How to Save the Chief   September 27th, 2013

By Noel T. Braymer

The prospects for the future of the Southwest Chief don’t look good. The BNSF has made it clear that they will not spend more money on the route between Albuquerque, New Mexico and Newton, Kansas to maintain the tracks to passengers standards with so little freight traffic on them. BNSF wants Amtrak or someone else to pay for track maintenance on this route. Amtrak has assumed it could reroute the Chief on the BNSF Mainline through Amarillo, Texas if the current route is no longer available. The BNSF has warned Amtrak that any reroute of the Chief through Amarillo would cost about as much money as repairing the existing tracks through New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas. Amtrak in this case is considering dropping the Chief entirely.

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eNewsletter for September 23, 2013   September 27th, 2013

BART was the first of several subway systems over the last 40 tears to operate with automation. Except in yard limits at slow speeds with operators at the controls BART trains have been mostly run by computers for over 40 years. The primary job of the operators is to check the doors at the station to insure no one gets stuck at the door going in or out of the train while it is moving. There have been several times when operators have left their cabs only to find their BART or Washington Metro trains left the station without them. When this happens the passengers can’t get out of the trains at their stops or get on since without the operator the train doors won’t open. NB

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Stuck in Pico Rivera on Metrolink   September 22nd, 2013

By Noel T. Braymer

Everything was normal until we left the City of Commerce station on Metrolink #604 after leaving LAUS on time at 4:30 PM on Friday September 20, 2013. We barely cleared the station around 4:45 PM when we came to a halt. That’s not usual if the problem was signals or a delay up ahead. After a few minutes the conductor came on the intercom to explain why the train wasn’t moving: there was a problem with the locomotive. The conductor apologized for the problem and explained they were trying to solve the problem and get going. The conductor also said a mechanic was on his way from Los Angeles to work on the problem.

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From David B. Kutroksy, Managing Director
Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority

Capitol Corridor Service Performance

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Posted in CA Rail Statistics

Life after “Death” for Rail in LA.   September 19th, 2013

By Noel T. Braymer

In 1998 the future of rail transit, particularly subway construction looked bleak in Los Angeles. Construction of the Red Line subway from downtown Los Angeles to North Hollywood was a mess. The Red Line construction had created a huge sink hole in east Hollywood. Many buildings were damaged because of ground subsidence along Hollywood Blvd despite promises this wouldn’t happen. The Red Line project was behind schedule and over budget. Early ridership was well below projections on the first 2 segments of the subway.

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eNewsletter for September 16, 2013   September 19th, 2013

This sounds like a great deal for the North County Transit District allowing them to add 3 additional round trips trains to their commuter train service for a fraction of the cost of adding more commuter trains. But it is a terrible deal for intercity rail passengers. In the 1970′s passengers trains ran between Los Angles and San Diego in 2 hours and 35 minutes. Plans long in the making have called for running times by now of under 2 hours and 20 minutes. The long term goal is still to bring running times under 2 hours. With over $1.5 billion dollars spent for better equipment and major track improvements built since 1979 the current running time of train 567 from San Diego to Los Angeles is 2 hours and 52 minutes. This is without 4 additional Coaster station stops being added to the mix. NB

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What’s the Plan for LOSSAN?   September 13th, 2013

By Noel T. Braymer 

LOSSAN’s goal should be to increase ridership by providing better rail passenger service with faster trains serving more destinations.This is done with coordination of the different services to feed both local and express trains. By doing so all the trains on LOSSAN will improve their efficiency and be more economical for passengers to use. This is a tall order but one that is doable and depends on expanding service and faster running times.

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eNewsletter for September 9, 2013   September 13th, 2013

Highlights from the LOSSAN TAC meeting minutes for August 8, 2013. San Diego County plans to go to bid soon for a new siding at San Onofre to Pulgas, a third through track with a 3rd platform at Oceanside, and the Los Peñasquitos Bridges Replacement. San Diego County has committed over $400 million in LOSSAN rail corridor projects and plans to double track nearly the entire corridor in San Diego County by 2030. In Los Angeles County bids are planned to go out soon for run-through tracks at Los Angeles Union Station and for a grade separation in the San Fernando Valley at Doran Street. Rail traffic will be closed between San Juan Capistrano and Oceanside September 21, September 28, and October 5 on Saturdays for work done on the pedestrian crossing and rehabbing of the San Clemente Pier Station.

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LOSSAN to Arizona?   September 6th, 2013

By Noel T. Braymer

LOSSAN originally stood for LOS Angeles-SAN Diego for the route of the San Diegan Trains back in the 1980′s. Since then rail service on this corridor has expanded to Santa Barbara and later to San Luis Obispo. With the introduction of Metrolink and Coaster service sharing parts of the LOSSAN corridor the role of LOSSAN became even more complicated. To get the best passenger service there needs to be coordination between services and schedules where these trains often share stations and tracks with each other.

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eNewsletter for September 3, 2013   September 6th, 2013

New crossing relieves train bottleneck Press-Enterprise- Aug 25. 2013 For long-suffering Colton residents, the project promises relief from the constant sound of horns blowing as trains made their way through the crossing… Passenger rail also should see some improvements. The Union Pacific line also is used by Amtrak, and BNSF has agreed to allow additional Metrolink trains to run on its line. The UP last year came to an agreement with Amtrak for some changes to the Sunset Limited between Los Angeles and New Orleans in return that Amtrak not discuss a daily Sunset for 2 years. Well that was the time needed to finish the Colton Flyover. Now is the time to start talking again about a daily Sunset which would still not be ready for service before 2014.NB

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