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  • Blog Post: The myth of "Higher Speed Rail"

    "Oh! what a tangled web we weave When first we practise to deceive!" Sir Walter Scott Just the other day, an old head asked me to explain the difference between a streetcar and a light rail vehicle. I told him the distinction was far more aesthetic than technical. "Light rail"...
  • Blog Post: Oh, to be compliant

    It may simply be a sign of getting old, I suppose. One believes he knows and understands certain concepts, only to discover that some of the rules have changed whilst he slept (metaphorically, of course). In the 45 years that the F.R.A. has been in existence (yes...that's forty five years !),...
  • Blog Post: So, now we're partners?

    U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is back at the forefront of railroad news. Yesterday, in Minneapolis, he delivered the keynote address for the opening general session of Railway Interchange 2011. Now, I'll be honest about two things right off the top. First of all, it would have been...
  • Blog Post: Don Phillips, Barack Obama and personal vindication

    During the late 1980s, as Union Pacific began to merge former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad operations into its growing system, I became concerned about the future of a little used ex-Katy main line in north central Texas. The route in question stretched from B-RI Jct. in the city of Waxahachie to Dana...
  • Blog Post: The Cotton Belt conundrum

    I really hate this. I can count on one hand with fingers left over the number of times this has ever happened to me: a passenger service initiative which I'm not only unable to support, but find myself actively opposing. Worse yet, it's a proposal that honestly looks good - at least as a line...
  • Blog Post: The Cotton Belt: an addendum to the conundrum

    Mention the Cotton Belt Route in north central Texas and it brings to mind the St. Louis Southwestern Railway's former main traveling northeast out of Fort Worth's famed Stockyards, past the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, across Dallas' northern suburbs and into the "ArkLaTex"...
  • Blog Post: Legislating magical solutions

    The New York Times is one of the world's great newspapers, with an enviable reputation and impressive history. Therefore, when they miss the mark - especially in such a profound way - it tends to hurt. Earlier this week, the Times printed an editorial entitled "Don't Bargain With Rail...