Crowded San Joaquin route needs more Amtrak trains Visalia Times-Delta-Jul 22, 2014 And I’m not the only person who is riding. Amtrak publishes annual ridership statistics, and for several years in a row, the numbers have been going up for all of Amtrak California’s trains. But don’t take Amtrak’s word for it, see for yourself. The trains which I have taken lately have been more crowded than when I started riding, and the connector buses are often full.

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Fresno supervisors reject call to renounce high-speed rail  ABC30.com-Jul 16, 2014  FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) A local attack on the California high-speed rail program fizzled in Fresno. An effort to get the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to renounce their support for the project died. It was backed by just one supervisor.

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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.

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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

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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.

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eNewsletter for June 23,2014   June 27th, 2014

Amtrak Sees Delays Increase Wall Street Journal Jun 18, 2014 Amtrak is slowing down. Even as airlines increasingly are getting to their destinations on time, the nation’s passenger train system averaged only 73.1% on-time arrivals at endpoints in the six months ended in April. That’s down from 85.8% in the same period a year earlier. One particular Amtrak line, the Empire Builder, running between Chicago and Seattle, arrived within 30 minutes of schedule only 26% of the time.

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eNewsletter for June 16,2014   June 20th, 2014

Morning Transportation Politico-Jun 11, 2014  Amtrak changes: The House voted for several restrictions on Amtrak funds, but rejected another. Members approved a change from Pete Sessions to block funds for the route that loses the most money — the Sunset Limited that runs from New Orleans to Los Angeles. Another amendment from Reps. Phil Gingrey and John Mica to stop federal subsidies for Amtrak’s money-losing food and beverage service was approved on a voice vote. (emphasis added) But on a 167-250 tally, members voted down another proposal from Sessions to eliminate money for any Amtrak route that costs twice what it takes in, which the Texas congressman framed it as a matter of eliminating money-losing routes from the passenger railroad. This is the result of Amtrak’s accounting which gives the false impression that food service and the Sunset are directly losing this money when it is only what is allocated as their share of Amtrak’s losses. Cutting trains or food service will not save money, but will reduce income.  The Senate later stripped these House amendments from the final bill. NB 

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Enewsletter for June 9, 2014   June 13th, 2014

Behold Union Station’s Huge Plans: Sub-Train Concourse, New Terminal, Fred Harvey Revived Curbed Los Angeles Jun 3, 2014 Much of the impetus for the new plans is an expected increase in patronage; today’s 70,000 daily riders could explode to 140,000 by 2040, assuming the high-speed rail line ever gets built. Should that happen, *California High-Speed Rail (not Metro!) will build a separate terminal for HSR behind Union Station, connecting it to the rest of the station with elevated pedestrian and bike bridges that will rise over the railyard.

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Enewsletter for June 2, 2014   June 5th, 2014

Union Station to get $350 million in track upgrades Los Angeles Times-May 27, 2014 The Southern California Regional Interconnector Project is designed to benefit travelers by installing four sections of track that will enable Amtrak and Metrolink trains to run straight through the terminal, eliminating the 15 to 20 minutes it now takes to enter and exit the station at its lone north entrance. All tracks now dead-end in the terminal area….“This will be a game changer for intercity and regional rail in Southern California,” said Paul Dyson, chairman of the Burbank Transportation Commission and president of the Rail Passenger Assn. of California and Nevada, a nonprofit advocacy organization. “The good news is that it makes better use of existing rail cars and locomotives, train crew hours and fuel, lowering the operating costs of both Metrolink and Amtrak.”

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eNewsletter for May 27, 2014   May 30th, 2014

Brown doubles down on high-speed rail amid calls for restraint  SFGate-May 16, 2014  Preparing for looming budget battles with the Democratic-controlled Legislature, Gov. Jerry Brown warned Friday that lawmakers must balance “desire and need” for expensive social programs – even as he defiantly doubled down on support for the increasingly unpopular high-speed rail system, saying it remains emblematic of his passion to “build great things” in his final term as governor.

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