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Author Topic: New passenger rail blog!!
TheBriz09
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Hey everyone! It's been awhile since I've posted here, but I wanted to stop by and let you guys know about my latest new project: a passenger rail blog! I have titled it with the ever-so-creative title of "the passenger rail blog." Anyway, I've basically been gathering together news about anything relating to rail travel - Amtrak, high-speed rail, mass transit news, etc. Check it out - I've got a few stories up already, and I've been trying to post at least one or two news-y items every day, so hopefully there's always something new to read about. Please let me know what you think and in what ways you think it could be improved.

http://prb.thebriz.com

Also, on a related note, I wrote up a somewhat lengthy pro-Amtrak essay. If you have time, take a read and let me know what you think is missing/shouldn't be there/should be expanded/what additional interesting stats should be included. Note that I wrote it for a general audience, so you all likely won't learn anything, but I would like to know how it can be improved - again, aiming for a very general audience.

http://prb.thebriz.com/rail.php

Thanks everybody! As always, loving the friendly banter on this forum!

Posts: 93 | From: Batavia, IL | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
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Looks like our "friend" Daniel Stone surfaces again; apparently his access to Amtrak sources is unimpaired:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/147648

Maybe he's "grown up" a bit since his University of California - Davis days. I guess what I must accept is that irreverence to established institutions is part of the "making of a journalist'. After all, the Daily Illini, even if it is a recognized publication of the College of Media, was not exactly, or at least back in my day, the Administration's mouthpiece.

http://www.railforum.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/11/5451.html

Posts: 9388 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
HopefulRailUser
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Your blog is great! It is well organized, lots of links from the summary comments and very attractive too. If you plan to keep up the frequent updates I will plan to be checking in every day for the news.

--------------------
Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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sbalax
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Beautiful job. Very well organized with great graphics.

Keep it up!

Frank in overcast SBA

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train lady
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great!! keep it up.
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Gilbert B Norman
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What is most interesting, Mr. Breisch (you're "out" at your linked pages), is the photo you display of a Virgin 'British Rail" set. If the Bush administration, with 185 and a wake up to go, as well as quite likely a McCain administration, were to have their way, that is how an Acela trainset should be liveried.

I personally would be opposed to any such initiative; no private sector operator would want anything other than the "cream", which likely means the Acela and Auto-Train. Why should we the people, i.e. we the taxpayers, be deprived of the positive cash flow these two operations put into the hopper?

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smitty195
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Very nice blog--thanks for letting us know about it.

I just read the story about the issue going on the ballot later this year for the tax increase for a Cloverdale to Larkspur train. Very interesting! I just drove by the Cloverdale station last week, and it's weird driving on Hwy 101 and looking over and seeing a nice looking commuter train station surrounded by tall weeds and rusty rails.

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TheBriz09
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Sorry for the delay in my reply! Yes, I intend to update every day or as often as I can, although unfortunately that went out the window last week due to extremely severe storms that hit my area. I didn't get my cable internet back until just yesterday night, so that's why I've been missing my deadlines.

Anyway, I'm back to updating, and if any of you are interested in performance stats like me, I'd like to point you to my breakdown of Amtrak's monthly performance report for May (just released last week). I went through the report and collected the most interesting stats for your perusal. Check it out if you're interested.

http://prb.thebriz.com/reports/200805.php

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Stephen W
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Why is the Texas Eagle's performance so abysmal compared to the rest?
Posts: 211 | From: Norfolk England | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
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Excellent blog, Briz. I've got it bookmarked.

I was struck by the article on cooperation of rail and air in France. That seems like a no brainer to me. Why would U.S. airlines want to tie up gate slots in congested airports and have the fuel expense and lower revenue of short haul flights?

I know former American Airline chairman Robert Crandall is an outspoken advocate of airlines exiting the short haul market with Amtrak taking over.

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yukon11
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quote:
Originally posted by smitty195:
Very nice blog--thanks for letting us know about it.

I just read the story about the issue going on the ballot later this year for the tax increase for a Cloverdale to Larkspur train. Very interesting! I just drove by the Cloverdale station last week, and it's weird driving on Hwy 101 and looking over and seeing a nice looking commuter train station surrounded by tall weeds and rusty rails.

********************************************

Here is a link to the story from the Santa Rosa Press Democract. Last time, the measure barely failed due to Marin County voting 57% when a two-thirds approval was needed.

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20080717/PT/153259616/0/NEWS&title=Train_tax_on_ballot

My question is what about the revival of the Northwestern Pacific, from Larkspur to Eureka? The Santa Rosa paper had an article, about a year ago, about the possiblity of reviving that railroad:

http://www.nwprrhs.org/

I would rather see the Norhwestern Pacific RR revived instead of the light rail from Larkspur to Cloverdale.

I did not know there was an old train station in Cloverdale. Another nice station, still in good repair, is the Kenwood Depot in Kenwood, Calif. which was a former SP station. I wonder, with either railroad, if the old train station in Railroad Square, Santa Rosa, will be reactivated.

Richard

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Geoff Mayo
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Actually short hops are more profitable to the airline than longer hops. That's why low cost carriers don't tend to fly long haul. But the more time spent in the air than on the ground is more revenue.

In a place like France it makes sense to send people on trains instead of planes - this is actually old news as they've been doing it for years. Some trains are actually codeshared with an AF "flight" number. Eurostar has made a similar impact in that flights between London and Paris have decreased dramatically. It simply doesn't make sense to fly, taking an hour to get to the airport, an hour to check-in and go through security, 45 minute flight, and then another hour getting to the city centre, when you can catch the train from city centre to city centre in well under 3 hours including checking-in time.

Mr. Norman, I know you like to be correct on terminology. "British Rail" ceased to exist, to all intents and purposes, over 15 years ago. A Virgin train is simply that, a Virgin train. Or you could say "a British railways Virgin train" thus referring to the country's railways rather than the company. But you're right in that it is a nice livery - many are not.

Geoff M.

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palmland
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Geoff M - Aside from Chairman Crandall's comments, Continental Airlines flys into their Newark hub and codeshares with Amtrak for nearby points.

I guess I miss your point since you state the case why rail makes more sense for short haul. To be competitive, airlines must lower fares to the point where it is not profitable.

In the U.S we certainly have less density, but still many city pairs could be more effectively handled by rail if the infrastructure was in place as in the NEC.

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delvyrails
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The message here is the conventional wisdom: corridors are good and let's spend huge sums to develop them; but long distance, well, maybe.

Aviation's publicized problems of the last year or so have overshadowed its increasingly negative environmental impacts, especially from high-altitude emissions on long-distance flights. It is now believed that aviation accounts for 8% of human-caused greenhouse gas creation.

Long-distance highway travel similarly needs to be offset and reduced by better long distance train service, including general use of auto carriers on Amtrak's trains.

This is not to deprecate the blogger's efforts. However, they need to include a dose of realism.

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Geoff Mayo
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Sorry, Palmland, for not making myself clear.

I was kind of making two points: firstly that airlines in general make more profit on short haul routes than on long haul. Secondly, although it's more profitable to the airline, it makes more sense to take the train for shorter journeys like on the NEC because of the airport hassles. I've heard various figures bandied around but speaking *very* generally anything under ~300 miles is better on a train if the right infrastructure is there - NEC as you say being a case in point, as are the LGVs in France, Eurostar, Shinkansen, etc.

If it's both cheaper and quicker to use the train then it's a no-brainer for virtually everybody. But the cost element clearly varies as there are still LHR-CDG flights so there must still be customers - and not just businessmen on accounts or people connecting to other flights.

I'd forgotten about the CO/Amtrak codeshare. They were even advertised in the UK a couple of years ago.

Geoff M.

Posts: 2426 | From: Apple Valley, CA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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