Your weekly source of fresh takes on news affecting America's passengers. See also the RPA Blog.

Hotline #985

OIG Reports Amtrak Needs to Budget for PTC; FTA Announces $14.7 Million in Grants; High-Speed Rail Updates in Fresno, CA

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for Amtrak released a new report that highlighted the Amtrak’s need to budget appropriately for live-saving technology throughout its rail network. The report found that Amtrak has made strides in implementing automated braking technology known as Positive Train Control (PTC), but that the passenger rail agency still has several tasks to complete before it reaches full implementation before the end of 2018 - the current deadline. As of now, the OIG stated

Hotline #984

NTSB Issues Update On Hoboken; Report Claims AVs will Disrupt Rail; Amtrak Releases First National Magazine

In a week since the train accident in Hoboken, NJ, the New Jersey Transit and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have been moving forward with investigating the cause of the crash. According to a preliminary report from the NTSB, which is based on data pulled from a the train’s data recorder and video, the commuter train was traveling twice the 10 mph speed limit just before it crashed into Hoboken's terminal. The NTSB revealed that the train was traveling at 8 mph and the throttl

Hotline #983

Commuter Train Crash in Hoboken; Accident Places Spotlight on PTC; Penn Station Renovation Set To Begin

Tragic news struck this week in passenger rail, after a New Jersey Transit commuter train crashed into a station in Hoboken Thursday morning. The crash resulted in more than 100 injuries for passengers on the train and people standing on the platform, and in addition to the injuries, one fatality occurred due to falling debris. When the train arrived at the station, it went “over the bumper block, through the depot” and came to rest at the wall right before the station’s waiting area accor

Hotline #982

Lawmakers Pursue New TSA Legislation; NYC Transit Agencies Increase Security Following Bombings; Tom Hanks Supports National Rail Network

The U.S. Senate Republicans released the text of a proposed Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded past September 30th, including language to allow for a new Amtrak accounting structure. The provision, called an anomaly, is necessary to allow for the old funding structure to be applied using the new structure required by the FAST Act of 2015. It avoids saddling Amtrak with additional costs and wasted hours that would come from having to run two parallel accounting systems, and is

Hotline #981

FRA Awards $25 Million in Grants; Transit Agencies Warn Against Samsung Phone; APTA Reveals $200 Billion in Transit on Voters’ Ballots in November

In a major effort to increase safety improvements for the country’s railroad infrastructure, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) awarded $25 million in grants to transit agencies across the U.S. Through the Railroad Safety Infrastructure Improvement Grants fund, the FRA is supporting 23 projects in 14 states and Washington, D.C. Projects include the acquisition, improvement, or rehabilitation of intermodal facilities; improvements to track, bridges, rail yards, and tunnels; upgrades to r

Hotline #980

New Study Confirms Public Transit is Safer Than Driving; Progressive Railroading Highlights Summer by Rail; Amtrak to Keep Late Night Hiawatha Service

A new study by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) provided further evidence public transportation is still the safest way to travel. Overall, APTA’s new report found that taking public transit, such as trains and buses, decreases the chances of an individual being in an accident by more than 90 percent when compared to driving. This is an important stat for the future of U.S. transit, as federal and local governments look for ways to incorporate safe public transportation in

Hotline #979

High-Speed Rail Projects Move Forward; New Orleans Transit System Slowly Returns Post-Katrina, Winter Park Express In High Demand

Options for high-speed rail have received some significant attention over the past week thanks for a major announcement from Amtrak for new Acela trains, a federal hearing on the status of the high-speed rail project in California, and a trade agreement between Maryland and Japan. All three highlighted that there is continued, as well as growing, interest to pursue and develop high-speed rail systems throughout the country. Last week, Amtrak announced its investment for the next generation of h

Hotline #978

Biden Helps Amtrak Unveil “Avelia Liberty” Next Gen Trainsets; Motorists Set Record for Miles Driven as Accidents and Fatalities Rise; NARP Hires Director of Resource Development

The National Association of Railroad Passengers was on hand at today’s event in Wilmington Station, where Vice President Joe Biden announced $2.45 billion in federally secured loans to support Amtrak’s purchase of new high-speed trainsets for the Northeast Corridor, station upgrades, and track improvements. The “Avelia Liberty” model trainsets will be designed and manufactured by the French company Alstom at its Hornell and Rochester, New York facilities, creating 400 local jobs. NARP

Hotline #977

Amtrak announces new CEO; FRA Provides Boost for

Amtrak announced today that longtime rail industry executive Charles “Wick” Moorman will be the company’s next President and CEO beginning September 1 “Wick comes to Amtrak after more than 40 years at NS where he rose from management trainee to CEO,” stated Amtrak in an employee advisory. “Having worked at NS from the ground up, he and his team modernized the way that NS conducted business, served customers and worked with communities. As CEO, Wick emphasized performance and teamwor

Hotline #976

AAR Petition’s STB’s OTP Rule; Amtrak to Implement New Acela Locomotives; APTA Names Metro Transit in Minneapolis system of the year

Following the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) final rule to define on-time performance for passenger rail using on-time arrival and departure at all stations along a passenger-train's route—a huge victory for passengers—the Association of American Railroads (AAR) filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia questioning the STB’s authority to define on-time for passenger rail. The AAR maintains that Congress gave the Federal Railroad Administration and