Blog

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

NPR report on oilfield workers’ Amtrak use was timely, but biased

Written By Malcolm Kenton National Public Radio aired a report on Friday morning on the growing number of riders Amtrak’s Empire Builder is carrying to and from their jobs in the booming oil shale region of western North Dakota and eastern Montana. While NPR deserves credit for highlighting a story that most media outlets have overlooked – that so many oilfield workers find the one daily train to be the most convenient and affordable way to access the region. This is due to the fact that ta

A locomotive’s-eye view up the East Coast

Written By Malcolm Kenton GE, the maker of most of the locomotives in use today on North American railroads (freight and passenger), produced this high-quality short film from cameras mounted to the front of one of its newest Evolution Series locomotives as it pulls CSX’s Juice Train – containing 550,000 gallons of Tropicana orange juice – from Bradenton, Florida to Jersey City, New Jersey: a 1,220-mile overnight journey condensed into 156 seconds. Much of this is the same route that Amtr

Amtrak reorganization scrutinized by House Transportation Committee

Written By Sean Jeans Gail The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing today to examine Amtrak’s ongoing structural reorganization intended to improve the performance and accountability of the railroad, part of a series held by the committee over the past few months to examine Amtrak and passenger rail. Chairman John Mica (R-FL) accused Amtrak of lagging behind other modes in minimizing the public subsidy required to operate. Critics of these hearings have questioned why

Amtrak's Hoosier State threatened

Written By Sean Jeans Gail A provision in federal law is endangering the popular Hoosier State train, and we need your help to save it! Amtrak's Hoosier State runs between Indianapolis and Chicago. In combination with the Cardinal, it provides seven day a week service connecting those cities as well as serving Crawfordsville, Rensselaer, Lafayette and Dyer. Daily service is particularly important for this short route and helps keep alive the idea that trains are a realistic and desirable alte

NARP's Thanksgiving Train Travel Tips

Written By Malcolm Kenton America’s busiest travel days of the year – the Tuesday and Wednesday before and the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving – are also Amtrak’s busiest. Thus, Amtrak is adding extra trains on several routes – more this year than in past years. Click the links below to access the special Thanksgiving schedule for each route, which is only in effect Nov. 20-26: Northeast Corridor (Virginia-Washington-New York-Boston, including New Haven-Springfield) Keystone Se

Caltrans doubles bike capacity on San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor trains

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Image courtesy HebCaltrans announced November 9 that it has nearly doubled bicycle storage capacity on its San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor trains, enhancing mobility options for Northern Californians looking to escape road congestion and rising gas prices. “There’s been a need for additional storage as more and more people ride bicycles on their commute,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “By the end of next year, more than a dozen expanded railcars

Advocates to Hold Event Monday in Johnstown

Written By Malcolm Kenton As Americans get ready for holiday travel, many will choose to take the train, some because it is the most convenient, economical and stress-free of the travel choices available to them, and others because few other options exist. Johnstown station in 2002. Photo from TrainWeb.orgOne of the many places Amtrak serves that has few other travel choices is Johnstown, PA. Situated on thePennsylvanian route that runs between New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, John

Improving transportation safety for seniors

Written By Ross Capon One of our regular talking points is the importance of trains and transit for the growing senior population. Jessica Anderson, in her Drive Time column in the new (December) Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, says that, “as a group, seniors age 80 and older have the highest rate of fatal crashes per mile driven—even higher than for teens—according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Simply put, too many people continue driving when it’s no longer safe for

A changing climate, political and otherwise, in Sandy's wake

Written By Ross Capon Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives have been shattered or seriously upset by the superstorm of which Hurricane Sandy was the key element. We can sympathize with an exhausted Gov. Christie (R-NJ) who said yesterday on Fox & Friends, "I've got 2.4 million people out of power. I've got devastation on the shore. I've got floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics then you don't know me." Image

East Coast transportation network staggering back to full service

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Image via Port Authority of New York and New JerseyFollowing widespread devastation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, transportation networks throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are slowly beginning to resume service, though some systems promise to remain inoperative for days to come. Amtrak Restores Partial Service Amtrak, which was forced to cancel some trains as early as early Sunday, October 28, shutdown the entirety of its operations along the Northeast Corr