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.
October 16, 2013 |
Amtrak reported its highest-ever train ridership Monday: 31.6 million travelers took to the rails in the last 12 months, the 10th increase in 11 years. The previous record was 31.2 million riders in fiscal 2012. Ticket revenue rose to a record $2.1 billion from $2 billion the previous year. Ridership on Amtrak's busiest route, the Northeast Corridor - Washington to Boston through Philadelphia - was 11.4 million passengers, the second-best year ever, Amtrak said. Northeast Corridor traffic was strong in spite of serious service interruptions, including the flooding of tracks and tunnels caused by Sandy last October.
October 9, 2013 |
Amtrak is seeking redevelopment plans for 30th Street Station and the surrounding area, including the potentially lucrative air rights above the rail yards adjacent to the station. After several years of preparation, Amtrak announced Monday that it wants proposals for a master development plan delivered by Nov. 18. Amtrak is working with Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust to redevelop the 80-year-old station and its University City neighborhood. A coordinating committee of significant players, such as the University of Pennsylvania, SEPTA, and the city, also will be involved, Amtrak said.
October 5, 2013
Amtrak, which loses about $80 million a year on its food services, will aim to break even in five years, Amtrak president Joe Boardman said Thursday. Congress has long called for Amtrak to end the losses. Currently, Amtrak charges about $2 for a soft drink that costs it $3.40 to serve and charges $9.50 for a hamburger that costs it $16. Boardman said most of the losses occur on long-distance dining cars, and he said new consolidated food management and automated ordering systems will reduce losses and theft.
September 16, 2013 |
It seems so American. Take the train? Fine. I'll take the train. But only if I can take my car with me. And that's exactly what we did this summer on a family reunion trip to Disney World. We had taken the Auto Train a couple of times in the '70s, before Amtrak acquired it, and we decided to celebrate my father's 80th birthday with a nostalgic run. He, of course, flew. What we learned in the '70s is that you need to get rooms. The scheduled trip is 17 hours and 29 minutes; it will take longer (see "Amtrak acquired it")
August 17, 2013 |
Just as construction barriers are about to come down on the west side of 30th Street Station, workers are getting ready to erect scaffolding around most of the landmark rail station. New 10-foot-high canopies will be in place for years to protect pedestrians during a planned restoration of the limestone facade of the 80-year-old neo-classical building. Amtrak will put up the scaffolding now, but the $60 million restoration won't start until Amtrak gets the money from Congress, and there is no indication when that might happen.
August 16, 2013 |
Pennsylvania transportation officials are trying to reach agreement with Amtrak on a funding plan to keep passenger trains running from Philadelphia to Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. An Oct. 1 deadline looms as Amtrak negotiates with officials from 16 states, including Pennsylvania, over the operating and capital subsidies the states must provide, under a 2008 federal law. Three other states - Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin - have come to terms with Amtrak. In Pennsylvania, Amtrak operates the popular Keystone Express trains between Philadelphia and Harrisburg and the once-daily Pennsylvanian trains between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.
August 15, 2013 |
Update : The National Weather Service has confirmed that an EF 0 scale tornado (winds 65 to 85 m.p.h.) touched down in the Manahawkin section of Stafford Township, Ocean County on Tuesday. Earlier story: treets from Coatesville to Ship Bottom went Venetian, flash flooding was ubiquitous, and "rush hour" became even more of an oxymoron than usual. On Tuesday morning, the soggiest summer on record added dramatic twists to its growing legacy, with potent storms that took down trees, closed roads, and put the brakes on mass transit at the height of the morning commute.
July 21, 2013 |
Amtrak says it anticipates imposing speed restrictions on Northeast and Keystone Corridor trains because of the heat. Riders on Amtrak as well as SEPTA and N.J. Transit trains that operate on the two corridors should expect 10-20 minute delays, Amtrak said. Amtrak said speed restrictions are implemented when internal rail temperatures - not ambient temperatures - exceed 120 degrees. Amtrak engineers monitor track temperatures in real-time via electronic probes attached to the rails.