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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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Posted in eNewsletter

I wanted to emphasize that the comments made by Russ Jackson and Paul Dyson on the seriousness of the Sunset Ltd. amendment are not overstated. (Note: See their commentaries also on railpac.org) The whole long-distance network is at risk. Also this is a battle unlike any we have seen in the past for the following reasons:

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Posted in Commentary, Issues

NOTE: Reprinted with permission of Peter LeCody and the TRA, from their website: www.Texasrailadvocates.org

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Posted in Commentary, Issues

Complied by Noel T. Braymer

Recently the board of the new San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority approved their first Business Plan for the San Joaquin Trains. There is a great deal of  information in the 156 page packet which includes comments of the draft and the revised final draft of the Business Plan showing changes from the original draft. Here is a Link to this Agenda item on the Business Plan for the meeting held in Sacramento on June 27th. There are several interesting issues in the Business Plan. The Comet Cars are not popular with the Authority since they have higher operating costs and have problems running on time with slower passenger loading and unloading. They want more bi-level cars. The Authority is not thrilled with the idea of running express San Joaquins on the High Speed Rail tracks while HSR is waiting for electrified trains. They find that disruptive and want to stay on the existing route. Track work is needed to add more trains. A 7th round trip will be possible after track work is finished in mid-2015. More money is needed to finish work for an 8th train. There are plans of running additional trains at mid-corridor, Fresno being the place for the new terminal. More stations are planned and extending the San Joaquin’s to Oakland’s Coliseum Station is planned.

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Posted in Commentary

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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Posted in eNewsletter

By Noel T. Braymer

Recently Shawn Nelson, Chairman of the Orange County Transportation Authority called for closing the gap of about 2.5 miles between the end of LA Metro’s Green Line (which by 2019 will connect with LAX) to the Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs Metrolink Station. No doubt LA Metro would agree, but would ask who is going pay to do this? As a comparison, the 2 mile Regional Connector rail transit tunnel, soon to be built in downtown Los Angeles with 3 stations for the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines will cost $1.4 billion dollars.

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Posted in Editorials

Here are this month’s photos by RailPAC photographers. Click on each photo to see it full size! Contributions to this page are welcome. Send your jpeg rail photos to Russ Jackson, RailPAC Photo Editor, at info@railpac.org.

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Posted in Rail Photos

By Noel T. Braymer

Long distance rail passenger service has been in decline in this country since the mid-1990′s. Without a major overhaul, sooner or later long distance rail service in this country will collapse. If the long distance trains fail, this will bring down Amtrak and create problems for the Northeast Corridor. Passenger rail service in this Country depends on long distance trains both economically and politically.

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Posted in Editorials

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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Posted in eNewsletter

By Noel T. Braymer

The Sprinter is the 22 mile Light Rail service between Oceanside and Escondido in northern San Diego County. It operates every half hour with diesel multiple unit (DMU) cars. The Sprinter stops just outside of downtown Escondido at the Escondido Transit Center. Early planning for the Sprinter called for extending it roughly 5 miles to the south mostly along an existing highway median and terminating at a major shopping mall at the south end of Escondido. However the high cost of building a new right of way to serve Cal State University San Marcos for the Sprinter ended any plans to extend the train in Escondido.

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Posted in Editorials