passenger rail

High-speed rail pushes on without federal funding

By Bill Holloway Xpress West, the high-speed rail developer that had been seeking federal loans and private investors to support its plan to build a high-speed rail line from Southern California to Las Vegas, has formed a partnership with China Railway International USA to move the project

Can passenger and freight rail coexist?

By Chris Spahr Amtrak is dealing with a steadily increasing problem of service delays. Systemwide on-time performance for fiscal year 2014 is currently at 73.2 percent.  In June, on-time performance was a dismal 69.7 percent, down 6.2 percent from June 2013. A law passed by Congress in 2008 sets

FRA safety standards could lead to sleeker trains on U.S. passenger railroads

By Chris Spahr Final implementation of the Rail Safety and Improvement Act of 2008 could pave the way for sleeker trains on American passenger railroads by 2015.  The RSIA mandated that the Federal Railroad Administration implement safety regulations related to hours of service requirements for

High demand creates challenges for rail service in Washington state

By Chris Spahr Increased coal shipments to Washington State ports could significantly intensify congestion on both roads and rail lines. Two recent reports by Parametrix and the Sightline Institute discuss the impacts of increased shipments of fossil fuels (particularly coal) from Montana,

Brookings Institution report documents growth of Amtrak vs. air travel in key markets

By Chris Spahr A March 2013 report by the Brookings Institution discusses the renaissance of American passenger rail and shows that ridership on Amtrak is at record levels and continuing to grow. Additionally, the report notes that Amtrak’s passenger growth was more than double that of domestic

Private firms eyeing passenger rail in Florida, Texas, Nevada, and California

By Eric Sunquist While most attention has been focused on public efforts to improve U.S. passenger rail, private firms are also developing at least three intercity rail projects. Probably the most advanced of these is in Florida, where All Aboard Florida (AAF) plans Miami-Orlando service starting

Michigan-Chicago route gains 110 mph passenger rail, and other Midwest states seem eager to follow

Last week, Amtrak service in western Michigan and northern Indiana reached speeds of 110 miles per hour, marking the first expansion of regional high-speed rail in the U.S. outside of the northeast corridor. The speeds were achieved on an 80-mile stretch of track between Kalamazoo, Michigan and

Congress is still wrestling with Positive Train Control requirements

The increased Amtrak speeds in Michigan and Indiana followed the Federal Railroad Administration’s approval after  successful implementation of a Positive Train Control (PTC) system. PTC, first mandated by Congress in 2008, is a technology used in trains that is meant to avoid human error and

The high speed rail quandry

The future of high speed rail in America continues to be uncertain. Before a last minute vote by a senate committee to restore $100 million for the program, Congress was ready to vote in September to cut all funding for high speed rail programs. But this is only a fraction of the $2 billion a

From the Community of Practice: Washington State applies for Florida’s high-speed-rail funding.

Washington state applied for approximately $120 million in federal high-speed-rail stimulus money, part of $2.4 billion returned by Florida. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will use the money to continue improving and expanding Amtrak Cascades service between Portland,