Welcome to RailPAC.org!

The RailPAC Mission: Passenger rail advocacy, Publications…both print and electronic, Representation at regional meetings, and Rail education. Join us! More memberships increase our strength in presenting the case for rail to policymakers at all levels! JOIN US

     

(more…)

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials

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 

Read the rest of this entry »

Commentary by Paul Dyson

You know, sometimes the old light bulb above my head doesn’t go on as quickly as it once did. You know what I mean, it used to be that I’d read or hear something and in a flash I’d figure out the agenda behind the innocuous statement. Well it took me weeks, even months, as new information dripped in, to understand the true import of PRIIA. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Commentary, Editorials

Commentary by Paul Dyson
President, Rail Passenger Association of California and Nevada

House amendments to kill the Sunset and remove food service will accelerate the demise of the Superliner network. This is not a drill! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Commentary

By Noel T. Braymer

The two most important passenger  transportation hubs in Southern California, the 2nd most populated area in the country are Los Angeles Union Station (LAUS) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). In terms of passenger miles generated, LAX is more important. Road traffic to LAX is also a major source of traffic congestion and pollution. LAUS is rapidly becoming the center of surface transportation in Southern California because of 3 major projects. There are run-through tracks that will be added which will allow trains to hub in and out of Union Station, connecting the whole region. There is the Regional Connector which will greatly expand local Light Rail service through LAUS. Plus there  plans for a major rebuild and expansion of the area under the platforms to handle more passengers and improve connections between trains and buses. About the only important destination to LAUS not seeing improvement is direct rail service from LAX.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Commentary by Russ Jackson, RailPAC, Dallas

All passenger rail advocates know Amtrak’s Sunset Limited travels between New Orleans and Los Angeles three times a week in each direction. Many of us ride it. We all know that these trains run with full cars most of the route and that not everyone rides the full distance. In fact, less than 20% of the train’s riders do. When the train reaches San Antonio two cars, a sleeper and a coach, are added to the train or taken from the train to/from the Texas Eagle. Those two cars are almost always filled with riders coming from or going to the mid-West. The financial success of the Sunset Limited is constrained by its tri-weekly service, and the successful through cars from the Texas Eagle are not credited to the Sunset but belongs to the Eagle. Currently, trains 1 and 2 have an excellent on time performance, nearly 80% for the fiscal year 2013. Efforts to get daily service on the route have been unsuccessful, not that much effort has been made by Amtrak to accomplish it. The current agreement with the Union Pacific is that Amtrak will not even bring up the subject of daily service for another year, or when the railroad’s double tracking project between Los Angeles and El Paso is completed. That is a good idea, but does Amtrak plan to re-introduce the idea with the UP? They may not have to.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Commentary