WASHINGTON – Amtrak, joined by the District of Columbia DOT, Union Station Redevelopment Corporation and Ashkenazy Acquisitions, is hosting the Washington Union Station Centennial Celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 4 and from noon to 4 p.m. on Oct. 5. The event will honor this landmark train station’s role in shaping the city over the last century while celebrating the 20-year anniversary of its historic redevelopment in 1988. The Centennial Celebration includes an open house featuring an expansive display of historic locomotives, private rail cars and current Amtrak equipment, as well as memorabilia exhibits and drawings for
WASHINGTON – Legislation that allocates $12.9 billion over five years for Amtrak creates for the first time a “federal funding partnership which places rail passenger service on a more equal footing with other modes,” Amtrak President and CEO Alex Kummant said. Both the House and the Senate have approved the Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act, which includes the money for Amtrak. “The work on this authorization bill spanned nearly three congresses and does change the existing conditions for Amtrak, the rail industry and the states,” Kummant said. “Apart from safety enhancements, the bill creates for the first time a state
KobreGuide is featuring yesterday’s L.A. Times article on its Web page. Click here or here to check it out. When you’re done, click on some of the other links. A lot of interesting posts on the site.
BERLIN, Germany — GE Transportation introduced its new PowerHaul engine and locomotive at InnoTrans 2008 in Berlin, Germany. InnoTrans is the world’s largest rail exhibition attracting more than 75,000 attendees and 1,600 exhibitors from 90 countries. The newly developed 16-cylinder PowerHaul engine serves as GE Transportation’s most technologically advanced locomotive engine to-date, the company said. The PowerHaul engine is designed to power GE’s new global diesel-electric PowerHaul Locomotive Series. The new engine combined with other technologies from GE is projected to reduce PowerHaul Locomotive fuel use by up to 9 percent compared to current operating fleet averages. The 3,700 GHP
WASHINGTON — A Financial Specialist for Amtrak since 1975 has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $74,000, federal officials said. Douglas L. Thompson, 60, pleaded guilty earlier to a one-count Information charging theft from a program receiving federal funds in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola. The case is set for a further status hearing on Oct. 3 before Judge James Robertson. Thompson faces a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and an obligation to make restitution for the amounts embezzled from Amtrak.
WASHINGTON — Citizens Against Government Waste and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation have listed a proposed high-speed rail line in California in their sixth annual California Piglet Book. The book is touted as “the definitive guide for reducing waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in the state government.” California voters in November will have the chance to vote on Proposition 1A, a “bullet train to bankruptcy,” CAGW said. If voters approve the project’s initial $9.95 billion down payment, promoters will likely need to come back to taxpayers for another $70 billion to complete the project, CAGW said. — Railfanning.org News Wire
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate has approved the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008. The legislation will increase funding for Amtrak over the next five years, require new safety controls on trains that help reduce crashes, allow states to regulate solid waste processing facilities along rail lines and allocate funding for improvements to Washington, D.C.’s Metro transit system. “This is a real step forward for anyone who’s tired of sitting in traffic, paying high prices at the pump and waiting in long lines at airports,” Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., chairman
WASHINGTON — More of taxpayers’ dollars will move the Duluth to Minneapolis high-speed passenger rail line closer to completion, officials said. U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., said the project has been awarded $1.1 million from the Federal Railroad Administration. The funding will be used to complete an environmental impact statement for the project. “Work on the Northern Lights Express is moving along at full throttle,” Oberstar said. “This is the kind of project that will save energy and alleviate congestion on our highways. With high fuel prices, we need to do all we can to give consumers alternatives to driving.”
The L.A. Times quoted me in an article they published today: “Train hobbyists are loco for that motion.” Check it out by clicking here. Here’s a sneak peek: Towns across the nation have discovered that although they are in the middle of nowhere — perhaps because they are — they have become popular railfanning destinations. Rochelle, Ill., a town of 9,000 with a renowned freight crossing, built a park on an elevated piece of land where railfans can watch trains, complete with speakers broadcasting the transmissions of engineers and conductors. This summer, North Platte, Neb., opened a $4.5-million, 15-story-high platform
RICHMOND, Va. – The Department of Transportation is taking a new approach to funding intercity passenger rail projects that will lead to improved service and better on-time performance across the country, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters said. Peters released new data today indicating that Americans drove 3.6 percent less, or 9.6 billion miles fewer, in July 2008 than July 2007. Since last November, Americans have driven 62.6 billion miles less than they did over the same nine-month period last year. Meanwhile transit ridership is up 11 percent, and in July, Amtrak carried more passengers than in any single month