NOTE: The following letter was published in the July 29, 2013 RailPAC e-newsletter as a “letter to the editor” after Ralph James’ article on the subject in the July-August issue of the “Steel Wheels” newsletter. Ralph James has now replied to Mr. Heywood, and those comments are published here.

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Commentary by Russ Jackson, RailPAC

It’s time we took another look at the continuing saga of the future of the Southwest Chief, which requires action as to whether 1) It will continue on its historic route from Albuquerque to Kansas via the Raton Pass route, or, 2) It will be moved to the BNSF “Transcon” route from Belen, NM to Kansas via Amarillo and Wichita, or, 3) It will be discontinued altogether. The decision deadline is the end of 2014.

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RailPAC Opinion with PHOTOS, by Paul Dyson, RailPAC President

As RailPAC’s e-mail newsletter Editor Noel Braymer has previously reported there is some discontent on the part of the San Joaquin rail board at being allocated two consists of the refurbished “Comet” cars.

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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.

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Mr. Michael R. Peevey 8th April, 2013
President,
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco CA 94102
SAFE OPERATION OF “SPRINTER” RAIL PASSENGER SERVICE
Dear President Peevey:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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