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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

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tackling the Headlines 90: International Edition

Did someone just say a dirty word? (Hat tip James Coston)
Take:This goes against everything I constantly read from Amtrak apologists, people on online forums, and rail groups. I have read elsewhere that Japanese operators make money on running trains. If enough people do the research from themselves, then, the "no country makes money on passenger trains" narrative either goes away or it should primarily be looked at as an Amtrak problem vis a vis other operators.

A person with a rational mind has to question just how ultra egalitarian Sweden is able to deal with a Hong Kong company competing against SJ and a third operator between Stockholm and Goteborg while a much bigger America continues to have a monopoly operator that is making the passenger experience less and less pleasant as the days go by--closing stations, stripping overnight routes of dining cars, cutting back amenities on other overnight routes.

If NARP and other True Believers stopped putting all of their eggs in the Amtrak basket and were much more proactive, this country would once again passenger train service that the rest of the world envies. 

Rocky times in New Brunswick
Take: I hope everything works out and VIA service is expanded along the line.

Tackling the Headlines 89

Caltrain grant blocked
Take: Despicable move by the state's Republican congressional delegation.


Latest Tri-Rail news
Take: Just get that contract situation straightened out, guys.


Brightline critics beginning to face the music
Take: Even though the bashers are trying shenanigans like attempted regulations, it's a foregone conclusion that trains will not only run but will also be extended northward and westward.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Tackling the Headlines 88

More Nippon-Sharyo Woes
Additional layoffs and a hard pressing deadline without any cars to show.

Take: How did the Midwestern states not have a viable backup plan?

Iowa Pacific to Cede the Hoosier State
In a really shocking turn of events, IPH will hand the Hoosier back over to Amtrak on March 1. There are rumors that IPH is facing extreme financial difficulties that may bankrupt it--and it canceled an overnight excursion in upstate New York--but I won't speculate on that until the source confirms or denies them. 

Take #1: All of this could have been avoided if INDOT had selected either Corridor Capital or Herzog. The former had available cars while the latter offered to operate the train, not just being a vendor while Amtrak crews still operated the train.

Take #2: This is really regrettable and I really hope that this doesn't dampen any other states seeking to use private operators.

Take #3: I see that some of the jackals are already gloating over the demise of Iowa Pacific as if it's supposed to be the example of keeping private operators out of the intercity market. You guys are just disgusting! Way to support increased passenger rail, guys!

Take #4: Indiana needs to mandate an increase of frequencies when it rebids this train. There is no excuse for Trains #850 and #851 to still be quadweekly with nothing on the horizon (no pun intended).