News & Commentary

Rail Passengers Defends Pax Rights in House Testimony

Mathews argues Amtrak is an essential public service, should be funded as such

In U.S. House hearing, Rail Passengers President Jim Mathews testifies that Amtrak is an essential engine for economic growth in town across the country, and that we cannot cut our way to a sustainable national rail network.

Testimony of Jim Mathews - November 13, 2019

President & CEO Jim Mathews Testifies Before the United States House of Representatives House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials

A PDF of the testimony is available here Introduction Good morning, and thank you Chairman Lipinski, Ranking Member Crawford, and all of the members of this subcommittee for inviting me to share our views on the present and future of Amtrak. I appreciate this subcommittee taking leadership of the national conversation about the Amtrak’s future, which is critical to tens of millions of people and hundreds of towns across America. My name is Jim Mathews, and I am the President and CEO of the

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.