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myProgressiveRailroading Blogs
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  • Blog Post: Bravo!

    "Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts." Bernard Baruch It often seems that proper, respectful public discourse is a thing of the past. If nothing else, our society now sits at a cyclical low point. Perhaps technology makes...
  • 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: The importance of being connected (Grid and Gateway, part 5)

    Two of the vital parts of my Grid and Gateway idea involve the individual routes which criss-cross the continent (the grid) and the points at which those lines intersect (the gateways). [Makes sense, doesn't it?!] Together, they create a matrix where, ideally, between the various through services...
  • Blog Post: Hallmark holidays (and other pet peeves)

    Yesterday, on the 143rd anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike (almost to the minute, interestingly enough), I ran across a sign taped to a glass door. In living colour, it proclaimed: "National Train Day - Discover the Rail Way - Come join us and celebrate America's Railroad Holiday...
  • 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: The case for time efficiency (Grid and Gateway, part 4)

    It has been true since the birth of Acela . It remained true for the entire life of Metroliner service. Even now, it's an important part of traditional "Pullman"-style transportation. The matter at hand is the efficient use of time while traveling: the way passenger train services...
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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"...