Sacramento to Tucson, on Amtrak and in the Dining Car June 4th, 2013
Trip Report and Comments by Mike Barnbaum, RailPAC Associate Director
Six months ago, I reserved with 11,000 Guest Rewards points, a round trip from Sacramento to Tucson. I have already traveled one-way, and will be returning on Sunday 26 May from Tucson, arriving into Sacramento on Monday 27 May. This was a sad trip in the wake of what just recently happened in Sacramento. Sacramento put up a good fight in an effort that turned out successful with all involved (Mayor, City Council, Fans, Grassroots, Local Investors, Major Equity Investors, bipartisan state legislature support and more) to save the Sacramento Kings for present and future generations to come. While that was a success in Sacramento, it was no the case in Tucson, Arizona, where the community’s only professional sports franchise, the Tucson Padres, will not be the Tucson Padres in 2014. The franchise is packing their bags and moving to El Paso, where we have found out through Twitter that their new ballpark will be located in a location in Downtown El Paso that require the demolition of both a Natural Science History Museum and El Paso City Hall. City offices are being housed in a building there in El Paso, Texas, where an old newspaper printing factory used to be, according to sources on social media giant, Twitter.
RailPAC President writes CPUC re Sprinter April 11th, 2013
Mr. Michael R. Peevey 8th April, 2013
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco CA 94102
SAFE OPERATION OF “SPRINTER” RAIL PASSENGER SERVICE
Dear President Peevey:
NOTE: This letter from Paul Dyson and Noel Braymer’s article below express the RailPAC opinions on this subject.
8th April, 2013
Mr. William D. Bronte,
Chief, Division of Rail
Department of Transportation
1120 N Street MS 74
Sacramento, CA 95814
Surfliner: Degrading Intercity Schedules to cover gaps in Commuter Service a bad policy and contrary to State Rail Plan
Dear Mr. Bronte:
Amtrak plans to stop Surfliners at Coaster stations too April 9th, 2013
The Coast Starlight and the Coast Line are Just Coasting March 1st, 2013
Report and Commentary by Russ Jackson
Amtrak’s Coast Starlight still travels daily between Los Angeles and Seattle. Should we take it for granted? Well, let’s look at its performance lately. From Amtrak’s December 2012 Performance Report, now posted on Amtrak.com, we know the train’s end-point “on time performance” (OTP) for the fiscal year since October 1, 2012, has deteriorated compared to the same period in 2011, from 85.9% to 73.9%. That’s down 12%. The good news is that on February 11, 2013, train 11 arrived at Los Angeles Union Station (LAUS) 3 minutes early having not been later than 51 minutes enroute, which was at Santa Barbara, so the early LA arrival was due largely to using up schedule padding. Train 14 on the same day arrived in Seattle 38 minutes early, not having been late more than 19 minutes at any station enroute.
A Business Analysis of the San Diego Metroliners January 24th, 2013
By Andrew C. Selden
NOTE: This article appeared as the first article in the first issue of the “RailPAC Quarterly Review,” in September, 1984. What Mr. Selden said then bears close resemblance to the situation facing the Amtrak “experiment” with a morning limited stop train on the same corridor in 2013. Mr. Selden is President of the Minnesota Rail Passenger Association, a frequent contributor to RailPAC publications and has spoken at RailPAC Conferences. Particular note should be taken of his suggestions at the end of the article.
Commentary By Chuck Robuck, RailPAC Director, Sacramento, and former President, CC Riders
In the past, the City of Sacramento has proposed building BOTH an Arena and an Intermodal Transit Facility on the City-owned 13-acre parcel near the Historic Train Depot (AKA the “Depot” site).
There is clearly not enough space on this site to accommodate both projects.
LA Busy Building over 35 Miles of New Rail Transit over the Next 10 Years. December 8th, 2012
Report by Noel T. Braymer with illustrations from LA METRO
Los Angeles County has two major Light Rail extensions under construction now that are planned to be finished by 2015 which will be added to its existing 87.8 miles of rail transit. There is the 6.6 mile extension of the Expo Line using an old PE ROW which will connect Santa Monica at Culver City to downtown Los Angeles at a cost of $1.5 Billion Dollars. This will connect with the existing 8.6 miles Expo Line which opened in April 2012. The other project now under construction is a $735 million dollar, 11 mile extension of the Gold Line from eastern Pasadena further east in the San Gabriel Valley to Azusa on the old Santa Fe Line between Pasadena and San Bernardino. This is the first of 3 segment with the next planned to continue past Azusa to Montclair at the Los Angeles/San Bernardino Counties Border. Ultimate plans are to extend the Gold Line to Ontario Airport in San Bernardino County.
Arizona and passenger rail: Now and in the exciting future November 29th, 2012
Report and Commentary by Russ Jackson, PHOTOS by Russ Jackson, Mike Palmer, Bill Lindley.
We all know that two major transcontinental railroads have crossed the state of Arizona for over 100 years, built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe in the north and the Southern Pacific across the southern route. Today the AT&SF is the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and the SP route is owned by the Union Pacific. Passenger trains have always been a part of the state’s railroad picture from the days of Fred Harvey and the tourist trains that brought winter visitors to the state. Amtrak operates the daily Southwest Chief across the BNSF and the tri-weekly Sunset Limited on the UP, but is there a chance for increasing that level of service? Not likely, what with the current hard-nosed attitude that exists at the freight railroads and Amtrak’s reluctance to challenge it. What the UP and BNSF do is run the current passenger schedules quite efficiently; trains 1 and 2 ran 66% on time at end points on the UP in the fiscal year 2011 which ended September 30, 2012, and 92.3% in the month of October, 2012. Trains 3 and 4 were at 80% for the FY and 91.9% on time on the BNSF in October.
November 15th workshop for the Sacramento Valley Station Phase 2 November 10th, 2012
Meeting notice from Gregory Taylor, Project Manager, Sacramento Valley Station Phase 2, Department of Public Works