Last week Amtrak announced it would be overhauling the seating and other interior details of its original Amfleet coaches. While it’s good to see Amtrak investing in keeping this aging equipment functional and comfortable, this is a reminder of how badly we need new, modern passenger coaches in the Midwest and around the country.
So often when we talk about high-speed rail, we assume we’re only connecting big cities. Chicago to Minneapolis. New York to Washington. Los Angeles to San Francisco.
High-speed rail brings big benefits to major cities, but a lot of us in the Midwest don’t live in big cities. We live in Madison, Fort Wayne, Springfield. These are places that are too small to be blessed by high-speed rail, right?
We saw a lot of great things on our trip to Italy. The food was great. The scenery was inspiring. You won't be surprised, though, to learn that one of my favorite parts was spending a few minutes at the train station inside Rome's airport.
Earlier this year, the FRA began a Midwest Regional Rail Planning Study. This effort is exciting because it breaks free of the narrow route-based or corridor-based planning models we're used to. Instead, this study is taking a big-picture, network-based approach. With Chicago as a hub, this study is evaluating the thousands of variations of a network that will connect the entire Midwest.
Following in the footsteps of the House, a Senate panel has rejected the Trump administration's proposal to cut long-distance Amtrak service. Not only does the budget approved by the Senate Appropriations transportation subcommittee include full funding for Amtrak's national network, it includes $550 million for the TIGER grant program, which the House proposed eliminating. Subcommittee chair Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, was overheard calling the White House's proposal "incredibly irresponsible."
When President Trump released his proposed 2018 budget earlier this year, it cut all funding for long-distance Amtrak trains. It also proposed killing programs like Core Capacity, New Starts and CRISI (Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Grants), which maintain and improve our passenger rail infrastucture.
Passengers in France are celebrating the first trains on 303 miles of new high-speed lines. The new segments are extensions of the LGV Atlantique (Atlantic high-speed line), first completed in 1990, which heads west from Paris then splits into a “Y” to reach Le Mans and Tours. The new segments extend 200 mph service west from Le Mans to Rennes and south from Tours to Bordeaux.
Break out the champagne! We're proud to unveil our new website and new logo.
The Midwest High Speed Rail Association is dedicated to bringing fast, frequent and reliable trains to our region. Our new site lays out:
We’ve been working very hard for the past few months on a brand new website, and we’re very excited to share it with you. It’s almost ready, and we’ll let you know as soon as it’s live.
The National Association of Railroad Passengers is launching a campaign to respond loudly to the Administration’s proposed budget, which would eliminate all funding for passenger trains. On June 23rd, the campaign will launch with rallies being held across the country.