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Jarrod DellaChiesa

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Issues

The New Coast Daylight!

We support a new daily passenger train linking the Central Coast during the day.  For more than twenty years, work on a new Coast Daylight train service has led to studies without results.

The Coast Rail Coordinating Council, a voluntary coalition of regional transportation agencies is leading the service planning, and has prepared a realistic, immediately doable operating plan.  However the freight train volume and freight need on the corridor has been vastly overstated by Union Pacific Railroad.  This unfairly blocks the public’s right to access the corridor.  Amtrak is willing to operate the service, and it is consistent with the State Rail Plan.  Continue Reading

Commentary, Editorials

PASSENGER RAIL ADVOCACY GROUPS COMBINE TO LAUNCH PETITION FOR “COAST DAYLIGHT” SERVICE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MAY 11, 2012 – The Rail Passenger Association of California (RailPAC), the Coast Starlight Communities Network and the Steel Wheels Coalition® are working together to step up the campaign for an additional passenger train along the California Coast.  To be known as the Coast Daylight, this train will provide daily service between the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Twenty years of effort by public agencies have been met by stonewalling by the Union Pacific Railroad.  While the railroad has its own interests and those of its customers, it should add depth to the slogan that it builds America.  It can demonstrate its commitment to a more constructive relationship with Californians by opening the Union Pacific coast line to another intercity passenger train.

The coast line is not a busy freight route and only one daily passenger train, the Coast Starlight, plies the route.  Technical questions about changes in the railroad track and signaling are raised, discussed … but rarely answered by the railroad unless that answer involves huge investment in capacity.  The Union Pacific Railroad demands for capacity expansion currently go beyond what is necessary to provide good freight and passenger service.

Passenger rail enhances freight service with better quality track and dispatching.  Extra costs imposed on the privately owned railroad, we believe, should be paid for by the beneficiaries. Passenger rail groups believe that common carriers of freight and passengers benefit from higher discipline in running the entire railroad.  Scheduled passenger service creates daily goals for operations to run more efficiently without causing significant increases in cost.

Time for action – the Union Pacific Railroad should celebrate its 150th anniversary by joining with the state of California, and the counties and communities of California at the negotiating table.

You can view and sign the petition by visiting http://chn.ge/coastdaylight.

 

About RailPAC

The Rail Passenger Association of California, a 501 c3 non-profit corporation, is a membership based organization serving California, Nevada and the western United States.  www.railpac.org.

About the Coast Starlight Communities Network

The Coast Starlight Communities Network, created in 2007, is a coalition of various interests with the goal of protecting and improving rail service between Washington, Oregon, and California.  They have assumed an educational and advocacy role dedicated to improving rail services along the Coast Starlight corridor.  With the assistance of partner organizations thousands of campaign fliers have been distributed to educate travelers, advocates, and community leaders of the importance of the Coast Starlight.   www.coaststarlight.net.

About the Steel Wheels Coalition®

The Steel Wheels Coalition provides a non-membership alliance among organizations and brings together groups that support better passenger service and preservation of long-distance trains in America.

Commentary

March CA Intercity Passenger Rail Performance

Reported by David B. Kutrosky, Managing Director, CCJPA

(Download:  March 2011 Performance Report)

Capitol Corridor’s March 2011 performance statistics are in and it’s clear that January and February’s results were not anomalies. Double-digit increases continue as ridership and revenue results once again set new monthly thresholds: A remarkable 148,198 passengers boarded our trains compared to 133,987 during the same period last year. This 10.6 percent increase in ridership generated a healthy 14 percent increase in revenue.

On-time performance (OTP) for the Capitol Corridor took a bit of a dip to 94 percent. Although this makes the Capitol Corridor number two in the nation for the month of March, our trains still hold the top spot for reliability for year-to-date results.
As gasoline prices soar, more and more drivers are seeking more affordable ways to travel. This scenario will have similar results as what happened in 2008, when gas prices skyrocketed and public transit reached an all time high.  Despite the sharp gas price decrease in 2009, Capitol Corridor ridership did not follow suit, meaning many of those who made the choice to try our trains, stayed on trains. Northern California drivers ditching their cars proved to be fodder for the media as reporters from local, national and international news outlets covered Capitol Corridor’s upward trend in ridership, thus helping to publicize our service to travelers in the communities that we serve.

Caltrans recently applied for federal High Speed Passenger Intercity Rail grants for three projects that affect the Capitol Corridor.  These include:

  • Statewide-Rolling Stock Acquisition. Caltrans applied for 26 bi-level cars and four locomotives of which 10 cars will go to CCJPA and two locomotives will be assigned to Northern California IPR services. The added rail cars with provide more seats to accommodate projected ridership growth on the existing trains. The newer, green locomotives will replace older models, thereby meeting the latest EPA standards, improving system performance and service reliability.
  • Sacramento Intermodal Facility Project Phase 2. This phase will continue the planned station modernization upgrades at our busiest station.
  • Oakland Maintenance Facility Phase 2. The second portion of facility upgrades will consolidate Amtrak temporary facilities, which are currently scattered around in Oakland and support the Capitol Corridor.

Credit goes to our other partners, Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) and Amtrak, for being just as committed as we are in keeping customers on our
trains and off the roads.

Capitol Corridor (March 2011):

  • Ridership: 148,198 riders; +10.6% vs. March 2010; +8.8% vs. prior YTD
  • Revenue: $2,227,701 +13% vs. March 2010; +12% vs. prior YTD
  • On-Time Performance: 94%; YTD OTP of 96% (keeping the Capitol Corridor service #1 in the nation).
  • System Operating Ratio: 50% YTD vs. 48% in FY10; continued growth in ridership and revenue keep ratio at standard

The Capitol Corridor route continues to be third busiest route in the country, with ridership at 1.65 million for the last 12 months

Pacific Surfliners (March 2011):

  • Ridership: 230,510 passengers; +6% vs. March 2010, and +6% ahead of prior YTD
  • Ticket Revenue only: +7.7% vs. March 2010, and +9% vs. prior YTD
  • On-time performance for March 2011 81% (YTD FY 2011 on-time performance: 80%)

San Joaquin (March 2011):

  • Ridership: 84,210 passengers +5% vs. March 2010, and +3% vs. prior YTD
  • Ticket Revenue only: +12% vs. March 2010, and +12% vs. prior YTD
  • On-time performance for March 2011: 87% (YTD FY 2011 on-time performance: 91%).
Issues, Reports

Metrolink CEO Kicks off Steel Wheel in California

On Saturday, March 19 Chair Richard Katz provided opening comments for the 4th Annual Steel Wheels in California conference hosted by RailPAC and NARP. Over 200 rail professionals gathered in the L.A. Metro board room for a conference providing information and education to “opinion formers and decision makers” and grass roots supporters of the rail industry. Chairman Katz spoke about Metrolink’s commitment to safety, specifically as it applies to insisting that the 2015 federal mandate for PTC implemented not be extended.

CEO John Fenton gave a presentation on Metrolink’s journey to become Southern California’s commute of choice. He covered Metrolink’s core values – safety, people, quality, efficiency and growth – and the ways Metrolink is working to add value to the region, such as introducing a pilot program of new express trains on the Antelope Valley and San Bernardino lines.

At the conference, Metrolink’s Guardian fleet was on display for the conference attendees. Operations staff was also on-hand to provide information about the cars and answer any questions.

Commentary

Don Sepulveda joins Metro

Don Sepulveda has joined Metro has the Executive Officer – Regional Rail.   Don will be leading the regional rail team in working on matters related to high speed rail, Metrolink and intercity rail corridors (such as I-5 and the LOSSAN corridor).

Done comes to Metro after spending his career in the private sector as a consulting engineer.  Don has worked on all the phases of high speed rail, including the early statewide planning efforts and the project specific environmental work on several of the segments currently in design.  IN addition, he has worked closely with the Alameda Corridor, Metrolink and other civil infrastructure projects.  In 2009, Don was appointed by the Southern California Regional Rail Authority board to co-chair the peer review that produced comprehensive recommendations regarding the safety and governance of Metrolink.

RailPAC congratulates Don and looks forward to working with him.