Destination:Freedom Newsletter
Destination:Freedom
The Newsletter of the National Corridors Initiative, Inc.
  NCI Logo Vol. 2 No. 32, August 13, 2001
Copyright © 2001, NCI, Inc.
James P. RePass, President
Leo King, Editor
 

A weekly North American Railroad update


Amtrak 170 on Niantic River Bridge

NCI: Leo King

RUSHING EASTWARD - Amtrak's No. 170 dashes across Niantic River bridge on its way to Boston in late July 2001.
AAR replies to columnist's attack on rail retirement bill
By Wes Vernon
Washington correspondent

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has taken issue with a syndicated column that may have held up House passage of the rail retirement bill overnight in the rush to adjourn Congress for the summer.

It passed with overwhelming support of the lawmakers on July 31 after originally having been scheduled for July 30. Coincidentally or not, that is the day the critical column appeared and probably prompted some questions by House members.

In a letter to the editor of the Washington Post for August 7, Edward R. Hamberger, AAR President and CEO, said the column by Robert Novak, attacking the measure as a "gravy train," was "an inaccurate picture of railroad retirement reform."

Contrary to Novak's assertion, Hamberger wrote, H.R. 1140 does not violate President Bush's strictures against government investment in private capital markets, nor does it mean socking the taxpayers.

"It simply gives the railroad industry responsibility for its own retirement fund, and permits the railroad employees' pension plan to be invested in a manner similar to other private industry plans."

Hamberger, the Class I carriers' voice in Washington, pointed out that no government official would be involved in how the money is invested. Rather, rail management and rail labor trustees will decide, he said.

The taxpayers are protected, Hamberger stressed. If the assets of the trust ever fall below a four-year reserve, the railroads must make higher contributions "to maintain the proper reserve." Thus, the industry is accountable and responsible to the trust.

Hamberger believes current congressional budget scoring rules fail to take into account the fact that when the trust purchases securities, "it receives readily marketable assets of equal value in return."

The AAR CEO added it's time to update the 75-year old rail retirement program, which is what H.R. 1140 seeks to do.

The arguments that Novak made in his column were amplified in considerable detail in an August 2 Wall Street Journal editorial. That would indicate the opposition has been galvanized.

The secret to the bill's popularity is that it has the blessing of both labor and management and has Republicans and Democrats falling all over each other to get on the record in support of it, but by the time the measure is taken up in the Senate, the controversy finally surrounding it might have armed its opponents. Up until now, industry and labor have left the impression of "What's the argue about? Doesn't everybody think so?"

Last year, the rail retirement bill met its dead-end fate at the hands of a few senators, led by Phil Gramm (R-Tex.) and Don Nickels (R-Okla.), and they stopped it even though a huge majority of their colleagues had signed on. The political makeup of the current Senate would seem to be more hospitable to the measure... but the rules of the Senate are such that huge majorities don't guarantee passage.

They don't call the Senate the world's most deliberative body for nothing.


New bill proposes easier access to freight lines' rights-of-way
Rep. Bob Clement (D-Tenn.) introduced a measure on July 26 that is intended, he said, to make it easier for passenger trains to operate on freight railroads. His bill is titled, Transit Rail Accommodation Improvement and Needs Act for the 21st Century (H.R. 2654), and is dubbed "Train-21."

If it is enacted, the bill would designate the Surface Transportation Board (STB) "as a forum to improve passenger rail and other fixed guideway passenger transportation by allowing improved access to freight track and rights-of-way for fixed guideway transportation for just and reasonable compensation to freight railroads," according to Train-21's summary.

In the process of creating Amtrak, Congress mandated that it should have priority access to the nation's rail network, but that only covers Amtrak.

Historically, agencies that want to run commuter, and sometimes light-rail, trains on freight-owned tracks have had to rely on their own negotiating skills and freight rails' willingness to share access when it wouldn't interfere with their own operations.

Although passenger and freight rail systems do enjoy some successful working relationships, such as Chicago's Metra, California's Caltrans and Washington, D.C., area's Virginia Railway Express, that's not always the case.

After concluding its Class I trackage negotiations in April 1999, Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority's plans were delayed another 19 months due to ongoing discussions with a short line.

Sound Transit and BNSF agreed to a 20-year, $4.6 million-per-year contract for the Class I to operate Sounder commuter trains and for use of BNSF's right of way. Sound Transit also agreed to pay $200 million toward capital improvements on 40 miles of track between Tacoma, Wash., and Seattle.

Washington DOT contributed $60 million, and BNSF and Union Pacific Railroad, $11 million. However, in a November 2000 agreement with the city of Tacoma, Sound Transit agreed to pay $1.5 million to improve about a mile of adjacent Tacoma Rail track, and $8 million to build a new connection between the short line and BNSF's mainline, then coordinate schedules to share the single Tacoma Rail track.

Similarly, Maine passenger rail proponents, who have been trying for more than a decade to procure Amtrak service, have faced numerous delays in negotiating with Guilford Rail System, even though Amtrak's access was already mandated.

Clement's proposal would grant STB authority to "order that the trackage be made available and related services be provided to the mass transportation authority," and to "prescribe reasonable terms and compensation for use of the trackage and provision of related services," if an agency had been unable to reach an agreement with a freight carrier on its own.

The STB also could consider the rail carrier's quality of service as a major factor when determining track use compensation; prescribe the number and speed of trains to be operated; determine whether an agency could add more trains; order increased or improved track maintenance or related capital work improvements; and require the rail carrier to allow accelerated speeds and related capital work.

Except in an emergency, a fixed guideway transportation provided by or for a mass transportation authority would have preference over freight transportation in using a rail line, junction or crossing, unless the STB ordered otherwise. The board would issue its decisions within 120 days of a mass transportation authority's application.

Association of American Railroads' top official was quick to cry, "Foul!" on behalf of the freight roads.

"Freight railroads should not be forced to allow passenger operators to use their assets any more than any other private business should be forced to allow another company to use its assets," said Edward Hamburger, AAR president and chief executive officer, in a written statement.

The proposed bill has five co-sponsors: Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.); Michael Honda (D-Calif.); Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio); John Mica (R-Fla.); and Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.)

The House referred Train-21 to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which referred it to the Subcommittee on Railroads on July 27.

In other legislative action, the Senate wants a study of American rail transport infrastructure. Reuters reported on July 23 that the measure, part of a much larger transportation bill, was prompted by a freight train derailment and fire in a tunnel that virtually paralyzed Baltimore. The Senate approved the measure to study the risks of transporting toxic chemicals and other hazardous substances.

Proposed by assistant majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the measure would require the USDOT as well as the General Accounting Office to determine whether the U.S. rail and highway networks are adequate to handle dangerous cargo.

"That tunnel is 100 years old," Reid said in a floor speech about the Howard Street tunnel accident in Baltimore.

"So that tunnel was dug through that area about 1900" and "has had almost nothing done to it since then."

Reid said the volume of hazardous chemical transport increased by more than one third in the last 25 years. He said approximately 261,000 people were evacuated nationwide because of rail-related accidents from 1978 to 1995. Evacuations linked to rail accidents are often ordered because of a toxic chemical threat.

"During that period, industry reported eight transportation accidents involving small volumes of high-level radioactive waste transported," Reid said.

He noted that a witness at a Senate hearing testified that 70 percent of the bridges in America did not meet basic safety standards.

"We have all kinds of trouble with our infrastructure in America today, and we need to do something about it," Reid said. "Let's at least have some knowledge of what's out there when we're making these treks of very hazardous materials."

Reid's amendment passed 96-0 and was included in the Senate's version of the $59 billion transportation spending bill for fiscal 2002. That legislation was debated by the Senate a fortnight ago, and included a provision to place tough conditions on the Bush administration's plans to allow Mexican commercial trucking throughout the United States.


Indiana supporters turn out for high-speed rail system
Make sure the line passes through South Bend and Elkhart.

That was the principal theme of supporters for high-speed rail at a Mishawaka, Ind. meeting of about 50 people on August 7. No one opposed Indiana becoming part of the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative.

A consultant will soon start a northern Indiana corridor study to determine the best route, reported the Elkhart Truth last week. Mike Scime of the Indiana DOT told the group to ignore two lines at the top of the state map, one drawn mostly along the Indiana Toll Road, and the other which dipped down through Marshall and Kosciusko counties on the way to Fort Wayne.

"We have to start somewhere, and those are just the existing rail lines," Scime said.

"It might turn out that the best service we can provide is through both this area and Fort Wayne, but we have to keep in mind this is high-speed transportation, and it can't stop every 50 miles."

The entire project will reach into the billions of dollars. Construction in Indiana could run in the $600 million range, but federal funds likely would pick up 80 percent of the cost.

"I think you will find very strong support for this initiative," said Gary Gilot, South Bend's public works director.

"This is an environmentally friendly form of transportation. It makes economic sense for the community, bringing in some tourist dollars and expanding the reach of our businesses; and it's a very safe form of transportation."

State Sen. Marvin Riegsecker, R-Goshen, said he has long supported high-speed rail and tried to change the gasoline sales tax formulas to support the project during the last legislative session.

"I think we've found out we're not going to just be able to pull money like that out of the budget," he said. Riegsecker chairs the state's Senate Transportation Committee.

He added, "This is an especially important issue for the highly urbanized parts of the state, so it will get noticed. We can't build roads fast enough to keep up with the transportation needs."

Scime said high-speed rail transportation is more fuel efficient, and accommodations will be made on the trains for passengers to plug in laptop computers or for groups to have meetings or meals.

Consultants say the prices will be lower than airfare between the major cities. A round-trip ticket from Chicago to Indianapolis, for example, may cost $80 to $100.

The study on the northern Indiana link could be ready in November, Scime said. As soon as funds become available and the state makes a commitment to the project, the system could be running in a decade.

Thanks to Rick Harnish, Midwest High Speed Rail.


Amtrak opens Indiana mail, express facility
Amtrak opened a new mail and express terminal in Jeffersonville, Ind. on August 2. The facility, on East Harrison Street, contains a transfer dock with 4,000 square feet of covered space, is equipped with 10 truck docks, and will permit simultaneous loading of six express boxcars. The new terminal also includes an electronic truck scale and track that can accommodate placement of ten RoadRailer units.

"Our mail and express program is designed to provide a premium service for shippers of high value, time-sensitive products," said Lee Sargrad, President of Amtrak Mail and Express."

Sargrad replaced Ed Ellis in June, but Amtrak has not stated the circumstances of Ellis's departure.

The Kentucky Cardinal is Amtrak's daily passenger train to the Louisville market. It began its daily, overnight service on Dec. 18, 1999, ending a 20-year absence of passenger rail service in the Louisville metropolitan area. Amtrak officials said the train "has performed above expectations and has experienced steady ridership and revenue growth in its 16 months of operation," and has carried a total of 45,179 passengers."

Amtrak did not state if the train turned a profit or loss.

The train is expected to extend into Louisville's downtown Union Station by the end of the year.


Trains added to Northeast Corridor schedule
Amtrak has tweaked its Northeast Corridor Acela Express schedule as of today, has replaced several Metroliners with express trains, and has added an Acela Regional train as well.

New west and southbound No. 2159 will leave Boston at 9:12 a.m. and arrive in New York City at 12:42 p.m. After a crew change and a quick sprucing up, the train will leave for Washington at 1:00 p.m. and arrive in the national capital at 3:45 p.m.

Going north and eastward, No. 2172 leaves D.C. at 4:00 p.m. and arrives New York at 6:43 p.m., while 2114 leaves the capital at 6:00 p.m. and terminates in New York at 8:51 p.m.

No. 2172 leaves New York for Boston at 7:00 p.m. to arrive in Boston at 10:31 p.m.

On weekends, 2256 is added, and leaves Washington at 3:00 p.m. to arrive in New York at 5:48 p.m. It continues to Boston at 6:03 p.m. and arrives in the Hub at 9:52 p.m.

A train number missing from the timetable for a while returns No 190, operating between New York and Boston. The "conventional" Acela Regional train leaves the Big Apple at 6:16 p.m. and arrives Boston at 10:48 p.m. At one time, the train operated from Newport News, Va. to Boston.

In all, Amtrak's weekday Acela Express service stands at six roundtrips between New York and Boston, and eight roundtrips between New York and Washington.

The nation's first high-speed train reached a milestone of 250,000 total riders on July 29, and in July alone, more than 70,000 people bought tickets on the trains.

"Despite the slowdown in the business travel sector, this is a solid commercial milestone for Acela Express,"; said George Warrington, Amtrak President and CEO. He said the trains are "continuing to experience steady growth."

Elsewhere, north of the corridor, the second "cabbage car" has arrived in Boston to eventually go into Maine service. The 90213 arrived back-to-back with P-40 locomotive 823 on August 9 from No. 448, the Lake Shore Limited. It isn't clear yet when the equipment will start moving northward permanently, although daily crew training continues. The equipment joins cabbage 90214 and another P-40, No. 810, but that engine is subject to change, depending on mechanical requirements. Several P-40s now reside at Southampton Street yard in Boston. Few F-40PHs remain, perhaps four at any one time.

Meanwhile, the State of Maine has ordered all railroads in the state to run fire patrols for 12 hours a day. Between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., each train must be followed within one hour by a fire patrol. The patrols began Saturday morning.


Amtrak plans Baltimore station hotel
Amtrak will open a 72-room hotel entirely inside Baltimore's historic and increasingly busy Pennsylvania Station in the next two years, a developer and Amtrak said last week.

The developer, Maryland-based James M. Jost & Co. Inc., plans to begin construction on a moderately priced hotel next summer and spend a year converting second, third and fourth-floor offices into guest rooms. The rooms will be accessible from an elevator in the train station's lobby.

"The only change commuters will see from the lobby will be hotel signage," said James M. Jost, the company's owner, according to the Baltimore Sun.

A company formed by Jost will own the hotel and lease the space from Amtrak, possibly the first arrangement of its kind for the passenger railroad. A hotel flag, or brand, has not been determined, nor have room rates, Jost said.

The developer, who has built other hotels in Maryland and Virginia, said Amtrak chose him about two years ago for the project, which is expected to cost about $5 million. He said that Amtrak delayed the development because it was using the office space. About 100 police, customer service and maintenance workers will have to move to other Amtrak offices in Baltimore.

He said the proposed Baltimore hotel was appealing because of its location.

"It's an attractive development in that there are demand generators nearby in the University of Baltimore and the existing railroad," Jost said.

"The new Acela trains will produce a great increase in railroad traffic."

Rod Petrik, a managing director at a Baltimore financial house and a hotel expert, said a hotel could work inside Penn Station provided it is not too expensive, demand for rooms picks up in the next two years, and the area surrounding the station improves.

"Provided he gets financing, I imagine that a hotel could work at the right price range," Petrik said.

"It would become more of a success if the area surrounding Penn Station revitalizes. I don't think there are many tourists or business people who would want to go outside and walk around there at night right now."

The building was completed in 1911 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.


Freight lines...

CSX, UP expand express lane to Philadelphia, other eastern cities

CSX Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad have added Philadelphia to the destination list of their "Express Lane" service for perishable goods from the western United States.

"Perishable goods shippers may guarantee the transit time of their shipments from the San Joaquin Valley in California, Idaho and selected points in Washington and Oregon to New York City, Boston, Atlanta, central Florida and Philadelphia," UP stated. Both freight carriers "will reimburse the shipper a portion of the shipping charge if the shipment does not arrive at its destination on time," perhaps taking a page from Amtrak's play book.

Since the start of Express Lane service in April 2000, UP's and CSX's "perishable shipments are up nearly 20 percent. Express Lane guaranteed premium service couples Union Pacific's access to a vast number of shippers in the West and CSXT's ability to serve the largest consumer markets in the East," according to a UP press release.

UP is spending $44 million this year on 660 new refrigerator cars. They will join UP's fleet of nearly 5,500 reefers. One refrigerated rail car can transport as much as three over-the-road trucks.


Coal carloads down, AAR reports
U.S. freight railroads' bread-and-butter commodity became a bit stale last month. For the first time in 2001, monthly coal carloads dropped one-half of one percent, or 2,612 carloads, compared with the same period one year ago, according to Association of American Railroads data released Aug. 2.

"Coal was down from earlier months in large part because of vacation-related mine shutdowns earlier in the month," said AAR Vice President Craig Rockey in a written statement.

"Year-to-date coal figures are still quite strong."

Through July, coal traffic rose 6.6 percent (249,679 carloads) compared with 2000's first seven months; as did food products, increasing 5.3 percent (13,339 carloads); and grain mill products, up 4.1 percent (10,591 carloads).

However, several commodities continued their seven-month declines compared with 2000's first seven months: metallic ores, 16.8 percent (80,095 carloads); motor vehicles and equipment, 9.3 percent (70,795 carloads); chemicals, 5.9 percent (53,028 carloads); and primary metal products, 11.1 percent (48,153 carloads).

July totals also showed carload declines for metallic ores (27.5 percent), chemicals (6.6 percent) and non-metallic minerals (22.3 percent) compared with July 2000. Last month's lone shining star was crushed stone, sand and gravel carloads, which rose 11.7 percent (9,221 carloads) compared with a similar period last year, the AAR said.

"A few days ago, the Department of Commerce announced that Gross Domestic Product growth in the second quarter was estimated at an anemic 0.7 percent - about one-half of a less than stellar 1.3 percent in the first quarter," said Rockey, adding that second-quarter industrial production also dropped a disappointing 5.6 percent.

With the economy still in low gear, U.S. intermodal traffic in July recorded another monthly dip 3.6 percent (24,721 trailers and containers) compared with July 2000.

Through July, U.S rails totaled 5,038,214 trailers and containers, dropping 3.1 percent; 9,904,239 carloads, falling 1.3 percent or 130,004 carloads; and total volume of 835 billion ton-miles, up 0.2 percent compared with a similar period last year.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis, 16 reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads through 30 weeks registered 11,766,681 carloads, down 1.3 percent (157,907 carloads); and 6,082,433 trailers and containers, dropping 2.1 percent (132,316 units) compared with 2000's first 30 weeks.


'Chamber' launches port, rail, and road study
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched what it described as "A major 14-month study of North America's port system and related roads, aims to examine projected international trade growth, and related effects on port capacity and transportation infrastructure." The business organization launched to project on July 24.

Chamber officials said they believe U.S. containerized cargo imports and exports by 2003 could grow to an amount matching the capacity size of the ports of New York, New Jersey or Los Angeles-Long Beach; over the next 20 years, imported cargo moving through U.S. ports might triple.

"If we don't improve the roads, rails and ports to effectively move imports and exports, we will be faced with a globally competitive disadvantage of almost unimaginable proportions," said Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue in a prepared statement.

The study, to be led by the chamber's public policy and research affiliate National Chamber Foundation, would forecast imports and exports by major cargo type; pinpoint any future impacts on ports, roads and railways; formulate recommendations for public and private actions; and determine potential funding sources.

An advisory panel of transportation specialists, headed by former Secretary of Transportation James Burnley, would provide study guidance.

The team designated to conduct the study includes TranSystems Corp., Texas Transportation Institute's Center for Ports and Waterways, University of New Orleans National Ports and Waterways Institute and maritime econometric consulting firm Norbridge. No railroaders were named.

Meanwhile, Orange North American Trade Rail Access Corridor (OnTrac) Authority and Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. (LAEDC) began their own three-month study on July 31 on East-West Coast import-export destinations and related economic impacts.

The study, to be completed by LAEDC and consulting firm BST Associates, would reflect current trade conditions and possible effects on the trucking and railroad industries.

Specifically, the study would focus on determining the exact destination and economic impact of trade moving through Los Angeles' and Long Beach's port; documenting firms that ship goods through the ports; estimating that trade's national impact involving truck and rail activity at the port; forming an economic impact analysis of trade moving through national, state and local ports; reporting job, housing and taxation impacts for each congressional district; determining the interdependency status of each port authority and transportation district; and interpreting trade's growth and social development contributions in respective communities.


NS donates land for flood relief
Norfolk Southern Corp. is donating 42 acres of flat land to the West Virginia Housing Development Fund (WVHDF) to aid victims of recent flooding in southern West Virginia.

The railroad said its subsidiary, Pocahontas Land Corp. (PLC), will carry out the plan.

The railroad said the donation "is made with the concurrence of PLC's coal mining lessees, National Resources, Inc. and Mega Minerals, Inc. and its operating subsidiary Mid-Vol Leasing, Cannelton Industries, Inc., as well as timber owner Bluefield Timber, LLC.

The land, all in McDowell County, includes 20 acres of reclaimed surface mine property at Tom's Mountain near Welch, 20 acres of a former coal camp area at Anawalt and approximately two acres at a former school and gym.

A railroad press release stated it "anticipates that the donated sites will be able to accommodate approximately 200 families displaced by the flooding. The sites will be developed to provide both temporary and permanent housing opportunities.

"Flat land, above the flood plain and suitable for residential and economic development, has always been at a premium in West Virginia," said Daniel D. Smith, PLC president.


Meetings...

Sept. 10-13

AREMA annual conference

Palmer Hilton Hotel, Chicago
Contact http://www.arema.org
301-459-3200, or fax 301-459-8077.


Sept. 15, 16

Representing Rail Passenger Interests Conference

Philadelphia, Pa., Hilton Garden Inn, 1100 Arch St., Philadelphia Center City.

Register at RRPI Conference, P. O. Box 9373, St. Louis, Mo. 63117.

Registration $85 by August 1, Make checks payable to RRPI Conference.

This conference is spearheaded by members of the Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee and commuter advisory boards, and will focus on passenger rail and transit advisory organizations and advocates.

The conference will explore how advisory and advocacy organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada can improve practices to better represent rail passengers in a coherent and effective manner. Contact Richard Rudolph, Ph.D., Chair, RRPI Conference Committee, at 207-642-5161 or Philip Copeland, plcope@eriecoast.com.

Amtrak has agreed to give a discount of ten percent off coach fares for persons attending the conference.


Sept. 20

Amtrak Reform Council

Business Meeting:
8:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m.

Hearing:
9:30 a.m. 5:30 p.m.

Los Angeles, Calif.

Wilshire Grand Hotel
930 Wilshire Boulevard
Hotel Phone: (213) 688-7777

The hearing will invite states in the western region of the country to provide their views on the various issues and proposals in the Council's Second Annual Report published in March 2001


Oct. 16, 17

Passenger trains on freight railroads

Railway Age conference

Washington Marriott Hotel

Washington, D.C.

Guest speakers to include White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card (and former USDOT secretary).

Claytor award for distinguished service to HEW Secretary Tommy Thompson, former Amtrak board chairman.

Register at http://www.railwayage.com or call Jane Potereala at (212)-620-7209.


Letters...

Dear Editor:

In a last check on the world before going to bed, I thought I would look in to see if you had the current edition up. It was, and I also found that at that point I was the second person to have read this edition. My thought was, who else could possibly be up at this time of night checking out D:F? However, when I got to the end (again) I found that now there were 13 people who had read this edition. We are talking perhaps about 15-20 minutes! Are there some late owls out there?!

Don Stewart
Fayetteville, N.C. at 2:52 a.m., Monday, August 6

Yes - especially railroaders who work the graveyard shift. Thanks for the note.


Dear Editor:

Did you mean that [Acela Express] No. 2172 is a 7:00 p.m. - 10:35 p.m. train? There's already a morning train at those times.

Todd Glickman
Boston

In a word, yes. We went back to our source who responded, "You are correct. That was a typo on my part." Those times were in a draft timetable, but the final timetable change, as we report elsewhere in this edition, sees No. 2172 leave New York at 7:03 p.m. and arrive in Boston at 10:20 p.m. as of today August 13.


Off the main line...
Boxcar loaded into Galaxy

U.S. Air Force Museum

LOADMASTER'S NIGHTMARE - Last week we told you about a circa 1941 French boxcar, the kind used to haul American prisoners of war during World War II. Later, we received photos of the "Forty-and-eight" freight car being unloaded July 29 from a C-5 Galaxy at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio after departing Air Base 125, Istres, France, five days earlier. The French National Railroad Company (SNCF) and the American POW Association donated the car, which was intended originally to carry 40 men and eight horses, to the U.S. Air Force Museum. The C-5 is from Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.
Boxcar loaded into Galaxy

The way we were... Superliner II coach

Bombardier Corp.

IN THIS CASE... it's the way we still are, as well. Bi-level Superliner IIs, capable of operating at 120 mph, began arriving on Amtrak property in 1991. In all, 195 of the 85-foot stainless steel cars were built. Amtrak bought full service dining cars, lounge-café cars, standard and deluxe sleeping cars, coaches and crew cars. In all, says Bombardier, it has delivered more than 2,400 passenger cars to Amtrak since 1974, including Horizon coaches, and the newest equipment, the Acela Express trainsets. The original Superliner cars were built by Pullman-Standard between 1979 and 1981. Bombardier acquired the Pullman designs in 1986. The photo is from a Bombardier post card.
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 leoking@nationalcorridors.org. 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 Site in Boston.


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