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myProgressiveRailroading Blogs

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: 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 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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"...
  • 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...