Amtrak Tracking for My Commute Between New York City and Philadelphia

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Obama unveils high-speed passenger rail plan

CNN story on President Obama unveiling his administration's blueprint for a new national network of high-speed passenger rail lines. Obama says such an investment is necessary to reduce traffic congestion, cut dependence on foreign oil and improve the environment. Highlights from the article:
  • The president's plan identifies 10 potential high-speed intercity corridors for federal funding, including California, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, the Southeast, the Gulf Coast, Pennsylvania, Florida, New York and New England.
  • Highlights potential improvements in the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor running from Washington to Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Each of the corridors identified by the president's report are between 100 and 600 miles long. The blueprint envisions some trains traveling at top speeds of over 150 mph.
  • The administration has dedicated $1.3 billion in federal funding for Amtrak. The money for the rail service, which carried almost 29 million passengers last year, will go primarily to infrastructure repair and improvement.
It's good to get more specifics of the plan and that the NEC is specifically mentioned for improvement.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Railroad Stimulus: How to Spend $14 Billion to Improve U.S. Rail

Popular Mechanics article about how to spend the federal stimulus money on US Rail/Amtrak infrastructure.The article talks about high speed rail in California. A good investment I think although I believe improving existing infrastructure so trains can travel at faster speeds is a better short term investment than the long term it would need to create a whole new high speed network/city-pair routes. Improving signaling technology and upgrading the NEC tracks so Acela can run at max speed a higher percentage of the time along with more trains running will give a boost to the East coast economy and benefit commuters to boot. This can be done pretty quickly I think, like within a couple years would be my guess.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Amtrak ridership declines for fifth straight month

Amtrak is seeing a decline in ridership as reported by the Detroit News. Ridership on the Northeast Regional trains between Boston and Washington fell 15 percent to 548,695, and passenger loads on the Acela line dropped 8.5 percent to 263,970. Travel is down across all forms of transportation due to the recession so I don't think too much can be read into this. It'd be nice to know how this drop in Amtrak ridership compares to car/bus/air travel.