Hotline

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

Hotline #720

As mentioned last week, Amtrak will make service cuts on the Northeast Corridor beginning May 18. On Saturdays, seven afternoon and evening round trips will be cut and on Sundays, train 155 will not operate. New York-Albany loses five round-trips per week; the eastbound Lake Shore Limited will handle all local travel, including a new Rhinecliff stop; the westbound Mohawk runs unreserved through October 25 all the way to Syracuse. Because the changes are too complicated to list here, it is surpri

Hotline #719

Train 94, the northbound Colonial, struck a loaded dump truck at a grade crossing and derailed the morning of April 29 shortly after departing Newport News, Va., killing the truck's driver. Of the 92 passengers on board, 53 were injured and six were kept in the hospital overnight. The locomotive slid down a steep embankment on its side. The first two coaches, which were empty, jackknifed but remained upright. The rear three coaches were on their sides. The line was reopened today. The President

Hotline #718

The Senate version of the Amtrak reauthorization bill, S.2608, was introduced April 8 and has the following co-sponsors -- Exon (Neb.), Hollings (S.C.), Kasten (Wis.), Burns (Mont.), Lott (Miss.), Adams (Wash.), Simon (Ill.), and Bradley (N.J.). One novel feature of the bill is its call for a consumer representative on the Amtrak board, who would have to be a NARP member and travel at least 5,000 miles a year on regular trains. Congress returns from Easter break on April 27. One of the first ta

Hotline #717

Amtrak's Chicago Reservations and Sales Office was shut down April 13 when their power was shut off during the flooding in the Loop area. Using emergency generators, they were able to operate a little bit on April 14 and permanently on April 15. However, the other centers didn't have the capacity to handle all the Chicago calls, causing Amtrak to lose lots of sales on a holiday week. Also on April 13, the subways were closed, but remaining buses and trains took stranded commuters home for free.

Hotline #716

Wisconsin voters passed an important constitutional amendment on April 7, on a 58-42% margin. For the first time, the state may spend capital money on passenger and freight service. Because of this vote, and because of Governor Thompson's pro-rail outlook, it is expected that improvements will be made in the next few years, including improved Chicago-Milwaukee service and service to Green Bay and Madison. The U.S. Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee had a hearing yesterday on Amtr

Hotline #715

President Bush appointed a Presidential Emergency Board on March 31 to prevent an Amtrak strike tonight. The board has 30 days to recommend settlement terms and then management and labor have 30 more days to accept or reject the terms, meaning no strike can happen legally before June 3. If there is a strike, Congress may step in and legislate a settlement, as they did last year with the freight strike. Amtrak has new contracts with 54% of its unionized workforce. The Montrealer's present route

Hotline #714-A

President Bush appointed a Presidential Emergency Board yesterday to prevent an Amtrak strike this weekend. The National Mediation Board had announced it could not settle outstanding contract disputes in early March, which started a 30-day clock ticking through April 3. The board has 30 days to recommend settlement terms and then management and labor have 30 more days to accept or reject the terms. Therefore, no strike can happen legally before May 31. If there is a strike, Congress may elect to

Hotline #714

The Supreme Court announced its verdict in the Montrealer case on March 25. On a 6-3 vote, the high court found for Amtrak, thereby overturning a lower court's ruling that Amtrak and the ICC had acted improperly by condemning a piece of Guilford trackage in Vermont used by the Montrealer. Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court and was joined by Rehnquist, Stevens, O'Connor, Scalia, and Souter. Justice White wrote the dissenting opinion and was joined by Blackmun and Thomas. The disse

Hotline #713-A

Great news today from the Supreme Court. On a 6-3 vote, the high court overturned a lower court's ruling that Amtrak and the ICC acted improperly by condemning a piece of Guilford trackage in Vermont used by the Montrealer. Ruling for Amtrak were Rehnquist, Stevens, O'Connor, Kennedy, Scalia, and Souter. Dissenting were White, Blackmun, and Thomas. This important victory is expected to put Amtrak in a better bargaining position with the freight railroads when operating agreements expire in 1996.

Hotline #713

The current co-sponsors of H.R.4414 are Representatives Swift, Ritter, Pease, Richardson, Slattery, Manton, Andrews, Eckart, Frank, and Wyden -- but we need more for this important Ampenny bill! It now looks like there will never be a vote on H.R.3732, Representative Conyers' (Mich.) proposal to remove the wall between defense and domestic spending. Without it, a House budget resolution will take effect giving Amtrak and transit a funding freeze for 1993. That would be pretty bad for Amtrak, wh