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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

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tackling the Headlines 75

Passenger train service between Ann Arbor and Traverse City being discussed
Take: Should the study get the green light, the shortline operator should be tapped to run trains along the route.

Study to extend Keystone Service to Pittsburgh
There's a lively debate over at Trainorders concerning the cost.

Take: It is ridiculous that it should come anywhere close to $1 billion let alone $10 billion to just produce additional frequencies especially when host Norfolk Southern concluded a decade ago that it would only cost $140 million for two additional frequencies. One has to wonder what the previous administration in Harrisburg was up to with the extremely high cost of that feasibility study.

Oklahoma’s Amtrak service facing funding shortfall
Take: Uh, what happened to the state and Texas possibly contracting this route to another operator? The hosts only want Amtrak on their rails argument is being used by a copout by Oklahoma.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Yet another Hoosier State extension for Amtrak

The only news out of Indiana is that the status quo will hold form for another two months:


Amtrak will continue to operate the Hoosier State train between Indianapolis and Chicago under an Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) contract extension through April 1, 2015. A previous extension expires on Jan. 31.
Remember all that free stuff? Amtrak has discontinued it.

Hoosier State Trains 850 and 851: AmtrakConnect Wi-Fi and Other Services Discontinued
Effective February 1, 2015
The AmtrakConnect® Wi-Fi, Business class seating and light refreshments will be discontinued on the Hoosier State, as scheduled, on February 1, 2015.
In October 2014, Amtrak announced its demonstration of Wi-Fi capabilities and other services aboard the Hoosier State through January 31, 2015. The State of Indiana has chosen not to fund the continuation of these services.
Funny for Amtrak to pin the blame on Indiana when it only implemented Business Class, Wi-Fi, and snacks when it looked like a done deal that it was going to lose most functions of the service. Now, that Corridor Capital has been kicked to the curb, it has acted like a true monopoly.

Tackling the Headlines 74

It's a tale of two proposed Miami passenger stations

The downtown location is about to begin construction while the airport hub continues to be delayed.

Take: All Aboard Florida will take much less time to complete its hub than the state of Florida will with its version. The miscommunication between "America's Railroad" and the Sunshine State and various money issues plays right into the hands of libertarians who want full-on privatization of passenger services.

New Cleveland intermodal center is on the way

This has been in the works for years but has been delayed due to cost.

Take: I'd like to wish city officials good luck since Union Terminal has only accepted electric trains throughout its history and hasn't had commuter service since 1977.

SNCF expresses interest in operating HSR in Texas

This bit of news is actually a reiteration of its plans over five years ago.

Take: If the French operator can actually launch this plan and keep the slimy lawyers at bay, then, this will provide Lone Star State passengers with alternative travel options and SNCF and Texas Central will provide their own type of matrix effect for high speed systems.

Minnesota getting serious about Zip Rail

There are some links in this story to get you going.

Take: I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this project as Gopher State officials are planning for the future--unlike some of their Midwestern neighbors.

Chinese proposing HSR in Canada?

The route would be between Toronto and Windsor.

Take: This is a long ways away--no matter who operates it--but another player has entered the game. Also, this route should be taken north along the Detroit River to link a potential Detroit-Chicago Express HSR route at a revamped Michigan Central Station so passenger can travel between T.O. and the Windy City either nonstop or with only one transfer in Motown.