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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, April 15, 2014

Tackling the Headlines 62

East-west Amtrak corridor promoted in Illinois
Take: This is looking like a Plan B since Iowa is totally uncooperative with extending the route across its state. Maybe, when Terry Branstad is sent to the retirement home, the Iowa DOT can return to Earth and provide the funds to produce a route that is not necessarily operated by Amtrak and doesn't necessarily stop at Union Station in Chicago.

Black Hawk update
Take: So, is Canadian National trying to replace Union Pacific as the most passenger hostile Class I railroad? Anyway, it's better to get part of a route working than to end up with with a situation like Ohio.

Indiana puts the Hoosier State up for bid...
Take #1: So, it begins. If Amtrak loses this route, then, this will be a ripple effect across the nation as other states look more closely at their budgets, with the goal of saving money by selecting the operator who will provide them the most service for the smallest amount.

Take #2: My official take and what it could mean for Amtrak can be found here.

Take #3: Assuming that all of the hurdles with the tracks and all six hosts are overcome, the new operator could extend one frequency to Cincinnati with a second one to follow shortly thereafter and another to Louisville for a total of four Chicago-Indianapolis frequencies plus the Cardinal.

Take #4: The only thing I don't like is the extremely short timespan that other companies have to submit bids. However, if a competent operator steps up, then the April 29 deadline will be moot.

...and Oregon and Washington State could be next
Take: If this happens, then Amtrak management should very, very worried because the Cascades' southern neighbor could follow.

Talgo shifts its focus where?
Take: Even Michigan is interested in making Wisconsin look foolish. Enjoy those leftover Horizon Cars, Scott Walker.

Chief fight moves to Congress 
Take: Now is the time for the innovators and D.C. pols to step up and provide a real workable solution.

Vermont House OKs Ethan Allen rail extension
Take: This move is the right one. Rather than rerouting an existing train, Vermonters will get an extra option to travel to New York City.

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