Analysis by Noel T. Braymer with photos

Recently Los Angeles City Council member Bill Rosendahl called for the creation of Metrolink service between downtown Los Angeles and Ontario Airport in a Motion at the City Council. Mr Rosendahl’s district surrounds LAX and his views reflect his constituents demand that regional air travel be spread out to other local airports. This Motion calls for “A direct Metrolink connection to LA/Ontario airport would link Santa Barbara, Palmdale, Ontario and Palm Springs to the regional transportation network. It would allow international passengers to fly through Ontario and get to Downtown Los Angeles in 20 minutes, as compared to a 40-minutes commute to LAX.” Things appear to be moving quickly on this proposal. The LA City Council subommittee on Transportation which Rosendahl chairs has asked the city’s airport agency which runs both LAX and Ontario Airports to work with Metrolink on a proposal to implement this plan and asking them to report their preliminary findings in 30 days. Metrolink is already on record that they can’t achieve this goal under current conditions. It is 57 miles from Union Station to Ontario Airport which would require an average speed of around 170 miles per hour to travel in 20 minutes. Travel to Palm Springs and Santa Barbara are also out of the service area of Metrolink and would be best handled by LOSSAN. So what can be done that is reasonable to improve rail connections to the airports and reduce local traffic congestion around them?

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eNewsletter for January 21, 2013   January 26th, 2013

The Surfliner Express has been around since February of 2011. Ridership has continued to drop since then and is lower than the all stops service this express train replaced. In October 2012 ridership was 29 percent lower than October 2011. This experiment should end as soon as possible. What is needed is to reduce running times on ALL Surfliner Trains and run them on time. NB

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Here are 5 photos by RailPAC photographers. Click on the photo to see it full size!

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By Andrew C. Selden
NOTE: This article appeared as the first article in the first issue of the “RailPAC Quarterly Review,” in September, 1984. What Mr. Selden said then bears close resemblance to the situation facing the Amtrak “experiment” with a morning limited stop train on the same corridor in 2013. Mr. Selden is President of the Minnesota Rail Passenger Association, a frequent contributor to RailPAC publications and has spoken at RailPAC Conferences. Particular note should be taken of his suggestions at the end of the article.

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Posted in Commentary

What the Southwest Chief Should Be   January 19th, 2013

Report by Noel T. Braymer

Imagine you are at the Albuquerque Train Station and you can catch a train there to Fresno or Denver, St Louis, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C. as well as Chicago and Los Angeles. How many “trains” would be needed to do this? Well 5 but they would all arrive at Albuquerque at the same time.

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Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter for January 14, 2013   January 19th, 2013

Amtrak’s annual operating loss last year was lowest since 1975, ..Washington Post-Jan 10, 2013 The $361 million loss for the year ending Sept. 30 was down 19 percent from the previous year. The last time Amtrak losses were less was 1975.What is significant about the year 1976 is that is when Amtrak was given the NEC by Congress to get it off the back of the bankrupt PennCentral. By 1980 Amtrak’s losses went over a billion dollars (in 1980 dollars). With the help of rising gas prices, higher fares and subsidy from States such as California Amtrak has made progress improving its revenues. But Amtrak was well on its way to breaking even back in 1993 after then retiring Amtrak President Claytor made modest expansion of Long Distance services. Had Mr. Claytor’s policies been continued Amtrak would have become self supporting years ago. NB

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Commentary By Chuck Robuck, RailPAC Director, Sacramento, and former President, CC Riders
In the past, the City of Sacramento has proposed building BOTH an Arena and an Intermodal Transit Facility on the City-owned 13-acre parcel near the Historic Train Depot (AKA the “Depot” site).
There is clearly not enough space on this site to accommodate both projects.

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Posted in Commentary

eNewsletter for January 7, 2913   January 12th, 2013

Senate confirms two Amtrak board members Progressive Rail Roading-Jan 3, 2013  The U.S. Senate confirmed Christopher Beall and Yvonne Brathwaite Burke as new members of Amtrak’s board, Amtrak announced today. They will serve five-year terms. The addition of Ms. Burke, who is also a member of the California Transportation Commission and former member of Congress as well as Mr. Beall of Oklahoma with a background in transportation investment should add depth to the Amtrak Board and greater representation of the Western States. NB

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Opinion by Noel T. Braymer

Amtrak President Joseph Boardman has the best of intentions. He gave priority to improving Long Distance Rail service with proposals to run daily service on the Sunset. He has supported studies to bring back the Pioneer, extend the Heartland Flyer to Kansas City, return service on the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Florida as well local service between Baton Rouge and Dallas. He has overseen the order  in 2010 for new low level Long Distance Cars to replace equipment over 40 years old made possible with stimulus funding. Also with stimulus money he has ordered new electrical locomotives for the NEC. He started the process to order additional Acela cars to run longer Acela trains to increase capacity and revenue without needing to run more trains on the NEC.

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Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter for December 31, 2012   January 5th, 2013

Bike Nation is a Bicycle Rental Company which often uses train stations as part of serving a downtown area for short trips . Renters can drop off bikes near their destination downtown at a Bike Nation bike rack, then pick up another bike to get back to the train station. This is a start up operation in California. As well as at LAUS, Bike Nation is setting up bike racks around Anaheim, Fullerton and Long Beach. If this service catches on it will help move people in and out of train stations to near by areas while reducing the need to store bikes on trains.

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