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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

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tackling the Headlines 18

New Caltrain contract one step closer to resolution
Credit to Mulad for this developing news. On Thursday, Caltrain management recommended that the new contract to run the Bay Area's regional rail system go to Herzog subsidiary Transit America Services (the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board will approve the decision on September 1 while the move becomes official in fiscal year 2013). Amtrak has had the contract in a joint venture with Bombardier since 1992 when former track owner/operator Southern Pacific completely got out of the people carrying business. 

Take: Wow, that's a mouthful! This was the most anticipated regional/commuter rail contract up for grabs. Three other teams--all AIPRO members as is the winning bid--also responded. What does the future hold? I just hope that Caltrain gets its house in order so it never mentions the word bankruptcy ever again. As for TASI, I believe that the company can demonstrate some type of innovation by further extending the Caltrain system further southward to, say Monterey or elsewhere.

September Railfan & Railroad cover story
The issue looks at Northern California's diverse rail systems.

Take: The issue is very informative and is worth reading.

Australia getting into the HSR game
The Australian government has proposed a high speed rail system along the nation's east coast between Brisbane and Melbourne. If implemented, the Brisbane-Sydney portion would travel along new tracks at 220 mph and cut the run by eight hours--eight (from 11 hours to three)!

Take: I'm not sure how to react, but the one mood that I won't exhibit is envy. Australia's rail system, like America's, is nothing to write home about, but it shows that some type of vision is being exercised.

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