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Freight Gets Preference Over People.

Those of us working to improve and expand passenger rail in the U.S. complain about how the freight railroads have slowly reneged on the original agreement—that Amtrak would pay to run passenger trains over the freight railroads’ track and, in return, they would give preference to Amtrak trains. That was then; this is now. And Amtrak’s…

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The Feds Are Finally Going To Get an Earful About Late Trains.

Just about everyone knows that Amtrak’s on-time performance has deteriorated system wide over the past year. Much of the attention over the past year has been focused on the absolutely awful OTP of the Empire Builder, operating every day in each direction between Seattle or Portland on the west coast and Chicago. While there was…

Amtrak delays. Whose fault is it?
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Amtrak delays. Whose fault is it?

Ask a hundred Amtrak passengers what’s the biggest problem with long-distance train travel and I’ll bet you a box of donuts that the most frequent answer will be that trains often run late. I’ll also wager that most of those people don’t know – and probably don’t care – that Amtrak doesn’t actually own the…

Are High-Speed Freight Trains in Our Future?
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Are High-Speed Freight Trains in Our Future?

Some interesting ideas were recently presented by Hunter Harrison, president and CEO of Canadian National Railway, who laid out his view of the future of freight rail in a speech to the Canada Maritime Conference. First of all, Harrison predicts that multiple mergers will create two mega railroads in place of today’s “Big Six”: Union…