Trains June 2021


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Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
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1 min
from the editor @TrainsMagazine @trains_magazine Amtrak’s history is a jumbled story of business and politics, professional railroaders and public servants working to provide service with thin budgets and well-worn equipment. It’s a tale we love and hate all at the same time. On this, the 50th anniversary of Amtrak, let’s hope that the renaissance of Americans traveling on tracks is just beginning. We urge you to read the stories in this issue about our passenger trains and then act. Call, write, or email your elected officials. Show up and volunteer for your state program’s on-board assistant programs. Do what you can to make train travel worthwhile once more. America deserves transportation choices, and one of them should be safe, fast, and efficient passenger trains.…

4 min
one railroad, three countries

CANADIAN PACIFIC AND Kansas City Southern executives say combining their railroads into the first system linking the U.S., Canada, and Mexico will generate significant traffic growth. “What a historic day,” CP CEO Keith Creel said during a March 21 investor webcast where executives touted the $29 billion deal to create Canadian Pacific Kansas City, a merger of the two smallest but fastest-growing Class I railroads. “This combination is not about cuts, it’s not about line rationalization, it’s not about cutting heads,” Creel says. “It’s all about growth.” The merger will create a 19,700-mile railroad that connects six of the seven largest metropolitan areas in North America. The deal will boost rail competition, divert freight off the highway, and benefit shippers, investors, employees, and the environment, executives say. “This is truly a perfect fit,” Canadian…

2 min
cp-kcs reaction

SHIPPER SENTIMENT MAY shape the Surface Transportation Board’s review of Canadian Pacific’s proposed acquisition of Kansas City Southern. Major service disruptions after the wave of mergers in the 1990s, along with operational changes under Precision Scheduled Railroading in the past few years, have soured many shippers on additional consolidation in the rail industry. “Rail shippers will have a big voice … and if they are not satisfied that the carriers can maintain service levels during the transition and improve them going forward, then they may not support the transaction,” says Todd Tranausky, an analyst at FTR Transportation Intelligence, a freight forecasting firm. By early April, CP and KCS had rounded up support from more than 300 customers, shortline holding companies Genesee & Wyoming and Watco, along with other shortline railroads and ports.…

2 min
amtrak unveils 50th anniversary paint schemes

AMTRAK IS CREATING SPECIAL PAINT SCHEMES for six locomotives as part of the commemoration of its 50th anniversary, the company announced in March. The designs are a collaboration of Matt Donnelly, the company’s lead brand communications specialist, and Devon Parsons, Blair Slaughter, John Skalski, John Dzedzy, and Seth Geist — equipment and rolling stock engineering managers and designers.“We realized early on in the pandemic that it would likely be nearly impossible to plan events, so we thought locomotives are a good way to get the anniversary message out to all parts of the network,” Donnelly says. The designs are: Day 1: To be featured on ALC42 locomotive 301 that Siemens is building for long-distance service. It recalls a scheme hastily applied to a former Pennsylvania Railroad E8 for an Amtrak press event on…

2 min
amtrak asks stb to intervene on gulf coast

AMTRAK HAS ASKED the Surface Transportation Board to intervene in its efforts to restart trains between New Orleans and Mobile, Ala., a move which could set a precedent regarding improvements to a host railroad before launching service. In an 826-page filing, the passenger railroad asks the regulatory body to require CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern to permit operation of two daily round trips, and requests expedited action to allow service to begin on or about Jan. 1, 2022. Amtrak announced plans to launch the service after unilaterally ending the latest of three route traffic studies since 2016. The company claimed the most recent study had not concluded after a year because the railroads kept pushing back its completion date by changing parameters. Amtrak also cited an inability to reach agreement with the…

2 min
long-distance trains return to daily service

IT’S NO SURPRISE Amtrak began accepting daily bookings for long-distance trains even before President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act, which contained $1.7 billion for the passenger carrier. The funding was contingent on restoration of service, but the decision to begin generating revenue every day on the 12 trains that had been cut back to three or four times per week was easy, because they had performed much better than expectations initially set by management. “Roomette and bedroom sales have been exceptionally strong,” Amtrak Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer Roger Harris tells Trains. He says sleeping-car capacity added to six routes over the Christmas holidays “was really well-absorbed. There were three trains where we kept that capacity going through the winter months, but the real increase will…