Breaking News

Khatami Named HAIC President

Kimia Khatami, Director of Customer Service for Pacific Harbor Line (PHL), has been named President of the Harbor Association of Industry & Commerce (HAIC), a commercial and industrial trade association representing the business community of Long Beach and Los Angeles harbors.

AAR, GoRail Honor Clyburn

The Association of American Railroads and GoRail have presented House of Representatives Majority Whip Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) the Railroad Achievement Award “for his longstanding leadership on surface transportation issues, including matters that directly and indirectly affect both freight and passenger railroads in South Carolina and across the nation.” AAR President and CEO Ian Jefferies presented Rep. Clyburn with the award at the North Charleston Intermodal Transportation Center.

First Look: NYCT R-211

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority is providing a first look at its new, open-gangway (“Open Car End”) New York City Transit R-211 subway cars, now under construction by Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc.

Opinion

You Blew It, Andrew Cuomo

New York City Transit President Andy Byford resigned on Jan. 23. Andy was hired in January 2018 to improve and transform New York City’s 116-year-old subway, North America’s largest, and he was doing just that. But he got fed up with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who thinks he’s in charge of running New York’s railways. Now, someone else will have to carry on—if they’re capable—and that remains to be seen.

Sunlighting PRIIA—Which Should Be Sunsetted

When it comes to the news of Jan. 16, 2020 of Amtrak approaching the State of Tennessee to gin-up interest in its latest pitch for the highly questionable PRIIA legislation, it is best to remember what long-ago Supreme Court Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis once said: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” As this action looks like a maneuver to manipulate Congress to allow Amtrak to disassemble long-distance trains and reallocate their equipment, I intend to ensure sufficient sunlight is evident here when Amtrak touts its newly discovered Nashville-Atlanta route.

Good “Experientials” or Bad?

Ever since he came to Amtrak from the airline industry, President and CEO Richard Anderson has “railed” against so-called “experiential” trains, an expression he often uses in disparaging the roughly 15 long-distance trains in Amtrak’s skeletal national network. Anderson clearly prefers corridors, and many members of the rider advocacy community also like them, but Anderson seems determined to expand those corridors by eliminating long-distance trains in what he and his followers perceive as a zero-sum game. While he often uses the word to describe his company’s long-haul trains, it does not seem clear what he dislikes about them, or whom he believes they serve and with what sort of experience.

Sleeper Service: Let’s Follow Europe’s Lead

“[A]nd a little child shall lead them.” Many of you will recall that this is a Biblical quote from Isaiah read at Christian Sunday Advent services last month just prior to Christmas. And this made me think of the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (now Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” and recently nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize) and which, per chance, occurred at the same time I received an e-mail from a fellow rail advocate who expressed his rabid climate denial, using such words as “I haven’t drank the climate change Kool Aid.”

A New Decade of Post-PSR Service Planning Starts Now

2019 will be remembered as the year of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) and for the great traffic drought in North American railroading. PSR has indeed helped deliver the eye-popping levels of operating ratios (OR) that rail executives could once only dream about, and many of the Class I’s set record ORs throughout the year.