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

Is Amtrak's vision for Washington Union Station too expensive?

Written By Sean Jeans Gail It seems a common reaction emerging to yesterday’s unveiling of Amtrak’s Washington Union Station Master Plan has been: “That’s a fine concept, but it’s too much to spend on one station given the equipment and infrastructure needs of the network as whole.” It’s certainly an understandable response. If you live in a town with an open-air station, service that amounts to a single train a day—or worse, only three trains per week—and that train feature

Amtrak's Big Plan for Washington Union Station

Written By Sean Jeans Gail “Make no little plans,” said the great American architect Daniel Burnham. “They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will not themselves be realized." Burnham certainly held true to this sentiment in the work he did on Washington, D.C.’s Union Station. The structure, which began serving passengers in 1907, features a multitude of classic elements that combine into a grand and awe-inspiring whole. And yet, current residents living and working in th

Combating the no-growth, no-development outlook on infrastructure

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Your caption text hereAs election season looms, it is tempting to fall into the trap of seeing every issue through a partisan filter—to try and find a place for every tough question on a red/blue spectrum. Recently released letters from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association serve as important reminders that there’re other ways of approaching problems. The letters—directed at the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Democratic Nationa

AARP promotes train travel

Written By Sean Jeans Gail AARP had a nice feature last month on passenger rail titled "5 Tips for Saving on Train Travel." Of course, if you want a reliable 10 percent discount, you can just join NARP—and support a robust national train network in the process. Still, intercity rail and rail transit are incredibly important in providing America's senior citizens with a high quality of life. Senior citizens account for 38 percent of long distance trains' adult passengers, and many aging A

What about those "subsidies?"

Written By Malcolm Kenton The late former President of NARP, John R. (Jack) Martin, penned this analysis of the battle that train advocates have always fought against the notion that passenger trains are "subsidized" while other travel modes are not, or aren't to the same extent for a Trains Magazine feature on Amtrak in the May 1986 issue. Sadly, his words are just as true today as very little has changed in the overall federal transportation policy picture, though many small steps forward h

Amtrak updates bold, 30-year vision for the Northeast Corridor

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Rendering of a renovated Moynihan StationAmtrak released its Vision for the Northeast Corridor: 2012 Update Report this week, providing insight into the current state of planning and development on the Northeast Corridor. The vision paints a tantalizing picture of being able to catch a train in a beautifully renovated Moynihan Station in New York City, and disembarking at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station within 37 minutes, or Washington, D.C. within 94 minutes. A

High Speed Rail has its day on ‘The Hill’

In collaboration with the International Union of Railways (UIC), the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) hosted The High-Speed Rail “Washington Day” which is a preview event a day before the UIC’s 8th World Congress on High Speed Rail (UIC HIGHSPEED 2012), held biannually this event attracts attendees from around the world to exchange views on the development and achievements of high-speed rail worldwide. This body of international rail aficionados gathered in Washington D.

NARP Council Member goes above and beyond for Cardinal passengers

Written By Sean Jeans Gail In Saturday’s edition of the West Virginia Gazette-Mail, reporter Phil Kabler covered some of the fallout from the previous week’s massive derecho storm. Kabler ends up unearthing the following story about one of NARP’s own: Among the untold acts of kindness after the storm, Chuck Riecks, state representative for the National Association of Railroad Passengers, sent along word about the 232 Amtrak Cardinalpassengers who were stuck at the station in Prince f

California high-speed rail roundup – Victory Edition

Written By Sean Jeans Gail After a wide margin of approval from the State Assembly on July 5th,California’s high-speed rail project was approved by the State Senate in a narrow 21-16 vote. The San Francisco Chronicle reports: A divided state Senate approved billions of dollars in funding to start construction on California's ambitious high-speed rail line Friday, handing the controversial project $7.9 billion in state and federal money for the first 130 miles of track and a series of local

Trains: Carriers of the American Dream

Written By Malcolm Kenton 1990s Amtrak postcard.As I took in a parade and fireworks to celebrate Independence Day yesterday, I was thinking about what we Americans value and take pride in, and how passenger trains, especially where they are frequent and reliable, either embody or contribute to these values. I guess it's no surprise, given the extent to which railroads made, and continue to make, America as we know it possible. All of the successful social movements in American history eventual