Amtrak Tracking for My Commute Between New York City and Philadelphia

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Amtrak Adjusts Acela Express and Northeast Regional Schedules to Accommodate Track Work

From WebWire: "As Amtrak continues a number of track work projects to improve service in the Northeast, Acela Express and Northeast Regional (Washington – New York – Boston) passengers will see additional, temporary schedule changes beginning Monday, July 13, 2009.  The track work projects will improve the reliability of train service in the Northeast and will provide passengers with a more comfortable ride. To perform the necessary work, the number of available tracks will be reduced and trains will be single tracking — sharing tracks — as crews work to replace concrete railroad ties on the track that is not in service.The track work is located between New York City and New Brunswick, NJ where only three tracks instead of four will be available at any one time. Timetables - As a result of the numerous schedule changes that will occur this summer, schedules for service in the Northeast do not appear in Amtrak's 2009 Spring-Summer System Timetable. The printing of Northeast train schedules will resume in the 2009/2010 Fall-Winter Timetable."

Not sure if this is related to the Federal Stimulus funds or not but a good sign to see work being done on the tracks along the NEC. A hassle for regular users for a few months perhaps but this will lead to better future service. Now is probably a good time to do track work, ridership is down this year so Amtrak may have more flexibility in scheduling maintenance. When ridership picks up again and they start to see the volumes from 1-2 years ago (which will probably take a year or two to reach) Amtrak will be in a better position to service this load. The story did not make it clear how dramatic the disruptions will be or what the schedule impact is directly, I'll see if I can find that out.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Who railroaded the Amtrak inspector general?

Story from Michelle Malkin about the Amtrak inspector general Fred Weiderhold who "retired" last month.

From the article:

On June 18, Weiderhold met with Amtrak officials to discuss the results of an independent report by the Washington, D.C. law firm, Willkie, Farr & Gallagher. The 94-page report has been made publicly available through the office of whistleblower advocate Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). It concluded that the "independence and effectiveness" of the Amtrak inspector general's office "are being substantially impaired" by the agency's Law Department. Amtrak bosses have effectively gagged their budgetary watchdogs from communicating with Congress without preapproval; required that all Amtrak documents be "pre-screened" (and in some cases redacted) before being turned over to the inspector general's office; and taken control over the IG's $5 million portion of federal stimulus dollars.

Malkins alleges cronyism in the firing as a Eleanor Acheson oversees the Amtrak Law Department and Acheson is a good friend of Hillary Clinton and VP Joe Biden and they're looking to protect their people in Amtrak. Is it true? Probably, but whatever. Executives get sacked all the time and I refuse to cry my eyes out for some dude who was making huge money and now gets a sweet severance deal while millions are out of a job.  If Obama's people want to get some of their own folks in Amtrak so be it, that's the way politics goes when your administration injects $1 billion plus of tax payer money into a company. But I expect solid oversight to prevent waste and for Amtrak to deliver some noticeable upgrades by the 2012 election cycle now that they got major fed dollars. America needs to see results with improved Amtrak rail service along the NEC and across the US, I don't care who's in there as long as it gets done.