Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Monday, July 29, 2013
"Amtrak Boarding Madness" from The Economist
Thursday, February 28, 2013
"Former Amtrak President David Gunn Still Hates Moynihan Station"
I like the plan to convert the Post Office/Farley Building to be Moynihan Station and replace Penn Station. David Gunn has some important points though about the drawbacks to the plan that the Observer clearly notes:
"From a transportation point of view it makes no sense." For passengers coming from the 1/2/3 trains, "what the Farley Building [Moynihan Station] does, is make you walk from Seventh Avenue all the way across Eighth Avenue. You'll have to go under the Eighth Avenue subway, then climb up to the [new] head house, which is to the west of Eighth Avenue, over towards Ninth Avenue."
Mr. Gunn noted that New Jersey Transit built a concourse that empties out on Seventh Avenue, reflecting its closer proximity to Manhattan's center of gravity and most of its north-south subway lines. One way to accommodate a head house at the old Farley Post Office would be to simply continue to allow passengers to board at the current station. "But [the real estate concerns] didn't want us to let people on at the old Penn Station, because I think the real estate developers had shops they wanted people to patronize at the [new] Farley [Moynihan Station] head house [that will replace Penn Station]"
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Amtrak's annual losses at lowest level since 1975
Amtrak's fiscal 2012 $361 million operating loss (year ending Sept. 30) was down 19 percent from 2011 and the lowest total since 1975. Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman said this is a sign of progress.
Boardman laid out an agenda for 2013 that includes delivery of the first of 70 new electric locomotives and 130 long-distance passenger cars, expansion of the Acela service in the Northeast with an additional New York-Washington round trip, and beginning the work necessary to acquire new high-speed trains. The new locomotives will be easier to maintain and more energy efficient, using regenerative braking to feed energy back into the power grid.
Amtrak trains carried 31.2 million passengers in the 2012 fiscal year , the highest annual ridership since in 1971.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
More Amtrak Conductors Are High or Drunk on the Job Than Ever Before
"A new report out by the Amtrak inspector general (Ted Alves) shows higher rates of conductors, mechanics, and engineers testing positive for drugs and alcohol than at any time in the past six years."
Friday, September 28, 2012
"Schumer vows to jump-start tunnel project"
Some relevant points from the article:
Amtrak's Gateway Tunnel project to link New York and New Jersey plan to construct a third rail line under the Hudson River could break ground as early as the end of 2013 according to Schumer.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie killed the Access to the Region's Core (ARC) project, which was to include a train tunnel under the Hudson. The Gateway project was unveiled in February 2011Christie axed ARC. Congress approved an initial $15 million for Gateway in November 2011 and Mr. Schumer said an additional $20 million was close to being secured. The total project is expected to cost $13-$15 billion and will not be completed before 2020.
The two rail tunnels that connect New Jersey and New York and both are more than 100 years old.
A new urgency has been brought to the project, Mr. Schumer said, since Amtrak's engineers determined that the best place to construct Gateway was directly under the Hudson Yards development on Manhattan's West Side. The Related Companies is expected to break ground on the massive, mixed-use project late this year potentially complicating Gateway if it does not start soon.
The Gateway project would expand capacity from two to four rail lines between New Jersey and midtown NYC, build new tracks and platforms at Penn Station and improve electrical connections. The new rail lines would relieve what is considered the worst transit bottleneck in the country, boosting commuter capacity on New Jersey Transit by 75%. Gateway would also allow Amtrak to expand its high-speed Acela service, which is necessary for the development of state-supported high speed rail in New York.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Amtrak to run test trains at 165 mph in Northeast
Two test locations (Perryville MD, to Wilmington DE, and from Trenton to New Brunswick, NJ) currently have a speed limit of 135 mph. The two others (Rhode Island from Westerly to Cranston and in Massachusetts from South Attleboro to Readville) have 150 mph limits.
As part of a $450 million project funded by the federal high-speed rail program train tracks, electric power, signals, and other systems are to be upgraded over the next several years to improve reliability and to permit regular train operations at faster speeds.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
New rail stations, tunnel to airport eyed for Philadelphia
Mmmm. I love 30th Street Station and it is one of the most impressive train stations in the US. When I commuted to NYC from Philly 30th St Station was grand, spacious and comfortable which helped in dealing with a long daily commute (for the exact opposite feeling see NYC Penn Station). But a 37-minute train ride to get to NYC is worth some sacrifices so to make this happen I would be OK with 30th Station being relegated to a local hub.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
"Hassles of Air Travel Push Passengers to Amtrak"
Between New York and Washington, Amtrak said, 75 percent of travelers go by train; a share that has been building steadily since the Acela was introduced in 2000. Before that, Amtrak had about a third of the business between New York City and Washington. In the same period its market share between NYC and Boston grew to 54 percent from 20 percent.
Nationally, Amtrak ridership is at a record 30 million people. The Northeast accounts for more than a third of this.
Given the current trends Amtrak said traffic in the NEC could reach 43.5 million passengers by 2040, almost four times the level today.
Acela trains average about 80 percent full and earned an operating profit of more than $200 million last year on nearly $500 million in revenue. Acela tickets are costly - fares between New York and Washington range from an average of $145 for regular business class to $351 for first class; New York to Boston, $104 to $251; and Boston to Washington, $163 to $393. Non-Acela train fares between New York and Washington average $49 to $153 for coach and $120 to $193 for business class; New York to Boston, $49 to $133 for coach and $104 to $168 for business; and Boston to Washington, $70 to $185 coach and $144 to $233 for business class. By comparison the lowest one-way coach rate between Washington and New York was $236 on US Air before taxes and fees on Aug 15, 2012. Between New York and Boston, $229-$314, and Washington-Boston, $62-$369. Due to demand Amtrak wants to add cars to the 20 Acela trains increasing Acela capacity 40 percent. Amtrak plans to add the new cars by 2015 and by 2020 increase the frequency of the trains between NYC and Washington.