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Garl B. Latham

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Garl B. Latham

Ruminations of a foaming professional.
  • Bravo!

    • 4 Comments
    "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 world of VIAs

    • 2 Comments
    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...
  • My two favourite statistics

    • 12 Comments
    When I was little, the people who seemed old were those born in the 19th century. Some of them even hailed from the time during or immediately following the War Between the States. A handful of those were still vital and sharp witted. The young-to...
  • The importance of being connected (Grid and Gateway, part 5)

    • 7 Comments
    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...
  • Hallmark holidays (and other pet peeves)

    • 6 Comments
    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...
  • Legislating magical solutions

    • 23 Comments
    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...
  • The Cotton Belt: an addendum to the conundrum

    • 1 Comments
    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'...
  • The case for time efficiency (Grid and Gateway, part 4)

    • 7 Comments
    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...
  • The Cotton Belt conundrum

    • 6 Comments
    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...
  • CorridorVision (Grid and Gateway, part 3)

    • 11 Comments
    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...
  • Old King Coal

    • 12 Comments
    The history of coal production goes back even farther than the history of railroading. Here in North America, the first commercial mine began operation around 1730, approximately 100 years before the first common carrier railroad - the B&O - ran its...
  • Heresy! (Grid and Gateway, part 2)

    • 11 Comments
    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...
  • Making the trains worth leaving

    • 5 Comments
    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...
  • The Grid and Gateway proposition

    • 5 Comments
    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...
  • The definition of insanity

    • 4 Comments
    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...
  • Communication breakdown

    • 0 Comments
    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...
  • Don Phillips, Barack Obama and personal vindication

    • 1 Comments
    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...
  • So, now we're partners?

    • 44 Comments
    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...
  • Just like a bad penny

    • 5 Comments
    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...
  • Anticipating tomorrow

    • 2 Comments
    Over the past few weeks, electronics giant Hewlett-Packard has been taking a real drubbing on Wall Street. Last month's announcement by C.E.O. Leo Apotheker that his company will spin off its personal computer business in order to "sharpen its...
  • The invisible imperative

    • 8 Comments
    I must admit, it's hard to be in two places at once. When a business (such as mine) essentially exists as a one man band, how can the opening of a satellite office be justified? Yet, here I am in San Antonio, rationalising my decision to do just...
  • The ultimate purpose of a railroad station

    • 12 Comments
    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...
  • Inauguration station

    • 5 Comments
    Growing up, I really don't remember much positive talk regarding passenger service, whether general system or transit. Certainly, the idea of inaugurals was practically unheard of. When passenger trains made the news, it was almost always due to the...
  • Fading hopes

    • 5 Comments
    About two weeks ago, Rodger Jones, an editorial writer for the Dallas Morning News and one of three staff members who ride herd on that paper's wonderful on-line Transportation Blog, posted an essay entitled "DART ridership dwindling despite...
  • Abo, improved

    • 4 Comments
    Not long after the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe merger was consummated, a wag told me the "BNSF" reporting mark actually stood for "Big New Santa Fe." Personally, I've never liked that definition (although the classic Santa...