The San Joaquins: California’s Overnight Trains? July 17th, 2014
By Noel T. Braymer
Many would love to be able to catch a train in the evening and wake up near their destination from one end of California to the next. This isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. There has been talk for years about extending a round trip San Joaquin over the Tehachapis overnight with with sleepers and lots of padding in the schedule. This is going nowhere as far as the UP is concerned. So what is the next best thing?
RailPAC eNewsletter for July 14, 2014 July 17th, 2014
The sorry state of Amtrak’s on-time performance, mapped Washington Post (blog)-Jul 10, 2014 Eight of the 33 routes, including most of the long-distance cross-country lines, experienced on-time arrivals less than 50 percent of the time over the past 12 months. The Empire Builder, running from Chicago to Washington, ran on time only 21 percent of the time in the past year. Only one in three California Zephyr trains made their trips between Chicago and San Francisco on time.
Capitol Corridor Monthly Report (June, 2014) July 15th, 2014
Reported by David B. Kutrosky, Managing Director
Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority
Service Performance Overview
For the third consecutive month, ridership increased on the Capitol Corridor over 2013. In June 2014, a total of 116,605 passengers rode Capitol Corridor trains, representing a 1.7% increase compared to June 2013. Revenues continue to be above prior year-month results, with a 1.9% increase over June 2013. Year to-date (YTD) Operating Ratio remained at 52%, slightly below the business plan standard of 53% due to revenues being 7.3% below budget projections. YTD On-time Performance (OTP) remains a superb 96%, maintaining Capitol Corridor’s distinction as the most reliable service in the Amtrak system.
Why BART has Faster, more Direct Service than LA Metro July 10th, 2014
By Noel T. Braymer
I am not a big fan of BART. One of my biggest complaints about BART is their less than ideal connections to Caltrain, Muni Metro and Amtrak. But between BART routes, the connections are excellent. I can’t say the same about LA Metro. Transferring between the Blue Line to the Red or Green Lines requires taking stairs or riding an elevator to get to different levels between trains. Often just as you see the platform with your connecting train at it, you see it leaving the station. There is often a lot of time wasted waiting for trains.
eNewsletter for July 7, 2014 July 10th, 2014
Bullet Train Officials Wants to Start Work in LA County ASAP Curbed LA – ?July 1, 2014 …now the authority hopes to build the Palmdale-Burbank section somewhat concurrently with the Central Valley section … There is still uncertainty over the exact route the train would take between the two cities; the authority is considering a request from LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich to tunnel 15 miles under Soledad Pass. Bullet train officials are also looking at how to get to Union Station; one possibility is eight miles of tunnels leading to Downtown, but construction on the section to central LA won’t happen for years, if not next decade. If the CHSRA plans to start service between Burbank and Merced by 2022, they will need to get to work on the segment from Burbank to Palmdale now. This project will take years of final planning, approvals and funding before construction can start . The construction in most of the San Joaquin Valley will likely be done before work can begin in Los Angeles County north of the San Fernando Valley. NB
I wanted to emphasize that the comments made by Russ Jackson and Paul Dyson on the seriousness of the Sunset Ltd. amendment are not overstated. (Note: See their commentaries also on railpac.org) The whole long-distance network is at risk. Also this is a battle unlike any we have seen in the past for the following reasons:
NOTE: Reprinted with permission of Peter LeCody and the TRA, from their website: www.Texasrailadvocates.org
A quick look at the Future of the San Joaquin’s July 5th, 2014
Complied by Noel T. Braymer
Recently the board of the new San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority approved their first Business Plan for the San Joaquin Trains. There is a great deal of information in the 156 page packet which includes comments of the draft and the revised final draft of the Business Plan showing changes from the original draft. Here is a Link to this Agenda item on the Business Plan for the meeting held in Sacramento on June 27th. There are several interesting issues in the Business Plan. The Comet Cars are not popular with the Authority since they have higher operating costs and have problems running on time with slower passenger loading and unloading. They want more bi-level cars. The Authority is not thrilled with the idea of running express San Joaquins on the High Speed Rail tracks while HSR is waiting for electrified trains. They find that disruptive and want to stay on the existing route. Track work is needed to add more trains. A 7th round trip will be possible after track work is finished in mid-2015. More money is needed to finish work for an 8th train. There are plans of running additional trains at mid-corridor, Fresno being the place for the new terminal. More stations are planned and extending the San Joaquin’s to Oakland’s Coliseum Station is planned.
eNewsletter for June 30, 2014 July 4th, 2014
Corridor Capital: The Indiana Department of Transportation on June 24, 2014 selected Corridor Capital as its preferred vendor to manage and operate the current Amtrak Hoosier State route between Indianapolis and Chicago. Indiana DOT and Corridor Capital are now in discussions towards an agreement for a changeover in operations commencing October 1, 2014.
Can We Connect Metrolink to LAX? July 3rd, 2014
By Noel T. Braymer
Recently Shawn Nelson, Chairman of the Orange County Transportation Authority called for closing the gap of about 2.5 miles between the end of LA Metro’s Green Line (which by 2019 will connect with LAX) to the Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs Metrolink Station. No doubt LA Metro would agree, but would ask who is going pay to do this? As a comparison, the 2 mile Regional Connector rail transit tunnel, soon to be built in downtown Los Angeles with 3 stations for the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines will cost $1.4 billion dollars.