March 11, 2015 |
The U.S. Supreme Court sided Monday with Amtrak in a dispute with freight railroads over priority of passenger trains on freight tracks. A 2008 law directed Amtrak to work with the Federal Railroad Administration to create standards that let Amtrak keep priority over freight trains. But a federal appeals court sided with the freight railroad industry, which said Amtrak was a private organization that could not regulate competitors' actions. The Supreme Court reversed, saying Amtrak is like a government entity given the reality of federal controls.
March 6, 2015 |
The U.S. House on Wednesday approved and sent to the Senate a passenger rail bill that would allow Amtrak to use profits generated by Northeast Corridor service for improvements to the Washington-to-Boston corridor. The bill would also phase out federal subsidies for food and beverage services on Amtrak trains. The House bill would provide about $1.4 billion for Amtrak next year, rising to $1.5 billion by fiscal 2019. It also would provide $300 million per year in infrastructure investments, half of it for the NEC. This year, Amtrak received $1.39 billion.
March 2, 2015 |
WASHINGTON - In the grand halls of Union Station, you can get everything but a train. From Appalachian Spring to Victoria's Secret, 55 retail shops offer shoes, handbags, ties, chocolate, wine, perfume, cigars, watches, and clothes. Thirty-five restaurants and food stands will serve you plank-roasted salmon on a white tablecloth or a burrito in a brown paper bag. The many commercial lures - and the majesty of the monumental 1907 Beaux Arts building with its vaulted, coffered ceilings and classical statuary - have made Union Station a bigger draw than the Lincoln Memorial or the Smithsonian Institution: 37 million people pass under its arches each year.
February 20, 2015 |
Sen. Bob Casey urged Amtrak to spruce up 30th Street Station to welcome visitors for the papal visit this fall and the Democratic National Convention in 2016. The Pennsylvania Democrat said Wednesday he wanted more retail and dining options and nicer restrooms. No new federal money is likely to be available to speed up improvements, Casey acknowledged in a news conference at the station, but he said he hoped private funding could fill the bill. He had no estimates on costs, specifics on renovations, or possible private contributors.
February 8, 2015 |
U.S. House leaders offered their vision for the future of Amtrak on Thursday, with a bill that calls for more autonomy for the Northeast Corridor, while requiring an end to federal subsidies for food and beverage services. The measure, the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015, is sponsored by the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. It is virtually identical to a bill that passed the committee unanimously late last year but did not come to a vote in the full House.
December 3, 2014 |
A MAN WAS fatally struck by an Amtrak train in Northeast Philly late Sunday, officials said yesterday. The collision took place about 11:40 p.m. on the tracks in Bridesburg, said Craig Schulz, an Amtrak spokesman. A man, whose identity wasn't available last night, was walking in the track area when a Northeast Regional train hit him, police said. Medics pronounced him dead at the scene. It's unclear why the man was walking on the tracks, but it doesn't appear that his death was a suicide, said Lt. John Stanford, a police spokesman.
November 27, 2014 |
Amtrak on Tuesday reported its smallest federally funded operating loss since 1973, as ridership on the Northeast Corridor reached a record 11.6 million passengers. Amtrak reported total revenues of $3.24 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, up from $2.99 billion a year earlier, and total expenses of $4.29 billion, compared to $4.20 billion in fiscal 2013. After adjustments for depreciation and other items, Amtrak reported an federally funded operating loss of $227 million, a 37 percent decrease from 2013 and a 52 percent decrease from 2007.
November 26, 2014 |
PLANNING TO travel today? We hereby grant you permission to kick off your shoes, crack a beer, ignore your in-laws and postpone your Thanksgiving journey until tomorrow morning. It might be safer. AAA Mid-Atlantic is predicting that about 580,000 Philadelphia-area residents will travel 50 miles or more away from home between today and Sunday - the heaviest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2007. But a coastal storm is expected to move in this morning and could create major traffic problems throughout the day. Fantastic.
October 19, 2014 |
Plans for expanded parking, higher platforms, improved waiting areas, and other upgrades at train stations along the 104-mile Keystone Corridor will move forward within the next few years, a Pennsylvania transportation representative said Friday. Five of the 12 train stations on the Keystone Corridor, which stretches from Harrisburg to Philadelphia, are in Chester County. "A lot of these stations, nothing has been done with them since my grandfather came home from World War II," said Jennie Granger, director of aviation at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
October 13, 2014
If I hadn't been looking for "psychylustro" through the tinted windows of the Chestnut Hill West train, I would not have seen the helium balloon bucking at its tethers above the Philadelphia Zoo. I wouldn't have wondered about the skinny, leafless trees (like tinder, like wishbones) or imagined 19th-century factory girls behind the smashed windows of abandoned manufactories or reflected on Philadelphia's history as a generative incubator of modern graffiti. I wouldn't have thought about rail yard grass, either, or about how, despite every zooming, spewing, speeding thing, it grows.