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Discussion in 'Passenger Service' started by ChrisDante, Jul 8, 2000.

  1. ChrisDante

    ChrisDante TrainBoard Member

    Dear Friends of Amtrak:

    it would, Amtrak, on July 6, unveiled its new logo and introduced a
    new commitment to customer satisfaction, promising to compensate
    riders for unsatisfactory experiences. Amtrak passengers who believe
    they did not receive a safe, comfortable and enjoyable trip will be
    entitled to a certificate good for future Amtrak travel at equal
    cost. Amtrak has been training 24,000 employees" to take personal
    initiative and do what is necessary to solve guest problems." To
    encourage Amtrak's 24,000 employees, they will get a bonus equal to
    the average Amtrak ticket price (about $50) every month that 99.9
    percent of customers are satisfied.

    Meanwhile the new logo design depicts three parallel lines winding
    their way to a horizon and replaces what has been known as the
    "pointless arrow."

    A photo of the new Amtrak logo is now on the Friends of Amtrak website...just
    click on the "News Update" link on the main menu or hit:

    I'll be on train #130 this morning (Friday 7/7) and #163 tomorrow and
    hopefully can catch a few photo ops of the new branding. If so I'll
    be adding that to the website.


    U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ-D) has created a web site to build
    support for S1900 & S1144. It is:


    Go to the section labeled "Support" for sample letters.



    H.R.3700, the High Speed Rail Investment Act (HSRIA), is up to 120 sponsors.

    On the Senate side, Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC) became the 48th
    sponsor of the Senate HSRIA (S.1900). Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) signed
    on as a cosponsor on 6/13/2000 and Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) on

    It's still important for these non-sponsoring senators -- whose
    states have much to gain from the bill -- to hear strong support for
    HSRIA from back home:

    Abraham (R-MI),
    Collins (R-ME),
    Fitzgerald (R-IL),
    Gorton (R-WA),
    Lugar (R-IN),
    Santorum (R-PA),
    Voinovich (R-OH).


    For more info see the NARP HOTLINE:


    Friends of Amtrak supporter, Pat Fitzhugh, has written an article about the
    "City of New Orleans" accident in Illinois last year (a sad but true
    account of what happens when people don't obey crossing signals). The
    right people saw the article, and Pat ended up winning an "excellence in
    journalism" award for it. Hopefully, this will get the article in front of
    more people and educate them about railroad crossing safety. The article
    is now posted on Themestream, a Web-based publishing company. If you're
    interested in reading the article, please visit:



    Kansas City, Mo., voters will be asked Aug. 8 to approve up to $395
    million of bonds to finance airport projects over the next five
    years, according to an airport official. $110 million of the bonds
    would be used to upgrade a
    maintenance facility for Trans World Airlines Inc.

    The rest of the bond proceeds would finance a central car rental facility,
    new long-term parking and a light-rail system to link parking, car rental and
    terminal facilities. The last time voters were asked to approve airport bonds
    was in 1988 when $330 million of bonds were authorized.


    MEANWHILE, reports in the "Boston Globe" suggest that summer passengers should
    expect delays of up to two hours at Boston's Logan International Airport.


    Funding has been approved by the state of CA for the 6th round trip train on
    the San Joaquin route. At the opening of the Bakersfield Station on July 4,
    it was announced that the Fall schedule changes would see the
    addition of the sixth roundtrip Valley train, with direct service to
    Sacramento. It was announced that the 6th San Joaquin will provide
    direct service for Valley riders continuing on to the California
    Zephyr at Sacramento, eliminating the need for bus transferring at

    Bakersfield, the southern end of Amtrak's San Joaquin line, is the 14th
    busiest station in Amtrak's network of 500 national stops, with nearly a
    half-million travelers passing through the station annually, and it is home
    to the new $15 million Amtrak depot.

    The city of Bakersfield offered up the land, Amtrak took care of
    furnishings at the station and state and federal transportation funds
    paid for the rest of the $15 million project.


    In the last update I mentioned that House Transportation and Infrastructure
    Committee Chairman Bud Shuster is known as "Mr. Highway" in his home
    state of Pennsylvania.

    I am told that in the Altoona, PA area, there are the Bud Shuster
    Highway, the Bud Shuster Byway (seriously!), and perhaps one or two
    more. The Highway is I-99, which runs about 52 miles from Tyrone, PA
    to Bedford, PA (through Bud
    Schuster's hometown, Altoona) connects Altoona with the Pennsylvania
    turnpike and I-76 and I-70. So I-99/US22 is THE "R. Bud Shuster


    The First two of the eleven sets of Surfliner Sets are in. I rode
    the new equipment earlier this month on its first regular run from
    Oceanside to San Luis Obispo. I found the Business Class Cars to be
    rather interesting, as they have A/V in the seat back in front of the
    seat in front of you. They also have upper restrooms at one end of
    each car. I have some photos on my trainweb site with the Surfliner
    equipment. They are in the file

    Also of interesting note is that the baggage car is in the forward
    end of the cab car and the cafe area is on the lower level of the car.

    Source: Peter Warner, from an onboard observation.

    One set of Amfleet cars was released back to the Chicago Hub last
    week with the first three weeks of operation of the Surfliner Cars.

    Peter Warner


    There is a great new photo of Train #175 crossing the bridge at Nan in
    Niantic, CT on May 30, 2000 now posted on the Friends of Amtrak website:

    Photo, by Leo King, is noteworthy for its unique vantage point. Don't miss it!


    Catch the National Corridors Initiative website at:


    At Beech Grove it was announced on June 23 that Amtrak has just signed an
    agreement to purchase an additional 30 P-42 locomotives from GE and cut the
    overhaul and re-installation of 23 stored F-40 locomotives in this fiscal
    year back to only 18, a reduction of five.


    Board of Directors
    Friends of the Indiana Association

    to include discussion on -
    # Amtrak & federal updates (officials are being invited)
    # Legislative Agenda 2001
    # High Speed Rail Safety
    # September 8 Annual Meeting & Seminar
    # "The Indiana Corridor" Marketing Initiative

    You are warmly invited to the Indiana Association's

    Tuesday, August 1, 2000
    12:30 to 2:30 pm

    Conference Center
    400 West Washington Street
    Indianapolis, Indiana

    For further information
    Call (219) 887-1351


    Annual Meeting and
    Midwest Regional Rail Initiative
    Friday, September 8, 2000

    to August 17, 2000

    Courtyard by Marriott
    I-94 & Kennedy Avenue
    Hammond, Indiana
    (219) 845-6350
    "Indiana High Speed Rail"

    The Courtyard is a 45 minute drive from
    Chicago's Midway and O'Hare Airports


    Train Delays on the IC Route: (Not from AMTRAK)

    For those passengers who will be riding in the Chicago- St. Louis corridor,
    please be aware of possible train delays entering and leaving Chicago along the
    Illinois Central Railroad route.

    The Illinois Central Railroad began a rail laying project on Monday June 26.
    They are laying new rail (welded rail) and replacing the old jointed rail and
    replacing a small bridge. Both are taking place on their Northbound or #2
    track. Work gangs are out there from about 7am until about 6 pm. Because of
    this project what is a double track railroad will be reduced to a single
    track railroad in the places that the rail gang is working.

    This project is to take about 8 weeks to complete.

    During these times ALL of the Chicago-St.Louis corridor trains,
    (Trains 300, 303, 304, 305, 21 and 22) might experience some sort of delay.
    Delay might vary but can be anywhere from 15 minutes to about an hour or
    possibly more.

    Most of this delay is attributed to running at reduced rates of speed.
    Instead of 79 mph it might be as low as 10 mph. Crossing over from one track
    to another as all the switches must be thrown by hand, and complying with the
    necessary operating rules while moving through these work locations are other
    reasons for delay.


    Steve Brown has posted eight new images of the Amtrak Cascades Talgos on his
    website at:



    OARP News
    Contact: Dominic Liberatore

    Northeast Ohio Director
    July 6, 2000
    (216) 283-0200
    (216) 328-4687 (pager)


    County takes important first step to creating transportation center

    ELYRIA -- The Ohio Association of Railroad Passengers (OARP) is
    extremely grateful that the Lorain County Commissioners have agreed
    today to commit funding for the purchase of the historic New York
    Central depot in the heart of downtown Elyria. The acquisition of the
    station was due to the hard work of OARP, Lorain County Transit's
    (LCT) Board of Directors, LCT General Manager Deborah Mohr and the
    previous owner Bill Kennedy.

    The purchase was made on behalf of LCT, which plans to restore the
    vacant facility as a transportation center for its bus operations and
    offices. Preliminary plans also might restore the depot to its
    original use as a train station for the growing number of Amtrak
    passenger services linking Lorain County residents to the East Coast,
    Chicago and the rest of the nation.

    "With the 75-year-old depot in the hands of a public transportation
    agency, it means the depot has a greater chance of being restored to
    its intended use," said OARP's Northeast Ohio Director Dominic
    Liberatore. "One of the key factors the federal government looks at
    before awarding funds to a project like this is whether the property
    is owned by a public agency. That factor was missing last time."

    In 1996, a $2.5 million effort to renovate the Elyria depot with
    offices, restaurant, and a train station was halted when the federal
    government rejected a $1.9 million historic enhancement grant for the
    project (the city, Ohio Rail Development Commission and Amtrak were
    to provide the remaining funds). The depot restoration was the
    highest-ranking project in Ohio that year not to get a federal
    historic enhancement grant. At the time, the building was owned by
    Mr. Kennedy.

    "OARP will work with LCT, the city of Elyria, Lorain County and
    others to create a station task force for developing a new funding
    package," Liberatore said. "That will make the New York Central Depot
    more than just a functional place to board buses and trains, or for
    people to make transfers between them. It will be a jewel in downtown
    Elyria and serve as a catalyst to the revitalization plans for the
    entire central business district."


    If the depot is redeveloped as a transportation center, LCT officials
    said they would like to make it the headquarters of their Lorain
    County bus operations, which include existing routes to Oberlin,
    Lorain, North Ridgeville and Hopkins International Airport, as well
    as future expansions. Those services would allow LCT bus riders to
    transfer to Elyria's six daily Amtrak passenger trains. Amtrak plans
    to expand service through Elyria later this year. Greyhound officials
    also have expressed an interest in relocating to the site. Parking
    and a taxi stand will be offered. The depot also offers easy
    pedestrian access to all of downtown Elyria.

    The New York Central Depot features an ornate rotunda and a windowed
    cupola at the center of a vaulted ceiling. However, a drop-ceiling
    keeps this impressive dome from being seen. The station also has an
    underpass beneath the adjacent Norfolk Southern tracks. The tunnel
    once led to a pair of track-side platforms where rail travelers once
    boarded New York Central passenger trains prior to 1968.

    Elyria regained passenger rail service from Amtrak a decade later,
    but at a new station a half-mile farther east down the tracks at 410
    East River Road, near East Bridge Street. Since 1990, Amtrak has
    tripled the number of trains serving Elyria each day. Train travel to
    and from Elyria has grown from 4,586 passengers in 1998 to 5,876 in
    1999 -- a 28 percent rise, according to Amtrak's Government & Public
    Affairs Department in Chicago.

    The new station, actually a converted trailer-home, is located on the
    south side of the tracks where passengers can board only one train at
    a time. While that is not a big problem now, it will become one
    starting later this summer. That's when Amtrak plans to start a new
    service between Chicago and Philadelphia called the "Skyline
    Connection." However, Elyria will not be a stop for this service's
    daily eastbound and westbound trains.

    According to Amtrak's Planning Department, switching the "Skyline
    Connection" trains onto the south track (closest to the current
    Elyria station) would disrupt the flow of frequent train traffic and
    cause conflicts with existing Amtrak passenger and Norfolk Southern
    freight schedules.

    Since the New York Central Depot has the structural capability of
    boarding passengers from any one of the railway's three tracks, this
    increased flexibility should allow Elyria to gain a stop on the
    "Skyline Connection." If that happens, the service's eastbound train
    from Chicago to the East Coast would stop in Elyria at about 8:20
    p.m., with the westbound train stopping here at about 1:10 p.m.

    The Ohio Association of Railroad Passengers, a nonprofit organization
    founded in 1973, advocates more and better passenger rail and transit
    services to improve transportation choice, mobility, economic growth
    and environmental quality.



    Around The Rumor Mill:

    No rumors today.


    If you would like to submit a trip report please follow the guidelines at
    the following site:


    Amtrak's Mid-Atlantic Division Safety Council has a new web site
    dedicated to the safety of its employees and guests:


    Ohio residents...Don't forget the OARP's 24 hour hotline:

    OARP's 24-hour hotline: (614) 470-0334


    AMTRAK PRESS RELEASE: June 30, 2000


    PHILADELPHIA - The Bombardier/ALSTOM manufacturing consortium and
    Amtrak have resumed testing of the new Acela Express high-speed train
    on the Northeast Corridor following modifications to the locomotive
    New, longer bolts were installed in the truck assemblies after some
    of the original bolts were discovered broken or missing during
    earlier tests. The use of longer bolts was proposed by the
    manufacturers, and safety engineers for the Federal Railroad
    Administration approved the resumption of testing.
    The train resumed testing between Newark and Washington this week and
    will make test runs in New England next week.

    Source: Amtrak


    AMTRAK PRESS RELEASE: June 21, 2000


    WASHINGTON, DC - Mayor Thomas Carper of Macomb, IL was appointed
    Chair of Amtrak's national Mayors' Advisory Council at the U.S.
    Conference of Mayors Summer Meeting last week in Seattle. For the
    past year, Mayor Carper has served as the Council's Vice-Chair. The
    Council was formed by the Amtrak Board of Directors to bolster local
    support for intercity passenger rail, raise awareness of its
    important transportation role, and support Amtrak's Strategic
    Business Plan through closer partnerships between Amtrak and cities
    and towns. The 22-member mayoral body is balanced for geography,
    city/town population, and party affiliation.

    "I am honored to be chosen as the Chair of the Amtrak Mayors'
    Advisory Council, and I look forward to strengthening Amtrak's state
    and local partnerships which will help improve our economy and
    Amtrak's bottom-line," said Mayor Carper. "As the mayor of a city
    that depends on Amtrak, I know that these partnerships will enable
    Amtrak to deliver better intercity passenger rail service to meet the
    growing transportation needs of our citizens."

    "There has been a clamoring for more and better rail service
    throughout the U.S., and the Amtrak Mayors' Advisory Council is now
    providing a platform for the mayors to collectively raise their
    voices to support a stronger Amtrak for their communities," said
    Mayor John Robert Smith, Amtrak Board member and mayor of Meridian,
    Mississippi. "I know that Mayor Carper's leadership as Chair of the
    Council will help achieve an economically stronger Macomb and Amtrak."

    As Vice-Chair, Mayor Carper represented the Council at the High-Speed
    Ground Transportation Association Annual Conference in Philadelphia
    and at the Amtrak Customer Advisory Council in Milwaukee. He will be
    a featured speaker at the National Corridors Initiative later this
    month in Washington, D.C. Mayor Carper has also been a strong
    advocate for a long-term, dedicated source of capital funding for
    intercity passenger rail service with the Illinois Congressional

    Source: Amtrak


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    When in doubt, empty your magazine.
  2. reggierail

    reggierail TrainBoard Member

    Thanks Chris for the great report. I know you must have put a lot of work into posting it & just wanted to let you know I read every bit & check out most of the links too. Please keep them coming when you can. Thanks again Reggie

  3. ChrisDante

    ChrisDante TrainBoard Member

    You're nice to say that. I was wondering if it was overkill, I'm from the Confused Corridor and tend to think in those terms. But I realized that there is a lot more to Amtrak than the NEC.

    When in doubt, empty your magazine.

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