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

Airlines shrink seat space as they struggle for profits

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Photo credit: Christopher Ziemnowicz, WikicommonsAccording to this CNN report, as many airplanes try to cram more and more passengers in their planes, Amtrak's 40 inches of personal space is becoming quite the selling point in a competitive travel market.

The Public Gets It: Trains are Underfunded

Written By Malcolm Kenton Image: Clker.comThe New York Times published a positive story yesterday on how Amtrak has overtaken airline shuttles as the preferred method of travel between New York and Boston, Philadelphia and Washington over the past decade, thanks to “high [air]fares, slow airport security and frequent flight delays — along with Amtrak’s high-speed Acela trains, online ticketing and workstation amenities.” It also noted that the Northeast’s growing population means tha

Hopping the Local: Pressing the Case (Part 3)

Written By Malcolm Kenton The third and final installment (for now) of our periodic round-up of goings on in local-level passenger train advocacy: One of NJT's new dual-mode locomotives. Photo by Der Mobilitatsmanager.The New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers’ Newsletter Report (June 26) has a travelogue from one of the first revenue runs of New Jersey Transit’s new dual-mode locomotives, which can operate either on diesel fuel or on electricity from overhead wires. They are ideal

Hopping the Local: Eyes on the Track Ahead (Part 2)

Written By Malcolm Kenton Part 2 of our 3-part series of dispatches from track level across the country: An ASRR coach at Utica Union Station. Photo by NARP member Matt Johnson (tracktwentynine on Flickr).A small group of residents of New York State's Adirondack region areorganizing an online petition drive to prevent the middle section of what is now the Adirondack Scenic Railroad (ASRR) from being converted into a bicycle trail. This former branch of the New York Central Railroad once took p

Hopping the Local: Moving Right Along (Part 1)

Written By Malcolm Kenton Photo by Garry Hayes, Modesto Junior College.This occasional NARP Blog feature brings you a roundup of local passenger train news from around the country, as reported in the newsletters and blogs of our partners, the state and regional passenger train advocacy groups. This is part 1 of a 3-part series this week. New Mexico’s Rails Inc. has a good multi-pronged argument for maintaining the current route of Amtrak’sSouthwest Chief, and not just for the Chief but

Much ado about cheeseburgers [Updated]

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Dining car on the Southwest Limited, 1974"Our ridership is up, our revenue is up, we have reduced our debt, we have had our credit rating upgraded and we have a plan for the future that can be fulfilled with the dedication of this workforce, and business and political leadership. Food and Beverage has a good story to tell in its improvement. Unfortunately, our ability to tell that story is being thwarted, but our ability to continue to improve is not. We will improve.

Making the Trains Run On-Time

Written By Malcolm Kenton A westbound Union Pacific freight train passes Amtrak's eastbound Sunset Limited near Redlands, CA on Oct. 25, 2011. Photo by Malcolm Kenton.Someone who called the NARP office recently asked me, “The [passenger] trains run on-time in Europe. Why can’t they do the same here?” It’s a simple question whose answer is, unfortunately, quite complex. The causes of Amtrak train delays vary greatly by route, by host railroad, and by the time of the year. There are many

Illinois DOT's begins week of passenger rail outreach

Written By Sean Jeans Gail The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will hold open meetings to solicit feedback on the Draft Tier I Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for theChicago to St. Louis corridor development project over the next week, starting tonight in Joliet. The Midwest High Speed Rail Association is asking residents of Illinois to provide input, while offering several recommendations of their own:The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will hold open meetings

Amtrak's Historic Announcements: An important piece of a strong national network

Written By Robert Stewart A historic event occurred July 25. Amtrak announced an ambitious project for one of the most important railroad stations in the country. Washington Union Station is a beautiful building but is running well over capacity -- carrying two million more annual riders than when it was reopened in1988. Also, it is located in our nation’s capital which gives it lots of exposure to our political leaders and to tourists from all over the nation and the world. Amtrak is to be

Amtrak launches eTicketing nationwide

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Amtrak eTicketing went live today on all trains throughout the Amtrak system, launching a new, more streamlined way for passengers to interact with the railroad and its employees. By integrating computers and mobile devices, the eTicketing program will allow passengers to skip lines at ticket counters, and make lost tickets a thing of the past. "eTickets deliver the convenience and flexibility expected by passengers and its innovative technology is transforming othe