My Bio and This Blog's Purpose

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Tackling the Headlines 96

Ford may buy Michigan Central Station
Take: While having a dedicated tenant is better than having the absentee family, I am worried if the automaker gets MCS that passenger access will be permanently cut off.

Saratoga & North Creek is going out of business
Take #1: I'll start off with this quote: "So Ellis way be right about his new outfit, but he may also be wrong, and it's worth waiting a while before hailing his new effort as a success." I have to give this person a prize because I was way too optimistic about S&NC.

Take #2: This all stems from the railroad not being able to operate freight service, which is a real shame.

SNCF opposes Texas Central's plan
1. The French operator says that the spinoff of JR Central would "doom" passenger rail in Texas
2. Texas Central hits back at SNCF

Take: On one end, SNCF has a point about TX Central's routing but on the other end, it was the feds who imposed the restrictions on where TX Central could place its Houston station. It brings up some good points, but, ultimately, it may come off as sour grapes by others.

SNCF has to worry about its own backyard
Take: Just like everywhere else in EU countries, the French operator has to prepare for competitors.

Another year of profits
Finland and Germany

Take: This is the second year in a row now. At this point, anyone in the rail community who utters "no country in the world makes money on passenger rail" will be trivialized and then ignored.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Tackling the Headlines 95: Another All-Amtrak Edition

Tunneling the Hudson
It's really about the Gateway Project vs AIRNet-21

Take #1: Amidst all the talk over funding new tunnels underneath the Hudson River, most people are ignoring the latter solution to the nation's peril.

Take #2: Of course, Gateway is the wrong way to go. The reason? It forces Amtrak to spend countless billions while the rest of the system suffers. Also, other states may be more willing to look elsewhere if "America's Railroad" becomes Northeast Railroad.

Rockland update
Amtrak won't be running service along the old Maine Eastern route this summer after all.

Take: Oops.

New year, new president, same old hostility towards passengers  
1. Stations continue to lose staffing, checked baggage, and ticket sales
2. Business Class will be discontinued on the Auto Train and the Crescent on May 1
3. Eliminating other amenities systemwide
4. Outlawing private cars

Take #1: It clearly doesn't matter who's in charge of Amtrak--Boardman, Moorman, Anderson--because it's the management team and/or the Amtrak Board that's cutting back on these things.

Take #2: Business Class "failed" on Trains #19, #20, #52 & #53 because management wanted it to fail. The buffer between Coach and Sleeper was not marketed properly so it's going away after only two years.

Take #3: So, as Brightline is operating its route at brand new stations and offering all kinds of goodies to South Floridians, Amtrak wants to cut back like it's the late 1960s Southern Pacific. Way to go, guys. At this point, Washington needs to do an intervention by handing the long distance routes and all state supported routes outside of the NEC and the Chicago Hub to AIPRO members.

Take #4: A lot has been said about the ban of private cars, so I'll just say this: Losing out on revenue is the ultimate cutting of one's nose to spite his face.

Take #5: With the way things are going with Amtrak trying to become Greyhound on the rails--we're past the point of the company acting like an airline--it wouldn't surprise me that a certain segment of railfans would rather see Amtrak reduced to next to nothing than letting other operators succeed with enhanced amenities and overall improved customer service.