February 21, 2020
Rail news for the week ending February 21st
Hotline #1,155 - February 21, 2020
The February Passengers Voice Newsletter is now available.
Thank you to everyone who attended our February 18th policy + campaign briefing!
As promised, we're providing a copy of our presentation: Rail Passengers 2020 Policy + Campaign Briefing (Feb. 18).
During the briefing, we looked at Amtrak’s FY2021 legislative grant request. Highlights include a request for $1.33 billion for the National Network -- including $4.9 million for Southwest Chief track improvements -- and $714 million for the Northeast Corridor. Additionally, Amtrak proposed $300 million for a new “Corridor Development Program,” which would allow Amtrak to cover “100% of the capital costs necessary to initiate new or additional services in high-potential corridors to encourage states and regions to grow passenger rail,” while sharing operating costs over a five year period.
Amtrak revealed that it plans on spending $2.633 billion on equipment in FY2021, including over $1 billion for National Network equipment. Importantly, the railroad identified the following critical equipment needs, above and beyond the authorized amounts:
Superliner and Amfleet II Replacement: $2.000B
Diesel Locomotive Replacement (base order plus options): Approx. $1.500B
Additional Fleet for New Corridors (for FY21-FY25 routes): $510M
Rail Passengers will dive into the full request next week, where we’ll look at policy proposals for improving on-time performance, improving the process for bringing new services online, and increasing connectivity between rail corridors and airports.
Preparing for Passenger Rail Day on the Hill
The briefing also covered some simple steps you can take NOW to ensure a successful Rail Passengers Day on the Hill, taking place March 31st:
1.) Ask your House Representative to Support Strong Funding in FY2021
Ask you Representative to sign-on to the FY2021 House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee “Dear Colleague” letter led by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), which calls for full funding of Amtrak and passenger rail grant programs
Reach out to your Representative to identify any key passenger rail or transit projects which would benefit from federal Amtrak or rail grant funding (Deadline for Member submissions to House Appropriations Committee: February 28, 2020)
2.) Share Our Briefing Documents With Your Elected Officials
Go to RailPassengers.org/RailNation2020 to find our library of 2020 advocacy material. Once you have them, send them to your elected officials once you've asked them to fully fund Amtrak in FY2021 (step 1).
We will update these with specific issue briefs closer to our Day on the Hill, so make sure to check back.
3.) Begin Scheduling Your RailNationDC:2020 Meetings
We've provided an easy "How To" guide excerpted from "A Beginner's Guide to RPA Day on the Hill," written by our Council Member T.J. Girsch. This will help walk you through the process of setting up a meeting for our national Rail Passengers Day on the Hill -- whether it's here in D.C., or over the phone with a Congressional staffer who works in the district. Just head over to RailPassengers.org/RailNation2020 for all the details.
And remember: let us know when you schedule meetings with our easy-to-use Day on the Hill Meeting Submission Form!
Rail Passengers Joins TCU, Lawmakers to Rally Against Outsourcing of Amtrak Call-Center Jobs
The Rail Passengers Association joined U.S. House lawmakers and TCU-IAM members in Philadelphia on Friday to call for action against ongoing outsourcing of Amtrak’s local call center jobs.
You can watch the video here or click the link below.
Reps. Brendan F. Boyle (D-Pa.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) joined with members of the TCU-IAM in front of Amtrak’s William H. Gray III 30th Street Station to protest the nation’s passenger rail corporation’s unjust removal of good, union-protected jobs, organizers said. The lawmakers were also joined by Jim Mathews, President of the Rail Passengers Association
"Amtrak is America's railroad, and that means being able to serve all Americans," said Mathews. "There are millions of Americans who rely on the help provided by the real human beings at Amtrak's call centers. They choose to call in because of religious observances; because of financial hardship or lack of access to broadband in their rural community; sometimes simply because they lived in an America before the age of smartphones. They deserve to receive quality service in return for their train fare—and their tax dollars. We stand ready to work with Congress and with Amtrak to ensure that America’s railroad is able to offer sustainable levels of service, from 30th Street Station to Main Street USA.”
Rep. Costa Unveils High-Speed Rail Development Bill
California Congressman Jim Costa unveiled the High-Speed Rail Corridor Development Act of 2020 at an event held today at the San Joaquin River Viaduct.
The legislation would provide $32 billion to fund projects in the 11 federally designated high-speed rail corridors across the U.S. and help to complete California’s High-Speed Rail project connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles via the San Joaquin Valley.
Costa’s bill will provide much-needed federal assistance to the project, the first of its kind in the US, which hasn’t received a federal grant since 2010. This has forced California to go it largely alone, relying on state-issued bonds and a carbon pricing scheme. The lack of help from Washington has slowed progress on construction and—in many instances—increased the cost of project delivery.
“We never would have seen the interstate highway system built if Congress had abdicated its leadership role,” said Sean Jeans-Gail, VP of Policy for Rail Passengers. “We will work to support Rep. Costa’s bill and help move this vital project forward, along with dozens of other rail projects across the U.S.”
A Great Milestone For Alstom, And A Great Sign For American Passenger Rail
By Jim Mathews / President & CEO
The first new Acela trainset arrived at a test facility in Pueblo, Colo., this week, where it will spend the next nine months proving that it’s ready for service in the Northeast Corridor.
We were all really excited to see this new trainset hit the rails, even if it wasn’t moving under its own power. But the even more-exciting part is that this looks to kick off many years of long-postponed investment in our passenger-rail network. Amtrak deserves to take a bow for moving this forward after years of timid reluctance to do anything other than operate the system it had and to make as few waves – and demands – as possible.
Amtrak leadership also needs to take note of the positive nationwide press that resulted just from this one test move. Why? Because it underscores the hunger that millions of Americans have for a modern, comfortable, fast and safe rail network. Folks came out in droves all along the right-of-way just to catch a glimpse of this new trainset. What does that tell you about our country’s appetite for real investment in the future?
One year and one day ago today, the Wall Street Journal quoted me outlining our Association’s opposition to Amtrak’s assertion that it had to gut the existing National Network of long-distance trains to pay for a bold growth plan for service in the Southeast and West.
Instead, I argued then – and have continued to argue since – that we can do both. We do not have to choose between having more and better trains in these fast-growing areas or having a National Network that connects the entire U.S., thanks in part to the work we’ve done to encourage Congress to think more broadly about rail’s possibilities. We strongly rejected the idea that small communities which today depend on Amtrak service as an economic engine should lose their service in exchange for Cincinnati getting to see trains in the daytime.
We urged Amtrak’s leadership instead to consider that Congress might well support a bold future that does not force Americans to choose, that does not pose a false zero-sum vision of U.S. passenger rail. Amtrak’s new proposed budget blueprint released this week is a great step in that direction.
Literally as the new Acela trainsets were rolling along the routes of the Lake Shore Limited and Southwest Chief, we got a look at Amtrak’s proposals to Congress for its Fiscal 2021 spending blueprint and found that Amtrak wants to see a separate investment pool for new corridor service. They’re also proposing billions in new investment for the National Network.
They’re asking Congress – and us as rail advocates – to put the money where the mouth is and support transformative investment in our national taxpayer-supported passenger rail system (see item above on the Leg & Grant request).
With the Northeast Corridor work now well launched, Amtrak is able to begin to turn its attention to other fleet types and upgrades. We see now that Amtrak is asking even more aggressively than it did last year to fund additional equipment upgrades and new procurements for National Network fleets. In its 2020 request, Amtrak sought $533 million for long-distance equipment and $374 million for corridor equipment. In its 2021 request, it’s asking for even more and setting up a pipeline for even bigger investments if Congress were to decide to proceed.
Amtrak is asking again for permission to grow and expand, and they’re doing it more boldly than before. We need all Rail Passengers members to let their congressional representatives and Senators know that we think the Acela upgrade should be the beginning -- and not the end -- of re-capitalizing Amtrak’s fleet for the 21st Century.
Presidential Candidates Talk Passenger Trains at Infrastructure Forum
Four Democratic candidates for president met in Las Vegas, NV last Sunday to discuss the future of the nation’s infrastructure, with all four highlighting the need to tackle the investment deficit slowing growth of the U.S. passenger rail network.
Hosted by the American Public Transportation Association, “Moving America Forward: A Presidential Candidate Forum on Infrastructure, Jobs, and Building a Better America” brought together Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Tom Steyer to debate how to best solve America’s growing infrastructure crisis.
Unsurprisingly, Vice President Biden had the most developed Amtrak platform, arguing that investing in our intercity rail and transit system would save money and create millions of new union jobs. But all four participants highlighted the economic and environmental benefits of bringing high-speed rail to the U.S.
New Portal Bridge Rules Take Effect
Last March, New Jersey Senator - and ranking member of the Senate Transit Committee - Robert Menendez requested that the 110-year old Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River remain closed during morning and evening rush hours in an effort to curb commuter and intercity rail delays. In the six months that followed, the Coast Guard kept the swing bridge closed between 5 and 10a and 3 and 8p except for very limited exceptions. This week, it was announced that the Coast Guard has taken the final steps in preparing that rule to become permanent starting next month. Senator Menedez released a statement thanking the Coast Guard for their work on this issue, but reminded everyone that “this is only a temporary fix to provide some relief to commuters” and a new bridge is the only true long-term solution.
NJTransit Is Getting New Rail Cars, Paying to Fix the Old Ones
A new fleet of electric-powered multilevel rail cars will be making its way into the hands of New Jersey Transit starting in 2023, replacing the current stock of 40-year old Arrow III cars. There is one slight catch - in order for the current fleet to make it that far to be replaced, state officials are saying that they will need to spend nearly $3M for custom parts to keep them running. The culprit is a main inductor, referred to as the “backbone” of the electric system, which only has a 6-year lifespan but has been on the cars for double that timeframe.
Virgin Trains’ Vegas Station Plans
If the documents submitted to the Clark County Commissioners office are to be believed, Virgin Trains USA has big plans in store for the Nevada terminus of their $4.8 billion passenger rail link with Southern California. The two-story 273,000 sq ft station and attached parking garage will sit on a portion of a 110 acre plot of land on South Las Vegas Boulevard just across from the South Premium Outlets and just a 15 min drive from the heart of the Vegas Strip. The station will include a departure lobby, space for retail, baggage claim, and other amenities that Brightline/Virgin Trains has come to be known for. A representative for the company stated that while there are no current plans on what to do with the rest of the plot of land, they “certainly will look to develop it over time in a way that would further the transportation business”
Construction on the project is scheduled to begin later this year, with operations planned to begin in 2023.
A High-Speed Reality?
The problem is the trains are slow and suffer from under-investment. These are more novelty trips than actual efficient transportation. And while a long, slow train ride across the country can be a great thing, the US needs real high-speed rail too. That’s especially true between big cities that are close to each other but currently require hours of driving or the hassle of a flight to move between.
Membership News and Notices
Monthly memberships for new members have been restored! If you or a friend are interested in purchasing a new monthly membership, please continue to do so through our website or by calling us. This update has already taken place and does not affect renewing monthly members.
If you renew your membership by mail, please be sure to double check the form you send in with your payment! We will update your membership dues only if you return a form asking you to RENEW your membership. Forms asking you to DONATE will be processed as donations, not membership dues payments. (Donations are 100% tax-deductible and membership dues are tax-deductible minus any AGR points you receive at 2.5 cents each).
We are aware of the issues with adding people to your account on our website and are taking steps to fix the problem. While we make updates, please give us a call or email us if you would like to add someone to your membership! (Family memberships and above all come with 4-10 complimentary memberships.)
#ICYMI - In Case You Missed It: This Week’s Social Media Highlights
This week we covered regional connections, innovations to benefit riders with disabilities,the 2020 policy and campaign briefing, and so much more!
Railroad Manufacturers Tout Energy Efficiency of Rail to Global Leaders
Executives from Talgo spoke to international policymakers last month on the need to utilize modern passenger rail technology to preserve our quality of life in the face of climate change. Carlos Palacio Oriol, Chairman of Talgo, spoke last month at COP25, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, where he said modern railroad equipment must play a key role in reducing our overdependence on carbon-intensive modes like air travel and automobiles.
“The direct way to maximize its efficiency and minimize the emission of greenhouse gases is to have light trains with advanced technical characteristics in terms of energy efficiency, such as the Talgos," said Palacio Oriol.
Panelists at the event discussed the need for industrial processes to reorganize around sustainability, so that economic development is not in opposition to meeting carbon reduction goals, and communities can thrive while improving natural resource management and conservation.
The Chairman of Talgo argued rail, with its distinct efficiency advantages compared to planes and cars, is well positioned to play a greater role in future transportation networks. Palacio Oriol said Talgo trainsets, which are 25% compared to its direct competitors in the sector, are particularly environmentally friendly, requiring roughly 30% less energy to run compared to other high-speed trains.
You can read Talgo's full comments here, https://bit.ly/2GJPHvY
You can read more about COP25 at https://unfccc.int/cop25
Tell Us What’s Happening Where You Live!
When you see rail-related news stories, op-eds, editorials, or letters to the editor in your communities, send them along to us! We will 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.
Vote Today In 2020 Rail Passengers Council of Representatives Elections
Voting ends TOMORROW for the Rail Passengers Council of Representatives! There are contested elections in four states -- Colorado, Kentucky, Maryland and Pennsylvania -- and members living in those states have until FEBRUARY 22, 2020 to choose their representatives.
If You Do Not Have An Email Address
We have mailed a small number of printed ballots and candidate statements to those members who do not have email addresses on file with the Association. Those are the ONLY printed ballots that will be supplied. Watch your mailbox and cast your vote! We will accept returned ballots that are postmarked as late as FEBRUARY 22, 2020. Postmarks after that date will not be counted.
If You Have A Working Email Address
If you have a current, working email address on file with us here at the Association, you should have received an email with all the information you need to cast your electronic ballot. This includes a link to the state election page for your state, which has links to the candidate statements filed by those running for the open seats, as well as a link to an electronic ballot. Check your email for your voting message, and if you don’t see it, be sure to check your spam filter or spam folder to be sure you’re permitting us to send you messages. If you still have not received your email, please visit the official Council election page to vote or email [email protected] with the subject line “Council Ballot Needed.”
Who Can Vote?
You must have a current, valid Rail Passengers Association member number to vote, and your membership must be up to date so that you are a member in good standing. If you are not current or your member ID is not valid, your vote will not count. If you vote for more candidates than there are slots, your vote also will not count.
Voting Ends On February 22, 2020!
Rail Passengers Track Update
Where are we and what are we working on? This section will give you updates on what Rail Passengers HQ is up to.
Jim Mathews, President & CEO, had a meeting-packed week. Meetings with Amtrak leaders included topics like Amtrak’s latest legislative and grant request -- its proposed funding blueprint for Fiscal 2021 -- plus the railroad’s efforts to improve data and analysis. There were also follow-ups on disability issues and potential problems with Amtrak’s new ticketing policies. In addition, Jim sat down with Texas Central Railway, and capped off the week by heading to Philadelphia to appear alongside Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) in their bipartisan push to head off cuts at Amtrak’s Philadelphia call center.
Sean Jeans Gail, Vice President of Policy, hosted a policy and campaign briefing for the Rail Passenger membership, highlighting political trends and opportunities for action in the year ahead. You can find a summary of the brief at RailPassengers.org/PaxBriefing. Jeans-Gail also reviewed Amtrak’s FY2021 legislative grant request. He also coordinated with several members of Congress to increase funding for passenger rail while ensuring effective oversight of public investment in our rail system.
Carolyn Cokley, Director of Customer Programs, has continued her support of the City of Lawrence in vetting the 9 applications submitted during the open house. Cleared volunteers will be trained on March 14 and will be ready to staff the station starting late March. Carolyn is in continued talks with city and transit officials in Norman and Oklahoma City, OK, Martinsburg, WV and Kalamazoo, MI to determine next steps for station volunteers in their cities.
Joseph Aiello, Field Coordinator, assisted Sean Jeans-Gail this week with the policy and campaign briefing phone town hall that took place on Tuesday evening. Joe has been busy working with the rest of the DC staff on the upcoming RailNation as well as with Madi Butler on the planning of future advocacy excursions.
Madi Butler, Grassroots Organizer, has been exploring BART lines end to end and following up on the route changes made 2/10. Madi has also begun grant applications for continued Field Team excursions. If you would like to contribute to the team’s outreach feel free to contact Madi directly.
Jonsie Stone, Director, Resource Development, spent the week working on Association administrative activities - processing donations/membership payments, working with our Accounting team and continuing to plan the lockbox transition. March and April outreach campaigns were also a priority this week.
Kim Williams, Membership Manager, spent the week responding to member queries, updating our mailpieces, editing the newsletter, collecting Council Election ballots, and sending out new member and renewal membership cards.
Partnership with Signature Federal Credit Union
We are excited to announce our recent partnership with Signature Federal Credit Union. Rail Passengers members now have access to a full service, nationwide federal credit union with extensive product and service offerings. Signature FCU also becomes the exclusive provider of the Rail Passengers Association-branded Visa credit card with our logo, which supports our work by giving back to our organization, and gives you 1 point for every $1 you spend to redeem for travel and merchandise. The card has no annual fee, no balance transfer fees, no foreign transaction fees, and has a very low interest rate.
Keep an eye on your mailbox as details from Signature FCU should be delivered any day.
Gifts from Donor Advised Funds
If you have a donor advised fund, please consider recommending a grant from your fund to be the Rail Passengers Association. It is a great way to maintain flexibility with your support throughout the year. For more information, go to http://myimpact.railpassengers.org/daf. As always, please feel free to contact Jonsie Stone if you have any questions.
The Rail Passengers Association would like to thank our Annual Partners for their support!
We are excited to welcome Alstom as our newest Annual Partner.
Make Plans To Attend RailNation:DC 2020
Washington, DC - Sunday, March 29 through Wednesday, April 1!
The Rail Passengers’ 2020 Annual Advocacy Summit Is Monday, March 30; The ‘Day on The Hill’ & Congressional Reception Is Tuesday, March 31 And The Annual Council Business Meeting Is Wednesday, April 1
Host Hotel - Embassy Suites Alexandria Old Town (At The King Street Metro & Alexandria Amtrak Stations) - Discounted Group Rate Rooms Are Now Available!
Visit The Event Page For Complete Information & Details
Upcoming Events | go to railpassengers.org/events for more information
Saturday, February 29 - North Alabama Advocates Get-Together, Huntsville, AL
Saturday, March 7 - 2020 New York State Rail Advocates Annual Meeting & Lunch - Schenectady, NY
Saturday, March 14 - AAWA Central Washington Passenger Rail Summit - Yakima, WA
Saturday, March 21 - 2020 New England Rail Advocates Annual Meeting & Lunch - New London, CT
Friday, March 27 - Virginians For High Speed Rail - 25th Anniversary Luncheon - Richmond, VA
Saturday, March 28 - WisARP Spring General Membership Meeting - La Crosse, WI
Saturday, April 18 - Rail Passengers Association NW Meeting - Tacoma WA
Please contact Joe Aiello ([email protected]) to have a local, state or regional meeting added to the Rail Passengers calendar (print and on-line) of upcoming events!
Amtrak Passenger Service Notices
San Joaquins Service Schedule Changes
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Track work being performed by BNSF Railway will affect San Joaquins service on Sunday, February 23.
Trains 704, 712, 714, 716 and 718 will terminate at Stockton. Passengers will be provided bus service via Buses 4304, 4312, 4314, 4316 and 4318 between Stockton and Merced, making intermediate stops at Modesto and Turlock-Denair. At Merced, passengers can board their respective 1700-series train to Bakersfield and intermediate stations.
Trains 703, 713, 715, 717 and 719 will originate at Stockton. At Bakersfield, passengers can board their respective 1700-series train to Merced and intermediate stations. Passengers will be provided bus service via Buses 4303, 4313, 4315, 4317 and 4319 between Merced and Stockton, making intermediate stops at Turlock-Denair and Modesto. At Stockton, passengers can board their respective 700-series train.
Train and bus schedules from Merced to Bakersfield, Stockton to Sacramento and Stockton to Oakland have been adjusted to depart up to 60-minutes later than normal times.
San Diego Old Town Station Boarding Track Changes
Effective February 24, 2020
Beginning February 24, Pacific Surfliner trains will depart and arrive on different tracks at the · Northbound trains will continue to depart from track 4.
Please allow extra time for boarding and detraining while getting familiar with the different route to parking and connecting services. The pedestrian underpass can be used if needed.San Diego Old Town station.
Southbound trains will now arrive on track 3. Passengers can be picked up from Old Town Station on the street side closest to track 3.
Northbound trains will continue to depart from track 4.
Keystone Service Schedule Changes
Effective Mar. 7 through Nov. 15, 2020
Due to the Middletown Station Construction Project, Keystone Service schedules will be affected between Mar. 7 and Nov. 15.
Train 620 will operate 5 minutes later from Harrisburg to Elizabethtown, will now stop at Mt. Joy and will operate 6 minutes later from Lancaster to Philadelphia.
Train 622 will now stop at Mt. Joy and will operate 1 minute later from Lancaster to Philadelphia.
Train 646 will operate 1 minute earlier from Harrisburg to Elizabethtown, will now stop at Mt. Joy and will operate on the current schedule from Lancaster to Philadelphia.
Train 652 will operate 10 minutes earlier from Harrisburg to Philadelphia
Train 654 will operate 10 minutes later from Harrisburg to Philadelphia.
Train 605 will operate 10 minutes later from Philadelphia to Harrisburg.
Train 607 will operate 10 minutes earlier from Philadelphia to Harrisburg.
Train 645 will operate 10 minutes later from Lancaster to Harrisburg.
Train 669 will operate 5 minutes later from Elizabethtown to Harrisburg on weekends.
Piedmont Trains 74 and 77 Cancelled
Track Work Affects Service
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Track work being performed by Norfolk Southern will affect Piedmont service on Tuesday, February 18.
Trains 74 and 77 which normally operate between Charlotte and Raleigh, are cancelled. No alternate transportation will be provided.
All other Carolinian and Piedmont service trains will operate normally on these dates.
Boston South Station Transportation Center Improvements
Construction of the South Station Air Rights Project began in January 2020. This project will include the completion of the South Station Transportation Center.
During the construction some entrances and exits may be closed or reconfigured. Trains may arrive and depart on a different track than expected. Passengers are encouraged to check their track before boarding and allow extra time to become familiar with the new construction zones.
For more information on the project please visit www.southstationairrights.com
Pacific Surfliner Weekend Service Changes
Friday, Saturday and Sunday February 21-23 and March 8-11, 2020
Track work being performed in San Diego County by the North County Transit District will affect Pacific Surfliner service on the dates shown below:
Friday, February 21 and March 6
Train 796 will terminate at Los Angeles. Bus service will be provided south from Los Angeles to San Diego, serving all missed stops.
Saturday and Sunday, February 22-23 and March 7-8
Trains 562, 578, 583, 1565, 1566, 1569, 1572, 1573, 1590 and 1591 will be cancelled. Passengers can make reservations aboard other Pacific Surfliner trains.
Southbound Train 782 will terminate at Los Angeles. No alternate transportation will be provided between Los Angeles and San Diego. Passengers can make reservations aboard other Pacific Surfliner trains.
Southbound Train 796 will terminate at Los Angeles and bus service will be provided for all missed stops.
Southbound Trains 580, 768, 774, 792, 1564 and 1584 will operate normally to Irvine, where bus service will be provided from Irvine to San Diego. Express buses will run from Irvine to San Juan Capistrano, Oceanside, Solana Beach, Old Town San Diego and Downtown San Diego.
Northbound Train 1761 will originate at Los Angeles. No alternate transportation will be provided between San Diego and Los Angeles. Passengers can make reservations aboard other Pacific Surfliner trains.
Northbound Trains 579, 593, 595, 763, 777, 785 and 1767 will originate in Irvine. Bus service will be provided from San Diego to Irvine to connect with the trains listed above. Buses will depart Downtown San Diego, Solana Beach, Oceanside and San Juan Capistrano earlier than the train schedule to allow time to connect with trains in Irvine.
Buses will not pick up at Old Town San Diego. Passengers can take the trolley to Downtown San Diego to board buses to Irvine.
Metrolink will honor Amtrak tickets between San Juan Capistrano and Los Angeles.
Please note: There will be no checked baggage or express service south of Santa Ana on the dates shown above. Alternate bus service will not serve San Clemente Pier.
Pacific Crest Thruway Service Schedule Changes
Effective February 18, 2020
Effective February 18, schedule changes will affect Thruway Buses 8309 and 8310.
Buses 8309 and 8310 will no longer service Coos Bay, Reedsport and Florence.
Buses will now stop at Sisters, OR
Schedule times have been adjusted for both buses
Track Work Affects Trains 66 and 67 Traveling Through Richmond, VA
Mon. through Thurs., Feb. 3 through 27, 2020
Due to track work being performed by CSX Transportation, Amtrak service will be affected around Richmond Staples Mill as shown below:
Monday through Thursday, Feb. 3 through 27:
Train 66, which normally operates between Newport News and Boston, will originate at Richmond Staples Mill.
Alternate transportation will be provided via Bus 6166 between Newport News and Richmond Staples Mill, making the intermediate stop at Williamsburg. There will be no service to Richmond Main Street.
Train 67, which normally operates between Boston and Newport News, will terminate at Richmond Staples Mill.
Alternate transportation will be provided via Bus 6167 between Richmond Staples Mill and Newport News, making the intermediate stop at Williamsburg. There will be no service to Richmond Main Street.
One bus will operate as Buses 6066 and 6166, operating 30 minutes earlier than the train schedule.
Trains 66 and 67 will operate on a normal schedule on President’s Day, Monday, Feb. 17.
Trains 66 and 67 may see delays up to 30 minutes beginning January 27.
Station Elevator Out of Service Rome, NY, Station
The elevator located inside the Rome, NY, station is out of service until further notice.
Passengers requiring an elevator may board at the Utica station, approximately 20 minutes east of Rome.
Allow Extra Time – Don’t Miss Your Train
Customers using the stairs may need to allow extra time to get to the boarding platform.
Travel Tip of the Week
Project: Time Off (P:TO) is an initiative created by the U.S. Travel Association to win back America’s unused vacation days. Since the mid 1970’s, Americans are taking on average about one week less vacation per year, and the trend continues to decline. Vacation usage remained constant from 1976 to 2000, on average taking a little over 20 days. In the last 18 years, the average has decreased to around 18.2 days.
Last year over 768 million vacation days went unused in America, up 9% from the previous year. And 236 million of those days were forfeited completely, totaling more than $65 billion in lost benefits.
National Plan for Vacation Day (NPVD), celebrated on the last Tuesday of January, is a day to encourage Americans to plan their time off and make the most of their vacation days throughout the year. It was launched by the U.S. Travel Association in 2015.
With signs of Spring in the air, this is the perfect time to use that earned and unused vacation and think about planning a 4-day weekend drive or that cross country trip you’ve thought about for years. Now gives you the time to select your destination and get your vacation request approved.
As you plan your travels please remember your Rail Passengers member benefits discounts including, but not limited to:
Amtrak – 10% on most travel
VIA Rail Canada – 5%
Brightline – 10%
Alaska Railroad – 20%
Avis Car Rental – 25%
TravelReview Feedback Card
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]
Do You Need More TravelReview Feedback Cards?
Please help us to spread the word. We need your help in engaging other passengers when you travel and let them know that their feedback is welcomed by RailPax. To facilitate this sharing of information the TravelReview Feedback Card is now available for you to download and print for regular usage. The card can be given to fellow passengers to introduce the work that RailPax is doing as well as our desire to have their feedback. The cards can also be left behind in stations as you pass through.
The template is in a .pdf format and will open in Adobe document cloud. First download the file and save it to your desktop for easy access. Then print as needed. The original template is formatted for Avery 5871 or 5371 cardstock which are both 2” x 3½” business card formats. Any brand cardstock should function as long as the dimensions match.
If you experience any problems in accessing the file, please send an email to [email protected]
Lonely Planet's Amazing Train Journeys
Planning a holiday-season vacation including trains, or looking for a great holiday gift idea, 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!
Looking towards 2020
As the decade comes to a close, we reflect on all of our accomplishments over the past 10 years and consider what the coming years might have in store. As you may know, 2020 will be a critical year in determining the future of passenger rail service nationwide.
Amtrak is quasi-public corporation, with the federal government providing a significant portion of the railroad’s annual operations and capital budget. The current funding authorization expires at the end of FY2020, and in 2020 the Rail Passengers Association will be leading efforts in the courts and on Capitol Hill to ensure that America’s passenger rail service continues to thrive. We will fight to sustain our vision of “A Connected America” where all of us, rich or poor, rural or urban, are linked together.
We’re committed to this work and ready to take action, but we can’t do it alone. As we look towards 2020, please consider donating to support this critical work.
"We would not be in the position we’re in if it weren’t for the advocacy of so many of you, over a long period of time, who have believed in passenger rail, and believe that passenger rail should really be a part of America’s intermodal transportation system."
Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Department of Transportation
2011 Spring Council Meeting