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

Hotline #916

The U.S. Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation dropped its version of the passenger rail reauthorization bill -- the Railroad Reform, Enhancement, and Efficiency Act of 2015 (RREEA 2015) -- on June 18. NARP issued a press release, along with a blog post, explaining the details soon after the bill was unveiled. While we didn’t get everything we wanted, we see it as a big improvement over the House’s Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (PRRIA 2015). The bi

Hotline #915

June 12, 2015 The U.S. House of Representatives June 9 voted down five anti-Amtrak amendments that were attached to the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing & Urban Development bill, thanks to NARP members calling their congressional delegations to voice their opposition to the measures. NARP members had already helped to turn back two amendments by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) to eliminate Amtrak’s capital and operating budget last week, a move which would’ve ended the national passe

Hotline #914

Two anti-train amendments offered by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) in June 4 voting on the fiscal year 2016 Transportation, Housing & Urban Development appropriations bill were defeated, thanks in part to the efforts of NARP members who flooded Capitol Hill switchboards with calls supporting passenger trains. The amendments sought to eliminate Amtrak’s operating and capital grants, respectively—a move that would have killed passenger train service in this country as we know it for tens of mill

Hotline #913

Key highway and transportation groups said they are “disappointed” with the two-month highway patch passed by Congress that is expected to be signed soon by President Obama, reportsBloomberg BNA. The Senate cleared the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015 (H.R. 2353) (96 DER A-12, 5/19/15), a two-month extension of highway and transit programs, by voice vote during an early morning session May 23. The bill will extend federal spending authority for surface transportation programs

Hotline #912

An Amtrak train crossing the Susquehanna River Rail Bridge in Maryland. Photographer: Chuck Gomez from the Amtrak Corporate Collection. The discussion about rail in the United States ran unabated this week as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) continued its investigation of the derailment of Amtrak Train #188 north of Philadelphia. NARP explained in this blog post how this has played out, noting that anytime Amtrak is in the national news, a political spectacle is sure to follow

Hotline #911

NARP team was front and center in the wake of the tragic Amtrak Train #188’s derailment in Philadelphia on May 12. President and CEO Jim Mathews appeared on NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show”and CBS Baltimore, while VP Sean Jeans-Gail appeared on “CNN Newsroom.” Mathews and Jeans-Gail also did numerous interviews and provided infrastructure data to numerous media outlets. The day after the accident, the House Committee on Appropriations voted down two pro-passenger amendments along party

Hotline #910

A Metra train route departs Chicago from Union Station. Image courtesy of Douglas Rahden.We’re learning more about the impact of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s (R) budget cuts – and it could be worse than we thought. Amtrak, Metra, CTA, Pace and Downstate bus services are all poised to see serious service reductions and fare increases. NARP thinks it’s time to change the conversation, so we're joining with the Midwest High Speed Rail Association to push the Grow Illinois Transit Campaign, which w

Hotline #909

Image via Flickr user Lee Rentz NARP President and CEO Jim Mathews used an upcoming editorial in Passenger Train Journal to urge Amtrak to change course on its Silver Service food and beverage experiment on the Meteor and the Star. Amtrak’s so-called “Experiment” will test how full meals and their prices affect ridership, Sleeper bookings, and the overall revenue of the train, writes Mathews. “The premise is that because the two Silver Service trains – the Meteor and the Star –

Hotline #908

Editor's note: due to technical difficulties, the Hotline was not published on Friday, April 24. We apologize for the inconvenience. Volunteers representing some 28,000 members nationwide of the National Association of Railroad Passengers visited more 200 congressional offices April 21 during NARP’s annual Day on the Hill, pressing Congress to support and improve the multi-year rail authorization legislation currently taking shape in the Senate. These members paid their own way to Washington

Hotline #907

Work begins on ADA-Compliant Platform Device Michigan-based engineering firm RLE International, Inc. has developed an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant transition platform that mitigates the gap between Amtrak passenger rail cars and boarding platforms. A prototype of the setback level boarding platform will be installed at the Ann Arbor, Michigan, Amtrak station in early July 2015, with testing to follow soon after. NARP board member John DeLora, who attended a community briefing unveil