Leaders of RailPAC, All Aboard Arizona, Southwest Passenger Rail Association and the Rail PAssenger Association (NARP) met in Mesa AZ Saturday in the first steps to set up a coalition to support the National Network trains, especially in the west. We’ll be working to add support groups in Colorado, Oregon and Washington, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico. We are gravely concerned at what seems to be the determination of Amtrak to find a reason to stop running trains 3 and 4 (Southwest Chief). Is Amtrak merely trying to dump the expenses onto the States (by law, if there is no freight traffic then Amtrak must pay for maintenance), or is this the first step in removing the trains, soon to be followed by the Sunset Limited and other routes.
Our strategy is simple. Numbers count. We need to make a lot of noise, to show Amtrak and the Congress that we will not accept any curtailment in the National Network and indeed we insist that these trains get a reasonable share of Amtrak’s capital grant. In simple terms that means locomotives and cars. It’s as basic as that.
We have friends in the Congress. We need to add the California and Nevada delegations to this group.
More information will be posted here in the next few days.