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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

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tackling the Headlines 50

Iowa lawmakers leave Amtrak at Moline station
Take: Regarding the last paragraph by the Quad City Times's editoral board, it's called selective ignorance. The Iowa legislature and Governor Terry Branstad know exactly what they are doing--they either hate trains or they don't want Amtrak running the route (pretty much the former).

Take: From a state that doesn't get it to one that does. Bravo to the Gopher State for stepping up.

Take #1: Advice to Zip Rail: the more frequencies the better! 

Take #2: By the time this thing turns a wheel, hopefully, other routes will be in service.

Take #1: Oh, it's getting serious now! In its own way, Lodging Hospitality Management has decided to get the ball rolling on specialty rail travel. The nationwide push could serve as a template that combines unconventional rail travel with historic stations.

Take#2: Today, charter and excursion services. Tomorrow, Express HSR service and private intercity routes.

Take: This is on the GADOT more than it is on Norfolk Southern because the Peach State talked about commuter rail from the late '90s until the middle of the last decade without any trains operating. Given recent news of Amtrak wanting to remain in north Atlanta once it moves out of its cramped station, a central location is essential for any SEHSR service that will serve Macon and Jacksonville and for a revived Nancy Hanks route that just might be privately operated. In essence, this is a bluffing tactic by the Class I carrier, and it is up to the state of Georgia to get serious about passenger rail before it gets left behind.

Take: The hard part is for the city is actually sticking to that 2028 deadline. There should be no excuses from either the city or Madison Square Garden once the extension runs out. Period.

Take: I feel your pain, Canadian travelers. Via Rail brought this upon itself when its management decided to cut and slash routes in the name of "modernization."

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