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With a new administration in D.C., it's time to think outside of the box because passenger rail's survival just may depend on it

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Equipment orders

Credit to Bruce Richardson for the latest update on HR 2847.

After taking a look at the proposed overhauling of Amtrak fleet, I have to wonder why anybody in the rail community would defend these moves. Doesn't Amtrak have wreck-damaged equipment in Bear, DE and Beech Grove, IN? The common sense thing is to put these cars back into service first, then, order new equipment. 

How is Amtrak supposed to grow when it is only replacing equipment? Plainly put, it can't! If NCDOT and Via Rail Canada can revamp equipment that's at least 50 years old, why can't the people on 60 Massachusetts Avenue? Furthermore, the House is playing the role of enabler by letting Amtrak junk its old equipment just for the sake of getting some new cars, so they are the main culprits in all of this.

Instead of trying to get rid of old equipment, Amtrak's management should try these steps instead:

  1. Come up with a real route expansion plan.
  2. Put all repaired cars back into service.
  3. Order new equipment.
  4. Add new routes and shift the older equipment onto these routes. The new equipment would be put on the more established routes.
  5. Order new equipment for the new routes with some extras left over for additional expansion. Some of the existing equipment would be kept as backup and emergency vehicles. The oldest cars would then be retired.


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