Blog

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

Travel choices in the palm of your hand leads to less driving

Written By Malcolm Kenton I have heard it said that while car keys represented freedom to generations of Americans born in the mid-20th century, the symbol and tool of freedom for the current young generation is the smartphone. This is quite literally true, as a smartphone serves as the key to one’s transportation options. A report released todayby the US Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG) has compiled evidence that the proliferation of mobile apps and vehicle sharing programs has contr

Government shutdown shouldn't hamper train travel

Written By Colin Leach If you’re planning to travel on Amtrak in the next few weeks, you might be wondering whether or not your trains will run on time, if at all. Fortunately, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Unlike most federal agencies, which are expected to send all non-essential personnel home beginning at 12:01 AM tomorrow, Amtrak will remain in normal service. Passengers across the country, whether on the Northeast or California corridors, or travelling on long-distance services, can

Shared Economy : Passenger Trains Have Been Ahead of the Curve

Written By Abe Zumwalt I have at many times in the past referred to the great train stations of this country as “Secular Cathedrals”—temples to the ideals of commerce and civic pride. Train stations and train travel assume a baseline of civility, as a shared experience moving from a public temple to mobility, to a public means of mobility. Even at the height of elite train travel at luxury prices, a time when the Pullman company referred to it’s accommodations as “your own 5 room apar

Robust, interconnected train networks underpin prosperous cities & regions

Written By Malcolm Kenton In the first post of a series for the blog Urbanophile, Robert Munson explores what aspects make train stations true “centerpieces of sustainable transit in major North American cities” and what factors may be keeping some stations from reaching their full potential in this regard. This speaks to one of NARP’s three core tenets for how our transportation system must evolve to meet the 21st century’s needs: connectivity. Intercity passenger rail and local transi

A Train Producer Sets the Stage for a Masterpiece

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Photo: Bryan Derballa, Wired Wired has been doing some outstanding coverage of artist Doug Aitken’s Station to Station series, a charter train that uses rail travel to connect a series of art exhibits, musical performances, food displays, literary events, and film showings. NARP’s already reported on the trip, but when we saw Wired had profiled longtime NARP member and all-around-good-guy Adam Auxier, who is working as Station to Station’s “train produce

Flashback Friday: The more things change…

Written By Malcolm Kenton Welcome to a periodic NARP Blog feature where we take a look back at the archives of our members-only newsletter, NARP News, which has been published eleven times a year since 1968. If you join NARP, you will receive NARP News either by email or postal mail. Today’s installment reviews a few stories from the 1990s that show that we were fighting the same battles nearly 20 years ago as we are now. June 1995 NARP presented our Golden Spike Award to John Robert Smith,

New Territory

Written By Abe Zumwalt It wasn’t publicized widely. And yet, Amtrak’s first special excursion train sold out in little more than five days. Now, offered on the Amtrak website is a second “onetime” opportunity to take in the rare mileage. The trip “(which is usually off limits to passenger traffic) is along the Susquehanna River. Pass through Enola Yard, cross the Shocks Mill and Rockville bridges and make a brief stop in Harrisburg, PA, before continuing over the Columbia Secondary

Meet the 2013 Interns: Lessie

Written By Sean Jeans Gail NARP has been pleased to host graduate student Lessie Henderson as a 2013 intern. She's been tireless in her outreach work for NARP, and we wanted to take a moment to introduce her to you directly so you can understand the ideas and passions that motivate her work. My interest in transportation grew while working on the Elizabeth River Ferry in Portsmouth, VA (also the home of the Railroad Museum of Virginia). The passengers would often approach me with complaints

Transit agency tells its own story

Written By Malcolm Kenton The task of clearly illustrating and promoting the vital role that passenger train and rail transit services play in the communities they serve is often left to advocacy groups like NARP. Rarely do you see railroads or transit agencies take advantage of the resources at their disposal to tell their own stories. That’s why the series of infographic narratives that the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) has unveiled are rather groundbreaking. CATS operates a six-yea

Derailing the Hoosier State derails jobs

Written By Colin Leach Since its opening in 1908, the Beech Grove Shops have been a major locomotive and passenger car maintenance facility for all of their owners. From its beginnings with the Cleveland, Chicago, Cincinnati and St. Louis Railroad (the “Big Four”) tending to steam locomotives and wooden passenger cars, to its current configuration as a repair shop for Amtrak’s latest diesel-electrics and stainless steel passenger cars, Beech Grove Shops remains a name well known in Ameri