On March 27th, Paul Dyson represented RailPAC and NARP while testifying before the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.
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Posted in Commentary, Issues

Here are this month’s photos by RailPAC photographers. Click on each photo to see it full size! Contributions to this page are welcome. Send your jpeg rail photos to Russ Jackson, RailPAC Photo Editor, at info@railpac.org.

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On March 19th, Paul Dyson represented RailPAC and NARP while testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Passenger Rail.

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Posted in Commentary, Issues

Story and Photos By Noel T. Braymer

Most modern train stations are little more than parking lots with platforms far away from someplace people want to go to. Your busier stations are transportation centers with good connections to other trains and other travel modes like bus and rail transit. Few train stations today are destinations. People often travel for fun to go to places that are interesting with things to see and do; not because they have to go there. More people will ride the train when it is the best way to go to popular destinations.

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Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter for March 24, 2014   March 28th, 2014

Squirrel Blamed for San Jose Power Outage NBC Bay Area – Mar 19, 2014

One of the customers affected was Caltrain’s San Jose dispatching center, according to Tell. The outage caused the dispatching center to fail and led trains to stop, causing major system-wide delays.

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Reported by David B. Kutrosky, Managing Director
Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority

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By Noel T. Braymer

Most of the attention now in the San Joaquin Valley is focused on High Speed Rail Construction. This would build 130 miles of new railroad between Madrea and Bakersfield in the next few years. This railroad would be first used for up to 11 express San Joaquin round trip trains a day with new equipment capable of speed up to 125 miles per hour and running before 2020. But there are also longer range plans to expand San Joaquin service and increase speeds of the trains on the current route up to 90 miles per hour from the current 79 miles per hour. In the future the plan is to increase Bakersfield to Oakland frequencies from 4 to between 6 to 10 round trips a day. There are also long term plans to increase the current 2 round trips from Bakersfield to Sacramento up to 6 round trips a day. But for any of this to happen will require track improvements. Here is what is planned and is available in the San Joaquin Valley.

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Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter for March 17, 2014   March 20th, 2014

One of the changes coming to Union Station will be the end of Gates E and F at the mouth of the tunnel to the platforms.Amtrak passengers now wait in line behind these gates for their trains. Amtrak passengers will be encouraged to sit in the waiting room until their train is called. This will reduce congestion in the tunnel. Also large electronic signs displaying train arrivals and departures will be placed in the waiting room, so passenger won’t need to use the ones at the mouth of the tunnel which also makes congestion worse. NB

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Report and Commentary by Russ Jackson and Andrew C. Selden, URPA

Amtrak published its budget request for the year beginning October, 2014, on March 18. To read the full document, go to this site: http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/412/537/Amtrak-FY2015-Federal-Budget-Request-ATK-14-028,0.pdf In summary, here is what Amtrak has in store for the western Long Distance Business Line, which includes the Coast Starlight, California Zephyr, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, and Sunset Limited that all serve the west coast.

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Posted in Commentary

By Noel T. Braymer

In effect since 2013, California’s Cap and Trade program uses market forces to reduce Greenhouse Gases (GHG) by having those who release too much buy “credits” which are sold by those who come under their “carbon budget”. Cap and Trade is on track to meet its 2020 goals of cutting back GHG’s to 1990 levels in California. But a recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that meeting California’s Cap and Trade goals for 2050 which are 80 percent lower than the 1990 levels will be difficult to achieve. One reason for this is the State’s population now of roughly 38 million is expected to top 50 million by 2050. To achieve the 2050 goals of reduced GHG’s will require major changes in transportation and energy production. Rail service, both passenger and freight can be a major part of this. But even rail will need to make major changes to reduce its emission of GHG’s .

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Posted in Editorials