All posts by Grow Trains

Yes, but what phones do train riders prefer?

Android Users Are More Likely to Take the Bus, While the Frequent Fliers Choose iPhones

“You would think iPhone users are all pinot-drinking yoga enthusiasts,” said Jonathan Sills, the Battery Ventures entrepreneur-in-residence who conducted the firm’s study. Well, that’s at least partially true.

It turns out more iPhone users do in fact prefer wine to beer. They are also more likely to own stock and to have flown on a plane in the past year. Meanwhile, Android users are more likely to rely on public transportation, describe themselves as religious, have eaten McDonalds in the past month or to smoke tobacco….

Sills said many of the differences go away when the user base is adjusted for income.

Cape Cod summer train service to add a station

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) recently announced the CapeFLYER weekend rail service from Boston to Cape Cod and the Islands will operate May 23 through Labor Day, with a new station stop at Wareham Village.

The CapeFLYER, which launched summer service last year, carried 16,586 riders and generated $290,756 in fare revenue in 2013, officials said in a press release….

CapeFLYER trains in 2014 will include a station stop at Wareham Village. By the height of the summer season, trains will include separate coaches for two of the service’s most popular amenities: the café coach and bike racks with tools for on-board tune-ups.

Via Progressive Railroading

CHSRA Board Approves Fresno to Bakersfield Route

From the California High Speed Rail Blog:

The California High Speed Rail Authority board voted unanimously today to approve the route from Fresno to Bakersfield, including an eastern bypass of Hanford. All the final documents can be found here.

The vote was yet another huge step forward for the project, four and a half years after voters approved in in 2008. With this action there is now an adopted final route from Madera to Bakersfield that can be constructed in the near future, especially if cap-and-trade funds are used to help fund it. There of course remains the legal challenges to the project brought by NIMBYs in Kings County. Once those are resolved, however, the path could be clear by the end of this year to have construction either under way or close to it throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

GROW AMERICA keeps rail passengers moving forward

From the US Department of Transportation’s FastLane blog:

Last Tuesday, it was a privilege to be able to send Congress the GROW AMERICA transportation bill, our comprehensive plan to create millions of good new jobs building the transportation system America will need to remain competitive in today’s economy. And it was an honor to cap the day by addressing the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) annual citizen advocacy event, “NARP Day on the Hill.” Continue reading GROW AMERICA keeps rail passengers moving forward

BNSF budgets $1 billion for key Northern Corridor capital projects

Progressive Railroading

BNSF Railway Co. today highlighted $1 billion in capital projects planned in five states along its Northern Corridor. The projects are part of the Class I’s record-setting $5 billion capital spending budget for 2014.

Situated between the Pacific Northwest and Chicago, the Northern Corridor runs through parts of Washington, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and Illinois. Some of this year’s corridor projects are designed to help expand capacity and improve traffic flow for all freight and passenger trains [including Amtrak’s Empire Builder] that use certain routes.

President Proposes $19 Billion for Rail; Let’s Make it Happen!

The proposal to provide $19 billion for improved rail service needs us to be active supporters and lobbyists if it’s going to happen. We’d like to turn this site into an online community where we could share information and ideas, and encourage people to become active spokespeople for better train service. We can also support NARP and the local rail advocacy organizations in their efforts.

May Day means Amtrak Day #1: May 1st, 2014

Commentary from Railpac.org

Once again, for the 43rd time, here we are on May Day, the anniversary of the official day of Amtrak operations beginning on May 1, 1971. It was the day most of the still-operating passenger trains in the country disappeared, and the freight railroads breathed a sigh of relief because the heavy hand of the ICC was no longer upon them forcing them to run trains they didn’t want to run “in the public interest.”

The almost exclusively all-male railroad management cadre of the day, many of them struggling to save their own freight operations from bankruptcy in a heavy regulatory environment, were happy to be rid of the cost of passenger stations, a fleet of cars and locomotives which were reaching what everybody thought was the end of their useful life (sadly, this was especially true of equipment built by Pullman Standard, which used a different assembly process and materials than its wiser competitor, Budd), and all of the expensive employees it took to run passenger trains. They could cascade many of their unwanted employees onto Amtrak’s employee roster (of particular note, the former Pennsylvania Railroad employees in Philadelphia who were sure they could run passenger trains better than anyone else), and, allegedly, finally do what they thought railroads should only do, turn themselves into corporate conglomerates (remember the various “Industries” titles tacked onto the end of railroad names?) focusing on moving products, not people, and buying and managing other businesses they didn’t know how to run.

Pets Will Board Some Amtrak Trains Beginning May 5

Boston Globe

Cat and dog owners who travel by train may soon be able to bring their furry friends along.

Amtrak has announced a six-month “Carry-On Pet Pilot Program” launching in Chicago May 5 in which pets will board with people on designated train cars. If successful, it will be rolled out nationwide.

Service animals currently ride in the passenger cabin free of charge. But other than that, Amtrak has had a strict “Animals Not Allowed” policy.

The fee will be $25 for dogs and cats (no other animal is allowed). They must be less than 20 pounds and stay in carriers under your seat—similar to how pets travel on planes. They must be at least eight weeks old, odorless, harmless, and not disruptive. They must remain in the carrier at all times. See more rules on amtrak.com.

2 high-speed train sets built for Wisconsin set to leave Milwaukee

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

In what appears to be the final chapter of an ill-fated venture in Milwaukee, Spanish train-maker Talgo is vacating its factory on the city’s north side, and its two unused high-speed train sets may soon take to the tracks.

The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee has received notice that Talgo will end its month-to-month lease agreement in the Century City development at N. 27th and W. Townsend streets.

“It appears that the trains will be leaving imminently,” city spokesman Jeff Fleming said Wednesday.

The company, which set up its North American headquarters at the site in 2010, could be winding down its office operations in a matter of weeks and be gone within 60 days. Of the dozens of workers involved in manufacturing train sets for Wisconsin and Oregon, only a few remain.

The city will also lose the $29,000 a month Talgo paid for renting half of the 300,000-square-foot building.

Talgo officials did not immediately return requests for comment about where the trains are going and why they are ending the lease.