Amtrak Tracking for My Commute Between New York City and Philadelphia

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial: "U.S. Support of Amtrak"

Editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer today about how the presidential election would effect Northeast Corridor commuters, from the editorial:

"Here's a question that Northeast Corridor commuters should ask themselves in the voting booth Tuesday: Which presidential candidate is more likely to improve the rails to make your train rides safer and smoother? Probably not Sen. John McCain, who has been an outspoken critic of Amtrak and a persistent obstacle to its being adequately funded."

"Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama voted with the majority for the legislation that - for the first time since 2002 - authorizes funding for Amtrak"

"The federal government finances highways to the tune of $40 billion annually without expecting the roads to produce a profit. But when the roads are well-maintained and take people and freight where they need to go, profits are made."

"Amtrak ridership for its Northeast regional service jumped 9.5
percent in the last year. The Keystone Service linking Harrisburg, Philadelphia and New York saw ridership increase 20 percent. Now is the time to invest in Amtrak for its continued growth. But with the wrong president, that's unlikely to happen."

I won't to tell you to vote for but I hope either candidate gives Amtrak the support it needs. The Fed will dump a couple trillion into Wall Street the coming years, is $1 or 2 billion over about 10 years unreasonable support for Amtrak? i really don't think so.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

"Amtrak Ridership Through the Roof: Time for Some New Ideas in US Train Travel"

Here's a post on the site presenting novel ideas for Amtrak. The main points:
  1. Lay down a new system of tracks across the country for passenger trains only
  2. Start making double-wide trains
  3. Trains have to depart and arrive on time - try the Taiwanese method of boarding trains that never stop
All fine ideas to me, anything to improve efficiency and increase use of rail travel I'm for. I like the idea of boarding a train that never stops, this would be a neat engineering feat and radically reduce travel times. Anything that makes a commute time shorter I am all for.

Amtrak carried record 28.7 million over past fiscal year, each route had gains, $1.7 billion in total ticket revenue for fiscal year (end Sep 30) all time hige

Amtrak carried a record 28.7 million people in the past fiscal year, with each of its routes seeing gains. Amtrak has posted six years of ridership and revenue growth. The number of trips over the past 12 months increased 11 percent over the 25.8 million taken in fiscal 2007. Total ticket revenue for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 reached $1.7 billion, a record for Amtrak and a 14 percent increase over the $1.5 billion taken the previous year.

The Northeast Corridor, Boston-DC, saw ridership go up 9%; the high-speed Acela service on that line went up 6.5%.

Congress passed legislation that sets funding targets of $13 billion over five years for Amtrak. The bill also calls for about $1.9 billion in federal matching grants to states for rail projects.

This is all good news for Amtrak and those commuters who rely on Amtrak. This will lead to an improved rail infrastructure, better service, better on time performance, and more options for professionals who need to commute along the NEC. All this helps many ordinary working people and will give a boost to the economies of any town or city serviced by rail; and it's a lot less than that $700 billion financial thing.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

"Amtrak bill may ease local commutes"

Article in the website: "Amtrak bill may ease local commutes"  about the U.S. Senate approving a railroad safety and funding bill that features improvements to the train tracks that carry many thousands of commuters into and out of New York City every day.

The bill cleared in a 74-24 vote Wednesday night.

The bill's passage is a victory for Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., a chief sponsor who has annually battled efforts by the Bush administration to wean Amtrak off public subsidies and privatize some operations. "This is a chance to make a huge difference in the way we travel in this country," Lautenberg said before the vote. He said travelers deserve an option between increasingly unreliable planes and the high cost of gasoline for travel between major cities.

President Bush had threatened to veto a House version of the Amtrak bill that passed in June, but the threat was not repeated last week when a more expansive bill that also included railroad safety measures passed the House on a unanimous voice vote.

Over the next five years, Amtrak would receive $2.9 billion in operating subsidies and $5.3 billion for capital projects such as new cars, rehabilitated bridges and other upgrades.

A key benefit for Philly commuters going to NYC is the requirement that the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston be upgraded to a "state of good repair." Signal failures and stuck bridges were frequently blamed for delays on the corridor in recent years.