News & Commentary

You Decide: Top 10 New Trains in the US!

Help Rail Passengers decide what are the most exciting potential train services in America

Rail Passengers has been engaging members on our reauthorization plan all year, asking for feedback on our proposed policies. It’s important, however, to take time to think about what these policies would mean for service in your community, and communities across the US. There’s no better way to do that than to look at a map and think: where do we need more train service? Click here for a high-resolution version of the Vision Map That’s why we’re asking for you to vote on the 10 most

Rail Safety Week

Increasing passenger safety awareness for better community practices

by Madi Butler Operation Lifesaver has released a series of messages in honor of Rail Safety Week and their continued initiatives to stop track tragedies. From a variety of hot button issues such as Crossing Safety and Distracted Driving to their historic campaigns cataloguing educational materials for public use, the team at Operation Lifesaver is trying to create and expand passenger awareness. In 2019, Operation Lifesaver awarded $175,000 in FTA grant funds to 10 rail transit agencies in eig

Getting It Right

Mathews Again Urges STB To Open The Doors For Texas Central

In a filing today with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, Rail Passengers CEO Jim Mathews pressed the argument that last year’s Texas Central-Amtrak through-ticketing agreement gives the Surface Transportation Board jurisdiction over the project – which would help remove procedural roadblocks the project’s foes have spent many years and dollars erecting.

Senate Passes Increased Funding for Amtrak, Passenger Rail

Appropriations Committee emphasizes importance of National Network to Amtrak-served communities.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed an $86.6 billion Fiscal Year 2020 transportation funding bill, an increase of $167 million over this year’s levels--$58 million of which went to increased funding for Amtrak.

What I Learned On My Summer Adventure

From intern to organizer: a commitment beyond Summer by Rail

by Madi Butler As many of you know from following along with Summer by Rail, I have concluded my 24 destination, 50 day, 6,000 mile adventure. Not only was my time spent utilizing national and regional networks, I also experienced many multimodal and last mile solutions. While there are definitely nuances to which public transit solutions work best in which areas, there are some common themes I have noticed in my travels and I hope to spend my time as a Grassroots Organizer with RPA rectifying

An Ideal State For Amtrak

Reauthorization Means It's Time To Wrestle With What 'Ideal' Means For A Publicly Funded Enterprise

Next week Congress is likely going to start talking in earnest about the future of passenger rail as part of the process of reauthorizing the next five-year surface-transportation bill. It’s even more timely now that Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson shared some musings this past weekend about the “ideal state” of Amtrak.

The Power of Patient Advocacy

The most effective tactics are often difficult to see.

by TJ Girsch, Vice Chair, Rail Passengers Association In the transportation security field, there’s a term of art: “security theater.” The idea is that the things that you see (for example, at an airport security checkpoint) are largely there for show. The measures that are most effective in making travel secure are things the large majority of the traveling public never actually sees. The same can be said for passenger advocacy: the most effective advocacy work is slow and deliberate. It

Giving Amtrak Food For Thought

Rail Passengers Continues To Fight Food-Service Downgrades

We first told you in July about Amtrak's plans to expand Contemporary Dining to all National Network trains east of the Mississippi. Since then, we've been working hard to push Amtrak to do better. Read more about our objections, and our new letter to Amtrak leadership looking for hard answers -- in writing -- to these questions and concerns.

Victory (2:1) in the Valley of the Sun

Four-time public vote champion Phoenix Light Rail wins again!

by Madi Butler It is with pride that we congratulate the efforts of the multitudes of citizens, organizers, volunteers, and elected officials that fought hard to end this reckless and short-sighted proposition. This is testimony to the efficacy of grassroots organizing, coalition-building, and citizen engagement. After I left the event in Phoenix earlier this month, I felt confident in those involved at a local level. I do want to thank members of the Southwest Transit Memes for Desert-Oriented

(Anti-) Transit Bros

Transportation projects in this country are under attack and dark money is to blame.

by Joe Aiello | Northeast Field Coordinator EDIT (8/23/19): Our condolences to the Koch Family on the news of the passing of David Koch this morning. We feel that this story remains important, and given the impending vote in Phoenix, it deserves to have light shed on it. By now, I hope that everyone saw Sean’s call-to-arms a couple weeks ago against Prop 105 happening in Phoenix or saw some of the coverage of our SBR intern Madi Butler’s event in Tempe on the 11th. View this pos