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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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tackling the Headlines 23


Take: It’s a good move and a precursor to what the future could look like in northern California. I don’t have an opinion either way on the Altamont vs. Pacheco Pass options, but if costs continue to bleed the CAHSRA dry, then it should strongly consider moving their route onto the Altamont alignment.

Take: This is a way of preserving rail corridors along rural parts of this country. It's criminal to me that a stretch of what used to be the Panama Limited's route is in danger of being abandoned. Mississippi leaders should take the next step in buying the corridor.

Then, they should restore the route so a mix of freight and passenger services could use the route. On the freight side, a shortline or regional could do what Grenada didn't--make a profit. Regarding passenger use, a mix of excursion and unconventional passenger services should be strongly considered. The excursion runs could cover only the areas that are in danger of losing rail service or more parts of the route. For passenger services, Special Themes and limited stop Cruise Trains would run between New Orleans and Chicago's Millennium Station along the Grenada Railway line between Jackson and Memphis. The Fun Trains route would be from New Orleans to Memphis and back. 

The state, of course, would have to work out track agreements with Canadian National.

Take: Out west, the saga of whether BNSF will abandon its line between Newton, KS and Albuquerque, NM continues. However, the RP/SWC Coalition has been formed to react to any potential abandonment. If small communities are to keep rail service, groups like the RP/SWCC need to make their voices heard. Should Amtrak and the Class I railroads have no use for questioned segments, then, it's up to these groups and legislatures like the one in the Magnolia State to contact Class II or Class III railroads and private passenger operators to run these routes.

Take: Whatever rocks SFRTA's boat on selecting Tri-Rail over FEC. Anyway, it's something that is sorely needed. I just hope that this move does not put Tri-Rail into the kind of financial trouble Caltrain has had to deal with recently.

Take: Get it moving so Capitols can be extended eastward.

Take: Hopefully, this will put the state one step closer in achieving Regional HSR. On the other hand, the move could be a blow to SNCR, who might have future plans for southward expansion.

Take: Eventually, I'm thinking that the Thruway buses will either be limited to Virginia Beach or even ended. The next step that VA needs to do besides adding frequencies is to add a Suffolk stop. The South Hampton Roads area is too big for train service to not be spread around.

Take: That was quicker than I thought. Let’s just hope that the Hawkeye State eventually gets around to implementing new rail service.





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