My Bio and This Blog's Purpose

My Photo

I'm here to spread my ideas on how passenger rail can be improved in America without telling the same stories most people in the rail community have told for nearly 43 years. I offer a different perspective on passenger rail because things need to change in a hurry given divided government in Washington and an interest from outsiders to operate intercity service.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tackling the Headlines 69

Passenger rail study moves forward
Take: The next step will be the actual report itself. One more step before the Santa Cruz area gets connected to commuter and intercity rail and makes San Jose a true rail hub.

Take: Anything that forces Amtrak to act less than an airline and more than a railroad is fine with me.

Take: Huh? I thought that Corridor Capital had AAF's equipment in the bag.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

TIGER VI Grants

Central Corridor in Connecticut

After about three years of efforts, another part of New England is about to get privately run passenger rail--and not a moment too soon. Yes, the $10.2 million was for freight improvements along the line between New London, CT and Brattleboro, VT, but the added bonus will be passenger service for residents and college students in Amherst, MA, which will be dropped by Amtrak next year. NECR will scoop in and serve the city but it's a question of when.

Southwest Chief

Another big surprise is that the beleaguered Raton Pass route received funding. The kicker is that only 20 percent of the needed improvements will be covered and as a result, the reroute via Amarillo is still in play. As a result, my proposals are still better than the recent reprieve.

M-1 Streetcar

Detroit's streetcar project got a boost in the public portion of the PPP.

Viewpoint

I'll use this space to get something off of my chest. TIGER has been a great benefit to rail and transit in general over the last five years. If the prognosticators are correct about the Senate changing hands in ;less than two months's time, this grant program is DOA because the Tea Partiers have tried to gut TIGER over the last three years. Congress had better come up with a way fund transportation projects moving forward or it will be held responsible for whatever happens to the decline of affordable transportation solutions.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Tackling the Headlines 68

Work begins — finally — on Miami-to-Orlando fast train
Take: Nothing's going to stop All Aboard Florida from running its trains. I plan on addressing the peculiar situation with train service Florida within a month.

Georgians tout passenger trains to Atlanta
Take: Georgians don't need high speed rail service. What they need is a network of well-connected lines that provide frequent service.

All Aboard Wisconsin explores privately funded passenger rail between Madison and Chicago
Take: It may be the only way Wisconsin's capital ever gets rail service.

Third Amtrak Route To D.C. And New York Coming To Lynchburg
Take: Well, it's time for there to be additional frequencies. The new trains would be the first time in decades that there would be marketable frequencies along the route because the Cardinal's times aren't conducive four times a week and it may be sold out with Midwestern passengers.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Addendum: Overhauled Amtrak Florida schedule

The Silver Star would split and be combined at Clifford Lane with only the FEC segment serving Union Terminal (a local FEC route will also serve the existing Amtrak station).  This way, Amtrak avoids having to back up at the historic station.  #91’s times have been altered because the Silver Star is expected to be put back on its original route between Petersburg and Raleigh upon SEHSR service starting. #92 has earlier times so it won’t siphon riders from #80 in North Carolina.

In order to preserve the Cross-Florida route (renamed the Silver Palm), the number of local frequencies (excluding the split Silver Star) along the FEC route has been reduced to one. The FEC Locals would be provided with surplus Horizon Cars on an interim basis (the Silver Meteor schedule is unchanged in both directions).

I have assumed that Metro Jacksonville’s rumors of a Palmetto extension to Jacksonville are verified and I've taken the extra step to send Trains #89 and #90 down the S-Line to Tampa via Ocala, once again allowing residents in that part of Florida to experience train travel. At that point, the Palmetto would be equipped with Viewliner I equipment and one of the last remaining Heritage baggage cars while the Silver Palm will get the Palmetto’s Business Class cars.


Amtrak would temporarily use this setup while the Florida DOT comes up with a plan to provide permanent corridor service. Once a plan is in place, Amtrak would likely concentrate on the Silvers and the local stops FEC service (frequencies would be doubled) and the A-Line, S-Line, and Cross-Florida local runs would then be franchised out to other operators.

SOUTHBOUND
Palmetto
89
Silver Star
91
Silver Star
991
Silver Palm
891
Silver Meteor
97
East Coast Local
875
New York
6:15
11:02
Thru Train

15:15

Washington
R9:05
R15:00

R19:30

Raleigh

19:17



Charleston
19:15


5:06

Savannah
21:08
2:32

6:50

Jacksonville-Clifford Lane
23:43
4:55

9:23

23:58
5:25
5:50

9:48
15:00
Ocala
1:43





Winter Park

8:04


12:27

Orlando-Sligh Blvd

8:41


13:10

Tampa
3:33
10:24a







12:45


Winter Haven



13:43b
14:24

Jacksonville-Union Terminal


R6:05


R15:15
St. Augustine 


6:43


15:52
Daytona Beach


7:35


16:42
West Palm Beach-S. Tamarind Ave.


D11:01
D16:13
D16:54
D19:57
Fort Lauderdale-Broward Station


D11:49
D17:12
D18:02
D20:41
Miami-Central Station


12:27
18:20
19:10
21:18

NORTHBOUND
East Coast Local
872
Silver Meteor
98
Silver Palm
892
Silver Star
992
Silver Star
92
Palmetto
90
Miami-Central Station
6:15
8:05
11:35
14:00


Fort Lauderdale-Broward Station
R6:47
R9:00
R12:30
R14:35


West Palm Beach-S. Tamarind Ave.
R7:36
R9:57
R13:27
R15:29


Daytona Beach
10:42


18:45


St. Augustine 
11:01


19:37


Jacksonville-Union Terminal
D12:18


D20:22


Winter Haven

12:10
15:44



Tampa


17:05 c







14:47
1:57
Orlando-Sligh Blvd

13:35


16:54d

Winter Park

13:52


17:11

Ocala





3:47
Jacksonville-Clifford Lane
12:33
16:48

20:37
20:07
5:32

17:08

Thru Train
20:57
5:47
Savannah

19:38

23:30
8:20
Charleston

21:23


10:00
Raleigh



6:54

Washington

D7:21

D11:11
D19:57
New York

11:06

15:13
23:47


D-Stops only to discharge passengers
R-Stops only to receive passengers
a-Stops in Lakeland at 9:50
b-Stops in Lakeland at 13:21
c-Stops in Lakeland at 16:04
d-Stops in Lakeland at 15:23