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    China preparing for gauge-changing high speed rail

    https://www.railwaygazette.com/high-speed/crrc-unveils-gauge-changing-high-speed-train/57630.article This switches between standard gauge and Russian gauge. The immediate application is Beijing to Moscow. In the long run this probably can be adapted for Indian gauge too.
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    New study on Scranton - NYC rail

    https://www.masstransitmag.com/rail/news/21127831/pa-new-study-drops-cost-of-passenger-train-comeback Possibly the most ridiculously delayed intercity rail project in the country. The advocates in the Scranton area are pushing to get it, once again.
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    Stephen Gardner advocating for what's right...

    I have a lot of problems with Mr. Gardner, but credit where credit is due, literally everything he writes in this article is totally correct: https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/intercity/amtraks-preference-rights-are-not-new-or-reason-for-alarm/ (It's about Amtrak's right to not be delayed...
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    Where I'd cut costs... (Acela First Class)

    Acela First Class is overstaffed. I've never seen two attendants for one car before, let alone one with an unusually small number of seats. If they wanted to cut unnecessary costs, that's where to cut.... one attendant could definitely handle it. Must be the cushiest OBS job on the railroad.
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    Comments on Amtrak's new "Five year plans"

    First, the Service Line plans. ----- The route-level and even service-line-level accounting is still essentially fraudulent, double-counting costs on the Empire Builder and Lake Shore Limited, for example. It has enough data, however, that I was able to back out a rough estimate of the...
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    California Zephyr detour from Omaha to Chicago?

    Due to flooding. https://twitter.com/AmtrakAlerts/status/1108381918997987329 https://twitter.com/AmtrakAlerts/status/1108382367452930048 Anyone know what route they're going to take from Omaha to Chicago? I don't have a clue. Iowa Interstate would be really slow.
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    Amtrak needs to start relocating facilities.

    Flooding due to global warming. https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2018-amtrak-sea-level/?srnd=premium
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    New committee leadership in the House

    Congress already was refusing to go along with cuts to Amtrak or to public transit.  But with Democrats controlling the House, I think we have an even better chance of making progress on improving things.  In the transportation committee as a whole, and the highways & transit committee, the...
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    Checking up on Amtrak's (lack of) ADA compliance

    So, I decided to see how far Amtrak had gotten with the absolute basics -- getting people in wheelchairs from the street to the train -- since 2014, when the Amtrak OIG issued this very useful report...
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    My letter to Anthony Coscia, chairman of Amtrak's Board.

    This was sent by certified mail to Coscia. I feel that it should be published. Permission is hereby given to reproduce this letter in full for media and reporting purposes, or for communications with Congress. amtrak-swc-redacted.pdf
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    Incompetence in Amtrak automated message hurting LSL customers.

    So. I'm booked in a roomette on the LSL, #48, from Chicago to Syracuse, departing May 27th. This is connecting from a short hop on the Empire Builder, booked on the same ticket. I get an automated voice call saying "Your train #48 has been cancelled. No alternate transportation will be...
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    Anyone found Amtrak's 2017 annual report yet?

    The Wall Street Journal apparently has it: https://www.wsj.com/articles/amtrak-posts-lowest-operating-loss-in-decades-as-ridership-grows-1510793592 But I won't pay them to get past the paywall, since I don't give money to Murdoch rags. The report itself doesn't seem to be on Amtrak's website...
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    What a year... gonna get Select Executive...

    ...without travelling on the NEC even once. I wonder if this is some kind of record. I remember reading that when they introduced Select Executive Amtrak said *only* NEC riders were getting it.
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    Marshall TX is getting an elevator!

    https://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=AM_Alert_C&pagename=am/AM_Alert_C/Alerts_Popup&cid=1251656436015 Progress! Reviewing the list of stations where the platform cannot be reached in a wheelchair (from late 2014): Ashland, VA Buffalo Exchange St., NY Clifton Forge, VA...
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    Good news on the Ethan Allen to Burlington

    The last nest of NIMBYs has been bypassed. The Middlebury tunnel project has an EA and a FONSI as of July 21st. http://vtrans.vermont.gov/projects/middlebury/environmental-assessment-individual-chapters The money was already in place. The route can open without a Middlebury station if that...
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    Hunter Harrison proposes to sabotage Albany-Chicago line? (Rumor)

    http://allaboardohio.org/2017/07/23/csx-wall-street-want-a-steel-wall-across-ohio/ http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/blogs/william-vantuono/whats-going-on-at-csx.html (Search for "Albany" in the latter article) I have to say this is confirming my belief that Hunter Harrison is essentially a...
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    Amtrak "Five Year Service Line Plans" released

    https://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/897/154/Amtrak-Five-Year-Service-Plans-FY17-FY21.pdf There's not that much new in it, and it's extremely unambitious (sooo.... here's hoping advocates can get something better to happen), but the accounting is significantly clearer than normal. Most of the costs in...
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    Another week with all sleepers sold out on the LSL

    So I went to book a trip in early June (I'm not looking forward to the trip, but at least the *travel* will be pleasant) and found that all that was left was one bedroom. My schedule was flexible, so I tried the next day and the day after but they had *no* sleepers left. So I took the last...
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    FY2017 Federal budget news is good!

    So, I don't know if anyone remembers, but Amtrak got $1.39 billion from the Feds in 2016. For 2017, Amtrak is getting $1.5 bilion if the House budget passes -- and historically that number either stays the same or increases in the Senate. There does seem to be more stupid micromanagement...
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    One more reason to take the train

    Airlines still overbook and throw people off. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-10/united-s-forcible-removal-from-overbooked-flight-triggers-outrage Amtrak *never* bumps people unless a train is cancelled; overbooked passengers are generally accomodated in the cafe or dining car...