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.
January 8, 2014 |
Amtrak service between Philadelphia and Washington was disrupted Monday evening because of power-line problems in Wilmington that started around 6:15 p.m. and were continuing. Also, Amtrak announced it will reduce its Tuesday schedule between Washington and Boston because of the extreme cold moving into the region. Service finally resumed between Philadelphia and Washington around 11:30 p.m., though residual delays were expected, Amtrak announced via Twitter. The stoppage originally was between Philadelphia and Baltimore, but was extended to Washington because of the service backup.
December 9, 2013 |
Has Amtrak abandoned its vision of 220-mile-per-hour bullet trains speeding up and down the Northeast Corridor? The railroad recently issued draft specifications for new trains to replace its existing Acelas that call for 160 m.p.h. trains, not the 220 m.p.h. versions Amtrak said in January that it was seeking. Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority in January announced they were jointly seeking proposals for trains that could run at 220 miles an hour on the West Coast and the East Coast.
November 29, 2013 |
Last of two articles. High-speed rail in the United States is closest to reality in California, but the nation's busiest rail route - the Northeast Corridor - is struggling just to keep the trains running as Amtrak pleads for money to eventually bring bullet trains to the Northeast. The 457-mile-long corridor between Washington and Boston carries 750,000 riders and 2,000 trains a day on an antiquated system prone to frequent failures and delays. And while California can largely start from scratch to build a high-speed line planned to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco by 2029 - though it must overcome legal and funding challenges, including a ruling this week stopping a bond sale - the corridor faces a daunting retrofit.
November 15, 2013 |
THERE ARE 96 acres of prime real estate hiding in plain sight in the middle of our resurgent city. We scuttle past them every day by car or train. In a land-rich city like Philadelphia, it is often hard to see the treasures lying just beneath our feet. I'm talking about the rail yards at 30th Street. Bounded by the Schuylkill on the east, JFK Boulevard on the south, 32nd Street to the west and Spring Garden Street to the north, the rail yards are the most significant piece of real estate in the city.