America’s foremost passenger rail policy institute
In addition to our regular “This Week” style columns, we are beginning to collect, from a variety of sources, news items which impact passenger rail. Of recent note:
We’re bullish on passenger trains.
2012 has been a fast-paced year, especially with the Florida East Coast announcing private passenger service (see articles). The rail passenger renaissance continues, as described by Noel Braymer in his article, How LA went from “don’t need rail” to “can’t live without it.”
In January we looked back almost exactly thirty years ago to the report, “Amtrak 90,” written by Professor Ronald C. Sheck. An expansion of an even earlier report “Amtrak 80″ which in the mid 1970s looked forward to an expanded national passenger rail network by 1980, “Amtrak 90″ still serves as a baseline template for the future of American trains. Indeed this underscores how Amtrak, with the significant exception of state-supported services and a handful of corridors, has seemingly concentrated on nothing but shrinking in the forty years since its founding.
Yet travel by passenger train in North America, as in civilized countries around the globe, can serve as an essential part of our domestic transportation network. We are just now entering a new Golden Age of Rail Travel. Not for over half of a century have so many opportunities for good, reliable passenger train service been available.
As every mode of transportation has its strengths, so, too, does passenger rail. Passenger trains work well for long, medium, and short distances of travel, both on a national and regional basis. Cities and States across this great nation are starting to understand the limitations of our highway and airway systems, and to see the profound and proven economic, social, and environmental advantages of railways.
Private enterprise, too, is now actively seeking expansion of our passenger rail network: According to their website,
The Association of Independent Passenger Rail Operators (AIPRO) was established to actively promote the expansion of passenger rail service in the United States of America. Our core mission is to positively promote an understanding of the public benefits of our nation’s current passenger rail infrastructure, while seeking to proactively work with our partners in the industry to increase passenger rail opportunities through a dynamic and competitive marketplace.
None less than Gil Carmichael, Founding Chairman of the Intermodal Transportation Institute, author of the “Interstate II” concept, and Federal Railroad Administrator under President Bush, has called for the sale of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (AMTRAK) in an Open Letter to the American People.
The United Rail Passenger Alliance is dedicated to the viability of a new Golden Age of Rail Travel. You are invited to investigate our plans and join us in the attainable quest for more trains to more places more often in a robust and viable national passenger rail network.
A Note from Mr. Thorpe:
Original art is a powerful tool to show how trains connect and shape the nation. Rail concept art, such as this (above), can help refine, communicate and fund visions. For more information on the work of J. Craig Thorpe, please see www.jcraigthorpe.com.
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- Bill Lindley looks at the fallacy of Allocated Costs: how meaningless numbers led to forty years of stagnation in the passenger rail business.
- Strategic Routes for Amtrak – Dr. Adrian Herzog’s 1998 Plan Updated to 2008
- Andrew Selden’s vision for the future of Amtrak and high speed rail in America
- Here are some things we know to be true, and you won’t find this information anywhere else
- A primer for members of the news media on correct terms for passenger rail
- URPA’s 2005 white paper, Concepts of the Successful Long Distance Passenger Train of the Future has been updated: concepts-of-the-successful-passenger-train-of-the-future-2008
- An Introduction to Matrix Theory for Passenger Trains (Dr. Adrian Herzog, 2000) … also video 1 and video 2
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