News & Commentary

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

"Train Wars" documentary project looks at high-speed rail in America

Written By Sean Jeans Gail It’s no secret that high-speed rail has become a hyper-partisan issue in the past few years. What’s not always clear, however, is how this state of affairs came to be. Roger Rudick and Luke Mines, two journalists living in California, are filming a documentary called Train Wars that tackles this very issue. Here’re Rudick and Miles describing the motivation for their work: 2012 is a do-or-die year for bullet trains in the U.S. Either construction gets started

Compromise on surface transportation bill a disappointment to train passengers

Written By Sean Jeans Gail After months of gridlock and bicameral bickering, House and Senate conferees unveiled a surface transportation bill compromise late on Wednesday night. And for train passengers, this unveiling will undoubtedly leave them with a resounding sense of disappointment. The compromise bill eliminates the Senate’s rail title entirely. The only real provision directed at rail is the extension of a Railroad Grade Crossing set aside, which targets funds at improving and upgr

Two anti-train amendments down -- more votes to come in the House

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Following a debate on the House floor, two anti-train amendments were withdrawn by the Representatives offering them. An amendment offered by Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX) would directly shut down Amtrak’s long-distance trains. This would end passenger train service in 27 of the lower 48 states and threaten the remaining trains, as certain fixed costs that would not disappear would be shifted to the surviving trains, and the costs of closing routes also woul

House to vote on anti-passenger rail amendments today!

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Last chance to speak up for trains! Votes on amendments to the transportation/housing appropriations bill could come as early as today at 4:00 PM Eastern. In an unusual move, the House is operating under an “open rule,” which makes it very hard to know for sure what amendments will be offered. However, NARP has identified two distinct possibilities passengers should should be concerned about:Elimination of $500 million from Amtrak capital—As reported in yester