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

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

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

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

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