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NEWS
July 20, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum and Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writers
Even SEPTA employees know they won't be able to easily get into and out of Center City amid the throngs when Pope Francis visits on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 26-27. So what's a transit agency to do? Order 200 cots and portable showers for company headquarters on Market Street, to be used from Friday to Monday. "We will actually be sleeping in our offices," said SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams. Special papal visit transit passes go on sale online Monday for the hundreds of thousands of SEPTA and PATCO riders expected to pour into the city during the papal visit - including many people who must work that weekend.
NEWS
July 18, 2015 | By Michael Vitez, Inquirer Staff Writer
They came for Eli. Hundreds of food lovers and dozens of chefs helped raise more than $130,000 Thursday night at a fund-raiser at Fork Restaurant for Eli Kulp, one of the city's most promising and celebrated chefs, who was paralyzed in the May 12 crash of Amtrak Train 188. Thursday night's benefit - with $25,000 in donations from a silent auction - will be combined with $49,000 raised previously to help offset medical expenses for Kulp, 37,...
NEWS
July 15, 2015
A story Sunday about Amtrak management mischaracterized the railroad's fatal derailment in Philadelphia. It was one of Amtrak's worst accidents on the Northeast Corridor, not the worst. A story Monday on contributions to Pennsylvania Supreme Court candidates incorrectly reported the amount given by lawyer Neil O'Donnell. He contributed $7,442 to Supreme Court candidates this year.
BUSINESS
July 13, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
As it recovers from its worst accident on the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak faces frequent management turnover and structural change,in addition tochronic financial and political challenges. Former Amtrak executives say the turmoil at the top in recent years has disrupted railroad management and distracted employees from their daily duties. Steven Ditmeyer, a former Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) executive and now an adjunct professor in railway management at Michigan State University, said: "Rapid changes in management are never good, unless they're aimed at getting rid of nonfunctioning people.
BUSINESS
July 10, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
The National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday urged Amtrak to install "crash- and fire-protected inward- and outward-facing audio and image recorders" on all locomotives. The recommendation came in response to the May 12 derailment of Amtrak Train 188 in Port Richmond that killed eight passengers and injured 200. Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman said last month that Amtrak would install inward-facing video cameras in all of its 300 locomotives, starting with 70 Siemens locomotives now being put into service on the Northeast Corridor.
NEWS
July 1, 2015 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
The survivors of two men killed in the May 12 Amtrak crash in Philadelphia filed wrongful-death lawsuits Monday. The widow of Robert Gildersleeve Jr. alleged that Amtrak's negligence caused last month's derailment, which injured scores and killed eight passengers, including the Maryland executive. A second suit was filed Monday by Jacqueline Mercita Gaines of Plainsboro, N.J., over the death of her husband, James Marshall Gaines, an Associated Press video-software architect. Gaines, a 48-year-old father of two, died of a severe chest wound at Temple University Hospital a few hours after the crash.
BUSINESS
June 28, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Sen. Robert P. Casey (D., Pa.) and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce called Friday for the restoration of $242 million for Amtrak that the House cut from next year's federal budget. Casey and Lisa Crutchfield, the chamber's senior vice president of advocacy and public affairs, said Amtrak was an important economic engine for the region, critical for job growth and economic development. They urged the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, housing, and urban development to include $1.4 billion for Amtrak in the budget for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. That would be about the same as the $1.39 billion provided to Amtrak this year and higher than the $1.14 billion in the budget approved June 9 by the House.
NEWS
June 26, 2015
ISSUE | STORM DAMAGE Amtrak planning The stranding of Amtrak passengers for hours Tuesday night in Chester County on a train from Harrisburg appears to be an extra helping of Amtrak incompetence ("Half-million lose power as storms rip through," June 24). There is no special obstacle along the tracks in Chester County to de-boarding passengers and putting them on a bus or, at a minimum, delivering relief supplies. Or even sending a diesel to drag them to Philly. Amtrak's persistent refusal to prepare contingency plans for reasonably anticipated emergencies stands in contrast to cruise ship operators, who are required to have lifeboat drills.
NEWS
June 19, 2015 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Passenger rail operators working to install an upgraded safety system would get priority for federal grants and loans under a bill introduced Thursday by Sens. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) and Roger Wicker (R., Miss.), the top lawmakers on a subcommittee overseeing rail lines. The grant tweaks are part of a measure providing four years of increased funding for Amtrak, and come after the derailment of Train 188 in Philadelphia brought new attention to Positive Train Control, an electronic monitoring system that national safety advocates say could have prevented the crash.
BUSINESS
June 19, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Northeast states and transit agencies - including SEPTA and NJ Transit - are being asked to pay more to maintain the heavily traveled rail corridor between Washington and Boston that they share with Amtrak. The new cost-sharing plan for the Northeast Corridor is due to take effect Oct. 1, although Massachusetts has objected. That state is upset about its higher bill and the prospect that the plan "may mark the beginning of a devolution of federal responsibility down to the states.
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