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

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

Hotline #975

Amtrak Sees Reduction in Delays; NTSB Releases Preliminary Findings of Metro Derailment; NARP Hires New Customer Advisory Director

Investment in new technology, maintenance and equipment pays off, which is evident with Amtrak’s implementation of new Siemens locomotives in the Northeast Corridor. According to new statistics from the railroad, the introduction of 70 new locomotives, known as the Amtrak Cities Sprinter, which started revenue service three years ago, has helped reduce delays by more than 20 percent. Overall, data show that there were 1,138 locomotive-related delays in the 10 months ending in July 2013. That n

Hotline #974

STB Affirms Rights of Rail Passengers; Democrats and GOP Release Transit Platforms; Mobile Joins Support for Gulf Coast Rail Service

In major news for Amtrak and passenger rail, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) withdrew a proposed policy statement that would have undercut passenger trains legal right to priority dispatching ahead of freight trains. The proposal would have changed a law that gives Amtrak preference while traveling on freight railroads, and could have resulted in significant delays for passenger trains. Passenger advocacy groups, including NARP, rallied in defense of Amtrak’s passengers, arguing that t

Hotline #973

USDOT Opens New Bureau; FRA Examines Rail Opportunities in Texas and New England; Lawmakers Push For TSA To Implement Safety Protocols

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have been busy this past week pushing forward new efforts to enhance America’s transportation infrastructure. Most notable, the DOT created a new bureau that will be a driving force for continued focus and funding, both of which are critical to future growth in the U.S. of rail and other modes of transit for people and freight. Known as the Build America Bureau, it “will drive transportation infrastruct

Hotline #972

Congress Adjourns for Summer Break with Hearings on Amtrak and High-Speed Rail; Train Operator Screening Test Rule Coming in Weeks; High-Speed Rail in CA Toured

As both houses of Congress adjourn for an election-year recess, they’ll leave Washington without passing one of the 12 annual appropriations measures. As NARP has been reporting, ancillary partisan disagreements obstructed a positive, bipartisan transportation appropriations bills that would increase funding for Amtrak, passenger rail, and transit. The Senate had already passed its version, and was simply waiting on the full House to vote before reconciling the bill before sending it to the Pr

Hotline #971

SEPTA Removes 120 Cars from Service; new Pueblo stop would mean $1.45 million in new revenue for Amtrak’s Southwest Chief; VA Receives FASTLANE Grant of $165 Million

Although commuters will experience delays, rail cars will be overcrowded, and money will be lost, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) made the correct decision in pulling unsafe rail cars from service by putting safety first. The transit organization took all 120 Silverliner V cars out of service after finding a fractured beam on one car and fatigue cracks on almost all other cars. Due to the reduction of cars, trains will only be able to carry 35,000 to 40,000 people

Hotline #970

High-Speed Rail Moves Forward in U.S.; NJ Transit Reaches Deal with Unions; Amtrak Opens “Metropolitan Lounge” at Chicago Union Station

The U.S. House of Representatives was in recess this week, adjourning early following political discord over gun control. The House, along with the Senate, is expected to return on July 5th, but with only two weeks left before political conventions and an overloaded legislative docket, time is running short on a transportation budget bill. Take part in NARP’s active legislative campaign to help keep the pressure on Congress for new rail funding! Chicago Union Station has just received an imp

Hotline #969

Bipartisan Bills Stall; Presidential Candidates Support Infrastructure Investment With Few Details; FRA Proposal on Long-Distance Trains

Stalled by heated partisan battles over gun control, a response to the threat of the Zika virus, and birth control provisions, a bipartisan movement to pass a transportation budget for fiscal year 2017 has stalled. Senate and House appropriators have created positive bills that are closely aligned; both increase funding for Amtrak, passenger rail, and transit, with the House favoring the Northeast Corridor and the Senate focusing additional funds on the National Network and grant programs for t

Hotline #968

Cities Look At Transit-Oriented Development; HSR in TX to Break Ground in 2017; CA Wins Lawsuit for HSR

Transit-oriented development and planning are getting a fresh look in cities around the U.S., as planners in communities large and not-so-large have started going beyond the usual textbook mix of elements to understand what really animates residents and would drive successful projects. In Miami Beach for example, one developer that is bidding on project to bring light-rail to that city released renderings of what the system could look like with special consideration to the avid biking community