eNewsletter for December 23, 2013 December 27th, 2013
Expo Line leads to drop in driving USC News-Dec 16, 2013 Los Angeles residents who live near a Metro Expo Line station on Exposition Boulevard reduced the number of miles they drove and tripled their rail ridership since the rail line opened last year, according to a new USC study.
eNewsletter for December 16, 2013 December 19th, 2013
To try to reduce the number of homeless at LAUS, LA Metro now only allows ticketed passengers to sit in the station for 2 hours max with separate sections for Amtrak and Metrolink passengers. Transit passengers can’t sit in the main station.
eNewsletter for December 9, 2013 December 12th, 2013
A 220-mph NEC? A contrarian weighs in RailwayAge Magazine (blog)-Dec 3, 2013 But as a contrarian points out, the infrastructure improvement costs of upping maximum Northeast Corridor speeds to 220 mph is equivalent to almost $1 billion per minute saved, and when one arrives a half-hour earlier at origin to await boarding, and then stands in a cab line at destination for 10 minutes, much of the train-time savings value evaporates…. The contrarian suggests Amtrak scrap its $117 billion, 220-mph vision for the Northeast Corridor and redirect scarce dollars to eliminating corridor deferred maintenance, expanding its car and locomotive fleet to accommodate growing passenger demand, and rehabilitate and improve track and signaling for long-distance trains—such as in western Kansas
eNewsletter for December 2, 2013 December 5th, 2013
Editorial: High-speed rail proceeds in fits and start Sacramento Bee – Nov 27, 2013 In a mixed ruling on Monday, Kenny did not question going forward with the project. So the gleeful comment that “The high-speed rail project is derailed,” by Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, is an extravagant exaggeration.
eNewsletter for November 25, 2013 November 29th, 2013
Boardman fires more Amtrak upper managers Trainorders.com Nov 19, 2013 On Monday Nov. 18, Amtrak fired more upper managers, eliminating twenty senior positions. Causalities reportedly included a 40-year Amtrak veteran and visionary whose last two decades were directly involved with the long distance trains and customer service, with many innovations to his credit. Comment: The person who Gene Poon refers to in the original post was indeed Brian Rosenwald. He wasn’t fired, but chose to retire this week after being passed over for several positions in the new management structure. Brian is a bright and creative man, and his energy, integrity, and creative problem-solving skills will be missed. Fred Frailey
eNewslettter for November 18, 2013 November 22nd, 2013
Amtrak Serving Free Wine to Steak Loses Millions on Food Bloomberg-Nov 14, 2013 …Almost all of last year’s $72 million in food-service losses were from providing meals on long-distance trains, Inspector General Ted Alves said in testimony at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing today. I remember at least 30 years ago I heard the same story that insider theft was costing Amtrak a fortune for food service on the Long Distance Trains. To “solve” this problem the china and silverware was replaced with disposable plastic to save money and food was served much like the airlines pre-cooked at a central kitchen and heated like TV Dinners to discourage food theft. I wonder if this latest effort will be anymore successful than what was done in the past? I question any cost claims by Amtrak which are based on an allocated basis and are not itemized. Too often Amtrak uses the Long Distance Trains as a scapegoat to distract politicians and media from their real problems. NB
eNewsletter for November 12, 2013 November 15th, 2013
At the November 7th Board Meeting of the California High Speed Rail Authority in Sacramento the board approved the HSR route between Bakersfield and Fresno. The route shown above in red is still subject to possible changes before construction. Most of the approved alternatives have local acceptance in the San Joaquin Valley. The route in Kings County continues to have opposition while nearby Tulare County supports the route which is near to it. There is a developer in Bakersfield who is threatening to sue over use of a sixth of one of his projects for the Bakersfield route.
eNewsletter for November 4, 2013 November 8th, 2013
One thing that needs to be made clear; much of the funding recently approved for projects such as Caltrain electrification, run through tracks at LAUS, the LA Metro Regional Connector, track upgrades for ACE and Capitol Corridor among others were part of the package for High Speed Rail. Last year the legislature approved 13 Billion dollars in rail passenger funding of which 6 billion was for High Speed Rail. Half of that $6 billion was matching Federal dollars only for High Speed Rail. Some politicians and CHSRA boad members understand that we need conventional and high speed rail to work together to get a system up and running. As for Federal Money the California High Speed Rail Authority is not counting on additional Federal Dollars. I heard that from Dan Richard, the Chair of the CHSRA at the RailPAC/NARP meeting in San Francisco on October 5th. The CHSRA needs to build a fast connection between Bakersfield to Palmdale before they can get lenders to invest in California HSR. That would cost about $10 billion and there is $4 billion left in the existing State HSR bond money. That leaves $6 billion the CHSRA needs to find. Dan Richard and other members of the CHSRA board have backgrounds in finance. It won’t be easy but raising the $6 billion shouldn’t be impossible. NB
eNewsletter for October 28, 2013 October 31st, 2013
This is the plan for overhauling Los Angeles Union Station just approved by the Board of LA Metro. The old pedestrian tunnel will be replaced with a large open area under the tracks to eliminate crowding and add more retail space at the Station. A new 2 story bus facility will be build along side of track one just west of the Gold Line Platforms. There will also be direct access under the tracks between the Gold Line to the Red and Purple Subway station as well as buses and the trains at original tracks. At the east end where the current bus area is will be use for more retail and office buildings.
eNewsletter for October 21, 2013 October 25th, 2013
Most of the hyperbole about the High Speed Rail program is driven by old fashion partisan politics rather than sound transportation policy. The Prop 1A Ballot measure allows the State to sell 10 Billion dollars in bonds for Public/Private financing of a High Speed Railroad through California. The assumption was the bonds would be matched with Federal Funds. The ballot measure prevents the State from subsidizing operation of HSR Train service. But the intent of the project is that the majority of the funding will be privately raised and serviced by profits from the operation of the HSR trains. Most High Speed trains, most intercity passenger trains for that matter make an operating profit. The ballot measure does not require the train’s profits to pay off all of the capital costs of the HSR project. Much of the hysterical opposition to the HSR project is either ignorant of what is in the Prop 1A ballot measure or is intentionally trying to mislead the public. NB