport to catch my flight before the first morning train arrived in San Diego.
eNewsletter for October 15, 2012 October 20th, 2012
The diner was operated by a crew of four—two chefs and two waitresses, who, fortunately for the passengers who had paid thousands of dollars for the privilege of riding, worked their tails off to feed everyone. (That is not an exaggeration—the last bedrooms sold for the astonishing price of $1,478 on top of the rail fare, and roomettes were offered at an equally astonishing $661.) And still #4 was full—literally every coach seat occupied for substantial parts of the trip, and the sleepers almost completely occupied.
The Texas Eagle in Illinois and the San Joaquins in California October 18th, 2012
Commentary by Ralph James, RailPAC contributor
On October 2, 2012, the Railway Age “blog” contained an article by Lyndon Henry, “Texas Eagle highlights passenger train success,” which was included in the October 8 RailPAC weekly e-newsletter. In that article a statement is made that the Chicago-St. Louis upgrades on the Union Pacific will not affect the Eagle’s schedule or connection problems at Chicago. I do not see how the upgrade cannot but help the Eagle and improve at least some of the Chicago connections, although it is evident that not ALL connections in both directions could be made without making a few fairly major adjustments to the Chicago departure and/or the E/B schedules of the Builder and Zephyr.
YES, Long-Distance Amtrak Trains are Crowded! October 18th, 2012
Trip Report on the Southwest Chief and the Empire Builder
Commentary by Andrew C. Selden, MinnARP, Minneapolis
Highway or No Way: the Need for Transportation Alternatives October 13th, 2012
Article and Photos By Noel T. Braymer
Man: An argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.
To Sacramento by way of the Sunset Limited-Texas Eagle October 12th, 2012
Photo and Trip Report in newly rebuilt Superliner cars by Russ Jackson, RailPAC
“It isn’t the destination it’s the journey.” That’s what the retired doctor sitting across from us in the Sunset Limited dining car said about train travel. He was the personification of that statement, as his trip started in Seattle on the Coast Starlight, joined us on the Sunset Limited on our return journey to Ft. Worth from attending the RailPAC Steel Wheels Conference in Sacramento, and stayed on the Texas Eagle to Chicago where he would board the Empire Builder for his trip home. That’s a veteran train traveler, and the type who is willing to spend to enjoy his trips. We all were satisfied travelers, pleased with our journey and the opportunities to see the country close up. There was a full train-load of passengers both ways, with “on’s” and “off’s” at every station.