Destination:Freedom Newsletter
The Newsletter of the National Corridors Initiative, Inc.
  NCI Logo Vol. 1 No. 21, September 5, 2000
Copyright © 2000, NCI, Inc.
James P. RePass, President
Leo King, Editor

A weekly passenger railroad update

NARP'S Jack Martin dies

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing September 1 of NARP President Jack Martin. Jack was a true friend of the cause, and never hesitated to help wherever and whenever he was asked. He was fiercely loyal, and a stalwart in battle. We have lost a giant, and are the poorer for it. But we are richer, that he lived, and better off, that he fought so valiantly to ensure that this country would have a passenger transportation system worthy of the name. The Board of the National Corridors Initiative proposes that, in light of Jack's service, a suitable memorial be established to his name by Amtrak, which was the prime beneficiary of his great love of railroading.

James P. RePass
President & CEO
The National Corridors Initiative

National Association of Railroad Passengers president John "Jack" Martin died Sept. 1 in Atlanta. Martin served as NARP president since April, 1979, and board member since 1975. He had quadruple bypass heart surgery in San Jose on August 8, and flew home on August 29.

Martin's funeral service was conducted on Sunday, Sept. 3 in Atlanta at 5 pm. About 200 people attended the service.

He had been in San Jose, Calif., in early August for a railroadiana show and was admitted to a local hospital on the 4th. He had quadruple bypass surgery on the 8th, was discharged on the 28th, and flew home on the 29th.

He passed away at home at his computer. His widow, Faye, found him.

Amtrak CEO George Warrington directed that all Amtrak trains sound their whistles Sunday at 5 pm EDT in Martin's honor.

The Atlanta Journal wrote that "An interest sparked at the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia grew to a lifelong passion of promoting rail transportation for Jack Martin. Starting at age 2, Mr. Martin and his father visited the Pennsylvania train station.

"They would sit and watch the trains for hours and hours and hours," said his wife, Faye Martin of Atlanta. "When Jack was a young boy, instead of reading novels, he'd read timetables."

"As an adult, Mr. Martin championed the rail system. He was chairman of the board and president of the National Association of Railroad Passengers, based in Washington, D.C., since 1979. He was also a member and past chairman of the Georgia Rail Passenger Authority and its representative from the 5th Congressional District.

"Jack was constantly promoting the return to passenger rail because he saw it as something that gives an alternative," said Arthur Vaughn of Conyers, the executive director of Georgia's rail authority. "He was a stalwart supporter of bringing that option back to the people of the United States."

"He felt that we were going to run out of roadways and because of the traffic problems, that trains were the only way to go, both environmentally and economically," his wife said.

Martin took up train advocacy full time after he retired in 1995 as a senior counsel of merchandise licensing at Coca-Cola. During his law career, which started with E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. in Wilmington, Del., he specialized in patent, trademark, trade secret and licensing issues, his wife said.

"He loved the law," she said. "It was cut and dry, and he liked things that way."

A Lancaster, Pa., native, Mr. Martin graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1959. During his summers off from school, he worked with the Pennsylvania and Illinois Central railroads.

After graduating from Georgia Tech, Mr. Martin started working for DuPont and took night classes at Temple University School of Law, graduating in 1963. He moved to Atlanta as a patent attorney with Coca-Cola in 1966.

Frequently traveling on business and train issues, Mr. Martin always took time to stop at train memorabilia shows and developed an extensive network of train enthusiasts, Vaughn said.

He also worked closely with Amtrak on rail initiatives, he said.

Survivors other than his wife include a daughter, Meredith Leigh Addy of Chicago; two sons, Mark David Martin of Malibu, Calif., and Matthew John Martin of Atlanta; and a sister, Patricia Martin Coppedge of Dalton.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Atlanta Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, 3595 Peachtree Road NW, Duluth, GA 30096.

Photo: NCI: Leo King

Boston's Southampton Street Yard is getting to be a busy place these days. Last week, the 2004-2205 Acela Express trainset continued testing between Boston and Kingston, R.I., and HHP-8 (8,000 high-horsepower engines) 659 and 652, separated by three coaches, shared the high-speed barn while technicians checked the trains for any developing problems.

Handful of states look to FRA
for high-speed rail corridors
The FRA says it received applications for corridor expansions or clarifications from five states in July, and new corridor designations from four others.

The FRA published a notice in the July 14, 2000 Federal Register that let the states specifically tell the agency what it wanted for high-speed rail routes. The master plan is to eliminate highway-railroad crossing hazards in designated high-speed rail corridors. They were also encouraged to submit requests to modify pending applications submitted under previous notices.

California asked the federal railroad agency to clarify that the California corridor includes the Coast corridor from San Francisco to San Jose, San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles, as well as the Capitol corridor from San Jose-Oakland to the Sacramento-Auburn area. They also looked for clarification along the San Joaquin corridor from San Jose and Oakland via Sacrament, Stockton and Bakersfield to Los Angeles, as well as the Pacific Surfliner corridor from San Diego to Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo. The previous designation did not specifically include the Coast corridor. FRA said it had intended "to allow for this as a possible route between the Bay Area and Los Angeles."

Elsewhere, Oklahoma wants to create a new corridor network that would include three segments. One would operate from Fort Worth through to Oklahoma City, over Amtrak's Heartland Flyer route, and on to Newton, Kans. Another line would operate between Tulsa and Kansas City, Mo., and the third line would run from Tulsa to Oklahoma City.

Neighbor Texas is requested designation of a new corridor following the route of Amtrak's Texas Eagle from Texarkana (in northeast Texas) through Dallas-Ft. Worth and Austin to San Antonio (in southwest Texas).On the East Coast, Georgia requested that the "Southeast Corridor (west branch) be extended from Macon to Jessup, thereby linking Atlanta with both Jacksonville and Savannah via the east branch of the Southeast Corridor."

Meanwhile, Indiana was looking for the Chicago Hub corridor to be expanded to include a new segment from Indianapolis to Louisville, Ky., and in Ohio, the state has a pending application for an extension of the Chicago Hub corridor from Chicago to Cleveland and on to Columbus and Cincinnati.

Maine asked for an amendment to its pending application that would extend the proposed Boston-Portland corridor to Auburn, Maine. State officials also said "it would not object to adding what amounts to Vermont's application, thereby forming a kind of Northern New England hub around Boston." Vermont's notion is explained below.

Pennsylvania asked for an extension to Pittsburgh of the current Philadelphia to Harrisburg Keystone corridor.

Elsewhere, Vermont, in conjunction with Massachusetts and New Hampshire, requested designation of a corridor from Boston through Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont, to terminate in Montreal, Que., Canada.

Corridor lines...

Here come the Turbos - again

"It's billed as the fastest non-electric train in the nation, and it's coming soon to New York City and points upstate," reports the New York Daily News Albany Bureau.

Amtrak's Empire Corridor is still 462 miles long, but the trip in and out of the city will soon be shorter on a new, $10.8 million high-speed Turboliner scheduled to make its maiden run this fall.

The trip time from Penn Station in the Big apple to Albany will be shortened by 20 minutes to just two hours by 2002, when tracks and signals are upgraded and other improvements are made, officials said.

"It makes upstate more accessible," said Gov. George Pataki said at the Super Steel plant in Glenville, a Schenectady suburb, where the train was remanufactured with new engines and mechanical systems. NYDOT and Amtrak agreed to invest $185 million in the state's rail system, and the first trainset, unveiled last week, is the first of seven Turboliners Amtrak will operated from Niagara Falls to Penn Station.

The new trains are capable of traveling at 125 mph, but their speed will be limited to 110 mph until the track and signals are improved, Amtrak officials said.

An end note...

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 email the crew at

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