January 19, 2013 |
Amtrak and California will work together to design new high-speed trains to operate on the East and West Coasts, rail officials said Thursday. Amtrak would get its trains first, but California's would be faster. California is planning a 220-m.p.h. high-speed line that will operate between San Francisco and Los Angeles, with the first 130-mile segment currently scheduled to be in operation in 2022. Amtrak wants to buttress its existing Acela Express fleet with trains that can match the Acela's current top speed of 150 m.p.h.
January 18, 2013
WASHINGTON - U.S. builders started work on homes in December at the fastest pace in 4 1/2 years and finished 2012 as their best year for residential construction since the early stages of the housing crisis. The Commerce Department said Thursday that builders broke ground on houses and apartments last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000. That's 12.1 percent higher than November's annual rate. And it is nearly double the recession low reached in April 2009. Construction increased last month for both single-family homes and apartments.
December 24, 2012
Central African rebels advance BANGUI, Central African Republic - Rebels in Central African Republic have taken another town under their control just days after they said they were halting their advance. Regional official Jean-Baptiste Manikaou says the rebels gained control of Bambari, about 240 miles from the capital, over the weekend. Maxime Andjingbayo, a local priest, says government forces fled Bambari after about two hours of gunfire. Rebel Col. Djouma Narkoyo called the move preventative action aimed at blocking government forces from preparing a counterattack.
August 10, 2012 |
What does the nation's busiest rail corridor need to make train service faster, more frequent, and more dependable? Federal planners will be in Philadelphia this month as part of a nine-city visit to explore the future of the 457-mile Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston. The Federal Railroad Administration is in the early stages of a 38-month process to figure out how to improve rail travel on the corridor for the next 40 years. By March 2015, the FRA is to come up with a comprehensive plan, including an environmental-impact statement, for remaking the corridor, with proposals for updated equipment, more trains, new stations and possible new routes, with estimates of costs and benefits.
July 26, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Amtrak is proposing a $7 billion to upgrade Union Station in Washington to turn it into a high-speed rail hub for the Northeast. The Washington Post reports that a plan calls for doubling the number of trains the station can accommodate. Amtrak would add new platforms, tracks and stores. Six tracks for high-speed rail would be added. There'd also be a 50-foot-wide, 100-foot-long glass-enclosed main concourse. A developer is also planning a $1.5 billion complex of offices, residential towers and a hotel that would be built on a deck over the tracks behind the station.
July 23, 2012 |
When John Adams traveled between Boston and Philadelphia in 1776, it took him two weeks. On Amtrak's Acela today, the trip is about five hours. But sometimes, the train seems as frustratingly slow as Adams' horse. Poking through North Philadelphia, lumbering out of New York City, wallowing through Bridgeport, America's high-speed rail is anything but. Compared with its cousins in Europe and Asia, Amtrak's showcase service is heavy and slow, less a bullet train than a cannonball on wheels.
July 21, 2012 |
Amtrak is thinking big in small-minded times. At all levels, government is scaling back. One of our political parties has decided that investment in infrastructure is a dangerous, socialistic experiment, and the other one can't manage to persuade the country otherwise. So this may not the best moment to pitch a $151 billion bonanza, which is the amount Amtrak would like to spend over the next 28 years bringing high-speed rail to the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor. But Amtrak is thinking long-term.
July 14, 2012 |
Can you have a European- or Japanese-style high-speed rail experience, even if the train is creeping along at less than 150 miles an hour? Yes, say international manufacturers who are touting the prospects of smooth, quiet, luxurious rides for American passengers, even though it will be many years, even decades, before 220-m.p.h. bullet trains show up in the United States. "Higher-speed" trains with many of the same aerodynamic features and interior amenities of France's TGV or Japan's Shinkansen may be the American stepping-stone to true high-speed rail, as the United States looks for affordable improvements to its old-fashioned, slow passenger rail network.
July 13, 2012 |
Comparing bullet trains to grand American achievements of the past, President Obama's transportation chief said benefits of a high-speed rail network would far outweigh the multibillion-dollar costs, and he said political opponents are on the wrong side of history. "What we're doing is what other generations have done for us," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told international rail executives gathered Wednesday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. He cited the interstate highway system, the Erie Canal, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the transcontinental railroad as similarly transforming American projects of earlier eras.
July 12, 2012 |
U.S. TRANSPORTATION Secretary Ray LaHood blasted America's "unenlightened elected officials" on Wednesday while speaking in Philadelphia at the first international conference on high-speed rail to be held in the United States. Those elected officials, of course, did not include his boss, President Obama. "Common, ordinary citizens are enlightened about this issue," said LaHood, referencing polls that show a majority of Americans want bullet trains. "The bottom line really is this: High-speed rail and passenger rail and the kind of investment that needs to be made cannot be done unless there are people of vision" in government.