Monday, February 15, 2010

This Week In Amtrak

This Week at Amtrak; February 10, 2010

A weekly digest of events, opinions, and forecasts from

United Rail Passenger Alliance, Inc.

America’s foremost passenger rail policy institute

1526 University Boulevard, West, PMB 203 • Jacksonville, Florida 32217-2006 USA

Telephone 904-636-7739, Electronic Mail •

Volume 7, Number 5

Founded over three decades ago in 1976, URPA is a nationally known policy institute which focuses on solutions and plans for passenger rail systems in North America. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, URPA has professional associates in Minnesota, California, Arizona, New Mexico, the District of Columbia, Texas, New York, and other cities. For more detailed information, along with a variety of position papers and other documents, visit the URPA web site at

URPA is not a membership organization, and does not accept funding from any outside sources.

1) This is my final issue of This Week at Amtrak as principal writer, editor, and publisher. Starting with the next issue, William Lindley of Scottsdale, Arizona will take over those chores. I will be contributing occasional articles on various subjects. Mr. Lindley is a longtime United Rail Passenger Alliance professional member, and a former President of the Arizona Rail Passenger Association. He is a man with a high sense of ethics and purpose.

It has been a true delight to produce over one million words about Amtrak and passenger rail in North America writing TWA the past seven years. Throughout these years, many of you have been kind enough to send messages and replies about the various columns, many complimentary, many in angst. Each and every message, no matter the content, meant someone was reading TWA, and was passionate enough about what they read to produce a response. Thank you to everyone who took time to read TWA, and especially to those who took time to reply.

Most of you are familiar with Mr. Lindley’s writings in this space; he will be a clear, and much more concise voice on the issues of passenger rail – including and beyond Amtrak – as our country moves back into an era when passenger rail is not only fashionable, but realistic.

Mr. Lindley’s views of written communiques differ from mine; he believes in shorter messages with a lot of punch. No one has ever accused me of having an economy with words; “verbose” is a term often coming to mind regarding my writings.

I have assumed some new responsibilities with exciting projects which will bring me in conflict with continuing TWA from my keyboard. You will be hearing more about those projects at a later date.

Amtrak last week delivered a 99 page report on the present and future status of its fleet. This space has long agitated for a plan, and one has been put on the table. The hope is this plan is just a faint beginning, and a recognition of passenger rail’s place in the future of surface transportation in this country.

For much of the past decade for various reasons, the Amtrak Board of Directors has not been fully populated. As of today, there is only one vacant board seat, and hopefully that will soon be filled. The Amtrak board has seen many stars in the past such as David Laney, the late Paul Weyrich, and current Governor of Mississippi Haley Barbour. Here’s hoping the new board will be as serious about a vital Amtrak as those board members were, and the new board will attempt to accomplish what was accomplished by those stars.

My e-mail and mailing addresses will all remain the same. All subscription matters will be moved over to Mr. Lindley soon. Please, don’t stop those cards and letters coming just because I will no longer be writing on a regular basis. Each new one with your thoughts will be welcome.

Thanks for reading This Week at Amtrak, and thanks for caring about the future of passenger trains in North America.

Mr. Lindley, it’s your turn, now.

If you are reading someone else’s copy of This Week at Amtrak, you can receive your own free copy each edition by sending your e-mail address to

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All other correspondence, including requests to unsubscribe should be addressed to

Copies of This Week at Amtrak are archived on URPA’s web site, and also on where other rail-related writings of Bruce Richardson may also be found.

URPA leadership members are available for speaking engagements.

J. Bruce Richardson


United Rail Passenger Alliance, Inc.

1526 University Boulevard, West, PMB 203

Jacksonville, Florida 32217-2006 USA

Telephone 904-636-7739

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