Round 6: The Port Raises a Statutory Issue

At this writing, Amtrak is preparing to present its case to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) disputing the amount of new infrastructure that potential host railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern claim must

Round 5: A Skirmish Over a Model

The “Second Battle of Mobile” is in full swing. Prospective host railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern, along with the Port of Mobile, are in a hearted dispute with Amtrak at the Surface Transportation Board (STB) about how much infrastructure must be built between New Orleans and Mobile before Amtrak will be allowed to run two daily round trips between those cities.

Has the Railroads’ ‘Get Up and Go’ Spirit ‘Got Up and Gone’?

My take on the STB Gulf Coast hearings, so far: There seems to be little question that the ongoing campaign to bring Amtrak trains to the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Mobile is among Railway Age’s biggest stories of the past two-plus years, second-only to coverage of the Canadian Pacific-Kansas City Southern merger.

Round 4: A Battle Within a Battle

The battle between Amtrak and potential host railroads CSX and NS, joined by the Port of Mobile, entered a new stage April 4, as the first witnesses began their appearances before the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in the first case that will decide how and on what conditions Amtrak will be allowed to initiate new passenger service. The entire afternoon and the start of proceedings on April 5 featured a single witness. There was only one more during that day’s 8½-hour session, and only one other on April 6. April 5’s morning’s events featured a skirmish within the principal battle: a mini-slug-out in which both sides can claim victory, but CSX may have been the bigger winner.

Round 3: Raising Legal Issues in a Case of First Impression

At this writing, the first witness in the slugfest between Amtrak on one side and CSX, NS and the Port of Mobile on the other, is focusing on confidential matters. That creates an opportunity to think further about the importance of the case and how to report it to you. We had previously thought that a single report about this week’s hearing before the Surface Transportation Board (STB) would be sufficient, but the opening statements made by the parties April 4 forced a change in plans.

APTA HSR Conference Focuses on Recurring Themes

There is nothing operating in the United States or Canada that meets the standard of the High-Speed Rail (HSR) lines that run in Europe, Japan and China today. Still, there are many planners, managers, transportation officials, and rider-advocates who want to remedy that situation.

Round 2 Over, Round 3 Under Way

The clock has run down on Round 2, and, as you read this, Round 3 at the Surface Transportation Board is in progress. This battle may decide railroad supremacy, at least on the passenger side, for the next decade and more.

Two Years After COVID: Amtrak Lags, VIA Rail Hopes

Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada took major hits in the two years since COVID-19 pushed much of the world into lockdown mode. Today, Amtrak’s service recovery has stalled, while VIA Rail is looking forward to something of a comeback under difficult circumstances later this spring; a comeback that has already begun in part.

For NJT, a Tree Falls in Maplewood (But That Wasn’t the Only ‘Cutoff’)

New Jersey Transit (NJT) recently concluded a challenging week involving two “cutoffs”: a seven-day service outage on most of its busy Morris & Essex (M&E) Line and connected Gladstone Branch, and a renewed call for service restoration of an historic right-of-way in western New Jersey.

Rail Transit and COVID-19, Two-Year Mark

It has now been two years since we felt the impact of the COVID-19 virus and our lives changed, possibly forever. Ironically, the news came on Friday the 13th: the day that millions were told that we would all need to wear masks, classroom education would cease and “virtual” learning would take its place, and many jobs would terminate immediately. Some older workers found themselves “retiring” on the spot, whether they liked it or not. The virus had its effects on our trains and our transit, too. Ridership plummeted everywhere, and service was curtailed.

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