Hotline #1,109

Amtrak Fiscal Year 2020 Grant Request is Out, Amtrak 5 Year Equipment Plan Published, California and Florida issue bonds for rail funding, Hudson Tunnel “reality TV” saga continues, Missouri River Runner cancelled due to flooding

We Need Your ‘Nose For News’! When you see rail-related news stories, op-eds, editorials, or letters to the editor in your communities, send them along to us! We include them in our social media efforts, along with the weekly Hotline. Send your news items to Joe Aiello at jaiello[at]narprail.org, and we will share it with members. Are you holding a rally, a community meeting, or another kind of rail-advocacy event? We can help spread the word if you send them to us. We can put them on the website, here. Please follow Rail Passengers on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on all things passenger rail.


Rail Passengers’ 2018 Amtrak Ridership Stats Are Now Available:

The latest ridership fact sheets for your congressional district, station, and trains are here and ready for distribution– check them out today!


Amtrak’s Fiscal Year 2020 Grant and Legislative Request was published this week. While it makes a total request of $1.8 Billion as authorized by current law, it includes a request for subsequent appropriations for the following four years, officially suggesting a long overdue dedicated funding stream to sustainably support both the Northeast Corridor and National Network. The request also included a substantial list of potential add-ons, should an appropriation exceed $1.8 Billion as it has for the past two years. It is essentially a menu of options for legislators, and by extension, for passengers to ask their legislators for.

Should the FY2020 Appropriation match the accelerated levels in FY18 and FY19, additional money could be spent on addressing the NEC capital maintenance backlog, with projects including the North Portal Bridge and the Civil-War-era B&P Tunnels in Baltimore, but also for the Chicago Union Station Master Plan. Should Congress further increase funding over those years, not only could they invest at greater levels in NEC infrastructure, but more money for new diesel locomotives and replacements for Amfleet equipment is also on the table.

The request also provides a supplemental project list intended for a separate proposed infrastructure bill--including $1.55 Billion to replace the Superliner I equipment fleet. There were additional items that were listed as ‘to be determined’ in an overall ask. These included right of way acquisitions from Petersburg VA, to Raleigh NC, and from New Orleans to Mobile LA, service restoration between Detroit to Toronto, as well as a Heartland Flyer extension to Newton Kansas including additional frequency.

Amtrak qualifies the spending categories as illustrative, rather than concrete, giving lawmakers liberty to dictate terms, as they did in the past year concerning required spending to preserve the Southwest Chief route.

At base, the request includes $600 Million for the Northeast Corridor and $1.2 Billion for the National Network as authorized by the FAST Act. It also includes, for the NEC, $612 Million for FY2021, $624 Million for FY2022, $637 Million for FY2023 and $650 Million for FY2024. For the National Network it subsequently asks for $1.2 billion for FY2021, $1.25 billion for FY2022; $1.27 Billion for FY2023, and $1.3 Billion for FY2024.

Contrast this with The White House budget, which proudly points to $1.06 billion in cuts to Amtrak, but also does a curious thing by proposing that that the “Federal operating support for Long Distance routes would now be provided through the Restoration and Enhancement (R&E) Grant program, not Amtrak's annual grant, and then phased out entirely” [emphasis added]. The Trump Administration argues that rural communities along the routes “will be better served by other modes of transportation, like intercity buses.”

Within the budget request, Amtrak responded to the Administration’s budget:

“Amtrak appreciates the Administration’s focus on expanding intercity passenger rail service to today’s many underserved cities and corridors across the nation. We believe that a modernization of the National Network, with the right level of dedicated and enhanced federal funding, would allow Amtrak to serve more passengers efficiently while preserving our ability to maintain appropriate Long Distance routes. We look forward to working with the Administration, Congress, our state partners, and other stakeholders to consider these proposals in more depth”

If you’d like to insert yourself in this conversation, we hope you’ll be joining us next week to talk to our representatives about these competing budget requests and priorities. If you can’t, you can always call your representatives, too.

Amtrak’s 5 Year Fleet Plan was also released this week. It is a crucially important subject for passengers, and especially so for dedicated members of this Association who routinely travel with duct tape and shims to make their decades-old accommodations more comfortable.

While there have been recent developments on specific Amtrak business lines, until now there has not been a nationwide plan drafted since 2012.

The new document lays out a plan for a commitment to retain National Network capacity and long distance equipment, with details concerning how the Superliner fleet can be rehabbed and eventually replaced, as well as alternate use of the railroad’s other assets.

However, it predicates some action and quantities of major equipment orders like the Superliner replacement program upon direction from the upcoming 2020 Amtrak Reauthorization about the kind of service Congress will direct Amtrak to provide – which presents a clear opportunity for Passengers to speak up about the kind of service they want to see.

The plan outlines $405 Million for Superliner Refurbishments, and goes into more detail surrounding the estimated $1.55 Billion for the replacement of the Superliner I’s tentatively starting in 2022.

Also discussed is the full deployment plan for the 130 new Viewliner cars, including reinstatement of sleeper service on Northeast Regional trains 65 and 66/67

There is much more in the document of interest – including a complete inventory of current Amtrak equipment that some members will find fascinating. Your equipment committee will be presenting a complete analysis of the plan during the Spring Council Meeting in less than two weeks.


More Details from White House Proposal to End National Network
By Jim Mathews, President & CEO

As we reported last week, the Trump Administration’s budget continues a series of attacks on the National Network. The release of the full budget this week gives us more details—and more reason to be concerned.

The White House budget document proudly points to $1.06 billion in cuts to Amtrak, but also does a curious thing by proposing that that the “Federal operating support for Long Distance routes would now be provided through the Restoration and Enhancement (R&E) Grant program, not Amtrak's annual grant, and then phased out entirely” [emphasis added]. The Trump Administration argues that rural communities along the routes “will be better served by other modes of transportation, like intercity buses.”

To read more of Jim’s response, visit our site HERE.


On The Passing Of Joe Boardman

by Bruce Becker, Vice-President of Operations

I was fortunate to have attended Joe Boardman’s funeral in Rome, NY on Friday, March 15, representing the Association and also there to honor a long-time friend. Joe’s very untimely passing was a shock to his large extended family, to his many friends and to the entire rail community. Over 300 celebrated Joe’s life and legacy of public service with many representatives from the New York State Department of Transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak in the congregation.

To read more of Bruce’s blog, click HERE.


Rail Passengers Track Update: Where are we and what’re we working on? This section will give you updates on what Rail Passengers HQ is up to.

Jim Mathews, Rail Passengers President and CEO, After a busy week with the APTA High Speed and Intercity Passenger Committee, meetings with the Environmental Law and Policy Center, and gearing up for NACTTI meetings next week, today Jim celebrates his 33rd wedding anniversary with his wife, Lisa!

Sean Jeans-Gail, Rail Passengers Vice President of Government Affairs, joined other OneRail Coalition members to brief House transportation staffers on passenger rail this week, pressing lawmakers to support Amtrak and the National Network, and fund important projects like Gateway, CREATE, California’s high speed rail project, and purchasing new Amtrak equipment.

Rail Passengers Director of Policy Research, Abe Zumwalt, coordinated the creation of the association’s latest engagement campaigns, continues to work on material for RailNation DC starting the week after next. He is also currently conducting an extension of his work concerning new service in Minnesota for the rest of the Empire Builder corridor.

Carolyn Cokley, Rail Passengers Director of Customer Programs - Carolyn traveled to Miami, Fl to present the March 2019 ACAC Customer Service Award to Coach Attendant Sharon Diaz. The special celebration took place at the Miami crewbase where Ms. Diaz was presented with the award by an ACAC Subcommittee Chair who is also a RailPax At-Large Council Representative and Carolyn.

In attendance was Sharon’s managers who supported the nomination and a host of coworkers who attested to Sharon’s hard work, congeniality and dedication to the job. Also in attendance and a rare treat for the group was several members of Sharon’s family. She brought along her mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin and nieces who came to congratulate and support her. When given an opportunity to speak to the gathering, Sharon thanked and called out each and every one of her managers and coworkers for the job that they perform in getting the trains out every day. We are a team, she said. “Everything that I do on the train is because Amtrak helps me to succeed.” This is what makes it all worthwhile.

Rail Passengers Northeast Field Coordinator, Joseph Aiello, has been working with the rest of the policy team to create engagement campaigns for our members to write their elected officials on Amtrak’s on-time performance issues with the host railroads, as well as resorting funding for the Hoosier State service in Indiana.

Joe spent time with the North-South Rail Link Working Group at the MA State House on Thursday afternoon and has been helping fellow Rail Passengers staff prepare for Rail Nation.

Bruce Becker, Rail Passengers Vice-President of Operations, spent the week finalizing the logistics and details for the upcoming April 1 – 2 Rail Nation DC Advocacy Summit, Day on The Hill and Congressional Reception. To date, over 120 attendees are expected to converge on our nation’s capital that Tuesday to promote sound federal passenger rail policy and funding. In all, over 300 participant interactions with elected officials will be taking place. It’s not too late to join in this vital day. Registration is still available!

Jonsie Stone, Director of Resource Development, traveled to New York to meet with our charitable marketing partners at Weinstein-Carnegie Philanthropy Group to discuss Summer by Rail sponsorships. Jonsie also put the finishing touches on an awareness campaign to benefit The Jim Hamre Memorial Scholarship Fund. Keep an eye on your email beginning March 25th for more information on how to support the Fund.


Amtrak Takes the Fight Against Train Delays Online
By Sean Jeans-Gail, Vice President, Government Affairs

Amtrak trains getting stuck behind freight trains isn’t news for passengers, unfortunately. But Amtrak’s new, attention-grabbing strategy for highlighting the underlying reasons behind these delays is grabbing national headlines—including a frontpage story on the Wall Street Journal:

A long-running battle between Amtrak and major freight railroads over train delays has entered a new phase of hostilities: fighting about tweets.

Amtrak, the national passenger railroad, has taken to using a Twitter handle, @AmtrakAlerts, to tell riders when trains are delayed, including when they are stuck because of freights.

That prompted a lawyer for Norfolk Southern Corp. to send a demand late last month to Amtrak: stop tweeting about our trains, or the railroad “will be forced to consider further action.”

To continue reading Sean’s blog, click HERE


ACTION ALERT!

The #1 cause of passenger train delay in this country is "freight train interference" even though the host railroads are mandated by federal law to give priority to the passengers. If your trip has been #latebyfreight, it's time to let your elected officials know.

Visit the Amtrak On Time Campaign on RailPassengers.org to help us stop freight interference and keep your trains running on time by writing Congress today!


California is planning to sell $842.8 million of federally taxable general-obligation bonds, according to preliminary documents posted on MuniOS.

The bulk of this sale will go to help relieve the pressure on the California High Speed Rail Project from the threats of defunding from the White House in the last few weeks. Documents show that $600 million from the sale will go directly to the $77 billion bullet-train project.

Governor Gavin Newsom said in February that project as planned “would cost too much and take too long,” and that the state would focus on completing the 170 mile Central Valley route that is already under construction. President Trump responded to Newsom’s comments by saying he wanted to cancel more than $900 million set aside for the project and for the state to return the $2.5 billion already spent.

On the other side of the country, Virgin Trains USA is returning to the municipal-bond market with a $1.5 billion sale that will refund nearly $600 million in current debt and help finance their future expansion plans to Orlando. The former Brightline, who canceled plans for an initial public offering about a month ago, sees the northern connection to Orlando as a “crucial step in their effort to turn a profit”. The rail line currently operates in Miami and West Palm Beach and eventually would run to Tampa. The IPO was called off after the company said alternative funding sources became available that allowed it to stay private.

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Taking a Moment to Observe
By Carolyn Cokley, Director, Customer Programs

Congratulations to Coach Attendant Sharon Diaz. Sharon was honored this past Monday with the March 2019 Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee (ACAC), Customer Service Award. The special celebration took place at the Miami crewbase where Ms. Diaz was presented with the award by an ACAC Subcommittee Chair who is also a RailPax At-Large Council Representative and me. As a frequent rider on the Silver Service, our member is used to observing top notch, on board customer service and has nominated numerous Amtrak employees over the years. When she travels, she usually travels in first-class accommodations, but she likes to reach out and walk the train. She visits the coach car and the lounge and observes people and situations in action.

Click HERE to continue reading Carolyn’s thoughts


The Rail Passengers Spring Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC, Sunday, March 31st through Wednesday, April 3rd, is for ALL Rail Passengers...including YOU! There is still time to register! This year’s theme is: ‘Blueprint 2020: Be The Architect’

Rail Passengers gatherings aren’t just for Association Council and Board Members...they’re for anybody who wants our country to invest in More Trains, Better Trains and a Commitment to Infrastructure. Whether you’ve been a member for decades or you’re brand-new to Rail Passengers...or even if you aren’t a member at all...you should come to Washington to make sure YOUR congressional representatives hear directly from YOU about rail and transportation!

The event agenda includes:

  • Sunday, March 31 - Afternoon Late Board Meeting open to all attendees

  • Monday, April 1 - Advocacy Summit Speakers, Presentations & Day on The Hill Prep

    • Confirmed sessions & speakers include:

      • Opening Addresses by Amtrak’s Chris Zappi - Director Host Railroads and Roger Harris - Vice-President Long Distance

      • ‘Investments, Not Subsidies: How American Long Distance Trains Make Money’

      • No Schedules: Regional Rail and the Future of American Passenger Trains’

      • ‘The View from the Hill: Infrastructure and the 116th Congress’

      • ‘How to Sell Trains to Your Congressman’

      • ‘What Can Passengers Do?: Advocacy Strategies That Really Work’

    • Monday’s lunch Keynote Address will be given by Kenneth Hylander, Amtrak’s Executive Vice President & Chief Safety Officer

  • On Monday Evening noted Rail Tour Operator Carl Fowler will present an engaging optional travel program entitled ‘Switzerland, Scenic Railway Paradise’. Carl’s presentation will benefit the ‘Jim Hamre Memorial Scholarship Fund’. Tickets for this special program are now available!

  • Tuesday, April 2 - Day on The Hill Visiting Congressional Offices & The Rail Passengers Annual Congressional Reception (To Be Held This Year In Room 106 Of The Dirksen Senate Office Building).

  • Wednesday, April 3 - Rail Passengers Council Annual Business Meeting & Elections (Concluding By Noon)

Monday and Wednesday events will be held at the Westin City Center at Thomas Circle (3 1/2 blocks from the Metro). Group rate rooms at the Westin are SOLD-OUT. Regular public rate rooms are currently available online at the nearby Washington Plaza Hotel. However, there Is NO Group Rate or other special arrangement at the Washington Plaza!

Advance Event Registration is available through Saturday, March 30 – Higher rates will apply at the door!

Other Upcoming Regional Rail Passenger & State Association Member Meetings and Other Events:

Please contact Bruce Becker to have a state or regional event or meeting added to the Rail Passengers calendar of upcoming events!


“Stairway” To Somewhere

by Joe Aiello, Northeast Field Coordinator

Last week, the brand new $25 billion Hudson Yards complex opened to the public. It is the largest private development in the United States (by square footage) and sits on nearly 27 acres of land in the Chelsea and Hudson Yards neighborhoods in Manhattan. Thirteen of the retail and residential center’s buildings were built over the existing West Side Yard - storage for LIRR trains. It is also home of the 34th Street-Hudson Yards station, which connects the 7 train with the new “city-within-a-city”.

This all leads us to the issue at hand, as reported by New York Magazine:

Based on data from a quarterly MTA report, the station has three of the ten most failure-prone subway escalators in Manhattan - including one that was out over 25 times in the three-month span.

To read more of Joe’s thoughts on this, visit his blog HERE.


Late last week, the FTA released ratings for infrastructure projects in the U.S. that stymies the Gateway tunnels with a “medium-low” rating. The ratings are the main measure of what funding sources are available for a given project. The AP is reporting that the $13B project remains ineligible for “critical grant funding” due to the continued low grade.

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, who has been critical of the White House’s response to Gateway funding in the past, called Friday’s rating “ludicrous”

According to AP, USDOT believes the states are asking for too much federal funding, and on March 15 said that the most recent financial plan proposed by project organizers “did not address the key concerns identified by FTA in last’s year rating.”

The North River Tunnels, first opened in 1910, operate at peak capacity daily and are in dire need of replacement thanks to an aging electrical system and the saltwater damage caused by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. If even one of the tunnels would fail, within the next decade or so according to experts, peak service would be reduced by nearly 75% on the rail corridor.

To see what we have to say about the Northeast Corridor and the Gateway Project, click HERE

In a response to the news, New York Governor Cuomo Tells President Trump to End ‘Reality-Show Theatrics’ on Rail Tunnel. In a letter sent to the President just four days after the FTA’s infrastructure ratings were released, Cuomo took Trump to task for the Gateway Project delays and slammed spending for the “useless wall”.

As reported by Bloomberg - in his letter, Cuomo pointed out that the tunnel serves an area that generates 20 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. He referred to the president’s pet project, a barrier along the U.S. southern border, as a “useless wall” that “nobody needs.” Cuomo told Trump to knock off the “reality TV show theatrics,” a reference to “The Apprentice,” the long-running series that Trump hosted and netted him millions of dollars.


Passenger Rail Service Notices

Current and upcoming service notifications that could affect upcoming train travel include:

Missouri River Runner service suspended due to flooding
March 19, 2019

Service is temporarily suspended for passengers traveling on the Missouri River Runner due to historic flooding in the Midwest. Officials said the Missouri River Runner's route between St. Louis and Kansas City is getting heavy use by freight trains being rerouted away from flooding in Iowa, Nebraska and northwest Missouri. As a result, passenger rail service along the route has been suspended.

  • Charter buses will run along the route and match arrival and departure times as closely as they can. Passengers should expect delays.

  • Passengers with reservations will be permitted to switch to trains running at different times or on different days.

  • Service is expected to begin again on March 25.

Northeast Regional Trains 66 and 67 Track Work Affects Service
Monday through Thursday, March. 25 - April. 11

Due to track work being performed by CSX, Northeast Regional Trains 66 and 67 will be impacted as outlined below.

March. 25-28, April. 1-4 and 8-11

  • Train 66, which normally operates between Newport News and Boston, will originate in Richmond Staples Mill with no alternate transportation between Newport News and Richmond Staples Mill.

  • Train 67, which normally operates between Boston and Newport News, will terminate at Richmond Staples Mill with no alternate transportation between Richmond Staples Mill and Newport News.

Please note Thruway Buses 6066 and 6067 are cancelled during these dates.

Weekend Track Work Affects Downeaster Service at Woburn
Saturdays and Sundays March 23 through June 23, 2019

Attention Amtrak Customers: Due to track work being performed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), the Downeaster trains shown below will not stop at Woburn on Saturdays and Sundays, beginning Mar. 23.

Southbound Trains 690, 692, 694, 696 and 698 and northbound Trains 691, 693, 695, 697 and 699/1689 will detour between Boston North Station and Haverhill and will not stop at Woburn. Alternate transportation will not be provided to or from Woburn.

May 4 and 5: All Downeaster trains will be represented by bus service between Haverhill and Boston North. Buses will operate with normal train numbers and schedules and will not stop at Woburn.

Elizabethtown Station Temporarily Closed
Effective Immediately

The Elizabethtown station is temporarily closed until further notice. Trains will continue to stop at the station and passengers will have access to platforms.

Passengers will not have access to the inside of the station or the elevator during this time. Passengers requiring an elevator, ticketing or a staffed station may board at the Harrisburg station, approximately 30 minutes northwest or Lancaster station, approximately 30 minutes southeast of Elizabethtown.

Saluki Service Trains 390 and 391
March 19, 21 and 26, 2019

Due to track improvements being performed by Canadian National Railway, Trains 390 and 391 will be impacted as follows:

Train 390 which normally operates between Carbondale and Chicago, will originate at Champaign. Train 390 will depart at 10:45 am, 31 minutes later than the normal schedule and will operate on this later schedule at all stations from Champaign to Chicago. Alternate service will be provided as described below.

Train 391 which normally operates between Chicago and Carbondale, will terminate at Champaign. Alternate service will be provided as described below.

Alternate Transportation to:

3390 (22)

3391 (22) Read Up

Carbondale (CDL)

5.20 AM

3:45 PM

Du Quoin (DQN)

5:50 AM

3:10 PM

Centralia (CEN)

6:45 AM

2:15 PM

Effingham (EFG)

8:00 AM

12:45 PM

Mattoon (MAT)

8:40 AM

12:00 PM

Champaign-Urbana (CHM) AR/Dp

9:50 AM/10:45 AM

10:25 AM/10:45 AM

Van Nuys Station Temporarily Closed
April 13, 2019

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight trains will not stop at Van Nuys station on Saturday, April 13 due to scheduled track work preventing boarding and leaving trains at this stop.

Customers who use Van Nuys station for travel may use these nearby stations for their traveling needs:

  • Los Angeles: A staffed station three stops south of Van Nuys

  • Hollywood Burbank Airport: Unstaffed station one stop south of Van Nuys

  • Chatsworth: Unstaffed station one stop north of Van Nuys

Minimal delays are expected during this time.

Keystone Service and Pennsylvanian Trains 42 and 43
Reservations Required During the Easter Holiday Period Thursday through Tuesday, April 18 through 23, 2019

To better accommodate the increased number of passengers traveling during the Easter

holiday period, reservations will be required on all Pennsylvanian and Keystone Service

trains from Thursday, April 18 through Tuesday, April 23.

Note: Monthly and ten-ride tickets will be accepted on these dates.

Easter Holiday Travel Reminders:

  • To avoid ticket counter lines, passengers are encouraged to utilize eTicketing.

  • Allow ample time to arrive at the station and board the train.

  • Make sure your baggage is tagged with your name and address.

Station Elevator Out of Service Marshall, TX Station
Effective immediately, the elevator located inside the Marshall, TX Station is out of service until further notice.

Elevator Options

  • Passengers requiring an elevator may board at the Longview, TX Station, approximately thirty minutes west of Marshall.

Allow Extra Time–Don’t Miss Your Train

  • Customers using the stairs may need to allow extra time to get to the boarding platform.

Additional Northeast Regional Service to Norfolk, VA

Starting March 4, there will be two additional weekday trains arriving and departing Norfolk, as well as an additional train on Sundays. This will have a minor impact to other Northeast Regional train schedules as outlined below.

Northbound

  • Train 84 will now depart at 6:15 am Monday through Friday

  • Train 94 will now depart Norfolk at 9:00 am

Southbound

  • Train 71 on Saturdays will be replaced with Train 87

  • Train 87 will now continue to Norfolk on Saturday and Sunday, arriving at 11:36 pm

  • Train 93 will now operate to Norfolk, instead of Richmond, arriving at 10:31 pm

    • Train 93 will now operate Monday through Friday, replacing Train 83

  • Train 95 will now operate to Norfolk instead of Newport News, arriving at 7:04 pm

  • Train 125 will now terminate at Newport News

City of New Orleans Trains 58 and 59 Busing Between Jackson and New Orleans

Please be advised that CN railway closed the route used by Amtrak City of New Orleans due to flooding until further notice. Amtrak-chartered buses are being provided between Jackson and New Orleans as substitute transportation for Trains 58 and 59.

Normal train service will resume as soon as possible. Passengers will be provided bus service in both directions between Jackson, Hazlehurst, Brookhaven, McComb, Hammond and New Orleans. Passengers traveling north from New Orleans are asked to arrive at Union Passenger Terminal by 12:15 to board the buses.


Your Feedback is Important to Improving Amtrak

The Rail Passenger Travel Review is now up and live on our website. For those who have taken recent Amtrak trips and want to provide their feedback, it can be accessed directly at RailPassengers.org/TravelReview.


As you travel , please help us promote the Travel Review with other rail passengers. As you encounter passengers who want to make their positive and negative opinions known, please direct them to www.railpassengers.org/Travel Review. All participants will remain anonymous. If you encounter any problems with the Travel Review, or have any questions, please send an email to [email protected]


Planning a summer vacation including trains (and who wouldn’t be?), then you need a copy of Lonely Planet’s ‘Amazing Train Journeys’ guidebook! And with every purchase Lonely Planet will donate 15% of the proceeds to your Association, to help us keep working for More Trains, Better Trains and a commitment to better infrastructure.

Through this beautiful book, you’ll experience 60 of the world’s greatest and most unforgettable train journeys, from classic long-distance trips like Western Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer and Darwin to Adelaide’s The Ghan, to little-known gems on regular commuting lines. It’s the culmination of asking more than 200 travel writers for their absolute favorites.

Some are epic international adventures, others are short suburban routes along stunning coastline. There are incredible feats of engineering, trains that snake their way through mountain peaks, and even those which have achieved Unesco World Heritage status.

More than just a collection, each profile will give you the practical information you need to experience one or more of these epic journeys yourself -- including ticket options, timetables and stops, plus inspiring photos and illustrated maps. It’s all here!

Amazing Train Journeys is available as a book, e-Book or in both formats at a low combination price. And your purchase helps supports your Association’s mission too! Remember, Lonely Planet is contributing 15% of all Amazing Train Journeys sales to Rail Passengers! You can order copies by clicking here!

DON’T SLEEP ON THIS! USE YOUR MEMBER DISCOUNTS FOR EXCLUSIVE SAVINGS!

Rail Passengers’ partnership with MemberDeals will give members access to exclusive savings on movie tickets, theme parks, hotels, rental cars, tours, Broadway and Vegas shows and more through the members only area of the Rail Passengers website. Be sure to check back often as new products and discounts are constantly being added!

Whether you are from Bakersfield, Bismarck or Boston, Rail Passengers and MemberDeals have you covered! Our MemberDeals partnership covers venues, services and attractions throughout the country...take a look to see where there might be savings on fun outings near you!

Remember, if you want to use these great internet-only discounts, you must be a member in good standing AND be logged in to the Rail Passengers website. If you need help accessing these discounts email us at [email protected], or call the office at 202-408-8362.


How would passengers travel without trains?

By Abe Zumwalt, Director of Policy Research

On average, trains primarily compete with cars, then planes. A larger share of passengers on trains today wouldn’t travel at all than those that would otherwise take a bus.

Carefully hidden on Amtrak’s website are some fascinating “Economic Impact Brochures,” conducted in 2015 and 2016. They’re full of color, calculated by state, and make for useful tools to provide more information for passengers like you, and the stakeholders for trains in your state. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you’ve never seen them before.

To see the metrics, continue HERE.


Rail Passengers Association Board Director Elections

LAST REMINDER! Nominations are now being sought from qualified Rail Passengers Association members interested in being elected to one of two available Board Director positions at the upcoming Council of Representatives Annual Business Meeting being held on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. These Board Director positions are for three-year terms, ending in April 2022.

For more information on how you could make a difference as a Rail Passengers Association Board Director, please review the position’s required qualifications, description, duties and responsibilities.

If you are interested in seeking a Board Director position, you must complete and submit a Candidate Information Statement by the March 31, 2019 deadline. Questions may be directed to either Board Chair Peter LeCody at [email protected] or Vice-President of Operations Bruce Becker at [email protected]

Openings Available For Rail Passengers State Council Representatives

The following vacancies now exist for state representatives on the Rail Passengers Council of Representatives: Alabama (1 opening); California (6 openings); Idaho (1 opening); Illinois (1 opening); Louisiana (1 opening); Massachusetts (1 opening); Minnesota (1 opening); North Dakota (1 opening); Ohio (2 openings); Pennsylvania (1 opening); Texas (1 opening); Washington State (1 opening); Wyoming (1 opening)

If you are interested in becoming more involved in passenger rail advocacy and serving in a Rail Passengers leadership role, this is your opportunity to be considered for an appointment by the Board of Directors to an open state representative seat. There is no deadline to apply and submissions will be considered on a rolling basis as they are received.

Please review the position responsibilities & required qualifications and complete & submit a Candidate Information Statement if you would like to seek a position.

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