Your daily source of fresh takes on news affecting America's passengers. See also the weekly NARP Hotline.

Train advocacy in the Sunshine State

Written By Malcolm Kenton Image: Wikimedia Commons Tomorrow afternoon, I will board Amtrak's southbound Silver Star here at Washington Union Station to travel overnight to Jacksonville, Florida, where NARP will hold its annual Fall Meeting on Saturday and Sunday. Every October, the NARP Council of Representatives--an all-volunteer advisory body--meets in a different city in the country, and all NARP members are invited to join them. These meetings offer not just an opportunity for leaders i

Amtrak Says “Thank You” to America’s Passengers for Best Year Ever

Written By Sean Jeans Gail What’s the best way to celebrate a record year of train ridership in the U.S.? Riding more trains, of course. Amtrak is thanking the passengers that helped set a record ridership of 31.6 million trips in Fiscal Year 2013 by offering a 31% discount on companion rail travel: To take advantage of this discount, passengers must purchase tickets between Oct. 15 through Oct. 21, for travel Oct. 22 through Dec. 12. The discount is available on regular full adult fare

Roll-up bike carriage tested on Capitol Limited

Written By Malcolm Kenton On today’s eastbound Capitol Limited (yesterday evening’s Chicago departure), Amtrak conducted its first over-the-road test of vertically-mounted bicycle restraints installed in the lower-level baggage area of one Superliner coach. This represented the first time unboxed bikes were carried on a Superliner-equipped train since they were carried on the Cardinalbefore the train was re-equipped with single-level cars in 2002. A selected group of cyclists, myself inc

Amtrak moving in Roanoke's direction

Written By Malcolm Kenton Virginia State Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke), a long-time train supporter, hosted a town hall meetingin his home city on Wednesday to discuss the Commonwealth of Virginia’s plan to extend the state-supported Northeast Regional train currently terminating in Lynchburg west to Roanoke. Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation Director Thelma Drake said that although the state’s projected opening date for the extension is in 2017, the state had also gi

Preventing train collisions

Written By Malcolm Kenton In a presentation organized by the Japan International Transport Institute in Washington DC, Grady Cothen today made an excellent presentation on Positive Train Control (PTC). He retired from the Federal Railroad Administration in 2010 after over 36 years there working on safety and policy initiatives. He sees PTC as relevant to the administration’s higher-speed rail initiatives, as well as to enabling railroads to make the most efficient use of their infrastructu

Union Station: Formerly Uniting Railroads, Now Uniting Stakeholders

Written By Abe Zumwalt Intercity railroads have always been about property development. This is the reason why historic downtown cores across the nation are usually within remarkably close proximity to train stations. This has held true for towns and cities of all sizes. Earlier this year, Washington D.C. and the mess of stakeholders involved with its secular cathedral also known as Union Station unveiled a plan to expand the passenger concourse in a transformative move by developing the air ri

Amtrak's New Great American Stations Could Help Transform Your Train Station

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Amtrak launched a revamped website for its Great American Stations project, providing communities with new tools, resources, and information to help develop the economic power of America's train stations. The redesign highlights resources to help cities and advocacy groups identify projects and complete them successfully. The website has been reorganized around to investment principals: Restoration Tools — For communities unsure of how to start a station projec

More and more are climbing aboard

Written By Malcolm Kenton Every time I travel Amtrak, I continue to be struck by how crowded the trains are these days. Just this past weekend, I traveled from Washington, DC to Rhinebeck, NY to visit my father and stepmother. I took the 4:02 PM Northeast Regional from DC to New York. On this train, I had been accustomed to grabbing a seat in the middle of the last Amfleet coach on the 8-car train and having the two seats to myself in an uncrowded car. On previous trips, many of my fellow rider

Despite federal inaction, states continue to invest in Amtrak

Written By Colin Leach As we’ve been reporting to you for the past few months, Amtrak’s state-sponsored services are enjoying all time highs in patronage and on-time performance. Americans are flocking to trains such as the St. Louis-Kansas City Missouri River Runner, the Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service and the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian due to their convenient schedules and reliable on-time performance. What’s most remarkable about increased patronage is it comes at a time wh

High Culture [Re]Discovers The Passenger Train

Written By Abe Zumwalt All aboard from Los Angeles to San Francisco with the nomadic and bohemian art project, Station to Station. So often in the business of advocacy, we feel compelled to bleed our arguments of enthusiasm—to strip every element that can’t be quantified, lest our seriousness be called into question. Certainly, we may speak about the impressive capacity for economic development around Passenger Rail stations. We can present the mode’s ever growing popularity in its explo