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myProgressiveRailroading Blogs
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  • Blog Post: A world of VIAs

    Down in San Antonio, Texas, mention the word "VIA" in conjunction with passenger transportation and only a few railfans and dedicated passenger train riders will think first of VIA Rail Canada. That's because the Alamo City's public bus agency is also named VIA - and it credibly serves...
  • 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...
  • 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: CorridorVision (Grid and Gateway, part 3)

    There are several fallacious arguments related to the (re)development of domestic passenger service that just won't go away. And, to be fair, perhaps they shouldn't. After all, ideas like high density development and congestion mitigation and airline-competitive scheduling certainly have merit...
  • Blog Post: Heresy! (Grid and Gateway, part 2)

    The city of Pecos recently made the news. That friendly west Texas municipality, seat of Reeves County and centre for ranching and mineral production, was categorised as number two on Forbes' list of "America's Fastest-Growing Small Towns." Famed for its canteloupes and its role...
  • Blog Post: Making the trains worth leaving

    I spend far too much time worrying about passenger service, I suppose; but, somebody's got to do it. Besides, my biggest problem isn't losing sleep or developing ulcers. It's knowing in my heart what could be, yet is not. I recall Amtrak's first advertising campaigns. According...
  • 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...
  • 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: 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 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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...