Brightline proposes Orlando-Tampa HSR

The state of Florida has opened the process for development of its first high-speed rail line.

Amtrak as bully

Amidst extravagant accusations of inhospitable dispatching by host freight railroads of its long-distance passenger trains, taxpayer subsidized Amtrak is aggressively manipulating its privileged position in contravention of a congressional intent to expand private-sector operation of passenger trains. Amtrak’s strong-arm tactics also serve to squeeze monopoly rents from state and regional transit authorities, whose commuter trains share Amtrak-owned facilities.

Does the emperor wear no clothes?

With no panache in any prior media announcement, nor even a tip-off to its diehard advocacy supporters, Amtrak launched on June 20 a unique sale of roomettes through only June 26, and good for travel between Aug. 20 and Feb. 15, 2019 (https://www.amtrak.com/roomette-sale-buy-one-get-one-free). Based upon the prior atmosphere of Amtrak and certain airlines, this surprise sale actually gives the impression of simmering issues behind the iron curtain of transparency deep within the Amtrak bunker.

You get one chance to get it right

On June 8, the Associated Press reported that Virginia authorities had indicted a garbage truck driver on charges of involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence, after he allegedly drove into the path of an Amtrak charter train carrying Republican members of Congress, near Charlottesville.

Connecticut Amtrak banner Hartford Line

Connecticut bets big with Hartford Line

HARTFORD, Conn. – If it takes money to make money, then Connecticut has pushed all its chips into the rail transit pot.

WTS International honors VHB

Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) International has named planning, design and engineering firm VHB, Watertown, Mass., 2018 Employer of the Year.

SKF, Siemens keep ’em rolling

SKF and Siemens Mobility have entered into a partnership that will integrate SKF’s Insight Rail condition-based maintenance technology Siemens’ Railigent Application Suite, which is linked with MindSphere, an IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) operating system.

Reimagining Amtrak stations

Amtrak is embarked upon an aggressive plan to “de-staff” the majority of its stations, to “cut costs.” The project downgrades the service support for its largest and most commercially successful group of trains, the long-distance interregional services. Amtrak justifies this by the trend toward selling tickets on the web rather than from agents at stations.

Taking technology to the next level

A few weeks ago, the Federal Rail Administration asked for input from the rail industry and the public about the role automation and artificial intelligence (AI) can play in rail. It is a sign that FRA recognizes the rail industry will need to leverage technology to safely and efficiently transport more freight and passengers by rail in the coming decades across the U.S.

NJT: $600MM for Portal North Bridge

New Jersey Transit’s Board of Directors on June 13 approved a financing agreement with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) that provides up to $600 million toward the construction of the first phase of a new Portal Bridge, a key component of the ambitious Gateway Project to improve passenger rail service between New York City and New Jersey. The funding commitment “solidifies New Jersey’s local share of the project cost,” NJT said.

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