December 19, 2014

Amtrak: Loss of Hudson tunnel would harm economy

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Construction of new Amtrak tunnels and several allied projects to New York could cost an estimated $16 billion and under the most optimistic scenario could take up to a decade to build. “It could be done in seven years if we put some incentives on it,” Amtrak president Joseph Boardman said during an interview with [...]

Unknotting rail congestion compels investment

railyard, train yard; trains

Unraveling the knot restricting rail network fluidity cannot be achieved through Surface Transportation Board (STB) intimidation of rail CEOs, or by the agency’s issuance of an emergency service order instructing one railroad to operate over the tracks of another, or by merging the nation’s seven major rail systems into a North American duopoly. None would [...]

Amtrak ridership, revenues continue strong growth

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Amtrak posted record ticket revenues for its Fiscal Year 2014 ending Sept. 30 and achieved an increase in ridership over the prior fiscal year, reflecting strong continued demand for passenger rail. However, meeting future growth in passenger demand requires investing in the infrastructure that supports intercity passenger rail and resolving unacceptable congestion delays caused by [...]

Iowa leaving $53 million for Amtrak service sitting

WASHINGTON — Right now, you would need $75 minimum and at least nine hours of travel time to get from Chicago to Omaha aboard an Amtrak train cutting across southern Iowa and missing most of the state’s major cities. Not very convenient, or efficient. If Gov. Terry Branstad and the Iowa Legislature had come up [...]

Report details needed work on Amtrak N.Y. tunnels

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NEW YORK – A new engineering report details damage to the Amtrak-owned Hudson River and East River tunnels following Superstorm Sandy and recommends a phased process to take individual tubes out of service for extended periods to perform the work required to maintain reliability of train movements in and out of New York City. The [...]

104-year-old bridge presents $900M problem

It carries more passenger trains than any other railroad bridge in the Western Hemisphere, yet few people beyond those who rely on it have heard of it. It goes largely unnoticed, unless something goes wrong, which happens with irritating frequency. After all, the bridge is 104 years old. Every time it swings open to let [...]

House panel approves Amtrak budget cut

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A bill that would cut Amtrak’s authorization for new construction spending by 40 percent was unanimously approved Wednesday by the House Transportation Committee. The measure, which was passed on a voice vote with little debate, would reduce Amtrak’s authorized spending level for new construction from approximately $1.3 billion per year under the last Amtrak funding [...]

Nevada truck firm could pay $5.5M+ in Amtrak crash

RENO, Nev. – A Nevada trucking company could be forced to pay more than $5.7 million if a judge formalizes a jury verdict that faulted one of its drivers for a fiery 2011 crash with an Amtrak train that killed six people and injured dozens. A federal jury in Reno awarded $4.5 million to Amtrak [...]

Senators move to strengthen STB

A bipartisan pair of senators is planning to introduce legislation to beef up the panel of federal regulators that is supposed to oversee operations on the nation’s freight and passenger railways. The panel, the Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Board (STB), has been at the center of a recent dispute between Amtrak and a Canadian [...]

Durbin sets hearing on Amtrak delays

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Weeks after calling for a study of the potential for increased service along Amtrak’s Chicago to Carbondale route, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is holding a hearing in Champaign Wednesday on freight train interference along the corridor. The meeting between Surface Transportation Board Chairman Dan Elliott, Amtrak board member Tom Carper and local [...]