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Notes on the RailPAC/NARP Meeting in Sacramento

Observations and Photos by Noel T. Braymer

This is just a short report on the September 15th Meeting in Sacramento of my personal impressions as I tap away on my phone on the train going home. I got on the connecting bus for train 711 in the wee hours of Saturday morning to get to Sacramento. The bus was crowded and there were few free seats north of LA. It is times like this why I wonder there are no connecting buses for the San Joaquins south of Orange County for the Trains going directly to Sacramento. There are potential riders if the buses were there: people will ride the bus to catch trains at ungodly hours. Also the connecting bus from Stockton to Sacramento was nearly full. The good news is Stockton is getting new platforms. The bad news is the station in the mean time doesn’t have platforms. The resulting problems of getting off the train at Stockton and the confusion of so many passengers trying to find which of the three buses to catch resulted in the bus to Sacramento being twenty minites late leaving Stockton. Amazing to me was how many people transferred at Sacramento to the bus to Reno. At least I had 3 hours of free time before the meeting.

While not a great picture it shows the new Station for Madera on the San Joaquins. The old station was one of the worse in the State and replacing it was a long held goal of Caltrans

The current state of the platforms at Stockton

The crowd of people trying to get on the Bus from Stockton toward Sacramento

The meeting started with a greeting from Paul Hammond, Director of the California State Museum who was so kind to let us meet there both at the Stanford Gallery and in the East Theatre inside the Museum. The first speaker was Assemblyman Roger Dickinson of the 9th Assembly district in the Sacramento area. A long time supporter of rail service Roger Dickinson began with a theme repeated by other speakers on the 15th. This was on the Network Connections and interdependency between High Speed Rail, Corridor Rail, Commuter Rail and Rail Transit. As examples of these he gave lists of connecting conventional projects in the recently passed High Speed Rail Bill and in the legislation passed and waiting for the Governor’s decision to sign or veto that would create local Joint Power Agencies to manage the San Joaquins and Pacific Surfliners.

Assemblyman Dickinson with RailPAC President Paul Dyson

The next speaker was Brian Rosenwald, Chief-Product Development, Amtrak. Mr. Rosenwald talked about some of the difficulties of his job but most of his talk was about the potential of Long Distance Trains. He was encouraged by plans to create a new more independent Long Distance Train Division at Amtrak. This should speed up the the decision making process for Long Distance Trains for things like menu changes. He also feels greater decentralization of authority at Amtrak will mean as he called it greater “Ownership” of the trains by local managers which will lead to improved service and faster responses to fixing problems. Mr.Rosenwald would like to add more cars on the Long Distance Trains. In the past the most successful trains were the longest ones that carried the most passengers. The problems with doing this now is the shortage of equipment and doing it in a way that doesn’t increase the cost of operating the train on a fully allocated basis. Mr. Rosenwald also listed several projects in the works such as more cars on the Empire Builder, carrying pallet loads of cargo on the Chief and expanded first class service on Long Distant Trains.


Brian Rosenwald with Paul Dyson

Dan Leavitt represented the San Joaquin Regional Commission which is responsible for the ACE Train. He was filling in for his boss: Stacey Mortensen who was unable to attend. Most of Mr. Leavitt’s presentation was about the future of the San Joaquin Trains with service from Oakland and Sacramento to Bakersfield and the creation of a Joint Powers Agency to run it which would include the transportation agencies of the Valley. He did say there was opposition to the JPA in Bakersfield in Kern County and Hanford in Kings County.

Sacramento City Councilman Steve Cohn with Paul Dyson

Sacramento City Councilman Steve Cohn is a major supporter of rail service. He is on the boards of both the Sacramento RT and the Capitol Corridor JPA. He wanted people to know that problems from construction at the Sacramento would soon be a thing of the past. By November the detours to the platforms will be gone. By 2015 the $30 million rebuild of the station will be finished which will open 2/3 of the station now closed to the public with more places to eat and other station services. City Councilman Cohn also talked about plans for the Capitol Corridor to raise speeds to 110 miles per hour as well as other track improvement to allow service in an hour between Sacramento and the Bay Area.

Daniel Krause of Californians For High Speed Rail

Daniel Krause, Director Californians for High Speed Rail talked about joint efforts between his group and NARP supporting High Speed Rail in California and the shared network of projects of High Speed Rail and conventional rail services. Nathan Dietrich from the office of Congresswoman Doris Matsui talked about the Congresswoman’s long standing support of improved rail service and of the Sacramento Valley Station. Armin Kick of Siemens gave an update of what is happening at Siemens\Sacramento. More Light Rail Car construction is on line as well as construction soon of new electric locomotives for Amtrak. This will result in the construction of the first intercity electrified test track in California and the only one west of  Colorado. Matt Melzer Of NARP gave a power point presentation of NARP’s proposed rail service improvements as well as data on the future problems in the county with transportation and of recent rail service expansion in the county. He also showed drawing of and talked about the 14 rebuilt New Jersey Transit Comet Cars that will be used soon on the San Joaquins to help deal with overcrowding on California’s Corridor Trains.

Nathan Dietrich from the Office of Congresswoman Matsui

Armin Kick of Siemens with Paul Dyson

Matt Melzer of NARP

Attendees in the Stanford Gallery before the start of the Meeting

This is just a short list of highlights of almost 4 hours of meetings. I had to leave the meeting before the end to catch my train the 704. As it was I didn’t give myself much free time so I got to experience the confusion to trying to find the platform for my train for the first time with the confusing detours which increases the distance to catch the train. I was jogging to catch the train through the new tunnel as I looked at the time and the message Last Call for my train on the new LED Message Boards in the station tunnel But I still had a couple of minutes to spare when I caught my train.

My view of the new platform at Sacramento. No time for more pictures since I had a train to catch. NB


National Train Day Events

NationalTrainDayNational Train Day is approaching fast and we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some events taking place around the state on May 8, 2010!  2010 marks Amtrak’s third year celebrating America’s love of train travel.  It’s a perfect day to get your kids, family and neighbors to discover the benefits of traveling by train!

Which event will you be attending on National Train Day?  Hosting an event or want to get involved?  Let us know!

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RailPAC-NARP Sacramento meeting UPDATE

In the California State Rail Museum meeting room
where the 2008 annual meeting was held, 111 I Street, just west of the CSRM main building. Minimum Donation: $15, payable in advance: YOU MUST RESERVE BY JANUARY 13! SPACE IS LIMITED to 50, so E-mail, or call 916-833-4218 to reserve your space NOW. The PayPal option is at the end of this message!
WE ARE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE Armin Kick of Siemens Sacramento will participate. His expertise completes the picture of integrated rail from his task experience from high speed rail rolling stock to light rail.
PROGRAM: Other Speakers include, RailPAC-NARP’s Paul Dyson; Sacrmento County Supervisor Roger Dickinson; Capitol Corridor’s new Managing Director David Kutrosky; Caltrans Rail Program Chief Bill Bronte; ACE Excecutive Director Stacey Mortensen; Sacramento City DOT’s Hinda Chandler on the Railyards development; Paul Hammond from the CSRM with RailPAC’s Art Lloyd; and an end of meeting DRAWING!

Click the logo above for your payment of $ 15.00 for: Sacramento Meeting Registration


RailPAC-NARP LAUS Meeting notice

At Los Angeles Union Station this Saturday!
Informal get together for all RailPAC and NARP members. Meet opposite Union Bagel.
Come join us for rail talk and holiday good fellowship!
Paul Dyson


RailPAC-NARP Meeting scheduled for LAS VEGAS!


You are invited to our first ever members meeting AND DINNER to be held in Las Vegas. The meeting will be held Tuesday December 8th, 2009 at 6.30 pm.

Thanks to the kind sponsorship of the Nevada Broadcasters Association the meeting will be held at their offices located at: 1050 East Flamingo Road, Suite 102, Las Vegas NV. This is the three story building one block west of Maryland Parkway, behind “Canes”.

The NBA is providing dinner BUT you must reserve a place by RSVP to this notice.: Please reply to Paul Dyson, NARP Division Leader and RailPAC President: 818 845 9599 OR OR OR by mail to 623 S Orchard Drive Burbank, CA 91506-2904, No later than NOVEMBER 30th.

Tickets: MINIMUM DONATION $20 per person including dinner. You can pay by Paypal at, or send me a check made out to RailPAC. Proceeds will be split between NARP and RailPAC.

Click the logo above for your payment of $ 20.00 for: Las Vegas Meeting Registration

Speakers and program to be announced. Check this space for details!

Come and join us and bring your ideas about the future of rail for Southern Nevada and the USA.

Paul Dyson
Bob Fisher, NARP Council
RailPAC and NARP 702 794 4994


RailPAC-NARP joint October meeting set for San Carlos; Skoropowski retires

Saturday, October 24, On the Peninsula!
Samtrans HQ Auditorium
, 1250 San Carlos Avenue, San Carlos about a block from the San Carlos Caltrain stationCaltrain San Carlos station.
Time: 1pm – 4pm
Plenty of choices for restaurants in the locality.
Confirmed Speakers:

  • Gene Skoropowski, Capitol Corridor Managing Director. Your chance to say goodbye to Gene, who retires in November.
  • Rod Diridon, California High Speed Rail Authority Board member. Catch up on high speed rail progress.
  • NEW SMART, the Sonoma-Marin commuter rail project will be represented! Check here for updated information.
    Fee: Suggested minimum $10 donation at the door.
    But, Please RSVP to
    so we can plan for the space.


    1st Annual Central Coast Railroad Festival

    CCRF logo
    Family Fun Event with Activities from Paso Robles to Santa Maria – October 8-12, 2009. A variety of free events and activities will take place at numerous railroad, historical and educational locations throughout San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara Counties. See their website announcement at

    The Central Coast Railroad Festival will be a family friendly event designed to please both the casual train buff and the avid rail fan. Attendees will be able to celebrate rail’s history and future while participating in all types of modeling, various train rides, exhibits, ceremonies, dedications, historical presentations and special programs. Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight run daily along the beautiful Central Coast beaches and through its spacious hillsides and attendees are encouraged to take advantage of this service.

    Several larger events will be presented during the Central Coast Railroad Festival in San Luis Obispo, Oceano, Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach. A Rail Celebration in San Luis Obispo’s Historic Railroad District will be held on Saturday. The Celebration will be the first public event at the recently restored Freight House which will soon be the home of the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum. The festivities that day will include demonstrations of historic rail equipment on the new display track, a dedication of a public art piece entitled “ICONS OF AN ERA”, walking tours of this historic rail area, viewing of a private rail car and a golden spike ceremony as well as music, food and rail organization booths.

    Sunday’s focus will move to the south and north of San Luis Obispo. The historic Oceano Depot will host an open house featuring the San Luis Obispo Model Railroad Association’s many running model layouts showcasing several model scales. The San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum will be hosting a fundraiser at Bitter Creek Western Railroad in Arroyo Grande which will feature live miniature steamers. Garden railroad and rail themed winery tours will take place in the Paso Robles area that day. A garden railroad layout tour will take place near Orcutt. The Exploration Station will be facilitating a round trip family ride on the Pacific Surfliner between Grover Beach and San Luis Obispo.

    These major events will be complemented by numerous historical walks and talks at sites of the Pacific Coast Railway and Southern Pacific Railroad throughout the weekend. The Festival will kick off at its “Big Booth” at the Thursday night Farmers’ Market in San Luis Obispo which will include representatives from several participating organizations as well as a running N scale model train. Family events, educational programs, musical concerts and film viewings will take place at County Libraries and several area historical society facilities. The downtown San Luis Obispo Library Community Room will act as the Festival’s Information and Family Activity Center and will open Thursday evening with special programs This Information and Family Center is sponsored by Amtrak California and will feature daily programs, rail photography exhibits and a running model of the Pacific Coast Railway.

    Amtrak California has just been announced as the Central Coast Railroad Festival’s major sponsor. Joining Amtrak California are four other featured sponsors: the WestPac Companies, the Hind Foundation, Rabobank and the City of San Luis Obispo. KCOY 12 and FOX 11 are the Festival’s exclusive television media partners.

    Complete information for the Central Coast Railroad Festival, a full schedule of events and a list of participating organizations can be found at or by calling the festival office at 805-773-4173.
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