The National Corridors Initiative, Inc.
Destination:Freedom

A Weekly North American Transportation Update

For transportation advocates and professionals, journalists,
and elected or appointed officials at all levels of government

Publisher: James P. RePass      E-Zine Editor: Molly McKay
Foreign Editor: David Beale      Webmaster: Dennis Kirkpatrick
 

Contribute To NCI

June 6, 2011
Vol. 12 No. 22

Copyright © 2011
NCI Inc., All Rights Reserved
Our 12th Newsletter Year

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IN THIS EDITION...   In This Edition...

  News Items…
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn Seeks Lead In The Race
   For American High-Speed Rail
Rail Thieves Put CSXT Locomotive On The Ground
   In Taunton Ma Incident
  Off The Main Line…
A Country Train Ride In Pennsylvania
“Mama, Don’t Take My Kodachrome Away”
 
  Select Rail Stocks…
  Across The Pond…
Tokyo-Osaka High-Speed Maglev Train Gets OK
The Year of 2011 – Anniversaries For Rail Transit
  Events…
APTA 2011 Rail Conference - Boston, MA
  We Get Letters…
  Publication Notes …


NEWS OF THE WEEK... News Items...

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn Seeks Lead
In The Race For American High-Speed Rail

By DF Staff

CHICAGO --- As reported last week in Destination:Freedom, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has fired the first shot in the growing national competition to be the first region in the country with true (above 220-mph) High-Speed, Euro-style passenger rail.

Making it clear that he intends Illinois to be first in the nation to develop and implement world-class trains, and bring rail leadership back to America, the Governor announced at a Chicago rail conference this week that the state and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana would partner, with the guidance of a team of rail professionals and advocates assembled by the Governor for the task, to seek out, propose and help plan that route, not just for the 110-mph-speed service Illinois will shortly be introducing on the Chicago-St. Louis run, but a true 220+ mph high-speed service.

Speaking at a US High-Speed Rail Association Congress in Chicago, Gov. Quinn said: “Illinois is leading the nation with our work to expand high-speed and passenger rail. This study will provide greater insight into how we can make 220-mph rail service a reality. An expanded and improved rail network will boost our position in the global economy and create thousands of jobs.”

The study will explore the potential costs and benefits of establishing 220-mph service between O’Hare International Airport, downtown Chicago, McCormick Place, and Champaign-Urbana. It will also look at extending the corridor in the region to cities south of Champaign-Urbana, including St. Louis and Indianapolis.

One key issue will be cost: with the United States in deep recession and a GOP-controlled House seeking to roll back spending, much as the GOP did in 1936-1937 during the Great Depression, which reversed the progress made by President Franklin Roosevelt and sent unemployment upward again, funding large infrastructure projects such as High-Speed Rail will be daunting. Illinois is seeking a new Secretary of Transportation with not only broad experience, including knowledge of rail which is a rare commodity in state transportation secretaries in America, but also with extremely strong financial credentials.

Leading the study will be University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor Christopher P.L. Barkan, director of the school’s railroad engineering program and one of the nation’s top rail scholars. Contributing will be University of Illinois at Chicago Urban Transportation Center director Stephen Schlickman, former executive director of the Regional Transportation Authority. Their findings, made possible through a $1.25 million contribution from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program, is expected to be complete and presented to Governor Quinn in late 2012.

“I’m delighted that the University of Illinois can lend its vast expertise to this crucial study, and I’m grateful to the governor and other leaders in the state for their support of this important work,” said University of Illinois President Michael Hogan. “High-speed rail is transformational in its effect on economic development, personal mobility and on our society, in general. It’s an idea that is well worth a hard look. The benefits to the University of Illinois alone cannot be overstated.”

In addition to offering corridor location recommendations, the study will offer estimated ridership projections, economic impacts, construction costs and financing options. Assisting in the effort will be an advisory group composed of transportation experts, rail advocates, labor leaders, and regional planners who will provide input during the course of the study.

The members of the special advisory group include:

Governor Quinn and IDOT broke ground last year on the state’s signature high-speed line between Chicago and St. Louis. Speeds of 110-mph along parts of the corridor will be reached as early as next year. A completed Midwest network will create over 57,000 jobs, including 24,000 in Illinois. In addition to Chicago-St. Louis, the Obama Administration has provided funding for the Chicago to Iowa City via the Quad Cities and Chicago to Detroit corridors. Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation also awarded additional funding to expand the Midwest’s new equipment fleet with modern, domestically-built locomotives and railcars.


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Rail Thieves Put CSXT Locomotive
On The Ground In Taunton Ma Incident

From The Brotherhood Of Locomotive Engineers And Trainmen
And The Taunton Gazette

TAUNTON, MASSACHUSETTS --- It was no walk in the park June 1 for a CSXT freight train making deliveries to an industrial park in Massachusetts, when thieves cut two 8-foot sections of track from the rails, derailing the lead locomotive in the four unit consist, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen reported this week, citing a story in the Taunton Gazette.

“A CSX locomotive en route to a delivery in Taunton’s Myles Standish Industrial Park derailed Wednesday afternoon after thieves cut away two 8-foot sections of solid steel track, authorities said. No one was injured as a result of the incident, which observers on scene said ranks as the most audacious example of metal theft in recent memory,” the paper reported.

“It stopped a little too late and derailed — it just dropped down on both sides,” CSX trainmaster Mark Smith said of the four-axle GP40 engine that was pulling two cars and a rear engine, as quoted by reporter Charles Winokoor (cwinokoor@tauntongazette.com).

“The engine’s front wheels landed astride the tracks, but neither it nor the other engine and two cars, tipped over. The rear engine, with the two cars in tow, by late Wednesday managed to pull away, leaving the front engine mired in the dirt among shards of shattered railroad ties,” Winokoor wrote.

State Police and Taunton Police detectives are investigating.

For the fill story go to:  http://www.tauntongazette.com/archive/x530602459/Police-investigate-theft-of-railroad-tracks-in-Taunton-today-train-derailed#ixzz1OJkBVTsV


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OFF THE MAIN LINE... Off The Main Line...  

A Country Train Ride In Pennsylvania

By David Peter Alan

Middletown, Pennsylvania is a stop on Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor, just east of Harrisburg. It is a picturesque town, founded in 1755. It is also home to the Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad (M&H), one of the few tourist railroads that can be reached on Amtrak.

The line began as a branch of the Reading Railroad, running between its two namesake endpoints. It became known as the “Milk and Honey” line, because of the milk it carried to the nearby Hershey chocolate factory. When Conrail was formed in 1976, current railroad CEO Wendell Dillinger took the line out of the Conrail system and began freight operations as an independent short line. Passenger excursions began in 1986.

Those excursions run on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays during the summer season, through Labor Day week-end. Excursions resume briefly in October for “leaf season”; a popular tourist railroad practice. There are also “Polar Bear Express” trains in December, although they should not be confused with the summer excursion train on the Ontario Northland Railroad in northern Ontario. Neither train offers an opportunity to see polar bears, despite the name; that requires a trip to Churchill, Manitoba on VIA Rail.

Polar Bear Express

Three images: Frankie Wiseman, M&H RR.

“Polar Bear Express” train from December, 2009

The portion of the M&H line that offers excursions is eleven miles long, and the trip takes one hour and fifteen minutes. The railroad owns a steam locomotive that saw service on Canadian National Railways, although most trains are pulled by vintage diesel engines. The coaches were built for the Lackawanna Railroad around 1920. They were later converted for electric multiple-unit (EMU) operation when the Morris & Essex Line was electrified. They look exactly as they did when New Jersey Transit retired them in 1984 so, for anyone who rode the M&E during the pre-NJT era, the ride is a trip back in time.

The railroad’s headquarters is located in an old freight station, built by the Reading Railroad, and it is located within walking distance of the Amtrak station. There are a number of old cars to view on the property, including several vintage streetcars from Philadelphia and other places. The railroad offers rides in one of those cars on selected dates during the season. That car is #441, a 1909-vintage single-truck car that originally ran in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It pulls a generator to power its motors, but its flip-back seats, running board and other features are reminders of the golden age of streetcars.

Vintage streetcar #441 in Middletown

Vintage streetcar #441 in Middletown

The railroad also offers murder mystery dinner trains and other special events. Frankie Wiseman, Director of Passenger Service, supervises the excursions. She says that, next year, the railroad will offer a new experience: caboose rides.

Trains turn at Indian Echo Cavern, short of Hummelstown. Local opposition has kept trains out of the town so far, but railroad managers hope the situation will be eventually be resolved in the line’s favor. Even without going into Hummelstown, the route is scenic, and the ride was fun.

M&H Train on Cliff Overlook

Middletown itself is an interesting and historic town. The downtown area and Center Square are filled with historic homes and commercial buildings. The town’s web site, www.middletownborough.com, has walking tour brochures for those neighborhoods. The Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad can be reached at (717) 944-4435 and their web site is www.mhrailroad.com.

Not many tourist railroads are accessible without an automobile. The M&H is one of the few that can be reached by public transportation. Harrisburg’s Capital Area Transit (CAT) runs buses from downtown Harrisburg to Middletown on weekdays and Saturdays. Amtrak goes there every day, and Middletown is a viable destination for a day trip from Philadelphia, and even New York.

We will review more tourist railroads that are accessible by Amtrak or by local transit in future issues.


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“Mama, Don’t Take My Kodachrome Away”

 

Maryland’s MTA Warned: ‘Let Photographers Shoot’
ACLU Tells Agency Police Can’t Forbid Taking Pictures

By DF Staff and From The Baltimore Sun

Photo enthusiast Christopher Fussell likes to take pictures of trains and buses and the 29-year-old native of Oregon has taken images of transit systems all over the United States. At least that was so until he arrived in Baltimore, Md. when transit authorities told him to stop, as reported in the Baltimore Sun.

As a result of this, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland has put the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) on notice that it intends to file suit over the conduct of transit police in ordering Fussell and another photographer to stop taking pictures. The group warned that unless the agency meets a series of conditions by Sept. 1, it will take the MTA to court — where it expects to win.

“Photography is expressive activity that is protected by the First Amendment,” said ACLU staff attorney David Rocah. “If you are legally present, you have a right to take photographs.”

Rocah said the ACLU raised the right to take photographs in 2006 after an officer ordered one of its staff members to stop filming at a station. He said the ACLU chose then to try to resolve the issue amicably — a decision the attorney now calls an error the group will not repeat.

“Our time for friendly discussion is long since past,” Rocha said. “We tried that for five years to apparently zero effect.”

The MTA declined to comment on the ACLU warning, saying at the time it had just received the letter. But a spokesman pointed to a policy in the agency’s media guide urging people who want to photograph MTA facilities to seek permission.

However, asking for permission to take photographs in an otherwise public venue raises serious questions regarding one’s right to take photos.

The right of photographers to take pictures in public places has been a point of contention since the invention of the camera, but the disputes have become more frequent — and more contentious — since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which prompted police to challenge individuals who take photos or video of public infrastructure as potential security risks.

Internet message boards frequented by rail photographers and historians are rife with stories of persons being stopped, detained, and even held for questioning by local and federal authorities. Often such detainees are standing on public land such as a sidewalk or bridge crossing as they have for years, only to have their previously unfettered routine, sometimes their method for making a living, stopped in its tracks.

Civil libertarians and rights advocates say police have been given no new powers to curb photography since the 9/11 tragedy in New York. In many cases, they say, police are making up laws and rules on the spot and issuing orders they have no right to give. Further complicating matters are rail and transit employees echoing these non-existent rules and laws, not only having an impact on photographer’s rights, but potentially exposing that employee to serious federal charges of compromising another’s First Amendment rights.

Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, said it’s an issue he deals with all the time.

“I call it the Patriot Act gone wild,” he said. “For some reason, police see someone with a camera and they don’t want them to take pictures, or want to assert their authority.”

It was two such confrontations between transit police and photographers earlier this year in Maryland that prompted the ACLU to issue its lawsuit threat in a letter to the MTA police chief, Col. John E. Gavrilis.

The organization says an MTA police officer approached Olev Taremae of Bethlehem, Pa., on Feb. 20 as the avid photographer and railroad enthusiast took pictures of Baltimore’s light rail system at Mount Royal Station.

In the letter, the ACLU says Officer Angela Rawlings told Taremae it was illegal to photograph rail operations in Maryland, but later backed off that assertion and said it was against MTA policy.

“Needless to say, both assertions are simply untrue,” Rocah wrote. He added that he was “flabbergasted that officers still do not know the relevant legal rules, or deliberately misrepresent them.”

Taremae agreed to stop shooting and leave but was given a warning notice — a copy of which was obtained by The Baltimore Sun — with none of a list of 18 violations checked.

The ACLU said Taremae would not discuss the incident. Fussell participated in a video interview via Skype from his home in Portland, Ore., to discuss his experience.

Fussell, a student at Western Oregon University who takes 15,000 to 20,000 pictures a year during his travels around the country, said he has a particular interest in transportation systems.

Fussell said he got off a northbound light rail train at Baltimore’s Cultural Center station on March 21 to transfer to a train to Penn Station. He said he was taking pictures of passing trains when an MTA employee told him the activity was forbidden and she would summon police.

In the letter, the ACLU says three officers who responded “acted in a hostile and threatening manner to someone who did absolutely nothing wrong, spewing misstatements of the law at every turn.”

Unlike Taremae, Fussell refused to stop filming when officers told him to “cease and desist” — asserting that he had a constitutional right to take pictures in a public place. He captured the encounter in a video now posted on YouTube under the headline “Detained in Baltimore for Photography.”

Fussell said he was especially concerned that there be a record of his interaction with police because he is hearing-impaired and depended on lip-reading to understand the officers.

“I know my rights, and I did my best not to break any laws,” Fussell said. “I didn’t feel like shutting the camera off because they had already been dishonest with me from the get-go.”

Since then, the head of the Maryland Transit Administration has flatly repudiated the efforts by the agency’s police officers to forbid photographers from shooting pictures of MTA equipment or from MTA property, vowing to settle all the issues raised by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland before a lawsuit can be filed.

Agency Administrator Ralign T. Wells said MTA officers were not properly representing MTA policy when they ordered two amateur photographers to stop taking pictures and video of light rail trains earlier this year. Wells said he would apologize to the photographers and take steps to make sure that officers respect the First Amendment rights of photographers.

“We don’t have a policy restricting photography,” Wells said. “The actions of some of these officers are not reflective of the agency stance.”

The MTA chief offered an explanation, but not an excuse, for why transit police officers ordered Olev Taremae of Bethlehem, Pa., and Christopher Fussell of Portland, Ore., to stop taking pictures and video in two separate incidents in February and March.

“There’s just a high sensitivity post-9/11 to photographers. We obviously have to back off of that,” he said.

Wells pointed to a posted policy on the MTA web site that states: “A permit is not required for non-commercial, personal-use filming or photography by the general public that does not interfere with transit operations or safety.”

The Maryland Transit Administration is the latest of many transportation agencies that have been forced to back down from formal or informal curbs on photography in the aftermath of 9/11.

Wells said the policy allowing photography had been restated to officers in February and March. He said the ACLU letter and a Baltimore Sun article about the controversy would be brought up at roll calls in the upcoming weeks.


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STOCKS...  Selected Rail Stocks...

Source: MarketWatch.com

   This
Week
Previous
Week
Canadian National (CNI)76.3777.31
Canadian Pacific (CP) 61.5962.57
CSX (CSX)75.7477.93
Genessee & Wyoming (GWR)56.4158.36
Kansas City Southern (KSU)56.5758.48
Norfolk Southern (NSC)70.7272.57
Providence & Worcester(PWX)14.7513.85
Union Pacific (UNP)101.14103.53


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ACROSSTHEPOND... Across The Pond...  

Installments By David Beale
NCI Foreign Editor

 

Tokyo-Osaka High-Speed Maglev Train Gets OK

May Be The First Commercial High Speed Maglev Train Outside Of China

Via Kyodo New Service

Tokyo – The Japanese government told Central Railway Japan Co. (JR Tokai) Friday to build a maglev line between Tokyo and Osaka, it said, marking a milestone for the project in the making since the early 1970s. The two Japanese mega cities have been linked since the mid 1960s by the conventional rail technology Shinkansen “Bullet Train” line, which makes the 550 km (345 mi.) trip in just-under 3 hours.

JR Tokai will begin an environmental assessment around December of the route running through the Southern Alps, northwest of Mount Fuji, aiming to begin construction in April 2014. The planned maglev train line in Japan will be only the second maglev train line in the world in revenue passenger operation aside from a short maglev train line which operates in China from Shanghai Pudong Airport to an inner suburb of Shanghai.

Transport minister Akihiro Ohata issued the order for the ¥9 trillion-plus (approx. US $80 billion) project to link Tokyo and Osaka in 67 minutes by train running up to 505 kph. The carrier plans to begin the high-speed service between Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027 and full service between Tokyo and Osaka in 2045. No explanation was given for the lengthy construction period of nearly 31 years for the entire planned route. The original Tokyo-Osaka Shinkansen high-speed rail line was built in approximately six years, for comparison.

High-Speed maglev trains have found little acceptance in the world-wide transportation marketplace, despite considerable hype given to the technology by the mainstream news media and various politicians from the USA, Germany, Russia, China, and the Middle East. Back in March 2008, D:F predicted that high-speed maglev trains would remain a limited-use “boutique” solution for high-speed ground transportation (D:F Vol. 9 No. 13).


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The Year of 2011 –
Anniversaries For Rail Transit

Hannover – In 2011 three railroads reached major milestones. First Amtrak reached its 40th anniversary in May 2011. In June 2011 the ICE high-speed train system in Germany passes its 20th anniversary of revenue services.

In late September 2011 the TGV high speed train network in France marks 30 years of service, but the celebrations have already started. SNCF began formal celebrations and rolled out a TGV “heritage” train with a special 30th anniversary livery on the outside and various exhibits and interactive media shows inside the passenger cars. The special TGV history train has already visited various cities all across France plus Geneva and Brussels starting in April 2011 and will continue through July 2011.


Photo: SNCF

30 years TGV ! The 30th anniversary exhibition train underway in France in April 2011.

In contrast to SNCF, Deutsche Bahn has remained rather low-key about the 20th anniversary of the ICE train network, offering only a EUR 20.00 discount coupon on certain fares on board ICE trains. The offer expired at the end of May, despite the actual 20th anniversary taking place in June. Almost all of the ICE trains in-service are currently displaying a large decal on the lead car or power car of each train set which announces / celebrates Germany as host of the FIFA 2011 World Cup Women’s Football (soccer in the USA) tournament, but nothing about 20 years of ICE.

In perhaps stereotypical German fashion, Deutsche Bahn marked the 20th anniversary of ICE with a barrage of statistics. Key among those statistics: average number of daily passengers: 210,000. Distance traveled by the ICE fleet since June 1991: 1.4 billion km (880 million miles or nearly five round-trips between Earth and the sun). Average energy consumption per passenger (assuming 50% passenger load factor of the trains): ICE-1 and ICE-2: slightly under 3 liters gasoline per 100 km or about 80 miles per gallon for each passenger. For ICE-3 it is about 2 liters gasoline per 100 km (about 117 miles per gallon per passenger).

For D:F Readers Only: do you know of a rail system or significant train series which has a major anniversary in 2011 or 2012? Send in your comments, stories to: editor@nationalcorridors.org . Photos may be sent to photos@nationalcorridors.org . FTP available on request.


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EVENTS... Events...  

APTA 2011 Rail Conference
June 12-15 At Boston

From The American Public Transportation Association

BOSTON --- The 2011 Rail Conference is scheduled for June 12-15, 2011 (Sunday through Wednesday), at the Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel in Boston, MA.

Discussions and workshops will cover safety and security, planning, sustainability, finance, capital projects, operations, and all technical or technological aspects of providing rail service. The focus is on timely issues of wide-spread interest for all rail modes, including high-speed rail.

This conference also includes an exhibitor showcase featuring the latest rail products and services.

Who should attend: all rail system staff, including mid-level and management, board members, policy makers, government agency staff, suppliers, consultants, and contractors.

To Attend the Conference

Conference Proceedings: APTA continues its mission and commitment to “going green” by offering each paid registrant online access to the conference proceedings as part of the conference registration fee. This added member benefit, available after the conference, affords members universal access to some of the most important technical research advancing the industry presented at the conference.

Students: College and university students can attend for free, which includes admission to educational/technical sessions, the International Rail Rodeo, and technical tours.

For Meeting Registration or questions call: (800) 893-7949


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LETTERS... We Get Letters...  

Dear Editor,

Another superior edition of National Corridors. It is “essential” reading for all who are more than just bystanders on the journey to improve our passenger rail/transit infrastructure in America. Amtrak is likewise “essential” and must also remain “intact” as the editorial in the current edition of National Corridors points out. Debts of gratitude to all of the staff at National Corridor are in order and I remain confident that the “yes we can” on passenger rail improvement will ultimately win out on those that I call “the others.”

Best regards,
John A. Fostik

(John A. Fostik is a published author, and holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration and currently works in the insurance industry. He has had a life-long interest in all things maritime which he attributes to his father who during World War II worked in the Kearny Federal Shipyard. Growing up in northern New Jersey he was fortunate to have been able to see and visit many of the famous luxury liners and cruise ships that called at the great port of New York. With keen experience as a result of working during college in a travel agency and subsequently taking over 40 trans-oceanic voyages, he is uniquely qualified and exceptionally familiar with the history of the great American and international shipping companies. Mr. Fostik is the author of America’s Post War Luxury Passenger Liners to be published by Iconografix Incorporated in the fall of 2011.)


 

Dear Editor,

I’ve really enjoyed David Peter Alan’s series about the opportunities and problems in connecting New England by rail.

I was pleased to read his comments regarding the “inland route” connecting Worcester, Springfield and Hartford to New York. That will never be a high-speed line, but substantial improvements can be made to the benefit of all the connected cities. As I have written you about before, another factor to push regarding the inland route is that it by-passes the Thames River bridge and could provide security of transport to the region should the bridge become impassable.

Best wishes,
Michael Reidy
michael@mfreidy.com
(Presently resident in the UK)

At our request, Mr. Reidy shared his background related to rail from an early age:

I grew up in Worcester and took a variety of trains to Philadelphia (grandmother) and Harrisburg (college): B-Liner to New London to catch the Boston-Washington train; sleepers into Boston coming back from college. At age 14 I wrote to the NYNH&H encouraging electrification to Boston. I’ve always been fascinated by railroad history engineering (especially New England). I’ve lived in the UK since 1974 and commuted by train, and travel in Europe by train when possible –  EuroStar to Paris and Brussels, and connections to Cologne for exhibitions; Several times a year EuroStar and TGV down to Agen, France.

I’ve always believed in the success of better rail services to and from Worcester; the development of the inland route, and integrated transportation.

“A rail fan from Worcester now living in the UK” sums it up.


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END NOTES...  Publication Notes...

Copyright © 2011 National Corridors Initiative, Inc. as a compilation work and original content. Permission is granted to reproduce content provided acknowledgements to NCI are given. Return links to the NCI web site are encouraged and appreciated. Color Name Courtesy of Doug Alexander. Content reproduced by NCI remain the copyrights of the original publishers.

Web page links as reproduced in our articles are active at the time we go to press. Occasionally, news and information outlets may opt to archive these articles and notices under alternative web addresses after initial publication. NCI has no control over the policies of other web sites and regrets any inconvenience experienced when clicking off our web site.

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 editor at editor@nationalcorridors.org. Please include your name, and the community and state from which you write. For technical issues contact D. Kirkpatrick, NCI’s webmaster at webmaster@nationalcorridors.org.

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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 transportation initiative sites. We hope to provide links to those cities or states that are working on rail transportation initiatives – state DOTs, legislators, government offices, and transportation organizations or professionals – as well as some links for travelers, enthusiasts, and hobbyists. If you have a favorite link, please send the web address (URL) to our webmaster.

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