June 22, 2014 |
Amtrak and California have ended their effort to jointly buy high-speed trains for the West Coast and the Northeast Corridor. A meeting with train manufacturers in Philadelphia this month convinced officials that the needs of the Northeast and California - including top speeds and route configurations - were just too different. The California High-Speed Rail Authority is planning to operate 220 m.p.h. trains on a newly built corridor between San Francisco and Los Angeles by 2029.
May 4, 2014 |
Even as grand plans proceed for development around 30th Street Station, the iconic station will remain wrapped in scaffolding and netting for lack of funds for repairs, a top Amtrak official said Friday. A $60 million restoration project, to repair the 81-year-old station's limestone, clean its facade, and waterproof the exterior, is included in Amtrak's nationwide five-year plan for construction and repairs. But Congress has not authorized the money, and there is no indication when - or if - it will, Amtrak's chief of Northeast Corridor planning and performance, Drew Galloway, said Friday.
April 29, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA Early last year, a Berlin artist and a Philadelphia curator boarded an Amtrak train at 30th Street Station for the sole purpose of looking out the window. From the train, artist Katharina Grosse and Elizabeth Thomas, curator of the city's Mural Arts Program, scoped out abandoned warehouses, railroad trestles, and patches of grass and trees that would be the appropriate canvas for their public art idea. The result: seven sites that include buildings and nature in a five-mile stretch between 30th Street and North Philadelphia stations that will be spray-painted to become part of a work they've titled psychylustro . "The work is meant to be a landscape of the mind.
March 29, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Amtrak's planned new Acela Express trains will carry more passengers and be more reliable than the current ones, even if they won't travel much faster, Amtrak president Joseph Boardman said Thursday. Amtrak is seeking proposals, with the California High-Speed Rail Authority, for new high-speed trains that can run at 220 miles an hour on the West Coast and 160 miles an hour on the Northeast Corridor. Proposals from train-builders are due by May 17. A builder will be selected by the end of the year, Boardman said.
March 20, 2014 |
Amtrak wants to use operating profits from the Northeast Corridor for major construction projects on the corridor, instead of subsidizing long-distance trains elsewhere in the nation. Revenues from passenger operations on the 453-mile corridor between Washington and Boston will exceed operating costs by about $290 million next year, Amtrak president Joseph Boardman said in a letter Tuesday to congressional leaders. Boardman asked that Amtrak be allowed to use that operating surplus to help pay for $735 million in capital costs on the corridor, including new railcars, station improvements, and rail and signal upgrades.
March 12, 2014 |
Ridership on buses, trains, and subways in 2013 was the highest in 57 years, the American Public Transportation Association said Monday. The growth in transit ridership continued a 20-year trend attributed to higher gasoline prices, a shift by young adults away from automobiles, increased use of mobile technology, and the increasing allure of urban areas. "There is a fundamental shift going on in the way we move about our communities," said APTA president Michael Melaniphy. In 2013, riders made 10.7 billion trips on U.S. public transit systems, up 1.1 percent from 2012.
March 3, 2014 |
Design consultants from around the world have been meeting with chiefs at Drexel University, Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust , and other local powers over the last couple of weeks to pitch competing development proposals they hope will help grow the neighborhood around 30th Street Station into a forest of high-rise towers and busy spaces. "We are in the process of determining and selecting a winning bid," Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz told me. "My understanding is, we should have that process wrapped up in the next several weeks.
February 8, 2014 |
Vice President Biden used a trip to 30th Street Station on Thursday to tout Amtrak's newest locomotive as an engine of the economy and a savior of middle-class jobs. The first of 70 new electric locomotives will begin revenue service Friday in Boston, pulling Amtrak coaches on the Northeast Corridor. Amtrak is spending $466 million on the new 125-m.p.h. locomotives, being built by the rail systems division of Siemens Industry Inc. in Sacramento, Calif. The new "Cities Sprinter" locomotives will replace models that are 25 to 35 years old. They eventually will power all Northeast Regional trains between Boston and Washington, and also will operate on the Keystone Corridor between Harrisburg, Philadelphia and New York.
February 7, 2014 |
VICE PRESIDENT Joe Biden, a self-confessed railroad geek, strode to the podium at 30th Street Station yesterday to sing the praises of Amtrak's smart new electric locomotive - and quickly noticed that U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, Philly's Democratic Party chairman, was missing. "I don't know where the hell Brady is," Biden told the crowd in mock shock-and-awe. "Tell him I marked him 'absent.' " Then Biden, who U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx introduced as "president of the Amtrak fan club," launched into a riding-the-rails rap with the fervor of a man who made 7,000 round-trips between Washington and his Wilmington home during his 36 years in the Senate.
January 19, 2014 |
Top Amtrak officials collect salaries of $200,000 or more, according to records made public in response to Freedom of Information Act requests by The Inquirer. Amtrak, the taxpayer-subsidized national railroad, routinely refuses to divulge officials' salaries when it announces their hiring. Amtrak received about $1.3 billion in public money last year, including about $400 million for operating costs. These are the salaries of some officials hired in recent months, Amtrak disclosed in response to the newspaper's freedom-of-information requests: Gerald Sokol Jr., chief financial officer, $300,000.