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BUSINESS
October 4, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Storm damage to Amtrak passenger-rail tunnels to New York City will cost more than $700 million to repair and force year-long closures of busy rail lines beneath the Hudson and East Rivers, according to an engineering report released Thursday. Repair work could force delays in passenger service along the entire Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington. Water and salt damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 will require massive overhauls of the 104-year-old New York City tunnels, the report said.
BUSINESS
September 13, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
House leaders in Washington on Thursday introduced legislation to allow Amtrak to reinvest Northeast Corridor profits on improvements to the corridor, rather than to use that money to subsidize money-losing, long-distance routes in other parts of the country. The bill proposes many changes in how the national railroad is funded and how it operates. It was sponsored by top Republican and Democratic members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, giving it instant bipartisan support.
NEWS
August 19, 2014
ISSUE | 30TH STREET STATION Politicians shouldn't change station's name In reference to Karen Heller's column ("Gray Station not such a bright idea," Aug. 10), the controversy over Congress' high handed attempt to rename our city's iconic main railroad station continues unabated even though Congress itself escaped the heat of Washington immediately after passing this legislation. The interesting underlying fact is that the station is privately owned by a limited partnership created in the 1980s to take advantage of the generous tax credits that funded the restoration undertaken at that time.
BUSINESS
August 6, 2014 | By Joseph A. Gambardello, Inquirer Staff Writer
Amtrak is investigating how an Acela Express train to Philadelphia and Washington left New York City's Penn Station without 85 passengers. The New York Daily News quoted one passenger as saying ticket holders were sent to the wrong platform, but Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz described the problem only as an apparent miscommunication "between the train crew and the station staff, which resulted in the train departing before all passengers could board....
BUSINESS
August 1, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Amtrak trains have been late nearly 30 percent of the time in the last 12 months, considerably worse than the year before. Part of the problem, Amtrak says, is that most of its routes operate on tracks owned and controlled by freight railroads. And a federal-court decision last year - which is now headed to the U.S. Supreme Court - undercut Amtrak's ability to compel freight operators to give priority to passenger trains. In the 12 months ending in June, only two of 33 Amtrak routes met the railroad's nationwide goal of 85.5 percent on-time performance.
NEWS
July 30, 2014 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Philadelphia's 30th Street Station is on its way to getting a new name. The city's rail hub would be renamed "William H. Gray III 30th Street Station" under a bill that passed the House on Monday in a voice vote. The plan would honor the late congressman, who long represented Philadelphia, secured millions of dollars in the 1980s to help renovate the station, and broke barriers as an African American. U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), who succeeded Gray in Congress and sponsored the plan to change the name, said he hoped the Senate would pass the same bill this week, before lawmakers break for their summer recess.
NEWS
June 22, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
BUSINESS
May 4, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
April 29, 2014 | By Julie Xie, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
BUSINESS
March 29, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
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