Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 15, 2011 weekly rail news

Fun stuff:

Planinng, construction, and funding:
  • Metro Transit held three meetings discussing "rapid bus" services that may be implemented in several arterial corridors in the Twin Cities. I'll try to avoid calling it "BRT" in the future, since these are very unlikely to have exclusive lanes, though most other BRT features are being considered. Alex has a writeup of his perspective. Also check out the comments at the Minnescraper thread on the subject. One more meeting got added and will occur this week from 6–8 p.m. on October 18th at the Fridley Community Center.
  • Officials broke ground on the $133 million Englewood flyover in Chicago on Monday, part of the CREATE program to alleviate train traffic congestion in the area.

  • About 18 were injured when an Amtrak California San Joaquin train struck a stationary Coast Starlight head-on at Jack London Square station in Oakland, California on Wednesday as the Starlight was unloading passengers. The lead locomotives of each train were derailed, interrupting service for several hours.
  • Iowa Interstate Railroad began operating again on rails through Tiskilwa, Illinois where there was a fiery train crash involving ethanol cars on Friday last week. The Illinois EPA has recommended that the state take action to make the railroad pay for cleanup and continued monitoring of the site.

  • Amtrak got more specific about their ridership from this past fiscal year. They reached 30.2 million riders (up 5.1%) and pulled in $1.9 billion in ticket revenue (up 8.5%) across the whole system. The handful of routes that showed ridership losses were led by the hard-hit Empire Builder. Cancellations from flooding and other interruptions caused a slide of 12%, from 533,493 passengers last year to just 469,167 in FY2011. It's the first time in several years that the Builder has dipped below 500,000 riders. Most of the other routes showing losses had been impacted by weather (like the Vermonter) or major construction (like the Chicago–St. Louis Lincoln Service).

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