By Noel T. Braymer

Simple: run more passenger trains faster, more often to more places. While you are at it also offer travel deals and discounts for rail service to fill up trains that have extra room. This sounds simple but it is proven to work. An example of this is New York’s Metro North. It has had steady ridership growth despite its main commuter market to Manhattan showing no growth. Metro North over the last few years has been expanding services including reverse commute travel and off peak as well as discretionary travel. This has included more frequent services all day long and the weekends.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter for June 24, 2013   June 29th, 2013

Re: Rising Train Fares. With Metrolink’s board voting to increase the fares to ride on Metrolink Trains do you ever think we will see Metrolink’s fares being at or even higher then Amtrak’s fares? With all the increases we have with Metrolink fares it seems like the fares will match Amtrak’s fares. Jerry Martin. My concern about raising train fares is in the long run it is self-defeating. Both Metrolink and Amtrak have empty seats on many of their trains, particularly the shorter distance trains on Amtrak. Higher fares discourages ridership growth and plans to expand service. More should be done to discount tickets to fill up trains when there are plenty of seats available.This is what the airlines and bus companies do. The emphasis should be on increasing revenue with increased ridership. As Metro North in New York learned expanding service increases ridership and revenue. The same thing happened in the 70′s when service was expanded between Los Angeles and San Diego on Amtrak with State support. NB

Read the rest of this entry »

From David B. Kutrosky, Managing Director, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority
May 2013 results signal that the decline in ridership has tapered off for the Capitol Corridor–156,521 passengers rode Capitol Corridor trains in May 2013. Ridership was 1.5% below May 2012, yet it represents the third highest total for May and the sixth highest in the history of the service. Revenue in May 2013 was slightly below May 2012, with year-to-date (YTD)revenues even with last year’s totals. On-time performance (OTP) remained at exceptional levels [96% in May and YTD at 95%] keeping the Capitol Corridor as the second most reliable trains in the Amtrak system.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Noel T. Braymer

The 405 and 10 freeways in Los Angeles County are among the busiest and most congested in the United States. The 405/10 intersection is in the heart of West LA. LAX is served by both the 405 and 105 Century freeways. Both of these freeways are often congested around LAX most of the day. Yet there are no plans to directly connect this region by rail to downtown Los Angeles or the rest of California.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter for June 17, 2013   June 22nd, 2013

These comments from Rep. Denham like much that comes out of Washington are nonsense but perfect for making headlines. There is little chance that the current money for California High Speed Rail will be diverted. To do this would require the cooperation of the administration which is unlikely. To do this through legislation would have to pass in the Senate which is also unlikely as would overcoming a likely veto. The greater issue is will money be forth coming in the future for rail service improvements for California and the rest of the county. With congressmen who  play partisan political budget games over emergency relief, funding for rail projects will continue to be a fight. NB

Read the rest of this entry »

By Noel T. Braymer

I went to the Metrolink Board meeting in Los Angeles on June 14th largely because I had the day off. I expected the Board to approve the 5% Fare increase on the agenda. Still, going to this meeting was an educational experience.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter for June 10, 2013   June 15th, 2013

This contract may not be the bargain the bid for it would lead you to believe. But this doesn’t mean High Speed Rail service will be unsafe. …Rail structures are built to much higher standards than most construction. While buildings and freeways collapsed both during the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 and the Northridge Earthquake of 1994 NO railroad structures failed during either earthquake. The most common cause of death in transportation is from fire and smoke inhalation. … Passenger trains cars rarely catch fire because if there is any fuel it is isolated at the locomotive. By 2015 passenger rail lines in California will have Positive Train Control (PTC) which will stop trains to prevent most accidents, particularly those between trains which are the most serious. Grade Crossing accidents are also a problem on the railroads, but won’t be on this line since it will be fully grade separated. NB

Read the rest of this entry »

Story and Photos by Noel T. Braymer

In London, England they are spending 15 billion pounds which is 23 billion dollars to connect 2 existing commuter rail lines in central London with 13 miles of tunneling. This out of 24 miles total for tunneling which also includes a tunnel for a branch to Heathrow Airport for this project called Crossrail. In total this project includes 73 route miles. Crossrail which is currently the biggest engineering project in Europe is expected to open in 2018. The British are paying for the construction of Crossrail with a combination of general tax funds, local tax assessments of London Businesses and with borrowed money. The loans will be paid from the operating profits of the passenger trains. When operational 24 trains an hour during rush hours will run with 10 car trains carrying up to 1,500 passenger.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter for June 3, 2013   June 7th, 2013

Here is a quote from the motion LA Metro Chair Supervisor Antonovich made on this issue of expanding Metrolink service. Since Los Angeles County has 40 percent of the votes on the Metrolink board and Supervisor Antonovich is also on the Metrolink (SCRRA) Board, it sounds like he means business. NB “Furthermore, in contrast to our regional goal of coordinating and synchronizing transit transfer schedules, weekend train trips on the Antelope Valley Line are uncoordinated with Amtrak trains and other Metrolink trains at Union Station, creating major service gaps for Los Angeles County residents connecting to destinations between Los Angeles and Orange County, San Diego and San Bernardino.”

Read the rest of this entry »