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Old September 18th, 2008, 04:41 AM   #641
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Amtrak expansion from Oklahoma to Kansas likely, state official says
17 September 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Expansion of an Amtrak route from Oklahoma to Kansas appears likely as the railroad operator and the Kansas Legislature move forward with a joint feasibility study this month, a state transportation official said.

John Dougherty, a rail programs assistant division manager for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, said Kansas officials are looking at whether to extend passenger rail service into that state.

"Kansas is taking the lead, and this is what we've been waiting for them to do," Dougherty told members of the Oklahoma City Council during a special meeting on Tuesday. "There's been a lot of noise and concerns and interest from their citizens to their state leaders that they want these options."

Several Oklahoma cities also have endorsed the proposed expansion. In July, Edmond city officials passed a resolution in support of an expansion of the existing Heartland Flyer service between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas, north to Kansas City, Mo., by way of Newton, Kan. The governments of those cities have already expressed support for the plan, as have Norman, Oklahoma City and several other communities.

As fuel prices have spiked over the last year, ridership on the Heartland Flyer between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth increased 17 percent for the 10 months ended July 31, Amtrak officials recently reported. Daily passengers for the 10 months totaled 67,141, up from 57,327 passengers for the same period in 2007.

Amtrak began offering Heartland Flyer service in June 1999, following a 20-year lapse in passenger rail service for Oklahomans. Oklahoma and Texas share the cost of operating the line, contributing about $2 million each annually.

Supporters of the expansion would like to see the line continued through Guthrie, Perry and Ponca City, and into Kansas through Arkansas City and then Wichita and Newton. The proposed line would connect there with an existing Amtrak route to Kansas City.

The extension would almost double the route's length, so the total operating cost would increase by another $4 million annually, Dougherty said. That figure does not include startup costs.

Officials estimate the Kansas study will be finished in six to nine months, after which it will be submitted to legislators for consideration. If funding is approved by the Kansas Legislature in the following session, a new Amtrak route on existing freight rails and new passenger depots could begin operating as early as 2010, Dougherty said.

"We feel real positive that this is going to end up with an extension," Dougherty said. "Now, what extension and when is unknown. It's just the next logical step."
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Old September 18th, 2008, 05:37 AM   #642
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Hey hkskyline, I went through your world photo galleries, simply stunning.
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Old October 8th, 2008, 12:16 AM   #643
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McCain Opposes Amtrak funding, votes against High Speed rail bill

http://mwhsr.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 02, 2008
John McCain voted against Amtrak this week in a bad political move
Senator John McCain was one of a minority of Senators to vote against the Amtrak bill in the Senate this week. Even though he understands there is a climate change crisis, and he understands that we have to break our addiction to foreign oil, he has a major blind spot when it comes to Amtrak and passenger rail because he one of the nation's leading critics of Amtrak over his long career.

If Senator McCain becomes our next President, then my prediction is that President McCain will cut back on service or try to liquidate Amtrak altogether rather than dramatically expand it.

Politically, I'm not sure why McCain would continue to oppose Amtrak, since there are a lot of Amtrak riders in swing states like Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio. All of those Amtrak riders in swing states are probably not going to support an anti-Amtrak candidate like John McCain.

The latest scuttlebutt is that President Bush might even sign the bill! No one has been a bigger opponent of Amtrak than President Bush, but if he signs it (since more than two-thirds of each house voted for the bill which is enough to override a veto), then John McCain would be more anti-Amtrak than President Bush. That's hard to do. And I think that's a disastrous position for Senator McCain in the next 30 days.
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Old October 8th, 2008, 12:18 AM   #644
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But Amtrak funding passes Senate anyway!

http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...25626&ssid=180

October 2, 2008
Senate Passes Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act

Legislation Authorizes Nearly $13 Billion for Amtrak
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate yesterday passed H.R. 2095, the Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act. The bill includes Amtrak reauthorization language and authorizes significant federal funding for intercity passenger rail service and corridor development. The measure authorizes $12.9 billion over five years including: $5.3 billion in capital grants, $2.9 billion in operating grants and $1.9 billion for grants to states for intercity passenger rail development. The House approved the legislation on September 24. The bill must now be signed into law by the President, and Congress will need to pass annual appropriations bills to provide the funding levels authorized in the bill.

In addition to authorizing spending for rail expansion, the legislation reauthorizes and toughens rail safety programs, including requiring rail companies to equip cars with "positive train control" systems to help avoid collisions.

"The work on this authorization bill spanned nearly three congresses and does change the existing conditions for Amtrak, the rail industry and the states," said Alex Kummant, Amtrak president and CEO. "Apart from safety enhancements, the bill creates for the first time a state and federal funding partnership which places rail passenger service on a more equal footing with other modes, and encourages rail corridor development. Passage of this bill is a significant statement by Congress that will positively affect the traveling public for generations to come."

"Provisions in the bill that mandate positive train control across the industry will provide significant safeguards for the traveling public," said Chairman of the Amtrak Board Donna McLean. "Amtrak prides itself as a leader in safety innovations. The Board supports the requirements of the bill and implementing them will be our highest priority."

Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Tom Carper (D-DE), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and former Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) are to be commended for their tireless efforts on behalf of the passenger rail industry and for their persistence in getting the legislation passed. On the House side, Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN), Ranking Member John Mica (R-FL), Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL)and Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) are also to be commended for their hard work and commitment to improving intercity passenger rail service for all Americans.

In the fiscal year that ended September 30, Amtrak carried over 28 million riders, a sixth straight year of record ridership, and earned more than $1.7 billion in ticket revenue for the national passenger railroad.
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Old October 8th, 2008, 03:58 AM   #645
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs View Post
Politically, I'm not sure why McCain would continue to oppose Amtrak, since there are a lot of Amtrak riders in swing states like Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio. All of those Amtrak riders in swing states are probably not going to support an anti-Amtrak candidate like John McCain.
Well, I don't think his non-support of Amtrak is as damaging as that. I'm a firm supporter of Amtrak, but there are other issues that are more important. I doubt many people have "supports Amtrak" as their make-or-break issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs View Post
The latest scuttlebutt is that President Bush might even sign the bill! No one has been a bigger opponent of Amtrak than President Bush, but if he signs it (since more than two-thirds of each house voted for the bill which is enough to override a veto)
Well, there's the reason he's signing it... there's no practical reason not to, since Congress would just override... it isn't some big shift in philosophy by Bush.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 07:55 PM   #646
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Hmmm, I'd have never expected Montréal becoming destination of two dome-car trains:

Amtrak's full article

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ATK-08-070

Contact: Media Relations (212) 630-6933


September 25, 2008
"Great Dome" Car Returning to Adirondack Service
NEW YORK - Beginning Thursday, October 2, 2008, through Tuesday, November 11, 2008, passengers riding Amtrak's Adirondack train, which operates between New York City and Montreal, will once again have the unique opportunity to experience the spectacular view afforded by the historic "Great Dome" car between Albany and Montreal.

Named for their design that features an upper level with windows on all sides as well as overhead, dome cars provide passengers with panoramic views of passing scenery. The dome car is temporarily assigned to the Adirondack, and provides views of fall foliage and Lake Champlain as the train travels through upstate New York and across the border into Canada. The refurbished vintage "Great Dome" car seats 90 passengers and is 85 feet long. The dome section runs the full length of the car, an unusual feature, since the more common type of dome encompassed less than half the length of the car.

"The arrival of the "Great Dome" car into New York State is certainly welcome news for our passengers who plan to travel through the Empire region," said Mike DeCataldo, Amtrak's General Superintendent, Northeast Division. "I encourage all New York residents and our friends in Canada to take advantage of this rare opportunity to witness and experience train travel in a unique and breathtaking manner," he added.

The car will operate northbound from Albany to Montreal on Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays. It returns south from Montreal on Fridays, Sundays, and Tuesdays. No trips are made on Wednesdays. All passengers traveling on the Albany-Montreal segment of the route are welcome to enter the dome car to enjoy the view. Seats in the dome car are not reserved and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

About the "Great Dome Car

The only remaining dome car in Amtrak service, car number 10031, which is a Great Dome car previously used on the Chicago-Seattle Empire Builder when the train was operated by the Great Northern Railway and the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad (later the Burlington Northern Railroad).

It was among six similar Great Dome cars built in 1955 by the Budd Company for the Great Northern and carried the name "Ocean View," car number 1391. All six of the cars were conveyed to Amtrak in 1971, with this car first being given the number 9361. It was renovated in 1985, renumbered 9300, and used in daily service on the Amtrak Auto Train to and from the Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Fla., areas through 1994.

According to a website hosted at www.trainweb.org, four others of this series of Great Domes survive. The "Glacier View" is in use by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (the successor to the Burlington Northern and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway) as an inspection and theatre car; Grand Luxe Rail Tours owns the former "Mountain View" and "River View" cars and has renamed them "New Orleans" and "Copper Canyon" for their nationwide tours, frequently using Amtrak crews and locomotives. The former "Prairie View" is owned by Holland America Westours and has been renamed "Deshka" for use in Alaska.

Great Dome 10031 is usually used in charter service on the West Coast and rarely operates east of the Rocky Mountains.
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Old October 12th, 2008, 03:20 AM   #647
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Quote:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...0,960349.story

Amtrak announces record ridership of 28.7 million for fiscal year to continue resurgence

By SARAH KARUSH | Associated Press Writer
3:03 PM CDT, October 10, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Amtrak carried a record 28.7 million people last year, with each of its routes seeing gains, the national passenger railroad said Friday.

The company has posted six years of ridership and revenue growth, recently benefiting from high gas and airline prices. The number of trips over the past year increased 11 percent over the 25.8 million taken in fiscal year 2007.

Total ticket revenue for the year that ended Sept. 30 reached $1.7 billion — also a record for the 37-year-old government-owned corporation and a 14 percent increase over the $1.5 billion taken in the previous year.

"Amtrak has solidified its role as a leader in the nation's transportation network and proven intercity passenger rail's relevance in today's world," chief executive Alex Kummant said in a statement.

He said highway and airport congestion, high gas prices, increased environmental awareness and improved Amtrak service all contributed to the successful year.

Kummant has previously predicted that annual ridership could grow to 50 million in 10 years.

Amtrak, long criticized for its reliance on government subsidies, has also been enjoying a stronger position in Washington.

Earlier this month, Congress passed legislation that sets funding targets of $13 billion over five years in a major vote of confidence for the company. President Bush, a staunch Amtrak critic, is expected to sign the bill, which also includes broad new rail safety provisions.

The bill also calls for about $1.9 billion in federal matching grants to states for rail projects. Amtrak hopes that money will encourage more states to pay for short-distance, "corridor" service.

Those kinds of routes have provided recent success stories for Amtrak, and they accounted for the steepest gains in the figures announced Friday.

The Hiawatha Service between Chicago and Milwaukee, for example, carried 750,000 passengers last year, a 26 percent increase. Several other Illinois routes also posted double-digit gains.

The Keystone Service, which connects New York City, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa., saw ridership surge 20 percent to 1.2 million. Ridership increased 31 percent to 474,000 on the Downeaster, between Portland, Maine, and Boston.

As usual, the Northeast corridor between Washington and Boston was strong, with an 9 percent increase in ridership and a 15 percent increase in ticket revenue.

Among long-distance routes, the Texas Eagle between Chicago and San Antonio saw the biggest ridership jump, growing 15 percent to about 252,000 passengers. The Empire Builder, which runs between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest, remained the most popular long-distance train with 554,000 riders, a 10 percent increase over last year.

___

On the Net:

Amtrak: http://www.amtrak.com/
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Old October 15th, 2008, 07:11 PM   #648
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"Light Rail Now" group likes Biden

http://www.lightrailnow.org/news/n_newslog2008q4.htm


14 October 2008

USA Election:
Joe Biden, longtime rail passenger champion, seeks vice-presidency on Obama-Biden ticket

In Senator Joe Biden, passenger rail advocacy has long had a strong champion in Congress, and, if the Obama-Biden ticket prevails in next month's election (Nov. 4th), perhaps in the office of the nation's vice-presidency. Biden, of course, is the Democratic Party's nominee for vice-president.

As Light Rail Now! has pointed out in our recent article USA: Obama says "Yes", McCain "No" to Amtrak Passenger Rail and Rail Safety bills:

...Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden, not only has been one of the rail passenger system's most enthusiastic backers in Congress, but also has commuted regularly via Amtrak between his home in Delaware and the Senate in Washington.

Indeed, Sen. Biden has ridden Amtrak trains between Wilmington, Delaware and Washington, DC for 36 years, and has been a longtime supporter of Amtrak. (In photo at right, Sen. Biden is seen on 25 Aug. 2008 at the Amtrak station in Wilmington, which he has used for years to commute to his job in the US Senate.)
[Photo: Bradley C. Bower]

Biden's support of Amtrak stands in striking contrast to the long-term animosity toward Amtrak shown by John McCain. (See: John McCain's long hostility to rail public transport may now be liability.)
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Old October 18th, 2008, 12:08 AM   #649
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Big surge in Amtrak ridership in Illinois

Trains are often sold out, especially on weekends

By Jon Hilkevitch | Chicago Tribune reporter
October 14, 2008


Amtrak ridership topped 1 million passengers in the last year for the first time in at least three decades on routes between Chicago and Downstate cities, the railroad reported Monday.

In addition, Amtrak trains between Chicago and Milwaukee carried about 750,000 riders, a 25 percent increase from a year earlier.

The surging ridership numbers—the product of high gasoline prices and drivers' frustration with traffic congestion—leave little guesswork as to why Amtrak trains are often sold out, especially on weekends.

"What stands between us and even higher numbers are infrastructure improvements on the routes and the need for more rail equipment," Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said.

The Illinois Department of Transportation substantially boosted funding several years ago for Amtrak to increase the number of runs operated on state routes. The funding totals about $28 million this year. The state-supported routes have added almost 300,000 passengers in the last fiscal year, Amtrak said.

About 1.1 million tickets were sold in the past year on Amtrak lines from Chicago serving Bloomington/Normal, Carbondale, Champaign, Galesburg, Macomb, Mattoon, Springfield and Quincy, Ill., and St. Louis. It reflected a 15 percent ridership increase, Amtrak said.

With ridership going strong, there is equally strong pressure on Amtrak to improve its on-time performance. Increased interference from freight trains is a major cause of delays, costing Amtrak more than $100 million annually. Amtrak trains serving Illinois arrived late 50 percent of the time on average in August, according to Amtrak.

Track improvements on the freight railroads where Amtrak operates is also a high priority. The Federal Railroad Administration last month awarded Illinois $3.4 million to upgrade signaling systems to improve reliability on the 284-mile Chicago-to-St. Louis route, which is designated as a future high-speed corridor.

Meanwhile, ridership across the entire Amtrak system increased 11 percent in the last year, totaling 28.7 million passengers. Total ticket revenue reached $1.7 billion.

Legislation passed by Congress this month would give $13.1 billion to Amtrak over 5 years to enhance existing routes and develop new corridors across the nation. The funding could help stimulate high-speed rail plans in the Midwest, of which Chicago would be a major hub.
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Old October 18th, 2008, 12:45 AM   #650
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That is wonderful news!
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Old October 21st, 2008, 12:17 PM   #651
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Amtrak to use Grand Central for 2 weekends
14 October 2008

NEW YORK (AP) - During the next two weekends, Grand Central Terminal will be the New York City stop for Amtrak trains to and from Albany while railroad switches are upgraded.

The detour will involve 45 Amtrak trains per weekend. Pennsylvania Station is Amtrak's usual stop in New York City. The upgrade work is being carried out by Metro-North Railroad.

While the switch work is being done, Amtrak passengers on the Hudson line will see some changes. Some trips will be longer, some will depart from or arrive at different stations and some trains will split in two at Albany, with extra engines waiting.

Amtrak will provide shuttle buses from Penn Station to Grand Central.

Amtrak trains will be leaving from Metro-North's tracks 34 and 35 on the upper level of Grand Central Terminal.
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Old October 29th, 2008, 07:36 PM   #652
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Can anybody let me what's the purpose of the observation turret oddly set above the open platform of Amtrak's Beech Grove car #10001, coz my internet searches aren't yielding any answer? How is it used, e.g., must an observer stand up onto some step ladder or must he lie down such that he be sandwiched between the cabin ceiling and roof?

Last Friday, I was surprised to learn there being ten (10!) different fares for travelling from NYC to Wash DC on the Monday, where the lowest one cost 72USD and the highest 299USD. It's like there were ten classes of travel between the two cities. Are those fares considered regular (normal) to travel on that rail corridor?

Thanking you in advance.
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Old October 30th, 2008, 12:43 AM   #653
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do you have more pictures?
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Old October 30th, 2008, 06:59 PM   #654
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Amtrak Blackhawk Line funding looks promising

http://www.thonline.com/article.cfm?o=1&id=219797


Sunday, October 19, 2008 Post a Comment

Legislation that doubles Amtrak's budget could be a good sign for the return of a line between Chicago and Dubuque
BY MARY NEVANS-PEDERSON TH STAFF WRITER

Amid the recent national financial ballyhoo, there has been some good economic news for Amtrak fans, including those working to bring passenger-train service back to Dubuque.

The U.S. Congress recently doubled Amtrak's budget by approving a five-year, $13 billion bill, with the House voting 377-38 and the Senate approving it by 74-24. On the heels of a record year for ridership (more than 28 million riders), Amtrak will get $2.5 billion per year for operating and capital expenses, including equipment purchases and railroad repairs.

Local train supporters hope some of that money will be used to revive the former Black Hawk rail line from Chicago to Dubuque. It's obvious to them why Congress acted now after years of meager federal support for passenger train transportation.

"The world really has changed dramatically. We're going to have to increase rail transportation as soon as possible," said Rick Harnish, director of the Chicago-based Midwest High Speed Rail Association.

"With problems with the airlines and high gas prices, Congress is News You Can Use
To learn more about the local initiative that is promoting the return of passenger-rail service to Dubuque, go to www.envision2010.org/ridetherail.
finally seeing how much sense it makes," echoed Janet Fisher, of Galena and Chicago, who has been lobbying to restore local train service for 16 years.

Dubuquer David Overby chaired the first core group, which took up the charge 2 1/2 years ago to bring back passenger-rail service after citizens chose the campaign as one of the city's 10 most important projects.

"This says people have let Congress know they are looking for alternative forms of transportation rather than flying or driving," said Overby, an inveterate train rider.

Although the bill has been approved, funding still must be approved through the congressional appropriations process and given the massive costs of the ongoing financial crisis. All bets are off as to when that might happen.

"It doesn't mean it won't happen, but we have to be realistic that it may take longer," Fisher said, adding that Illinois also must pass its own languishing capital plan before the state's required matching funds would be available.

In addition, Iowa will have to come up with an as yet undetermined portion of matching money to fund the part of the route within the state. Iowa legislators did approve $300,000 earlier this year for a passenger platform along existing tracks at the Port of Dubuque.

Harnish and Fisher urge train supporters to lobby their state and federal lawmakers.

"Go to campaign events and make it clear you want passenger trains," Harnish said.

For the record, presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain voted differently on the bill -- Obama voting for it, McCain against.

Congressman Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, doesn't need convincing.

"It's something I'm very passionate about," Braley said. "It's an enormous economic opportunity for Dubuque and the state of Iowa. There's such a strong connection between the city of Chicago and the city of Dubuque."

Hundreds of the 8,000 signatures so far collected on petitions to bring back the train are from people visiting the tri-state area from Chicago, said Sue Czeshinski, director of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau. The preferred route from Chicago has stops in Rockford, Freeport, Lena and Galena before an overnight stop in Dubuque.

"If this is ever going to happen, it's going to happen now," she said.
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Old October 30th, 2008, 07:52 PM   #655
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Quote:
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do you have more pictures?
There are pictures but no explanation. It's a business class car.

from http://www.northeast.railfan.net/rolling13.html



from http://www.trainweb.org/amtrakpix/tr...3A/92103A.html



from http://www.trainweb.org/chris/empirebuilder.html
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Old October 31st, 2008, 06:59 PM   #656
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Wow $13 billions over 5 years!!! That's an astonishingly small sum for the geographical and economic size of a country like the US. Britain just passed a $43 billion funding for next 5 years of their railways and their economy is about 1/7 the size.

I wonder how much the US will spend on roads over the next 5 years
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Old November 1st, 2008, 12:26 AM   #657
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Quote:
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Wow $13 billions over 5 years!!! That's an astonishingly small sum for the geographical and economic size of a country like the US. Britain just passed a $43 billion funding for next 5 years of their railways and their economy is about 1/7 the size.

I wonder how much the US will spend on roads over the next 5 years
I agree, its pathetic how little is spent on railways in the US. $13 billion won't go a long way in building anything, the california HSL alone will cost about 3 times that amount.

however, comparing US railways to europe is a bit unfair, most of america doesn't have the density to support rail travel, not to mention the distances involved. that being said there are many corridors which urgently need high-speed rail (and not some half-assed excuse like acela)
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Old November 1st, 2008, 10:39 PM   #658
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Although the irony is that the UK railways were intended to be self funding, yet in the financial year '07/08 subsidy was about $10 billion, with tickets netting another $10 billion, and that doesn't include freight.

Yet the USA has much less passengers and much more freight - the freight which pays for itself and doesn't need government investment in the same way as passenger services do (I'm assuming the freight operators have the funds to sort themselves out when it suits them?), even if the money is poured into the very same infrastructure. So I agree it is an unfair comparison.

I get the impression that the the infrastructure is what causes a lot of problems in the USA, as its seems to be biased towards freight usage. In this case the money could actually go a long way on many little projects - like a new set of points here, a new freight loop there, better signals somewhere else, can serve to make massive efficiency gains on the existing infrastructure. Am I correct in thinking there is a lot of scope for this kind of thing in the USA?

Back in the UK we have much less scope to eek out more capacity from our routes unless we reinstate deleted routes, build new lines or wait for the in-cab signalling revolution to be rolled out.
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Old November 1st, 2008, 11:32 PM   #659
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also here in the UK, we have a unitary government, decisions are centrally planned and funded by the government in westminster. in the US it they need federal, state and sometimes municipal funding/approval to build anything. not to mention that most things have to go through public votes in order for the funding to be approved, its a ridiculous bureaucratic process.

as you mentioned, american railways are focused on freight and not passenger services, however i don't think amtrak money would go towards freight lines unless they are shared by passenger services. that in itself is a problem as the freight lines are privately owned and freight gets priority over passenger services. the real need is to construct passenger only lines in order to increase efficiency, reduce travel times and late trains.
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 04:27 AM   #660
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Amtrak needs more money, watchful of soft economy

WASHINGTON, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Amtrak, the U.S. passenger rail service, needs a further injection of funds to renovate its equipment and offer more routes, its chief operating officer told a Congressional hearing on Wednesday.

William Crosbie told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that Amtrak needs investments in its electrical infrastructure in the Northeast and new equipment to replace aging coaches and locomotives. It also needs funds to "fulfill the vision that's embodied in the recent Amtrak reauthorization bill" of expanding its range of routes.

The bill, passed by the U.S. Senate earlier this month, authorized $13 billion to handle Amtrak's operating needs, capital projects and debt reduction over five years. A similar bill had already passed the House.

Crosbie said a record spike in Amtrak ridership in 2008 has increased demand for its services.

"I would like to emphasize that the rehabilitation of our fleet will allow us to take some concrete measures to supply the transportation capacity we need," he said.

At the same time, the economic downturn has hit the money-losing organization, Crosbie said.

"As the economy has softened, we have seen some drop in ridership on the Northeast Corridor, and we are keeping a close eye on our other services," he said. "We are a little concerned about the near term, but we recognize that this is a moment to plan and invest for the future."

The Northeast Corridor, Amtrak's most heavily traveled route, runs between Washington, D.C., and Boston.

During the hearing, which was called to consider how to increase infrastructure spending as part of another economic stimulus package, Crosbie said Amtrak estimates "that we could get to work relatively quickly on $70 million of projects" such as updating the Wilmington, Delaware, station.

In addition, he said, Amtrak has identified another $87 million in projects that could be started quickly if Congress provided funding.

Crosbie said putting more money into Amtrak would create jobs and help kick the U.S. economy back into gear.

Amtrak needs an additional $10.8 million to improve ventilation and firefighting systems for its Northeast Corridor, Crosbie said. (Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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