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myProgressiveRailroading Blogs

myProgressiveRailroading Blogs
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  • Blog Post: Of trains and jobs

    Although the Obama administration has recently shown alarming interest in the idea of expanded F.R.A. oversight, today's rail transit systems remain little more than "kissin' cousins" to our railroad industry. Steel rails, flanged wheels, standard gauge...apart from a handful of basics...
  • Blog Post: Kumbaya, y'all

    Technology, fashion, music, pop-culture...with me, societal trends tend to come and go with little fanfare. An exception I've noticed is my unintentional adoption of curious verbal cliches, leading to the occasional spontaneous use of "far out" in response to an engineering proposal or...
  • Blog Post: Getting over it

    Much has been said - and rightfully so, I suppose - of my continuing inability to "get over" certain things. A friend recently admonished me to "get over it" while a group of us were discussing what single decision might stand as Amtrak's "worst mistake" ever. He...
  • Blog Post: KDOT versus reality

    Sometimes, it's really difficult to be an unqualified supporter of Amtrak. [Honestly, I'm tempted to claim it's always difficult, just to varying degrees; but, I wouldn't want to overstate the issue.] Perhaps, when it comes to Amtrak and me, the term "love/hate" would be...
  • Blog Post: ODOT versus ideology

    I suppose the danger always exists. A simple advocate develops into a "true believer," then, taking the plunge, finally becomes an ideologue. By remaining aware of that possibility, perhaps I'll escape such a fate. Besides, I enjoy my cognitive, volitional, creative abilities! These...
  • Blog Post: Passengers: the "greatest threat"

    About one week ago, CSX's V.P. for public safety, Howard R. Elliott, told members of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that, based upon information his railroad has "received from federal intelligence sources," the "greatest terrorist threat to CSXT comes...
  • Blog Post: Obama Speed Rail

    Professionally, I am a Railroader, not a writer. I don't always know how to schedule the publishing of a column, or when to give myself a few extra days for anger to subside. I, too, am aware of the Biblical admonition to "Curse not the king, no not in thy thought...: for a bird of the air...
  • Blog Post: High Speed Rail is not the starting point

    From birth, Amtrak has had more than its share of problems. I've always believed its biggest was a route network whose size falls far short of critical mass. "You can't get there from here" - even in the northeastern U.S. (outside of the much vaunted N.E.C.) - remains a true, if shopworn...
  • 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: Interesting, but not useful

    Honestly, I was hoping my negativism had been temporarily exhausted! I felt sure the time had come to outline specific improvements, so we could begin making our presumed railroad passenger renaissance something other than a trite catchphrase. Sadly, at least one more venture down the road of despair...
  • Blog Post: And then, the Feds blinked

    Passenger trains? So much for the Obama administration's "sense of urgency." The U.S. Department of Transportation has not only solidified its reputation for ineptitude when dealing with railroad matters; they've also proven incapable of playing a decent game of poker ! On the...
  • Blog Post: My wish list

    As we begin the 21st century's second decade and enter destinations unknown (tempus fugit, man!), I though it might be sobering to create a wish list of sorts: a compilation of, say, the top ten things I'd enjoy adding to our society's growing catalogue of concerns. It's a depressing...
  • 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: A father's love

    Your kind indulgence is requested as I reminisce. I don't pretend to know all the reasons for this sudden desire. Perhaps it's the fact that my mother died less than three weeks ago. My family and I just buried our favourite uncle, too. Often, major events compel us to recall life stories...
  • Blog Post: In search of the temperate zealot

    Well, the anti-tax zealots are at it again, with their weapons focused (as is so often the case) upon railway technology. [You know, I've often wondered where all our Libertarian friends were hiding when the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 (a.k.a. the National Interstate and Defense Highways...
  • Blog Post: No turning back

    Yep, that was the front page headline of today's Dallas Morning News : "No turning back." So sorry; we've already gone too far, spent too much money, made too many plans. We can't stop now. The subject in question is the rebuilding of Lyndon Baines Johnson Freeway (Interstate...
  • Blog Post: Facing the future

    I'm really not much on doomsday scenarios. Having been born and reared in Dallas, Texas - and living through the death of John F. Kennedy - I've heard enough conspiracy theories to last a lifetime. I'm also not a prophet "nor the son of a prophet" (ref.: Amos 7:14), so I claim...
  • Blog Post: Intermodal madness

    Recently, a pro-H.S.R. piece appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram . Long-time columnist Bob Ray Sanders indicated his strong support for a "bullet train" project, linking various metropolitan regions along the "Texas Triangle," including Houston, San Antonio, Austin and "Dallas...
  • Blog Post: The ultimate purpose of a railroad station

    Jacquielynn Floyd, a columnist for The Dallas Morning News , wrote an essay printed in the June 28th edition of the paper which outlined her top ten suggestions for the city's new mayor. Item number three (impressively high on the list) concerned Dallas' downtown. A "bonus hint"...
  • Blog Post: Just like a bad penny

    Some ideas possess more lives than a cat. No matter how thoroughly defeated and deeply buried those schemes may be, they tend to rise again. In our case, we might call them the undead of domestic transport policy. A knowledge of the past tends to work wonders and should be sufficient to keep most...
  • 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: Communication breakdown

    Just the other day, I was taking a road trip, traveling west along the Sunset Route through Hondo, Texas ("This is God's Country, Please Don't Drive Through It Like Hell"), when the thought occurred to me: railroad right-of-way looks pretty barren without telegraph lines! I'm...
  • Blog Post: The definition of insanity

    In the business world, one of the classic "oops" moments of recent memory has to be the fact that, during MF Global's death throes, the financial giant seemingly "lost" (misplaced?) 1.2 billion dollars. Yes, that's $1,200,000,000.00. According to the verb du jour, those...
  • Blog Post: The Grid and Gateway proposition

    I don't set out to be negative (honestly!) and I've never wished to concentrate upon what I conclude may be wrong in the world of railroading while ignoring possible solutions . No matter how badly things may be going, it's not right or fair to continually pick on others if I'm unwilling...