Intercity

America without Greyhound—and no replacement passenger trains

We are not usually concerned with buses at Railway Age, but what would happen if Greyhound buses suddenly disappeared from American roads, and Amtrak became the only provider of passenger transportation with a nationwide reach? That speculation is not as far-fetched as it would appear at first blush, as a similar scenario is being played out at this writing in much of Canada.

Virgin Trains USA scuttles IPO

Miami-based Virgin Trains USA LLC, previously known as Brightline before it rebranded itself following a 2018 partnership forged with Virgin Enterprises Ltd. and founder Richard Branson, has canceled issuing the IPO scheduled for the week of Feb. 11, saying it will pursue other fundraising options. No indication was given whether it will reconsider an IPO in the near future.

California HSR: Seven Deadly Mistakes

“Real high-speed rail might still make sense in the U.S. in the densely populated Northeast Corridor and among certain high-population city-pairs elsewhere in the U.S. in the ‘sweet spot’ of 250-500 miles apart (too far to drive easily, too short to fly conveniently), if costs can be kept under control,” writes Eno Center for Transportation Senior Fellow and Eno Transportation Weekly Editor Jeff Davis. “But future high-speed rail projects would do well to avoid seven mistakes that have caused the California system to be indefinitely delayed.”

Newsom squashes California HSR full build-out

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, citing budget pressures, says the state will not move forward with plans to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco by high-speed rail. Rather, Newsom said the state will build only the 119-mile Central Valley segment of the line, linking Merced and Bakersfield. Newsom’s remarks, made during his first State of the State address Feb. 12, were not widely expected.

Amtrak OIG: Private varnish practices “inadequate”

Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General on Feb. 8 said it has “found longstanding management weaknesses in the company’s transport program for privately owned railcars, including inadequate controls for cost and revenue management, a lack of standard operating procedures, and limited safety and parking guidelines.”

Metro-North awarded federal PTC grant

The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded MTA Metro-North Railroad a grant of up to $2.3 million to support Positive Train Control (PTC) communications testing. The grant, part of the FRA’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program, will help Metro-North improve the performance of PTC radio spectrum utilization required to make PTC operational on the Northeast Corridor.