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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

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tackling the Headlines 34

Well, it seemed important at the time...
Two stories that I won't be giving any more time to are based in California and Wisconsin.

Take: In the case of the former, it's good news-bad news. Good news in that the repeal CAHSR initiative won't be on this fall's ballot. Bad news in that enough signatures were collected for the repeal to be on the 2014 ballot! This means that the advocates for European-style high speed rail have to really step up their game so they aren't in for a rude awakening. 

When it comes to the Badger State, all I can say is: KICK WALKER OUT IN 2014! Given all of the drama surrounding the Talgo cars and the mentality from the governor and his allies that using leftover 22-year-old Horizon cars is a sound strategy, Wisconsin is bound to have second rate rail service as neighboring states upgrade their equipment and add new routes.

Santa Cruz branch line to get a new owner
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Iowa Pacific was tapped to operate the Santa Cruz Branch Line earlier this month. This comes off the shortline holding company beating out four other companies and the line's previous owner being locked in a bitter battle with Union Pacific.

Take: While this will be the reverse of the Saratoga & North Creek (freight first, passenger second out west while IP rolled out the passenger service in New York first). Provided that everything goes well, the Bay Area could be well served by a multi-rail system that carries people (Amtrak, Caltrain, CAHSR, and Iowa Pacific all serving San Jose) by 2022. 

Also, a government organization is the one responsible for tapping the emerging shortline powerhouse. As a result, Ed Ellis and company will be the ones on the hook for any profit or loss. That's vital since Caltrain and others like it were in recent years struggling to keep service at current levels.

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