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.”

“Railways 2.0”: A Coming Bonanza?

One thing we have learned from Trump City and New York’s Hudson Yards project: There is gold buried in old rail yards. Once combined with advanced technology like AI (artificial intelligence) and automation, you could be seeing the next great infrastructure boom in America. The amazing thing is that “Railways 1.0” has quietly had a huge impact—but a much bigger one is coming.

FTA Launches $11MM AIM Initiative

Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams recently announced the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) initiative, which aims to support and advance innovation in the transit industry via $11 million in challenge grants.

Wabtec Acquires RELCO Locomotives

Wabtec Corp. has acquired RELCO Locomotives for $29 million, on a cash- and debt-free basis. All conditions for the acquisition are complete and the transaction will be accretive in year one. RELCO’s projected sales for 2019 are roughly $50 million.

Garbage Served, Garbage Generated

In 1837, Hans Christian Anderson published a modernized and revised version of an ancient fable, under the title, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” In it, the vain and foolish Emperor is taken in by charlatan weavers who promise him a glorious new wardrobe, magically invisible only to stupid and unworthy people. No one, including the Emperor, is willing to admit that the new costume is invisible to them, until a child cries out, “But the Emperor has no clothes!”

Cuomo’s HSR Dream: Not In Your Lifetime

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s call for creation of a commission to study improvements to Amtrak’s Empire Corridor service between Buffalo and Albany and south to New York City is a waste of time and money. This has been discussed and studied on and off for decades. No one could figure out how to find several billion dollars to pay for this consultants’ dream. As a result, it will never advance beyond the planning feasibility study and environmental review process.