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

Amtrak breaks ridership records, but Congressional attacks continue

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Amtrak announced this week that it has experienced 11 consecutive monthly ridership records in the current fiscal year, setting its highest ever single month ridership record in the month of July. However, that good news didn’t stop Congressional critics from going through with a hearing attacking Amtrak’s involvement in commuter operations a day after the announcement. Amtrak issued the release on September 10, the day before House Transportation & Infrastr

Getting to the Conventions: A Tale of Two Cities' Travel Choices

Written By Malcolm Kenton For the last two weeks, the nation's attention has been focused, respectively, on two large Southern cities. Both are modern metropolises that showcased their ability to host a major national event, and consequently, each welcomed many first-time visitors. Transit-oriented development along the LYNX line. Photo by Charlotte Area Transit System.While the ease of getting around town was largely not a factor for people in deciding to attend either major political party's

Volunteers hit the streets to spread the word over Labor Day

Written By Sean Jeans Gail As rail passenger advocates, we’ve recently found ourselves in a best of times/worst of times situation. Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo provides a number of exemplary points as to why it's a great time for rail in a letter he sent to Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell (R) and the State of Virginia this week, congratulating them for their work in restoring Amtrak service to Norfolk: Today, Amtrak’s overall performance is best characterized as a Cind

NARP responds to GOP Platform attacking Amtrak

Written By Sean Jeans Gail “Amtrak continues to be, for the taxpayers, an extremely expensive railroad. The public has to subsidize every ticket nearly $50. It is long past time for the federal government to get out of way and allow private ventures to provide passenger service to the northeast corridor. The same holds true with regard to high-speed and intercity rail across the country.” So states the 2012 platform of the Republican Party (under “Infrastructure: Building the Future”)

Hurricane Isaac Interupts Transportation Across the Southeast

Written By Sean Jeans Gail The scheduled landfall of Hurricane Isaac has disrupted transportation across the southeastern U.S., halting passenger trains, air service, and transit operations in much of the region.The scheduled landfall of Hurricane Isaac has disrupted transportation across the southeastern U.S., halting passenger trains, air service, and transit operations in much of the region. There was some good news, as Amtrak's Silver Service (Silver Meteor and Silver Star) resumed normal

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