Your daily source of fresh takes on news affecting America's passengers. See also the weekly NARP Hotline.

New Territory

Written By Abe Zumwalt It wasn’t publicized widely. And yet, Amtrak’s first special excursion train sold out in little more than five days. Now, offered on the Amtrak website is a second “onetime” opportunity to take in the rare mileage. The trip “(which is usually off limits to passenger traffic) is along the Susquehanna River. Pass through Enola Yard, cross the Shocks Mill and Rockville bridges and make a brief stop in Harrisburg, PA, before continuing over the Columbia Secondary

Meet the 2013 Interns: Lessie

Written By Sean Jeans Gail NARP has been pleased to host graduate student Lessie Henderson as a 2013 intern. She's been tireless in her outreach work for NARP, and we wanted to take a moment to introduce her to you directly so you can understand the ideas and passions that motivate her work. My interest in transportation grew while working on the Elizabeth River Ferry in Portsmouth, VA (also the home of the Railroad Museum of Virginia). The passengers would often approach me with complaints

Transit agency tells its own story

Written By Malcolm Kenton The task of clearly illustrating and promoting the vital role that passenger train and rail transit services play in the communities they serve is often left to advocacy groups like NARP. Rarely do you see railroads or transit agencies take advantage of the resources at their disposal to tell their own stories. That’s why the series of infographic narratives that the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) has unveiled are rather groundbreaking. CATS operates a six-yea

Derailing the Hoosier State derails jobs

Written By Colin Leach Since its opening in 1908, the Beech Grove Shops have been a major locomotive and passenger car maintenance facility for all of their owners. From its beginnings with the Cleveland, Chicago, Cincinnati and St. Louis Railroad (the “Big Four”) tending to steam locomotives and wooden passenger cars, to its current configuration as a repair shop for Amtrak’s latest diesel-electrics and stainless steel passenger cars, Beech Grove Shops remains a name well known in Ameri

The rail solution to Chinese airport congestion

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Next time you feel frustrated while stranded in an airport—an all too common experience these days—pull up this Los Angeles Times story to help yourself feel a little better: China's skies are in a state of almost permanent gridlock. During the month of July, only 17.8% of flights departing from Beijing's airport were on time, according to FlightStats. In August, on-time departures improved, but only to a miserable 28.8%. The U.S. website ranked Beijing worst o

Bottlenecked: Amtrak Cannot Become a Victim of Its Own Success

Written By Cliff Dunn Rumblings of a coming capacity constraint on the Northeast Corridor connote unpleasant implications for the rest of the system. Amtrak has a habit of basing what long-term planning it does on very conservative estimates of ridership growth. This is done to prevent Amtrak’s critics from accusing the railroad of overestimating the number of people who will turn to trains for their travel needs. But it risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. For medium-term budgeting pu

Station to Station: Coined by Bowie, Seized by a Generation

Written By Malcolm Kenton The Summer of 2013 may mark a meaningful rediscovery of the cultural significance of Long Distance Train Travel The late summer of 2013 may mark the beginning of a new era that could see American transcontinental journeys used as vehicles for encouraging expression, generating ideas, and making statements. And this can only be a good thing for our cause as it raises broader awareness about passenger trains, long-distance ones in particular, both as a smart way to trav

Balanced transportation = healthier people

Written By Malcolm Kenton Michael Huber, a cardiovascular health consultant with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, made an important, often overlooked point at the 24th Annual CTS Transportation Research Conference in St. Paul, which focused on the role of transportation policy in improving human health: I would like to see a more conscious balancing of the transportation modes. It’s not about forcing people to walk or bike. It’s about giving them a choice so they can make a decisio

Hoosier State Train On the Brink

Written By Ross Capon Bad things happen when a train dies. Communities depending on the service loose their connection to the world around them. Men and women who support themselves and their families working on the train lose their livelihood. And it can happen quickly. A blink of an eye compared to the decades it took to build up the service, maintain and improve the stations and the equipment, build up a loyal ridership. But if Indiana Governor Mike Pence fails to provide needed financia

Americans *do* ride trains

Written By Colin Leach A recent feature on The Economist’s blog attempted to answer the age-old question of why Americans do not travel by train as much as Europeans. But in doing so, the paper did not take into account certain realities concerning Americans’ changing travel preferences as well as current use of rail travel. Ultimately, The Economist’s analysis presents an incomplete picture that is based on an imperfect understanding of passenger rail demand. Large group boards a Wolver