Destination:Freedom Newsletter
The Newsletter of the National Corridors Initiative, Inc.
Vol. 3 No. 16, April 22, 2002
Copyright © 2002, NCI, Inc.
James P. RePass, President
Leo King, Editor

A weekly North American rail and transit update

Orlando Train Wreck Orlando Train Wreck

Three photos - WFTV-TV Orlando via CNN

Four people died when Amtrak train No. 52, the Auto Train, derailed near Crescent City, Fla., on Thursday, about 65 miles south of Jacksonville. Nearly 160 were hospitalized. Rescuers painted an orange "C" on the cars when they were cleared. The NTSB is investigating. The story is below.
A word from the White House, please...

Senate committee faces
the music on Amtrak

By Wes Vernon
Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON - Mark April 18, 2002 as a benchmark event in the history books of American railroading.

That is the day that a committee of the United States Senate stepped up to the plate and, for the first time in over thirty years, faced up to the facts that Amtrak will never be any more profitable than I-95 or your local airport, passenger railroading will cost money just like any other mode of transportation, and (at the risk of redundancy) the tooth fairy cannot be counted on to supply the necessary resources to give these United States of America a first-class passenger train network.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation voted 20-to-3 to approve S. 1991, the National Defense Rail Act which would provide $4.6 billion each year in order, in the words of Chairman Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-S.C.) "now, more than ever, (to) realize our need for a world-class passenger railroad system in the U.S. to complement our interstate highway system and massive aviation network."

The three dissenting votes in the committee session were cast by three Republicans - Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Sam Brownback (Kans.) and John Ensign (Nev.).

Looking at the cold hard facts on the dissenters, McCain is hopeless. He is against Amtrak, no matter what, and does not want to be confused with facts.

Brownback is doubtful. All his state of Kansas has is the Southwest Chief, one train each way daily. The state is not prominently mentioned in high-speed rail plans, but it would not hurt for our Kansas readers to try to reason with him.

Ensign, on the other hand, is winnable, in the opinion of this writer. Nevada stands to gain high-speed rail service feeding Las Vegas lots of gamblers and fun-seekers from population-rich Southern California. Big shot in the arm for the economy. Good talking point for Nevadans who want to pitch their senator on a first class passenger rail system.

This is the bill that tackles every single problem Amtrak has. It is not just a Northeast Corridor bill. It deals with the entire problem of Amtrak service nationwide. For example, the lawmakers approved an amendment mandating that over 50 percent of the $515 million allocated for enhanced security be spent outside the NEC. That figure was upgraded from $360 million earmarked in the original bill.

To be sure, the legislation, which now goes to the Senate floor for action, does provide for beefing up NEC infrastructure so the high-speed Acela Express can be really, really "high speed." Already, the New York-Washington air shuttle services are running scared. They're running ads panning the Acela, which is often sold out. People are flocking to this train. And once it cuts travel time between the two cities from two hours, forty minutes (best case scenario) to 2:10, the air shuttles would struggle to justify their existence, let alone their competitiveness once the train's downtown-to-downtown advantage is considered.

The bill takes concrete steps toward establishing high-speed service in other corridors around the country, as well. The long-distance overnight trains are not neglected either, with adequate funding for equipment, operating and capital needs "regular improvements, and regular upgrades to meet current service needs, and regular improvements to maintenance-of-way equipment and facilities." Such improvements would benefit the freight railroads over whose tracks the long distance trains operate.

Moreover, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) persuaded his committee colleagues to adopt (on a voice vote) the stipulation that "nothing in S. 1991 is intended to preclude Amtrak from restoring, improving, or developing non-high-speed intercity passenger rail service."

That should encourage the rural areas and those lawmakers, including Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) who last year threatened to pull her longstanding Amtrak support unless it became more national, with Heartland America no longer to be eclipsed by the Northeast Corridor. Hutchison is a committee member and voted with the overwhelming majority in favor of this bill.

"For far too long, we have neglected investing in the infrastructure of our nation's passenger train system," declared Hollings, who added, the bill provides a "blueprint" for development of the infrastructure that is needed to make a national passenger train system successful.

McCain, the main (and in fairness, probably the only) obstructionist on the committee, failed on a vote of 18 to 5 to provide for an "Amtrak Control Board." This may have been intended to make the soon-to-be-defunct Amtrak Reform Council permanent with enhanced powers.

The committee majority may well have concluded that while the ARC has been useful as an idea factory and for asking the tough questions that needed to be asked, an Amtrak Control Board was something else. It would simply be another layer of authority over the present Amtrak Board. Some board members, no doubt, viewed ARC in that light.

A case can be made that during its lifetime, the reform council - with its variety of views and perspectives - served a useful purpose in "thinking out of the box." Some of its questions may have been embarrassing to both management and labor, and some of its ideas were probably better than others, but it forced the political establishment to face up to the "big lie" of Amtrak "profitability" potential. Indeed, had this breakthrough not been accomplished by ARC, there probably would have been no 20-3 committee vote on any S. 1991.

On a closer vote, 10-13, McCain lost out in an effort to require the Secretary of Transportation's approval in order for Amtrak to assume additional debt.

Senator Smith got a voice-vote approval to add Portland, Ore., to high-speed rail priority locations. A similar move to add the Tampa-to-Orlando, Fla. Corridor was approved on a motion by Sen. Bill Nelson (D. -Fla.). [See D:F for April 8].

In brief, here is the breakdown of the bill:

  • $1.4 billion in one-time security improvements.

  • $850 million annually for Amtrak's existing long-distance and short-distance trains.

  • $1.3 billion annually for the capital needs of the NEC.

  • $1.5 billion annually for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop new high-speed corridors throughout the country.

This is a serious bill. Only a few years ago, anything approaching its "fish or cut bait" approach would not have come close to achieving a 20-3 majority.

Meanwhile, as all this action is going on, the White House still finds itself at loggerheads with itself over what to do about passenger rail service.

On April 11, you remember, spokesmen for the Bush administration appeared before a House hearing and said wide difference of opinion within its ranks had prevented them from formulating a definitive administration plan.

Now a week later, administration officials gave a private briefing to Rep. Jack Quinn (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Railroad Subcommittee. The Congressman said, "the Administration has a solid grasp on the serious issues that surround the Amtrak debate," however, a final White House plan apparently remains a work in progress.

Quinn said the administration had obviously taken "a comprehensive look at the issue, and today we identified numerous areas of agreement."

That could be a good sign for passenger trains because Quinn is a staunch rail supporter. Left unsaid is whether there were also areas of disagreement. Apparently, Quinn will have further meetings with Deputy Transportation Secretary Michael Jackson and Federal Railroad Administrator Allan Rutter.

Reportedly, the Bush officials remain divided on franchising and privatization.

FRA spokesman Rob Gould said the administration is not being driven by any deadline and has no timetable for completing its passenger train plan. Contacting the White House to make your views known probably would be a good idea at this time.

The privatization plans that have been proposed for Amtrak, however sensible they may appear on paper, have one major drawback: The freight railroads see them as a threat to their own currently privatized operations.

The AAR's Ed Hamberger envisions the Class I carriers' having to beg private passenger operators for clearance on their own tracks to run shipments to their customers in a timely manner. In an administration that has the utmost respect for the benefits of our free enterprise system, that has to be a serious dilemma. It pits private enterprise against - well, private enterprise - except that the former is theoretical, while the latter is real, like here and now.

The Senate Commerce Committee also on April 18, gave the green light to S. 1220, the Railroad Track Modernization Act. That measure aims to upgrade the nation's short-line and regional railroads, those designated Class II or Class III. Specifically, it would:

Require roadbeds, bridges or track structures to be built so the smaller carriers can accommodate 286,000-pound rail cars. The Class Is uses more and more of the larger, heavier freight cars, and the smaller railroads lose out if they can't interchange them with the mainline operators.

Authorize the DOT Secretary to make grants and supplement direct loans or loan guarantees for certain projects.

Offer wage protections and "prevailing wage" requirements for projects financed by the bill's provisions. This is aimed at keeping the rail unions happy.

Authorize a DOT study of public interest benefits associated with light-density lines.

Finally, the committee passed S. 1871 to assess security risks associated with rail transportation. Specifically, it requires USDOT to conduct a comprehensive vulnerability assessment and security needs analysis of hazardous materials in the rail freight transportation industry. This would include examination of the risks of such HAZMAT transportation by rail. Prioritized recommendations would focus on improving rail tunnels, rail bridges, rail switching areas "and other areas posing significant rail-related risks to public safety and movement of interstate commerce."

Additionally, the Safe Rails Act would establish grants of up to $100 million each year to freight railroads, hazardous materials shippers, or owners of tank cars. It would help defray security costs incurred in post-September 11, 2001 or costs of preventive anti-terrorism security.

This puts a lot on the plate of the U.S. Senate. On the House side, Chairman Quinn and others are waiting for the most important shoe to drop: Leadership from the White House. Once that develops, as the saying goes, we're ready to roll.

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Orlando Train Wreck

WFTV-TV Orlando via CNN

Rescuers assist the "walking wounded" on the side of a derailed Auto Train Superliner car. Some 200 vehicles were inside the trailing autoracks.
Auto Train derails; four dead
By Leo King

Four people died and 20 more who needed critical care were sent to regional hospitals Thursday after Amtrak's train No. 52, the Auto Train, derailed and was wrecked near Crescent City, Fla. The dead were all passengers. None were Amtrak nor CSX employees. Two were men and two were women, which included a husband and his wife. In all, 159 persons were injured; one was an Amtrak employee and remained hospitalized into the weekend. There were 552 people aboard, which included 418 passengers and 34 crewmembers.

Many of the "walking wounded" were taken to Crescent City High School where a triage center was created; other were airlifted by helicopter to various hospitals. People escaped the wreckage by climbing out on the sides of the cars, which had become the tops. Ambulances and emergency vehicles crowded nearby U.S. Highway 17, which parallels the tracks. School buses helped to take passengers away from the scene. Teenagers helped the injured at the school.

By mid-afternoon on Friday, as experts combed the jumble of overturned cars, National Transportation Safety Board investigator George Black told reporters, according to Reuters, that the engineer had reacted to "something he saw wrong with the tracks." Black did not elaborate, but said investigators planned to talk with the engineer at length later in the day. He said the train's crew had been given mandatory blood and urine toxicology tests.

"There's no suspicion of that but we do it automatically. It's a requirement," he said.

Late Friday afternoon, Black told reporters, "All we know right now is the brake line pressure dropped, it went into emergency, and the engine went to idle." They were still interviewing crewmembers.

Bulldozers were moved to the scene near Crescent City to right damaged cars and NTSB investigators snapped pictures as they began trying to find out what caused the Auto Train to jump the tracks.

The NTSB dispatched an investigating crew from Washington Thursday evening, but their findings will not be known for some time. At this time, the specific cause of the accident remains unknown.

The Amtrak engineer reportedly tried to stop the train when he saw that the tracks ahead appeared to be misaligned, a federal official said Friday, suggesting a heat kink may have bent the track out of alignment. Thursday's temperatures in the region ranged between 81-90 degrees.

Investigators also looked at the wheels of the coal train for any signs of damage, Black said, but found nothing.

Sharon Mahoney, general manager of the Auto Train service, was on the train when it went off the tracks in the remote, heavily wooded area of north Florida. She was uninjured and was helping direct the rescue efforts, said Bill Schulz, Amtrak vice president for public affairs in Washington. She had been attending a periodic Auto Train executive meeting in Sanford.

The train was traveling 56 mph in a 60 mph zone when it derailed, Black said. He said four other trains had recently passed over the area, apparently without trouble.

CSX dispatched a switcher to the scene on Friday The AP reported, and its crew began the arduous process of clearing the busy main line track by moving about a half dozen upright cars away from the wreckage.

A timetable of events from the "A" line dispatcher's desk showed CSX's track department inspecting the track at 9:00 a.m., southward Amtrak train No. 97 passing the area at 2:43 p.m., a CSX coal train passing at 4:54 p.m., and the ill-fated No. 52 going on the ground at 5:08 p.m.

The tracks are owned, operated and maintained by CSX Corp.

Spokeswoman Kathy Burns told D:F Friday morning, "The track speed at milepost 722.2" on the railroad's "A Line," where the derailment occurred, "is 60 mph." On the railroad, the area is named Seville (as in see-ville).

She said NTSB investigators arrived overnight, "but we have no idea when the track will be returned to us, nor when it will be returned to service." She said contractors had been called in to clear the single-track line after the accident investigators complete their work and release the track and Amtrak equipment.

Both 4,000 HP P-40 locomotives stayed upright, as did two cars behind the engines (the leader was No. 838), in the 39-car train. Sixteen cars were Superliners, the rest were autoracks. Thirteen cars derailed, seven of which rolled onto their sides. Amtrak later stated 200 vehicles sere inside the auto cars.

Amtrak dispatched a customer care team to help passengers find a place to stay overnight, clothing and future transportation.

Amtrak stated, in a web site press release, the northbound train "derailed at approximately 5:08 p.m. E.D.T., in Seville, Fla., 44 miles north of Sanford. The train was carrying approximately 425 guests and 28 crewmembers at the time of the derailment.

Amtrak also established a toll-free phone number with information for friends and relatives about passengers on the train, at 800-523-9101.

Amtrak Spokeswoman Jane Covington said the tracks were inspected about eight hours before the crash and were in good condition.

The CSX line normally carries 28 trains in 24 hours. Another Amtrak train, northbound No. 92, the Silver Star, operates between Miami and New York City, and departs Sanford at 4:33 p.m. daily. Five to seven freight trains were rerouted Thursday, she said.

Both northward and southward Auto Trains leave their initial terminals - Sanford, Fla., and Lorton, Va. - at 4:00 p.m. and arrive at their end points at 8:30 a.m. the next day. Both operate non-stop except for crew change points in Savannah, Ga., Florence, S.C., and Richmond, Va.

A 90-car CSX freight train hauling 14,000 tons of Appalachian coal pulled into a siding near the Sanford station. It was headed south, carrying coal to the Orlando Utility Commission's Curtis Stanton power plants in south Orange County but had to wait for further instructions from a CSX train dispatcher.

Locomotive engineer Ron L. Appel told the Orlando Sentinel the track where the derailment occurred was in excellent condition with 132-pound welded rail.

Thursday's crash was the deadliest derailment in a decade for Amtrak. Since 1992, most major derailments resulted in one or two deaths. The worst crash in Amtrak history came in 1993, when 47 people died after a train plunged into Alabama's Bayou Canot shortly after a barge struck a bridge just before the train arrived. The track was bent out of alignment, but unbroken, so the electrical circuit for the signal system remained intact.

No. 52's consist

A non-Amtrak source has provided the following consist
for the power and passenger cars of the wrecked Auto Train.
The autoracks are not in the list. - Ed.

  • P-40 engines 838, 842
  • 39002
  • 32502 W. Graham Claytor
  • 32084 Kansas
  • 32074 Colorado
  • 32503 A Philip Randolph
  • 33101
  • 38052
  • 32501 Palm Beach
  • 32100 New York
  • 32090 Michigan
  • 34129
  • 34125
  • 34126
  • 34120
  • 33100
  • 38054

Thanks to Gene Poon

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Amtrak, IBM link up
Amtrak has awarded IBM a contract that is hoped will save the railroad up to $85 million over even-years in its information technology (IT) systems. The new $229 million agreement brings the total value of the Amtrak-IBM IT services relationship to about $330 million, including consultant, attorney, and other fees. Both firms made the disclosure on April 15.

IBM Global Services will provide support to Amtrak focusing on improving the quality of service to Amtrak's 23.5 million annual passengers and 24,000 employees nationwide.

IBM will provide business recovery services, deliver help desk and desktop support services for 7,500 workstations nationwide, and to manage the company's voice and data networks including the systems at the corporation's three reservation call centers in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Riverside, Cal. The computing firm will also operate and service Amtrak's reservation system, Arrow, as well as the corporation's entire computing infrastructure from a data center in Manassas, Va.

The carrier's Arrow reservation system processes as many as 3,300 transactions per minute via the web, telephone, and ticket counter channels, making it one of the largest systems of its kind in the rail industry. As part of their agreement, Amtrak and IBM will work together to market the Arrow system to other transportation companies.

"Through this new contract with IBM, Amtrak now has a sole resource for IT support which will save the corporation millions of dollars while improving the consistency of service as well as the performance of our computer systems," said Bob Galey, Amtrak's chief information officer. "Given its experience working with Amtrak and other leading transportation companies, IBM is uniquely equipped to help us establish an IT infrastructure that will directly affect the way we work while enhancing our ability to serve our guests."

Amtrak elected to award a new contract to IBM following an evaluation of its computing infrastructure assisted by The Outsourcing Institute, a global sourcing advisory association. The law firm of Alston &Bird provided legal counsel.

IBM Global Services reports it is the world's largest information technology services provider, with about 150,000 professionals serving customers in 160 countries and annual revenue of $35 billion (2001).

IBM is online at, and Amtrak at

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Fly me to the moon...
NASA scientists watched as astronauts sent the international space station's new $190 million railcar down a short stretch of track one week ago today in the inaugural run of the first permanent railroad in orbit.

"We should start moving here," space station resident Carl Walz called out as he sent the computer commands that got the railcar rolling.

The empty flatcar crept along at less than one-half centimeters per second (two-tenths of an inch), then doubled its speed to1 centimeter per second as it traveled just over 5.1 meters (17 feet. It stopped, on cue, at a designated work station. The car was latching into place when a software message indicated a problem and the test was halted temporarily.

Eventually the flat car will be allowed to travel up to its top speed - all of 2.5 centimeters (one inch) per second, but not during its test runs.

NASA planned to move the railcar back and forth over the course of a few hours along an approximately 9-meter (30-foot) section of the track that runs the full length of the space station's newly attached 13.2-meter (44-foot) girder.

The car will transport the space station's robot arm from one end of the outpost to the other for construction work.

During a 6 _-hour spacewalk Sunday, shuttle Atlantis astronauts Steven Smith and Rex Walheim rewired part of the space station and set the stage for Monday's debut of the railcar. The spacewalkers released the clamp that had temporarily held the girder in place on the space station laboratory. Then they began the tricky connector work needed to extend the reach of the robot arm via the railroad.

By rerouting power, data and video cables, the astronauts prepared for the 17.4-meter (58-foot) robot arm to be carried along the track, but first, a base for the arm needs to be installed on the car. That will happen during the next shuttle flight in June.

The ambidextrous arm, which has a hand on each end, is needed to assemble space station Alpha as it continues to grow, and over the next few years, eight more girders with more tracks will be attached to the segment delivered last week by Atlantis. The framework ultimately will extend 106.8 meters (356 feet) and support four sets of solar wings as well as radiators and science experiments.

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Frieght lines...

EMD to rebuild CN engines

Canadian National said last week it had awarded a major contract to General Motors' Electro-Motive Division (EMD) to remanufacture the diesel engines inside 300 high-horsepower main line locomotives.

Under the six-year contract, announced April 16, GM will provide all materials, technical oversight, specifications, certification and a full warranty for remanufacturing model 710 diesel engines in CN's GM-built fleet of SD-60, SD-70 and SD-75 locomotives. The engines were manufactured from 1989 to 1999 and produce 3,800 to 4,300 horsepower each.

CN said the GM program covers almost 30 per cent of CN's main line fleet of about 1,100 active locomotives producing 3,000 or more horsepower.

Jack T. McBain, CN's senior vice-president of operations, said the plan will "ensure these locomotives meet new environmental regulations requiring reduced diesel engine air emissions."

Last March, CN announced plans to acquire 60 new state-of-the-art Dash 9-44CW locomotives from General Electric Transportation Systems. Delivery of the new locomotives will be completed by the end of 2004.

The new GE units will also help CN improve asset utilization, according to a railroad spokesman, reduce fuel consumption and cut locomotive air emissions. For each group of 30 new Dash 9 units - a single unit develops 4,400 horsepower - CN will displace up to 50 older main line locomotives that develop 3,000 horsepower each.

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Transit lines...

BART faces big financial problems

The Bay Area Rapid Transit System seems to be on hard times these days. A budget shortfall is nearly $30 million, $10 million more than estimated in January, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and it could grow to $61 million next year, BART budget director Rob Umbreit said.

Its trains carry thousands of people around the San Francisco Bay area, but its budget problems could mean job cuts, service cuts or fare hikes.

BART's board heard the news Thursday, and staff members will draft a plan with options to balance the budget. The reasons for the gap include drops in fares and sales taxes.

Ridership in March decreased 10 percent compared to the same month last year, and sales taxes fell 13 percent compared to last year's first quarter.

BART directors said they would consider fare hikes as a last resort. They also discussed a number of cost-cutting options, such as layoffs, fewer operating hours, running shorter trains, not cleaning as often, reassigning employees to lower paying jobs and leaving vacant jobs unfilled. Directors also will consider whether to charge a $2 fee to park in its lots.

The BART board must adopt a budget in mid-June.

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Denver's new 'C-Line' opens
Denver's Regional Transportation District (RTD) opened its 1.8 mile C-Line Central Platte Valley light rail line with five days of activity ending with Opening Day at Coors Field on April 8 - opening day for the major league baseball team.

The celebration began on April 4 with an evening VIP reception and train ride. RTD employees held a "pre-event" one day earlier.

An official grand opening ceremony on April 5 followed, and the official inaugural LRT train with four cars, after which the C-Line was open to the public for three hours of free rides between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Thanks to Transnet.

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Regarding the '614'

Last week in our "The way we were" feature, we asked readers if anyone knew where C&O steam engine No. 614 was stored today. - Ed.

Dear Editor:

"'... it had the B&O logo.' We have some questions - where is the engine now, who owns it, is it in service...?"

614 was a Chesapeake &Ohio (C&O) engine and is now in New Jersey Transit's Meadows Shops. Ross Rowland (or his company) owns it. It's being stored, and was offered for sale once, at a D. F. Barnhardt auction, where no bid was received as high as the reserve price.

James F. Boylan
General Freight Agent
Tyburn Railroad Co.
Fairless, Pa.

Dear Editor:

That would be C&O 614, not B&O. As late as 1999, it was being stored at New Jersey Transit's Meadows Maintenance Facility - see picture at There's an official website for the locomotive at that answers some of your questions. It doesn't say where 614 is now, but as far as I know, it no longer makes the runs from Hoboken to Port Jervis. I do know that many people have pictures of the locomotive crossing the Moodna Viaduct in Salisbury Mills, N.Y. - it made the cover of the telephone book one year.

Sean Goldman
Washingtonville, N.Y.

Quiet, please

Dear Editor:

Some people...

Not long ago, train travel was a quiet, contemplative affair. To board a train was to enter a cocoon from which, hundreds of miles later, one emerged a refreshed, untroubled, sometimes even better human being.

Inside this cocoon was a storefront-display of civilization where civilized people did civilized things. They dined and lounged. They conversed. They read and wrote. Great books have been written on trains. The journey inspired quiet camaraderie among fellow travelers, while the country passed by in a way that only a train could portray. It was an almost-perfect world.

In the past few years, this quality has been greatly diminished. While the passing world outside remains awe-inspiring, the habits of some people inside can make one wish for nothing more than the ability to jump out the window.

The advent of the cell phone has lead to loud, one-way conversations, mostly consisting of the words, "I'm on the train." (We know you're on the train. So are the rest of us.)

Many parents have decided that train-time is time-out from teaching their kids manners. Toddlers scream and kids climb seats while parents sit and smile because their children are being "cute." Sometimes the parents are the ones screaming.

Headphones, once a solution to the endemic boom-box problem, have become boom-boxes themselves, replacing the old clickety-clack with a maddening gunch, gunch, gunch.

Otherwise decent, well-behaved people make living rooms out of adjoining seats and aisles. They take off their shoes to be "comfortable," subjecting everyone nearby to the stench of their feet. These same stinky people sometimes appear in the dining car dressed in pajamas.

There's still something about a train that's magic. There's also something about a train that turns people into inconsiderate slobs.

Not all rail passengers are bad. Indeed, most prefer, and lament the passing of, the civilized conveyance of the train. Many even manage to enjoy themselves in spite of the rude environment they often find themselves in.

Unfortunately, it only takes a few socially underdeveloped individuals to turn a quiet railcar into a madhouse.

In this great U.S. passenger rail crunch, when every ounce of support is necessary for improved service - or for any service at all - how will people regard train travel after these frustrating experiences? Will they remember the glorious views of the Rockies, or the person across the aisle with blaring headphones and toxic feet, pandering to overindulged children?

Probably both.

Let's just hope that passenger rail doesn't pay too dearly for the latter.

Maybe the overall impact of passenger behavior isn't that great. But if Amtrak survives, they may find themselves replacing a lot of emergency exit windows.

James Barrows
Freelance Writer/Editor
Brooklyn, NY

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April 28-30

ASLRRA annual meeting and exhibition

World Center Marriott
Orlando Fla.
Contact Kathy Cassidy
202 628 4500
Fax 202 628 6430

May 13-14

NCI 2002 Conference
Uniting America:
Building a national rail system that works

Washington, D.C. Marriott Hotel

This conference will feature a major debate about the future and direction of passenger rail in America, conducted by the people who will actually determine that outcome.

Conference speakers will include Amtrak Board Chair John Robert Smith,Vice Chair Michael Dukakis, Amtrak Reform Council Chair Gil Carmichael and Executive Director Tom Till, DOT Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson, Author Tony Hiss, Barron's magazine editor Tom Donlan, Florida rail activist and businessman Doc Dockery, Janelletech President Janellen Riggs, rail consultant Randy Resor of Zeta-Tech Associates, Inc., Railway Age magazine editor Bill Vantuono, attorney and rail activist James Coston, and many other of the top thinkers and "doers" in American rail and transit industries.

Further details regarding advance registration will be announced in upcoming issues of Destination: Freedom. or see our page at:

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The way we were... East Side Tunnel, Prov. RI

NCI: Leo King Collection

A couple of weeks ago we showed you East Side tunnel in Providence, R.I. when it was a double-track, fairly busy branch line. By August 1979, it had been single-tracked and was in disrepair, receiving virtually no maintenance. There was track still in place under all those weeds, as Conrail - shortly after the Penn Central collapse - picked its way through them at 5 mph - or less. The Providence &Worcester later ran through the hole twice, only to give it up altogether because the ties inside were so poor.
End Notes...

We try to be accurate in the stories we write, but even seasoned pros err occasionally. If you read something you know to be amiss, or if you have a question about a topic, we'd like to hear from you. Please e-mail the crew at Please include your name, and the community and state from which you write.

Destination: Freedom is partially funded by the Surdna Foundation, and other contributors.

Journalists and others who wish to receive high quality NCI-originated images that appear in Destination: Freedom may do so at a nominal fee of $10.00 per image. "True color" .jpg images average 1.7MB each, and are 300 dots-per-inch for print publishers.

In an effort to expand the on-line experience at the National Corridors Initiative web site, we have added a page featuring links to other rail travel sites. We hope to provide links to those cities or states that are working on rail transportation initiatives - state DOTs, legislators, governor's offices, and transportation professionals - as well as some links for travelers, enthusiasts, and hobbyists.

If you have a favorite rail link, please send the uniform resource locator address (URL) to the webmaster in care of this web site. An e-mail link appears at the bottom of the NCI web site pages to get in touch with D. M. Kirkpatrick, NCI's webmaster in Boston.

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