Destination:Freedom Newsletter
Destination:Freedom
The Newsletter of the National Corridors Initiative, Inc.
Vol. 4 No. 38, September 29, 2003
Copyright © 2003, NCI, Inc.
President and CEO - Jim RePass
Publisher - James Furlong
Editor - Leo King

A weekly North American rail and transit update

 


Gunn to address Press Club on Tuesday

Amtrak President David L. Gunn will address the National Press Club luncheon tomorrow (September 30) in Washington, D.C., at 12:30 p.m. in the ballroom. “The End of Trains or a New Beginning?” 529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20045. Advance reservations should be made by telephoning (202) 662-7501. Cost of luncheon admission is $16 for NPC members, $28 for their guests and $35 for general admission.


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Acela on the wing

NCI: Leo King

It remains to be seen if railroaders will strike Amtrak on October 3 – this Friday. Will the trains be running down the mains, or will they be shuttered in yards or service and inspection buildings? If one craft puts up pickets, it is most unlikely any others will cross those lines.

 

Will Friday’s walkout backfire on Amtrak?

By Wes Vernon
Washington Bureau Chief

Amtrak President David Gunn is not amused that six unions are planning to walk out on Amtrak for a day this Friday (October 3) just to prove how important the rail service is. He views that as unhelpful as a way of conveying the message that Amtrak needs to be fully funded.

From the get-go, the ringleaders of the intended walkout were the Brotherhood of Maintenance-of-Way Employees (BMWE) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU).

TWU official and former Amtrak Reform Council member Charlie Moneypenny said making this move on a Friday – at the end of the work week and Amtrak’s busiest day, especially on the Northeast Corridor – will attract the attention of Congress regarding the urgency of funding Amtrak at the $1.8 billion that Gunn says is required to restore the system to a “state of good repair.”

However, Gunn declined to applaud the “help.” He is not enchanted by this method of showing support for the company he heads. He acknowledges it will attract attention on the Hill all right, but not the kind of attention that Moneypenny has in mind.

“Illegal and counterproductive,” Gunn told his employees in a special company-wide message.

“The best way to gain support for our service is to continue to provide it – not withhold it,” the Amtrak boss said, adding, “Stopping service, even for a day, will shift the public focus from our progress in rebuilding Amtrak, to the public’s anger in the middle of a shutdown. It threatens to undercut all the progress we’ve made in the past year and threatens our future.

Donald Griffin, BMWE’s attorney, said the courts can’t issue an injunction because the walkout involves a political rather than contractual issue, The AP reported. Mark Theodore, a Los Angeles labor lawyer who has negotiated contracts with dockworkers’ unions, said the action would be a wildcat strike no matter what the union calls it.

Moreover, the walkout lacks unanimous support within the house of labor.

The Transport communications International Union (TCU), representing about half the Amtrak workforce, issued a statement declining to participate in the planned action. “Nor are the majority of other unions on Amtrak,” it stated.

Members of Congress, always conscious of their prerogatives and, as usual, offended that anyone would think they can be intimidated, especially in public, are also using the word “counterproductive.”

TCU cited a statement from Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), one of the strongest Amtrak backers on the GOP aide of the aisle.

“I’m an advocate of more funds for Amtrak funding,” the senator said, “but this is a very dumb thing for the Amtrak unions to consider.”

Lott followed that with a statement certain to get the attention of all but the most hotheaded:

“If they (the unions) do that, it could very well kill Amtrak because it could drive off a supporter like me – and if they don’t have bipartisan support for Amtrak, it’s probably going to die.”

Added the TCU, “Several Congressional leaders have angrily stated that they will not give in to what they perceive as strong-arm tactics by labor.”

The United Transportation Union (UTU) also said it would not participate in the threatened walkout, but then added a caveat that could complicate Amtrak’s ability to keep the trains rolling.

James “Broken Rail” Brunkenhoefer, the union’s respected lobbyist in Washington said UTU will not strike October 3, “but if there is a picket line, we will not cross – and never have and never will.”

One Amtrak backer speculated to D:F the walkout might merely prompt the airline shuttle services to say, “Thanks,” and accordingly add more service, perhaps to show Acela Express and Metroliner passengers that maybe they can get along without Amtrak.

Toward the end of the week, the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) reported the Transportation and Treasury bill likely will not reach the Senate floor as a stand-alone measure, but will be rolled into an omnibus bill covering even more of the federal government; one of those grab-bags that Congress creates when the legislative process is backed up.

Two possibilities emerge from this:

It will be harder to attach floor amendments aimed at changing – hopefully for the better – the work of the House-Senate conferees.

By the same token, the conferees will have more power than normal in setting the final figure.

At this point, Amtrak supporters apparently have lost hope of getting Gunn’s request for $1.8 billion, let alone the Senate and House authorizing committees’ figures of $2 billion.

“It is imperative that Amtrak get nothing less than the $1.346 billion (plus deferral of $100 million loan) approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee,” NARP warned. “Even that level would force Amtrak to strip $366 million of work out of its FY04 budget plan.”

The House has approved $900 million, which Amtrak said is a shutdown figure.

NARP urged its members to contact their representatives and senators. The Capitol switchboard number is (202)-224-3121.

Once again, the annual script emerges: With a little luck, Amtrak hangs by a thread.


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TEA-21 laws get extension

Congress extended current TEA-21 laws on Friday in a continuing resolution.

William W. Millar, President of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), said, “While we had hoped this vital legislation could be completed this month, today’s approval of a temporary extension to TEA 21 will allow public transportation systems to continue meeting the needs of millions of transit users throughout the nation.”

Millar added, “This interim extension compels Congress to act on a long-term reauthorization within the next five months. This is good news because America’s transit networks are under severe stress.”

APTA has called for increasing the federal investment in transit to $14.3 billion by fiscal year 2009, Millar pointed out.


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Transport plan could create new taxes

A report released September 24 finds a funding gap of almost $5 billion to $8 billion annually over the next five years to make needed connections between air, rail and highway systems to improve the flow of both passengers and goods. The report also recommends several actions to address the shortfall.

The independent, non-profit project, “Reconnecting America’s Transportation Networks,” (RATN), released the report by transportation finance expert Dr. William D. Ankner, Ph.D, former top executive at the Rhode Island DOT, in order to promote a dialogue on ways to generate the revenue needed to meet the growing demand for projects to eliminate bottlenecks in the national transportation system.

The report comes following a five-month delay in Congress in reauthorizing TEA-21 federal highway and mass transit funding programs – and a week before the TEA-21 law expires tomorrow (September 30).

In a press release, RATN said legislators failed to renew the legislation “due to an inability to come to grips with the demands from states and transportation industries for more funding.”

Hank Dittmar, project co-director and RATN president, said, “We are trying to help Congress and the industry deal with the fact that there is no free lunch. Past generations have made the hard choices when it comes to making essential investments. Today’s transportation crisis, for passengers as well as freight, is making connections in metropolitan areas, and Dr. Ankner’s report proposes a sensible and incremental approach to the challenge.”

Ankner’s report proposes a phased approach to raising the needed funds beginning with making so-called “intermodal” projects eligible for funding through existing funding sources such as the National Highway System, and dedicating foregone Airport Improvement Program and fuel taxes paid by railroads into general funds to a new “Last Mile” fund for such projects.

If Congress elects to pursue new sources of funding, Ankner’s menu of options includes a value-added tax on cargo estimated to generate $10 billion annually as well as a tax on vehicle miles traveled.

Ankner warned against an excessive reliance on debt, noting that state and local long-term debt grew from $90 billion in fiscal year 2001 to $176 billion in fiscal 2003.

Eventually, though, he argued, “The nation needs to recognize that current financing mechanisms, which generate funds dedicated to each mode of travel, act against the interests of the overall system, and ultimately against the interests of the user, whether it is a firm or a traveler.”

He explained the personal financing of transportation for most travelers comes out of the same funding source, their paycheck or company profits.”

Ankner stated in his report, “Only government fails to approach transportation as a travel experience and it fractures transportation into modes. This fosters competition between and among the providers, and often fails to provide the user with the interconnectivity for a continuous trip.”

He urged lawmakers to consider, “We need to treat our entire transportation system as a single investment, with an expected rate of return. The current system of financing and planning in itself represents a hidden tax on the economy.”

Scott Bernstein, project co-director and president of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, said, “If we follow some of Dr. Ankner’s prescriptions, we can begin to see our airports as ‘travel ports,’ where travelers can choose between air, rail or bus to complete their trip.”

RATN describes itself as “a project to redefine national policies for intercity travel in order to integrate our separately functioning aviation, passenger rail and highway systems into a more convenient, secure, financially viable and sustainable network.”

Copies of the report are available at http://www.reconnectingamerica.org/ or http://www.cnt.org/


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Ready to roll… just in case

A Metro-North train was parked under The Waldorf-Astoria hotel last week as an "escape option" in the event of a terrorist attack on President Bush and other world leaders who stayed there.

The Secret Service arranged for the train to stop beside a seldom used platform connected by an underground passage to the landmark hotel in case an attack made it necessary to whisk leaders away to safety, law-enforcement sources said.

The New York Post reported the brand-new, full-size train is always running and ready for an instant departure, the sources said.

The platform, identified as Track 61 on Grand Central Terminal blueprints, can be directly accessed from inside the posh hotel in the event of an emergency.

A six-foot-wide freight elevator and stairway also connects the subterranean platform to a brass-sheathed door located on street level at 101-121 East 49th St. under a sign that reads, "Metro-North Fire Exit."

The nondescript door is adjacent to the Waldorf's garage, which was filled with police cars and other escort vehicles from the president's motorcade - another escape option in the event of an emergency.

Several world leaders were staying and holding meetings at the Waldorf last week in conjunction with the U.N. General Assembly session.

Bush stayed at the hotel during his two-day visit on Tuesday and Wednesday, along with Cabinet members.


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Amtrak station at Coliseum being built

The long-awaited construction of an Amtrak station at the Oakland Coliseum began September 24. The new station will let intercity rail passengers transfer more easily to BART and have better access to the Oakland Coliseum, Oakland Arena and Oakland International Airport. The $6 million project is expected to be finished next spring, Caltrans director Jeff Morales said.


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COMMUTER LINES...  Commuter lines...

Greenbush Line Old Colony Road Bed

Bill Wood - Railroadnews.com

Part of the current long out-of-service track as it looked on Thursday (September 25). After seven months of hesitation, the Romney administration and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority have renewed their commitment to restore rail passenger service to Greenbush and the South Shore. This service, when completed, is expected to substantially ease the commute to Boston for residents of these communities which, in turn, will increase property values and make driving easier for those who choose not to travel by rail. Going backwards, the right-of-way belonged to Conrail, Penn Central, the New York, New Haven & Hartford and Old Colony Railroads.

 

Spring 2006:

Greenbush project gets green signal

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney last week gave the Greenbush commuter rail project a clear signal to build the 18-mile Greenbush line, ending a construction moratorium that threatened to doom the controversial South Shore transit link.

The project had been on hold for seven months so the Romney administration could review cost projections and decide whether the $479 million project was the best use of transportation funding. The Boston Globe reported on September 23 if the project were completed without further delay, it would open as much as a year behind schedule, in spring 2006, officials said.

Started in 1844

The first American – horse-drawn – railroad, which would later become part of the Old Colony system, was built in Quincy, Mass., in 1828 to move granite from the Quincy quarries to Milton where it was transported by barge to Charleston for the Bunker Hill monument.

The original Old Colony Railroad was incorporated on March 18, 1844. Construction on the roadbed began soon after, and rail laying began in June. The line opened on November 8, 1845, with regular service beginning on the 11th. The first trip took two-and-one-half hours.

Romney, who had voiced doubts about the cost and value of the project, ultimately decided that the Boston-Scituate line would offer residents the best transit alternative available, said Douglas Foy, Romney’s transportation and development chief.

Still remaining to be secured for the project is a key wetlands permit.

Minutes after Romney made his decision, officials at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority called the contractors, Cashman-Balfour Beatty, and told the company to press forward, said MBTA general manager Michael H. Mulhern. As many as 100 construction workers will be in the field by spring, he said.

One leg of the former Old Colony Railroad, Greenbush will carry an estimated 8,600 commuters and leisure travelers each weekday from the Greenbush section of Scituate to Cohasset, Hingham, and Weymouth before connecting with existing lines in Braintree for the final 9.5 miles to Boston’s South Station. MBTA officials yesterday said the trip from Greenbush to Boston would take a little less than an hour and include seven station stops.

It was Mulhern who unilaterally halted the 18-mile project in February, amid mounting concerns that the cost and legal issues were rapidly endangering the endeavor. Soon afterward, the Romney administration began questioning whether the task was worth it at its current cost. Mulhern was forced to quickly nail down a precise cost and hammer out other issues to justify the nearly half-billion dollar project.

With those issues apparently resolved, Mulhern spent hours over the summer personally lobbying for Greenbush in Romney’s office, state transportation officials say. Meanwhile, the MBTA in July negotiated the purchase of a key 1.5-mile section of rail line necessary to the project and more recently won a crucial legal decision in an administrative law court that all but doomed legal challenges to the MBTA’s state environmental permits.

Mulhern said on September 22 he was now confident that the biggest questions dogging the project had been resolved: The cost, he said, will be $479 million and the MBTA could now promise a start-up of service by spring 2006, about one year later than the most recent projections before the moratorium.

“I have a tremendous amount of confidence that we’re going to get this job done and that I will be on a train from Scituate to Boston in the year 2006,” Mulhern told reporters at a news conference, where he made the announcement with Foy and state Transportation Secretary Daniel Grabauskas. “There are no obstacles in terms of moving the project forward; just issues.”

Despite his predictions, the MBTA has yet to secure a mandatory Army Corps of Engineers wetlands construction permit, which Mulhern insists the authority is “very close” to obtaining. Opponents have said repeatedly they would appeal any such permit, given the fragile ecosystem through which the Greenbush line would travel.

The Greenbush proposal formed just one piece of roughly $2 billion in transit expansion projects the state promised to build as part of the legal agreement with the environmental groups that paved the way for the Central Artery and Tunnel project in the late 1980s. Former Gov. Michael Dukakis’s administration brokered the Big Dig agreement in part with the Conservation Law Foundation, where Foy then served as president. Officials said last Monday that legal commitment was a major reason for Romney’s ultimate decision to back Greenbush.


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ConnDOT to refurbish Metro-North trains

Connecticut’s DOT is preparing to repair – outright refurbish – dozens of aluminum power coaches They still run, but their exterior paint is chipped, their navy and red plastic seats are torn, and their air conditioning struggles to cool down the standing-room-only crowd – if it works.

Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven line Carries 110,000 passengers to and from their jobs in New York and Connecticut every day, and is the one the nation’s busiest commuter railroads.

The 350-car New Haven-based fleet includes 241 cars that were purchased 30 years ago. State officials embarked earlier this year on a $149 million, six-year plan to refurbish the aging trains by replacing critical parts, according to press reports.

Harry Harris, chief of public transportation for ConnDOT, said the basic frame of the equipment is structurally sound, but the technology is a problem.

As long as Connecticut remains strapped for cash, funding for new cars will be put on the back burner, Harris said. New cars would likely cost over $1 billion. Even though new cars cost $5 million, an average car can be refurbished for $800,000.

“Eventually we will have to replace the fleet,” Harris said. “We are taking a real hard look as for which direction we should take for the next generation.

Metro-North spokesman Dan Brucker said the New Haven line fleet is the company’s oldest and busiest. With more commuters riding trains to avoid traffic, he said the fleet will need to expand soon to 400 trains to meet demand.

“On the New Haven line we are looking at our aging fleet needing major overhauls and rebuilding to serve an ever-growing ridership,” Brucker said. “More and more people are traveling further distances on ever-older equipment “

The logical choice for the state to make, Brucker said, was to replace the aging trains, but the state’s attention has focused recently on other transportation projects, including a $300 million effort to replace New Haven line catenary, which dated back to 1913.

The New Haven line trains, two-thirds of which were purchased between 1972 and 1975, were intended to last 25 years.


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Redbirds flying away from nest

The last of the Redbirds, built for the 1964 World’s Fair, will soon be gone from the Big Apple’s subways.

Only 88 of the subway cars, now making up only eight trains, still pick up passengers on the Flushing line. They will be retired by mid-October, and will join more than 1,100 others that have been dumped off the Atlantic coast to create artificial reefs.

High-tech, stainless steel cars built by Kawasaki and Bombardier are replacing the Redbirds, reports the New York Daily News.

Although still rolling along strong, the car bodies are rusting away.

“The Redbirds did a great job serving New Yorkers for more than four decades,” Transit Authority President Lawrence Reuter said.

“Though they have been a New York City icon, they are being replaced with a new generation of subway car that gives up the nostalgia factor for increased reliability and an overall more pleasant riding experience.”

What became known as the Redbirds because of their color are a series of car models that were built in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The last of the bunch were ordered for the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, and featured large side windows to offer fair-goers vistas of the fairgrounds and all their glory as the trains approached on the No. 7 line, Transit Authority spokesman Charles Seaton said.

Originally, the cars were blue-and-cream colored. They were painted red in the 1980s during a war against graffiti, he said.

They are the last of the painted passenger trains, and the last to have tear-shaped metal grab holds, which came after straps made of nonmetallic materials that gave birth to the term “straphanger.”

It’s the end of an era, and not just for subway buffs, said Clifton Hood, history professor and author of 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York.

“It may be a point of nostalgia for someone who went to Coney Island with his family on one, or maybe went on his first date on one,” Hood said, “but by the same token, the new cars are going to have some meaning to a kid 50 or 60 years from now.”

The rattling Redbirds once ran on all the numbered lines. In more recent history, a Redbird on the No. 7 line that goes to Shea Stadium was decorated with Mets blue and orange for the 2000 Subway Series against the Yankees.


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Nashville line starts in January

After years of discussion and debate, construction is set to begin in January on a 32-mile, Nashville-Lebanon, Tenn., commuter rail line.

The USDOT is releasing nearly $13.8 million that had been set aside for station stops and track upgrades, allowing the work to begin, according to Nashville Tennessean.

Nashville’s Regional Transportation Authority, which is developing the $38 million project, needed federal approval to begin the eastern corridor.

“It is a major milestone,” said Allyson Shumate, rail projects coordinator for the RTA.

The project is designed to help reduce growing traffic congestion in Middle Tennessee, and is the first of five proposed rail legs for Middle Tennessee.

The eastern corridor will include stops at Nashville’s downtown riverfront, Donelson, Hermitage, Mount Juliet, Martha community and Lebanon.

The project was in jeopardy earlier this year as Wilson County officials grappled with sharing the rail costs when they also had pressing, local money needs. Wilson officials approved a share in May.

“When the Wilson County Commission approved a contribution over five years, that was just a huge step forward,” said Rob Shearer, Mount Juliet city manager and RTA member.

Governments sharing the $3.8 million local portion of construction costs include the state DOT, Metro-Davidson County, Lebanon, Mount Juliet and Wilson County.

The first leg of the rail project will cost less than other commuter rail projects because existing CSX tracks will be upgraded, saving the investment in new tracks.

Members of Congress have secured most of the rail project money over the past few years, but the RTA needs an additional $9 million to finish the construction. The money is expected to come from the federal government over the next three years or so.


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Dermody named LIRR president

The Long Island Rail Road has named James Dermody as its president. He succeeds Kenneth J. Bauer, who retired this year, after three years as president, to become chief financial officer at Railworks, a private company in White Plains, N.Y.

Dermody began working for LIRR in 1958 as a ticket clerk and spent many years as a chief train dispatcher. In April 2000, he was appointed senior vice president of operations, to oversee passenger service departments.


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BUILDER'S LINES...  Builders’ lines...

Double-decker plan

Bombardier

Bombardier’s double-deckers will start plying Montreal routes in 2004.

 

Bombardier gets $60 million order

Bombardier Transportation reported September 19 that it received a $44 million ($60 million Cdn) order from Montreal’s Agence Metropolitaine de Transport (AMT) to design and manufacture 22 Bombardier bilevel commuter rail cars for the region’s Montreal-Dorion-Rigaud line. Delivery of the cars is expected to take place in the last half of 2004.

The AMT cars will have 150 seats and standing room accommodations for up to 215 additional passengers.

“More than 700 cars are in successful operation in 10 cities around the continent,” said William Spurr, president of Bombardier Transportation’s North American operations.

The aluminum bilevel cars are built with two main levels of passenger seating with a smaller intermediate level at each end. The design provides 70 percent more passenger area than single-level rail cars within a similar length and up to 30 savings in operating costs, according to Bombardier.

Carbodies will be manufactured at Bombardier’s Thunder Bay manufacturing facility. CAD Railway Services will complete final assembly and commissioning of the cars in the Montreal borough of Lachine. Bombardier expects it will provide business to some 35 Quebec suppliers as part of this contract.


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APTA Highlights...  Apta highlights...

Here are some other transit headlines, from the pages of Passenger Transport, the weekly newspaper of the public transportation industry published by the non-profit American Public Transportation Assn. For more news from Passenger Transport and subscription information, visit the APTA web site at http://www.apta.com/news/pt.


 

ASCE Report Gives Poor Grades to U.S. Transit Infrastructure

A report released September 4 by the American Society of Civil Engineers calls for increased funding and investment in the nation’s public transportation infrastructure. According to the ASCE 2003 Progress Report for America’s Infrastructure, America’s transit systems will receive a failing grade if current trends continue, down from the “C minus” grade the organization gave to infrastructure in its 2001 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.

Congressional leaders joined ASCE representatives at the release of the report at the U.S. Capitol to note the lack of progress made since 2001 in funding and improving most of the nation’s critical infrastructure. In addition to transit, the report examines roads, bridges, airports and aviation-related, schools, drinking water, wastewater, dams, solid waste, hazardous waste, navigable waterways, and energy.

Despite increased spending from the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, the nation’s transit systems show signs of decline, as demonstrated in the ASCE report, which states that rapid growth in transit ridership has outpaced efforts to maintain systems. Other factors noted in the report include budget crises at the state and local levels, lack of public support for bond and tax referenda, and increases in spending for security issues.

The report cites aging facilities and fleets, increased demand for services, and record high levels of riders as creating severe stress on America’s transit systems. While public transportation funding has increased over the past few years, financial support has not kept pace with transit’s increasing demand and popularity.

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Dutchess County, N.Y., Contracts with PTM; Diers Is New Manager

John Diers, general manager of Belle Urban System in Racine, Wis., will begin serving October 1 as resident manager for the Dutchess County Division of Mass Transportation LOOP transit system in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., under a new contract between the county and Professional Transit Management Ltd.

Diers is a 30-year veteran of the public transportation industry who began his career as a bus driver in Minneapolis-St. Paul, and has held managerial positions with the Metropolitan Transit Commission in the Twin Cities as well as the Racine system.

The LOOP system provides both fixed route and demand-response services with a fleet of 53 vehicles. Its operations range from commuter express to specialized paratransit for the elderly and persons with disabilities, and the system also provides and coordinates Medicaid transportation services for the county.

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Cantrell Is New Executive Director of Access Service in L.A.

Access Services, the paratransit provider in Los Angeles County, announces that Alan Cantrell has joined the organization as its new executive director. He succeeds Richard DeRock, who left Access Services to become general manager for Link Transit in Wenatchee, Wash.

Cantrell has more than 30 years in public transportation, serving in all aspects of transit operations and administration. Most recently, he was deputy director for the Department of Transit and Parking in Santa Rosa, Calif., responsible for daily fixed route and paratransit operation and for federal and state grant administration.

Access Services is the nonprofit organization created to provide paratransit under the Americans with Disabilities Act on behalf of the 43 fixed route public transportation operators in Los Angeles County.

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Study Urges Job-Transit Coordination

Although states spend large amounts of money to improve and expand their high-capacity public transportation systems while also working to attract business, many states do not make the connection between the two initiatives by emphasizing the location of business facilities near transit stations.

That’s the thesis of Missing the Bus: How States Fail to Connect Economic Development with Public Transit, a report released during this year’s Rail~Volution conference in Atlanta by Good Jobs First, a Washington-based nonprofit research center focusing on economic development. The study urges state officials to improve their inter-office coordination, and to motivate developers and employers to locate jobs and affordable housing near transit stations.

According to Missing the Bus, improved coordination between state economic development offices and state DOTs would help fiscally strapped states maximize resources and ensure high transit ridership in both the short and long term. Among other things, high transit ridership helps improve passenger and freight traffic flows and helps curb air pollution and energy use, which in turn may attract more business to a state.

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Lake Worth, Texas, Opts Out of Fort Worth Transit System

In a special election on September 13, voters in the city of Lake Worth, Texas, decided to opt out of participation in the Fort Worth Transportation Authority. Published reports listed the preliminary vote totals as 173 in favor and 244 opposed.

Following the vote, Fort Worth Transportation Authority President Richard L. Ruddell contacted Lake Worth Mayor Walter Bowen and City Manager Joey Highfill to offer to meet and work out details of ending the T's services in Lake Worth. He offered to help develop a transition plan to help meet the transportation needs of current users in Lake Worth, and to supply detailed information to the city and its purchased transportation provider.

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Denton County Municipalities Pass Sales Tax

Voters in the Texas cities of Denton, Lewisville, and Highland Village approved a half-cent sales tax to fund the Denton County Transportation Authority in a special election September 13. Five other cities in the county – Corinth, Flower Mound, Copper Canyon, Double Oak, and Shady Shores – voted down the sales tax, but that has no effect on the cities that approved it.

The DCTA Board of Directors had called for the election to fund its service plan. The funding election allows the DCTA to begin the transition from planning to implementation of the new rail based plan for the Denton County area.

Scott Neeley, primary consultant for the DCTA, explained that the authority’s efforts can go forth because Denton, Lewisville, and Highland Village represent about 87 percent of the total proposed funding stream.

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Mineta Institute Report Cites Importance of Transit on 9/11

Saving City Lifelines: Lessons Learned in the 9-11 Terrorist Attacks, a new report from the Norman Y. Mineta International Institute for Surface Transportation Policy Studies at San Jose State Univ., recounts the vital importance of public transportation agencies as unsung heroes of the September 11, 2001, attacks. MTI released the report on the second anniversary of the attacks.

Researchers found the vital role of transit agencies and their employees, from helping to save passengers’ lives and evacuating lower Manhattan to delivering rescue workers and heavy equipment to Ground Zero and providing communications capacity. The report also shows how transit agencies repaired their infrastructure and established new service in record time, greatly assisting New York’s economic recovery.

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PB Announces Senior Management Changes

Parsons Brinckerhoff recently announced several organizational changes involving key management positions.

Michael I. Schneider, executive vice president, has been appointed director of corporate development and has been elected to the board of directors of Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. William D. Smith, senior vice president, has been appointed president of Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas Inc., PB’s U.S. infrastructure arm, replacing Gary E. Griggs, who is relocating to the firm’s San Francisco office for family reasons and will lead major projects for the company. Mortimer L. Downey replaces Schneider as president of PB Consult, the firm’s management and strategic consulting unit.


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FREIGHT LINES...  Freight lines...

CSX on the move - Dukes Crossing

NCI: Leo King

CSX and Norfolk Southern helped make Atlanta the nation’s first “freight rail smart zone.” Duke’s Crossing is the scene for this mostly autorack consist, in Jacksonville, Fla., in August.

 

Atlanta named ‘freight rail smart zone’

Georgia’s governor and Atlanta’s city planner on September 24 designated that large southern city to be the nation’s first-ever “freight rail smart zone” for its efficient use of freight rail to move consumer goods and products.

Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) and Charles Graves, Commissioner of Planning and Development for the Georgia capital, joined the Association of American Railroads (AAR), along with CSX Corp. and Norfolk Southern Corp. to recognize Atlanta for its role “as a vital freight rail hub.”

Perdue said, “Consumer goods represent more than 60 percent of all the products moving through Atlanta on more than 2 million freight cars each year. The public benefits from the environmental and traffic congestion relief that comes from using rail to transport goods instead of trucks. The 2 million railcars moving through Atlanta each year ensures that 6 million trucks aren’t traveling on the highways and interstates of Georgia’s capital city.”

Perdue added, “Most people would be surprised by the wide variety of consumer products that today’s freight railroads are moving. They’re hauling computers, cars, clothing, appliances and food – items that consumers need for their homes and businesses need to operate. Freight rail is more connected to consumers and businesses than ever before.”

CSX and Norfolk Southern transport many goods produced in Georgia, including carpet, cereal, outdoor grills, lighting fixtures, paper products and peaches. Together, they serve nearly 500 Atlanta-area companies, many of them household names like Georgia Power, UPS, Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia Pacific, Owens-Corning, Ralston Purina and Kellogg.

Both railroads recently opened state-of-the-art intermodal facilities in the Atlanta area – CSX’s Fairburn Intermodal Terminal south of the city and NS’s Whitaker Intermodal Terminal in Austell, the largest intermodal facility east of the Mississippi.

AAR CEO Edward Hamberger said, “The new intermodal facilities are not only positioned to serve current businesses in and around the Atlanta area, they play a pivotal role in attracting new industry and creating new jobs in the Atlanta area. Since 1994, NS and CSX have helped locate 72 new industries to the Atlanta area. Combined, CSX and NS employ roughly 9,000 Georgians.”

He added, “With U.S. freight demand expected to nearly double in the next 20 years, intermodal transportation is the best way to handle the growth.”

Hamberger said, “Freight rail movement of consumer goods as part of the intermodal network has been the fastest growing segment of the U.S. freight railroad industry over the past 10 years.”

He added that the traffic outlook is healthy.

“Our own economic projections indicate that freight rail’s intermodal shipments will surpass coal as the biggest revenue producer for railroads for the first time in history within the next six months. Atlanta is really leading the way in this transformation – and it couldn’t happen without the support of the state and city governments who have helped make it possible for the industry to invest in intermodal rail improvements.”


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Schedule freight trains, CP urges

The railway industry has become so interconnected that it’s time for railways around the world to take the next logical step and adopt a uniform international system for planning and executing railway operations, Canadian Pacific Ry.’s head of operations said last week.

Speaking in Calgary on September 22 at the first international conference on railway operations ever held, Neal Foot, CP’s senior operations vice-president, said the international railroad community needs to shift to integrated scheduled railway operations from the tonnage-based method of operating that has been used for decades.

“We need to present ourselves to our customers as one integrated system,” Foot told railway planners from Europe, Australia, Africa and North America.

“By building a coordinated, integrated and scheduled freight railway system, we, as an industry, will enhance rail’s already inherent qualities of speed, safety, and energy and labor efficiency.”

Foot said shippers and the general public would benefit from a scheduled rail industry that is “more productive and a stronger competitor” for business.

He noted, “History shows that, in North America, railways pass their productivity gains directly on to shippers in the form of lower rates.”

Foot explained a shift to greater use of rail “would offer public benefits, including less traffic congestion on over-burdened highways, reduced smog, improved cross-border trade flow, and a more competitive economy.”

Under a scheduled operating model, a schedule is created for trains and for individual shipments within the trains. Using super-fast computer applications, railways map out complex interconnections of equipment, facilities, track and crews. They determine the best way to route shipments using algorithmic blocks, search out block bypass opportunities to minimize rail car handling, calculate freight yard workloads to avoid creating congestion, and generate time-distance diagrams to examine line capacity.

He pointed to his own railroad in developing a model for others to adopt.

CPR began a “wholesale shift to fully integrated scheduled operations in the late 1990s. Its fully integrated model includes scheduling into an overall operating plan all other facets of rail operations such as assigning train crews, maintaining locomotives and freight cars and carrying out work on the tracks.”

He also noted, “Tonnage-based rail operations, which previously served as standard practice, require holding trains until enough freight cars and tonnage have been accumulated to make the trip as economical as possible.” That, he contended, is no longer a good way to operate.

Transcontinental carrier CP operates in Canada and the U.S. over a 4,000-mile network.


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KCS board endorses effort;
gets Mexican extension

Directors of Kansas City Southern have endorsed the railroad management’s effort to enforce an agreement with Grupo TMM, of Mexico City, under which KCS would buy TMM’s interest in Grupo Transportation Ferroviaria Mexicana (GTFM).

Meanwhile, KCS reported on Friday that the Mexican Competition Commission had extended its authorization of KCS’s Grupo TMM shares purchase for six-months.

KCS said the commission “acted at the request of KCS. The commission did not place any conditions on the extension.”

Ronald G. Russ, KCS executive vice-president and COO, said the action will allow KCS’s acquisition “to be completed during the period of the extension without having to apply once again for authority from the commission.”

TMM shareholders on August 18 voted against the deal, which had been announced last April 21 as part of a plan to create a U.S.-Mexican rail company called NAFTA Rail.

The September 23 KCS board of directors announcement also contained news concerning another part of the NAFTA Rail plan. Directors said the U.S. STB had issued that day a decision that it didn’t need to rule on the transfer back to Transportation Ferroviaria Mexicana (TFM) of the 51 percent interest in Mexrail Inc. that KCS had acquired May 9, 2003. The KCS board said the effect of the STB decision is to allow the repurchase, which had been requested by TMM, and KCS indicated it wouldn’t contest the repurchase.

In an effort to keep alive the GTFM piece of the NAFTA Rail concept, KCS is pursuing dispute-resolution procedures specified in the acquisition agreement. The procedures call for 60 days of negotiations, to be followed, if necessary, by binding arbitration. KCS maintains that the acquisition agreement remains in effect until Dec. 31, 2004. KCS is seeking a preliminary injunction from the Delaware Chancery Court to freeze the two parties’ positions pending resolution of their dispute.

In their April 21 announcement, KCS and TMM said they had reached agreements, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals that would place The Kansas City Southern Ry. (KCSR), the Texas Mexican Ry. Co. (Tex-Mex) and GTFM under the common control of a single transportation holding company, NAFTA Rail, to be headquartered in Kansas City. (Tex-Mex is wholly owned by Mexrail.)

In other board business, KCS directors declared a cash dividend of $5.3125 a share on outstanding 4.25 percent redeemable cumulative convertible perpetual preferred stock. The dividend, payable November 17 to stockholders of record November 3, is down from the $5.9028 a share paid August 15. However, a KCS official said the preceding dividend covered a somewhat longer period than a quarter and that the dividends were equal when adjusted for this factor.


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NS looks for job cuts

Norfolk Southern Corp. on Friday said it was starting a “voluntary separation program” for non-agreement employees with at least two years of service.

"The program is designed to achieve through voluntary separation a reduction in overall staff and an internal restructuring to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Norfolk Southern's non-agreement work force," said Jim Hixon, senior administration vice-president.

The program offers severance pay of three weeks' salary for each year of service, continued health insurance for one year at no cost, and outplacement assistance for up to 90 days. Voluntary separations will be effective October 31 in most cases.


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Three bidders vie for BC Rail

British Columbia is close to deciding which of three bidders it will negotiate with to take over BC Rail, Canada’s third largest railway, a provincial spokesman said on September 18.

CN Rail – also known as Canadian National Ry. Co. – and Canadian Pacific Ry. submitted bids, Reuters reported last week, as did a partnership of Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Corp. and shortline operator OmniTRAX, said Steve Anderson of the British Columbia Transportation ministry.

Shortline operator RailAmerica Inc. (RRA), which had been approved by the province in July as potential finalist, decided against submitting a proposal, Anderson said.

British Columbia stated in May it wanted to privatize 1,450-mile BC Rail, which reported an operating profit in its last fiscal year but has struggled under a debt of more than $424 million (C$590 million).

BC Rail’s unions have strongly opposed the plan that would have the province leasing BC Rail’s tracks to a private operator because it is expected to eliminate hundreds of jobs.

Anderson said the province hopes to select a winner by the end of September. A final agreement is expected by early next year.


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CN bans using ‘Canadian;’
Collenette says that’s ‘obscene’

Canadian Transport Minister David Collenette said last week it is “obscene” that Montreal-based CN Rail has barred its employees from using the word “Canadian” in describing the company formerly known as Canadian National – and he will change that.

Collenette was responding Friday to an internal company memo, obtained by New Democrat MP Bill Blaikie, that says employees should no longer use the old company name, according to a Canadian Press report from reporter Maria Babbage in Ottawa.

“If that is the case, it’s not only totally unacceptable, it is obscene and I will go directly to the chair and the president of Canadian National Railways,” he said in the House of Commons.

The official name of the company is Canadian National Railway Co.

“This is a great Canadian institution, one of the best railways in North America and we shouldn’t apologize for being Canadian,” Collenette said.

The memo instructs employees to only use the name “CN” in the workplace, whether in telephone conversation, e-mail, written correspondence or in identifying themselves on their voice mail.

Among the names listed on the “out” list were Canadian National, Canadian National Ry., and Canadian National Railroad.

“These very simple things will go a long way to ensure a strong corporate identity and help build even greater value for the CN brand,” the memo stated.

NDP House leader Bill Blaikie blamed the policy on American management and ownership of the company.

“The fact of the matter is that Canadian National Railway is progressively less Canadian,” he said outside the Commons.

“I think the company is run by Americans for Americans and they don’t like having Canadian in there because it’s an embarrassment to them. It reminds them that maybe they’re not acting in Canada’s best interest.”

Mark Hallman, a CN spokesman, called the uproar a “tempest in a teapot,” saying the company has been marketing itself using its CN logo for the last 40 years.

“Mr. Collenette is entitled to his opinion, but we simply don’t agree that this is a problem or an issue,” he said. “It is strictly a branding exercise and has absolutely nothing to do with claims of trying to hide a Canadian-based company.”

He said CN was trying to purge many of the names the company used in the 1930s and ’40s.

“Its something that many other companies are doing,” Hallman said, referring to RBC Financial Group, formerly the Royal Bank of Canada, and BMO Financial Group, formerly the Bank of Montreal.

But Blaikie says it’s not that simple.

“It’s not like CN has just adopted a logo, CN, and they’re trying to promote it. What they’re trying to do is eliminate the use of words describing the company that remind people that this is a Canadian company.”


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Intermodal makes record gains

In spite of Hurricane Isabel – which shut down some East Coast rail operations – freight traffic on U.S. railroads was up during the week ended September 20 in comparison with the corresponding week last year, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported on Thursday (September 25).

Total volume for the week was estimated at 30.3 billion ton-miles, up 3.4 percent from the comparable 2002 week. Carload freight registered a 1.7 percent gain, totaling 343,308 cars, with volume up 3.9 percent in the West but down 1.0 percent in the East. Intermodal traffic, which is not included in the carload data, totaled 202,567 trailers and containers, down 1.5 percent from last year.

One week earlier, Intermodal traffic set a weekly record on U.S. railroads during the week ended September 13.

Intermodal traffic totaled 206,943 trailers or containers, up 3.1 percent from last year and 0.2 above the previous record of 206,454 set during the week ended September 21, 2002. Container volume was up 2.0 percent while trailer traffic was up 6.3 percent from last year. The hurricane prevented the AAR from getting its September 18 report out until September 22.

Last week, the AAR reported, 14 of 19 carload commodity groups were up from last year, with grain gaining 23.7 percent; coke rising 35.0 percent; and waste and scrap up 8.8 percent. On the downside, loadings of metals fell 11.7 percent while metallic ores declined by 9.6 percent.

The AAR also reported the following cumulative totals for U.S. railroads during the first 38 weeks of 2003: 12,292,236 carloads, down 0.3 percent from last year; intermodal volume of 7,145,207 trailers or containers, up 5.0 percent; and total volume of an estimated 1.09 trillion ton-miles, up 0.9 percent from last year’s first 38 weeks.

Railroads reporting to AAR account for 88 percent of U.S. carload freight and 95 percent of rail intermodal volume. When the U.S. operations of Canadian railroads are included, the figures increase to 95 percent and 100 percent. Railroads provide more than 40 percent of the nation’s intercity freight transportation, more than any other mode, and rail traffic figures are regarded as an important economic indicator.

Canadian railroads reported the same pattern as U.S. carriers, with carload freight up but intermodal down during the week ended September 20. Intermodal traffic totaled 41,200 trailers and containers, down 3.5 percent from last year. Carload volume of 66,970 cars, was 1.7 percent above the comparable week last year.

Cumulative originations for the first 38 weeks of 2003 on the Canadian railroads totaled 2,325,262 carloads, down 1.3 percent from last year, and 1,570,390 trailers and containers, up 7.5 percent from last year.

Combined cumulative volume for the first 38 weeks of 2003 on 15 reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads totaled 14,617,498 carloads, down 0.4 percent from last year and 8,715,597 trailers and containers, up 5.4 percent from last year.

The AAR also reported that originated carload freight on the Mexican railroad Transportacion Ferroviaria Mexicana (TFM) during the week ended September 20 totaled 7,331 cars, down 17.1 percent from last year. TFM reported intermodal volume of 2,906 originated trailers or containers, down 10.3 percent from the 38th week of 2002. For the first 38 weeks of 2003, TFM reported cumulative originated volume of 320,668 cars, down 0.8 percent from last year, and 132,073 trailers or containers, up 20.0 percent.


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STOCKS...  Selected Friday closing quotes...

Source: Bloomberg.com

  Friday One Week
Earlier
Burlington Northern & Santa Fe(BNI)28.70029.400
Canadian National(CNI)51.25052.880
Canadian Pacific(CP)23.59024.700
CSX(CSX)29.40031.390
Florida East Coast(FLA)29.20030.900
Genessee & Wyoming(GWI)23.24024.150
Kansas City Southern(KSU)10.75011.430
Norfolk Southern(NSC)18.43019.600
Union Pacific(UNP)57.81060.550

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ACROSS THE POND...  Across the pond...

U.S spends $40 million on Iraqi rails

By Leo King
Editor

Iraq once had a pretty good railway system – until Saddam let it go to hell. Wars didn’t help it, either.

We were curious how much the U.S. had spent so far in getting the railway back in shape. An Army public affairs officer at the Pentagon told D:F the U.S. has “about $22 million allocated to the railroad” as of September 26. That does not include another $18 million in a USAID/Bechtel reconstruction project.

The former Iraqi State Railways is now called the “Iraqi Republican Railway,”.

He explained, “There are 2,400 kilometers (1,491 miles) of operational track within the Iraqi Republican Ry.”

He noted, “We have a bridge out at Al Fatha, just east of Beyji, that prevents us from connecting the rest of the system to Kirkuk. However, the Kirkuk line has been checked and tested and is operational. Cost for replacement of this span is assessed at $2.8 million. USAID and Bechtel are not working [on] this.”

There is another deck that is getting replaced.

“We have a bridge out just north of Akashat, which takes out about 20 kilometers (10 miles) to the end of the line in the west. Cost for replacement is $125,000 and is funded. This will provide access to the phosphate plant in Akashat that feeds the fertilizer plant in Al Qaim. This leaves us with about 2,100 kilometers (1,305 miles) of operational line and in use out of 2,400.”

The officer also told us, “We average around 24 locomotives in service out of over 80 possible. We maintain these by ‘controlled cannibalization.’ There have been no funds allocated for repair of war-damaged repair shops or shops looted after the war. This severely hampers repair and maintenance operations. The railroad also was not allocated funds in the fiscal year 2003 budget.”

All the engines are diesels, he said, and noted, “There is a wide range of manufacturing countries – from the Czech Republic, France, Germany, China, Canada and more.”


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OPINION...  Opinion...

An appeal to Congress:

Save Amtrak before it’s too late

By Alan Kandel

The writer is a former railroader and is a D:F contributor. – Ed.

By now, it should be painfully obvious that unless Amtrak gets the $1.8 billion that CEO David L. Gunn is seeking for fiscal year 2004, the National Railroad Passenger Corp. will find itself a mere skeleton of its former self or, at worst, a relic of the past.

According to Gunn, the House recommendation of $900 million just won’t do. The $1.346 billion that the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved obviously is an improvement, but it still falls far short of what Gunn defines as subsistence level.

As we see it, there is one – and only one – rationale for killing Amtrak: it is a drain on the American taxpayer. If that were the lone factor, I’d be one of the first to say, “Exterminate it.” (Of course, I could say the same thing about our heavily subsidized road system), but there are many reasons to perpetuate Amtrak – this damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don’t entity.

The single most important reason is people, from the riding public to employees – onboard staff, clerks in stations and offices, and maintenance workers.

Passenger trains save the day when natural disaster causes other modes of travel to fail. In the 1995 Northridge, Calif., earthquake, for example, the area’s roads and highways were fractured, and some whole bridge sections completely disappeared. Trains carried people through, as they also do when bad weather shuts down highway and plane travel. Broadly stated, intercity trains help promote transportation balance in the U.S., a country that is over-dependent on cars and planes.

What about employees? Eliminating Amtrak would result, as we understand it, either in sudden or gradual employee displacement (separation), not to mention possible, if not probable, relocation (residence and job) upheaval as a result; each employee incurring a varying degree, depending on the circumstance.

Some 32 years ago, when Amtrak was created in 1971, trainmen who came over from Penn Central (Conrail's predecessor) gained the right to go back and forth between PC and Amtrak as they bid on jobs. The only requirement thereafter was that they make the move at the six-month interval when all jobs went up for bid again. That's still a rule in effect, although most people affected by the changeover right are now retired.

Qualified trainmen could ultimately return to work for their former freight railroad employers, and the positions they received there would be based on their seniority status. That may or may not have resulted in bumping operating employees with less seniority from their assignments, but like falling dominoes, would undoubtedly have a trickle-down effect possibly eliminating their positions due to them being at the bottom of the seniority rosters. That, however, would depend upon the situation.

The remainder, those who didn’t come from freight railroad operating positions, would have to receive some kind of severance. The question is: if it comes to this, will it be fair and just? Try to imagine what the dollar figure would be just to cover severance payments alone? For me, the word “astronomical” comes to mind.

At last count, six representative Amtrak unions were poised to stage a one-day strike October 3 – next Friday – as a show of solidarity, unless Amtrak is granted its requested money.

Think they’re not taking this matter seriously?

Think again!

If I may, I would like to quote Jed Dodd, general chairman of the Pennsylvania Federation, which provides jurisdictional oversight for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor Brotherhood of Maintenance-of-Way Employees’ track, catenary, bridge and building repair folks. That’s one of the labor organizations threatening to strike.

Dodd said, “We hope that this action on October 3 will serve as a wakeup call that rail service is vital to the economy of the nation.” Yes, I agree that Amtrak is a vital contributor to the nation’s economy. However, I feel this show of solidarity is unnecessary and, what’s more, hope this action doesn't come to pass.”

Let’s just say for the sake of argument Amtrak should find itself the recipient of bad news: just $900 million.

What then?

For starters, the 1 percent reported (last week in The Past and Future of U.S. Passenger Rail Service from the Congressional Budget Office) as Amtrak’s passenger traffic market share who use the trains would be forced to find travel alternatives. Think about the resulting impact on our already inundated inner city roads and highways. Congestion, after all, was the impetus for resurgence of Amtrak and regional and local public mass transit.

That same CBO report stated between 1991 and 2002, Amtrak’s ridership was relatively stable. The number of passenger-miles traveled ranged from 5.1 billion to 6.3 billion a year and averaged about 5.6 billion. The total number of passengers ranged from 19.7 million to 23.5 million annually, averaging 21.6 million.

We argue Amtrak has been severely underfunded for 30 years. It is a wonder it survived at all.

Next to be addressed are equipment, stations, maintenance facilities, the Northeast Corridor, Michigan lines, and other Amtrak-owned infrastructure scattered around the country. What happens to all this?

Some equipment could be sold for reuse by other rail interests or sold for scrap.

What of the 500 stations? Would they would be razed, relegated to other uses, or left to stand vacant and decaying?

We bristle at these very ideas.

Congress, before you take your final vote on Amtrak funding, please remember Amtrak patrons and the livelihoods of employees (contract or otherwise) who stand to be big losers if our national passenger rail endeavor falls by the wayside. Think about increased traffic congestion and auto accidents, as well as the sharply negative environmental impacts of new road building. I believe that it’s absolutely imperative that Amtrak be saved. We implore you to save it.


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THE WAY WE WERE...  The Way We Were...

NY Demolition

For NCI: Peter Hine, NYC (2 Photos)

The ongoing demolition of the vestigial remains of the New York, Westchester & Boston Railroad's viaduct in the West Farms neighborhood of the Bronx.

 

A view of the distant past in The City

“The NYW&B was,” writes photographer Peter Hine, “conceived to compete with the New York, New Haven & Hartford, and later, either co-opted or bought outright by the New Haven.” Its line would have been more direct than the Shore Line.

“Designed from the outset to be a heavyweight all-electric line, it suffered from a lack of capital, and foundered in the 1930s depression. A portion of the right-of-way today is used by New York City Transit as the Dyre Avenue Line north of the 180th Street Station, itself another remnant of the NYW&B.

“These pictures were taken several blocks south of East 180th, Hine writes.

“An eyesore and intermittent hazard for decades due to the rusting steel and crumbling concrete, the structure is nevertheless an impressive example of the robust engineering and construction of mature early 20the Century railroads.”

The hydraulic shear “is making short work of steel that must have taken a great number of men a great deal of time to assemble, using classic hot rivet construction. A four-block length of this structure is being removed; a shorter portion, and an embankment that extended to and from the Amtrak (former New Haven) Northeast Corridor were removed several years ago for reconstruction of NYCT’s West Farms-Coliseum Bus Depot.


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 webmaster in Boston.


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