Amtrak: Private Dollars Will Follow Taxpayer Funding

December 31, 2012 Todd DeFeo 0

Amtrak wants to upgrade its operations along the Northeast Corridor and bring about true high speed rail. But, the railroad made it clear public money will be needed to fund upgrades to the 457-mile-long corridor, which could cost taxpayers upwards of $151 billion and take as long as 30 years to complete. While annual revenues of $1 billion or more could ultimately lead to private investment, that is likely to come after taxpayers pony up the dollars to fund improvements, Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman said in testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “International experience

Sandy relief bill includes millions for Amtrak

December 31, 2012 Todd DeFeo 0

Amtrak could receive millions as part of a $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy supplemental spending bill Congress approved earlier this month. According to U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., there was no “detailed plan for how the money will be spent.” “It is critical that we ensure taxpayer dollars go to help those impacted by this devastating storm and not to wasteful spending projects,” the senators said in a joint statement before the U.S. Senate passed the bill. “All told, 64 percent of the $60.4 billion in ‘emergency’ spending in this legislation will not be spent for nearly

Feds Give $2.4 million Rail Line Relocation Grant to Penn. Communities

December 31, 2012 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded the county of Lycoming, Penn., a $2.4 million Rail Line Relocation grant to build a new bridge spanning the Loyalsock Creek in Loyalsock Township and Montoursville Borough. The existing Lycoming Valley Railroad (LVRR) bridge was severely damaged by flood waters caused by Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011. The bridge handles all traffic to and from the LVRR hub in Williamsport and had handled approximately 30,000 rail car moves per year. As a result of the bridge damage, the LVRR uses a circuitous route to serve the LVRR’s 30 railroad customers. The

Feds Sign $1.55 Billion Federal Funding Agreement to Build First Rail Transit System in Hawaii

December 31, 2012 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Dec. 19 signed an agreement to provide $1.55 billion in taxpayer money to the city and county of Honolulu on the island of Oahu to build Hawaii’s first-ever rail transit system. The project is expected to shorten commutes in one of the most congested cities in the nation, provide greater transit options to Oahu’s residents and visitors, and create tens of thousands of construction-related jobs. “The Honolulu rail transit project, the first of its kind in the state, will bring new transit options to the growing region and create a modern transportation

CN Completes Merger of Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Into Wisconsin Central Subsidiary

December 31, 2012 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

CHICAGO — CN said today it will complete the merger of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway Company (EJ&E) into its Wisconsin Central Ltd. (WC) subsidiary. The move is effective Jan. 1, 2013. The merger of the two rail affiliates that connect in the Chicago area will simplify CN’s corporate structure and operations in the United States. “CN expects the merger will lead to operational efficiencies and service improvements,” Jim Vena, CN’s senior vice-president of the CN Southern Region, said in a statement.” These merged railroads will continue all the existing operations of WC and EJ&E in the Chicago Terminal

Amtrak Employee Pleads to Theft, Sentenced to Probation, Community Service

December 31, 2012 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

An unnamed Amtrak employee pleaded guilty to theft, the railroad’s inspector general announced earlier this month. “OIG investigation of an employee for embezzling funds by falsifying travel vouchers and manipulating Amtrak travel card purchases resulted in an arrest warrant and a criminal Felony Fraud charge in Superior Court of the District of Columbia,” the inspector general said in a statement. “The employee pled guilty and was sentenced to five years supervised probation, 50 hours of community service, and was ordered to make restitution to Amtrak in the amount of $9,862. The employee was terminated.”

Amtrak IG: Railroad Could Save Money if ‘Conventional’ Fleet Improved to Acela Level

December 30, 2012 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

Amtrak could improve its service and save money “if the availability of the conventional fleets were improved to the level of the Acela equipment,” the railroad’s inspector general told Congress recently.   “Acela, which represents about 10 percent of Amtrak’s total fleet of equipment and was the first fleet to employ reliability-centered maintenance, has seen significant improvements in reliability and availability,” Inspector General Ted Alves said in his prepared testimony. “These improved maintenance results have allowed Amtrak to deploy two additional Acela trainsets, generating over $50 million in additional revenue since the trains were put into service.”   The inspector

Amtrak Names Matt Hardison as Chief Marketing and Sales Officer

December 29, 2012 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON – Matt Hardison has been named the new Amtrak chief marketing and sales officer (CMSO) following the retirement of Emmett Fremaux and will report directly to President and CEO Joe Boardman. As CMSO, he is responsible for sales distribution and customer service, field marketing, advertising and sales promotion, Amtrak Guest Rewards, market research and analysis, reservation sales, on-board systems, pricing and revenue management, eTicketing and eCommerce. His department will deliver comprehensive marketing and sales services to the internal Amtrak business lines and to the company’s external commercial partners. “Matt will provide the necessary leadership and continuous improvement of our

Amtrak Names David Nichols as New Chief Transportation Officer

December 29, 2012 Railfanning.org News Wire 0

WASHINGTON –Amtrak has named David Nichols as its new chief transportation officer (CTO) who will be responsible for setting, managing and maintaining operating rules and policies to ensure that all train operations meet federal rail safety requirements and the company’s business needs. Other duties include the management of training and certification for locomotive engineers and conductors as well as overseeing the Host Railroads group. Nichols brings 33 years of Amtrak experience to this CTO position, having joined the company in 1979 as a block operator and most recently served as senior director, operating practices. He will continue to bring to

Amtrak: Private dollars will follow taxpayer funding

December 18, 2012 Todd DeFeo 0

As Amtrak looks to upgrade its operations in the Northeast Corridor, the railroad made it clear public money will be needed to jump start the project. In testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure earlier this month, Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman said revenues of $1 billion or more annually from Northeast Corridor operations could lead to private investment. But, that is likely to come after taxpayers pony up the dollars to fund upgrades. Early next year, Amtrak plans to start the process to replace its 20 Acela Express train sets. The railroad wants to buy

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