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eNewsletter, Issues, Tracking Rail News

This Month in Rail: September 2017

Adobe Spark

From the RailPAC team, we present to you some of the best rail-related stories we’ve read over this past month.

In between editions on this space, you can also subscribe to our weekly emails sent out every Monday, featuring rail-related news articles from California and beyond. Subscribe to this free e-newsletter by sending your name and email address to Noel Braymer.

Amtrak’s CEO shares his vision for rail’s future
CBS News

Skeptics may lecture, but California high-speed rail is already proving them wrong
The Sacramento Bee

September is Rail Safety Month in California
Mass Transit Magazine

California State Legislators
RailPAC

Government Railroad Agency Says It’s Still Looking to Bring Trains Back to Humboldt County, Even as its Finances and Fortunes Spiral Downward
Lost Coast Outpost

Report: Investment needed to prepare San Joaquin Valley communities for high-speed rail
The Mercury News

Amtrak reducing service from Bakersfield, shifting a train north in search of business travelers
Bakersfield.com

SMART reports higher-than-expected ridership over first three weeks of paid service
Santa Rosa Press-Democrat

County supervisor moves for study to eliminate Claremont Metrolink station
Claremont Courier

Amtrak to discontinue two stops, add one
San Diego Union-Tribune

Antonio Villaraigosa rips Gavin Newsom over high-speed rail
The Sacramento Bee

California’s bullet train isn’t just fast transit, it’s a way to bridge the divide between rich and poor
Los Angeles Times

Trains: What is the future of passenger rail in Kern County?
Bakersfield.com

eNewsletter, Issues, Tracking Rail News

This Month in Rail: August 2017

Adobe Spark

From the RailPAC team, we present to you some of the best rail-related stories we’ve read over this past month.

In between editions on this space, you can also subscribe to our weekly emails sent out every Monday, featuring rail-related news articles from California and beyond. Subscribe to this free e-newsletter by sending your name and email address to Noel Braymer.

Will San Jose to Fresno bullet train become the Silicon Valley Express?
San Jose Mercury News

CA: Amtrak Line Proposal May Someday Include Yuba-Sutter, Just Not Now
Mass Transit Magazine

L.A. Olympics and Paralympics: what our transit system will look like in 2028
The Source

Redlands takes next step in bringing passenger rail service to city
Redlands Daily Facts

Connectivity is key for transportation
Daily Bulletin

Proposed Dumbarton rail bridge could be first transbay railroad crossing since BART tube
East Bay Times

California’s Antique Trains
Streetsblog SF

SMART train begins service in North Bay with a ceremony and speeches
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Photos: Historic Angels Flight Reopens After Four Years And $5 Million Overhaul
LAist

eNewsletter, Issues, Tracking Rail News

This Month in Rail: July 2017

Adobe Spark

From the RailPAC team, we present to you some of the best rail-related stories we’ve read over this past month.

In between editions on this space, you can also subscribe to our weekly emails sent out every Monday, featuring rail-related news articles from California and beyond. Subscribe to this free e-newsletter by sending your name and email address to Noel Braymer.

A generational failure: As the U.S. fantasizes, the rest of the world builds a new transport system
The Transport Politic

If Trump has his way, Amtrak’s long-run trains will roll into history
San Francisco Chronicle

Angels Flight Staircase Installation Begins Next Week
Los Angeles Downtown News

Downtown LA streetcar could open in 2021 — if it gets needed funding
89.3 KPCC

Another Amtrak CEO…and flyover country
Noel Braymer

The Clock is Ticking on America’s Most Urgent Transportation Project
CityLab

Opinion: High Desert Corridor project could transform California
SFGate

The case for Dumbarton Rail
The Daily Journal

Legislators should vote to help sustain Caltrain
San Francisco Chronicle

L.A.’s Revelatory Light Rail for Nerds
Zócalo Public Square

Caltrain electrification project kicks off with groundbreaking ceremony
East Bay Times

Metro Wants to Reduce Gold Line/Metrolink Competition
Urbanize.LA

eNewsletter, Issues, Tracking Rail News

This Month in Rail: June 2017

Adobe Spark

From the RailPAC team, we present to you some of the best rail-related stories we’ve read over this past month.

In between editions on this space, you can also subscribe to our weekly emails sent out every Monday, featuring rail-related news articles from California and beyond. Subscribe to this free e-newsletter by sending your name and email address to Noel Braymer.

SMART revises passenger rail service after facing criticism
The Press Democrat

California Transportation Commission allocates more than $47 million to rail projects
RT&S

The Eastside’s Six Billion Dollar Question
Urbanize.LA

Want jobs for the ‘forgotten man’? Finish high-speed rail.
Sacramento Bee

How Los Angeles can maximize the value of the Union Station run-through tracks
Urbanize.LA

SMART delays start of service as rail manager says ‘bet on this summer’
The Press Democrats

America’s Train Stations: An Architectural Explainer
CityLab

The Crazy Idea of Running Caltrain onto Muni’s Tracks
Streetsblog SF

CHSRA pledges $115 million for L.A. Regional Connector rail project
Progressive Railroading

CA: Key Step Gets Under Way for Bringing ACE Passenger Trains to Modesto and Merced
Mass Transit Magazine

Update on Plans to Get Trains into Transbay
Streetsblog SF

How California heat wave could impact planes, trains, cars and more
East Bay Times

In the days before BART, how did people get across the bay?
SFGate

Salinas’ only passenger train set for elimination under federal budget
The Salinas Californian

New sales tax for Caltrain? A 1/8-cent levy is in the works
East Bay Times

Agreements, budget approved for Gold Line extension to Claremont, a key Measure M project
The Source

Transbay Transit Center: Everything you need to know about it
Curbed San Francisco

The Metro Blue Line says hello/goodbye to new/old rail cars
The Source

Amtrak taps former Delta CEO Richard Anderson as new CEO
USA Today

eNewsletter, Issues, Tracking Rail News

This Month in Rail: May 2017

Adobe Spark

From the RailPAC team, we present to you some of the best rail-related stories we’ve read over this past month.

In between editions on this space, you can also subscribe to our weekly emails sent out every Monday, featuring rail-related news articles from California and beyond. Subscribe to this free e-newsletter by sending your name and email address to Noel Braymer.

Despite critics’ bullets, train keeps on rolling
San Francisco Chronicle

The Human Cost of Losing Amtrak
CityLab

House and Senate Decline Trump’s Request to Gut Transit Funding, For Now
Streetsblog USA

Students ditch the car and hop on the train to get to their proms
Los Angeles Times

New Kinkisharyo rail cars roll on to the Blue Line
The Source

Nippon Sharyo announces layoffs in Rochelle
SaukValley.com

Metro Blue Line to (Finally) Receive Light Synchronization Along Long Beach Stretch
Streetsblog L.A.

The World’s First Floating Light Rail
CityLab

RailPAC President Paul Dyson’s letter to Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman

SMART train, soon to launch in North Bay, releases its schedule
San Francisco Chronicle

Caltrain electrification project back on track with federal funding
SFGate

Someone killed a congressional inquiry into America’s sky-high transit construction costs
Vox

Union Station’s Fred Harvey Room is officially restored
Curbed Los Angeles

In Trump’s America, Infrastructure Is Not for the People
CityLab

eNewsletter, Issues, Tracking Rail News

This Month in Rail: April 2017

Adobe Spark

From the RailPAC team, we present to you some of the best rail-related stories we’ve read over this past month.

In between editions on this space, you can also subscribe to our weekly emails sent out every Monday, featuring rail-related news articles from California and beyond. Subscribe to this free e-newsletter by sending your name and email address to Noel Braymer.

Chinese Firm To Build Cars For Metro Subway, Rail Lines
CBS Los Angeles

The GOP Case for Cutting Federal Transit Funding Isn’t Principled — It’s Tribalism
Streetsblog USA

Denying California rail money damages more than state, it hurts the nation
The Modesto Bee

Was the West Contra Costa Transportation Study Too Quick to Dismiss Mainline Rail?
Streetsblog SF

CA: ACE Train to Extend to Ceres, Merced Thanks to Deal Approving State Gas-Tax Increase
Mass Transit Magazine

Golden Gate Bridge Train Service? It’s Time to Get on Board
Zócalo Public Square

Getting the Coast Daylight sooner rather than later
Message from RailPAC President Paul Dyson, published on Noel Braymer’s blog

Did Some Political Pork Give a Boost to High-Speed Rail?
Streetsblog SF

The Transit Riding Habit Can Last a Lifetime, But First You Need to Get People in the Habit
Streetsblog USA

Mapping Amtrak Service, Before and After the Trump Budget
CityLab

Jeff Morales, high-speed rail CEO, to step down
Silicon Valley Business Journal

Arrival of Las Vegas Raiders breathes new life into high-speed rail project
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Siemens Charger Clean Diesel-Electric Locomotives to Begin Operation on Capitol Corridor this Month
Mass Transit Magazine

Though shovels are ready, Trump officials delay grant for Caltrain upgrade
Washington Post

eNewsletter, Issues, Tracking Rail News

This Month in Rail: March 2017

Adobe Spark

From the RailPAC team, we present to you some of the best rail-related stories we’ve read over this past month.

In between editions on this space, you can also subscribe to our weekly emails sent out every Monday, featuring rail-related news articles from California and beyond. Subscribe to this free e-newsletter by sending your name and email address to Noel Braymer.

14 Republicans derail Caltrain electrification project
The Californian

High-speed rail report estimates 11M riders between Las Vegas and California by 2035
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Angels Flight expected to reopen by Labor Day, officials say
Los Angeles Times

U.S. infrastructure gets D-plus grade in civil engineers’ report card, again
Reuters

BART’s long-awaited Warm Springs extension [opened on] March 25
SFGate

Here are 16 big transit projects that could be out of luck under the Trump budget
Washington Post

Trump proposes deep transportation cuts in rural regions that supported him
McClatchy

Transit Advocates Launch Call to Action Against Disastrous Trump Budget
Streetsblog

Is it worth a penny more at the pump to support roads, bridges, transit?
Washington Post

Amtrak now: A Wick-ed way to start the new year and a new budget
Russ Jackson (contributing to Noel Braymer’s blog)

BART Meltdown Highlights Vulnerability of Bay Area Infrastructure
Streetsblog

Chinese Firm To Build Cars For Metro Subway, Rail Lines
CBS Los Angeles

eNewsletter, Issues, Tracking Rail News

This Month in Rail: February 2017

Adobe Spark

From the RailPAC team, we present to you some of the best rail-related stories we’ve read over this past month.

In between editions on this space, you can also subscribe to our weekly emails sent out every Monday, featuring rail-related news articles from California and beyond. Subscribe to this free e-newsletter by sending your name and email address to Noel Braymer.

Germany unveils zero-emissions train that only emits steam
The Independent

New passenger train lines still planned for Salinas
The Californian

A High-Speed Train From San Diego to L.A. Is Possible Even Without High-Speed Rail
Voice of San Diego

What California HSR Can Learn from Europe
Mass Transit Magazine

Trump administration deals a big setback to Caltrain
SFGate

In California’s Commuter Rail Drama, Nobody’s a Winner
CityLab

eNewsletter, Issues, Tracking Rail News

This Month in Rail: January 2017

Adobe Spark

Starting with this edition for the first month of 2017, RailPAC introduces this new series on our blog to highlight the best rail-related stories over the last month.

In between editions on this space, you can also subscribe to our weekly emails sent out every Monday, featuring rail-related news articles from California and beyond. Subscribe to this free e-newsletter by sending your name and email address to Noel Braymer.

That being said, here are some of the best stories selected from the RailPAC team from January 2017:

NYC’s brand new subway is the most expensive in the world — that’s a problem
Vox

Republicans embrace Amtrak’s Gulf Coast rebirth
Politico

A passenger puzzle: Why did Amtrak draw fewer [San Joaquin] Valley riders in 2015-16?
Fresno Bee

Union Pacific accepts electrification; plans to open bids for Peninsula freight service
Green Caltrain

Wine Train willing to explore employee commuter service
Napa Valley Register

California is a no-show – State officials cancel bilevel presentation at conference, send statement instead
TRAINS Magazine (repost on Corridor Capital)

Anticipating a Big Year for Transit Expansion in 2017
Streetsblog USA

Will L.A. Times’ Irresponsible Coverage of High Speed Rail Doom the Project?
Streetsblog Cal

The Anaheim Streetcar Project Is Officially Dead
Voice of OC

Joe Biden leaves D.C. on — what else? — Amtrak
USA Today

Transit Overflow from the Women’s March Demonstrates Need for Better Transit
Streetsblog

Issues, Reports, Tracking Rail News

Amtrak CEO announces organizational revamp for 2017

From an email sent by Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman on Jan. 4, 2017. His full email is reposted below. Only changes to the repost is the formatting, ensuring clarity when reading.

Special Employee Advisory from Wick Moorman – Organization Update

With a new year ahead of us, I want to share some initial thoughts with you about the future of our company and the actions we are taking to improve our organization.

As I’ve been learning about the company in my first three months on the job, I’ve come to see that there is a lot that is working well at Amtrak, starting with the quality of our people. I’ve also gained a deeper appreciation of the importance of our services to customers across the country. Americans want and need a strong national passenger rail service, and the hard work that all of you have put in during the past decade to modernize and improve our service, including our record performance last year, has translated into broad public support for Amtrak and our mission.

Looking ahead to 2017, it is vital for us to capitalize on this success. We have a terrific opportunity to build an even more efficient and effective company that can facilitate, organize and operate best-in-class passenger rail services throughout the United States. To do so, we need to be structured properly, and having reviewed our organization and evaluated our future needs with our Board, I believe this is the time to streamline and improve our reporting structure.

Therefore, we are pleased today to introduce a new organizational structure for Amtrak that will enable us to create greater product and customer focus, along with strengthening accountability and decision-making throughout our company. This new structure aligns with our focus to improve the way we do business, modernize and enhance the customer experience, and invest in our future. While changes to an organization are never a “silver bullet,” the right structure is a necessary first step to driving the five key objectives that we believe are critical to our long-term success:

  • Building a world-class safety culture with a relentless focus on training, risk-reduction, positive reinforcement and personal accountability;
  • Developing and consistently providing competitive products and services;
  • Creating the teams and processes necessary to serve and grow our customers across all business segments;
  • Gaining support for and delivering on investments that sustain, improve and grow our business; and
  • Harnessing innovation, technology and partnerships to enhance and accelerate our business.

To support our pursuit of these objectives, we are making the following changes:

Senior Executives

We are consolidating the senior team into six direct reports to the CEO, effective immediately. This change will streamline decision-making, increase alignment between departments, and establish clear areas of accountability.

These six groups and their respective Executive Vice Presidents are:

  • Operations – Scot Naparstek, Chief Operating Officer (COO)
  • Marketing and Business Development – Jason Molfetas, Executive Vice President
  • Finance – Jerry Sokol, Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Law – Eldie Acheson, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary (GC)
  • Administration – DJ Stadtler, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)
  • Planning, Technology, and Public Affairs – Stephen Gardner, Executive Vice President

Operations

The Operations group will be reorganized to strengthen our focus on safety, service delivery, productivity and capital project execution.
The product development, planning, and contract management functions of the current Business Lines, certain customer service functions and some onboard service personnel for certain products will be transferred to the new Business Development and Product Support and Management organizations within the Marketing and Sales group. Train operations will be managed regionally through Vice Presidents of Operations and supported by Safety, Compliance and Training; Mechanical; Engineering; Network Support; Amtrak Police; and Corporate Security organizations. Additionally, certain planning and station and facility functions will be transferred to the new Planning, Technology and Public Affairs group.

All departments and functions currently within Operations will continue to report to Scot Naparstek, COO, until February 1, 2017. At that time, the following new and existing departments and functions will report directly to Scot and all previous organizations will be merged within this structure or transferred to other groups:

Department/Function/Leader

Operations, East
Michael DeCataldo, Vice President

Operations, Central
To be announced

Operations, West
Jay Commer, Vice President

Mechanical
Mario Bergeron, Chief Mechanical Officer

Engineering
Rodrigo Bitar, Chief Engineer

Safety, Compliance and Training
Dave Nichols, Vice President

Network Support
Robin McDonough, Vice President

Amtrak Police
Neil Trugman, Chief and Assistant Vice President

Corporate Security
Susan Reinertson, Assistant Vice President

Further details regarding changes within the Operations organization will be announced later this month.

Marketing and Business Development

The newly formed Marketing and Business Development group will be expanded from the current Marketing and Sales department to create greater focus on the development and management of our key products and streamlined to align this work with Amtrak’s broader marketing and branding efforts. The product development, planning, and contract management functions of the current Business Lines and customer service functions within Operations, together with certain staff from the Government Affairs and Infrastructure and Investment Development groups, will be transferred to new Business Development and Product Support and Management organizations within this group.

All departments and functions currently within the Marketing and Sales organization will continue to report to Jason Molfetas until February 1, 2017. At that time, the following new and existing departments and functions will report directly to Jason and all previous organizations will be merged within this structure:

Department/Function/Leader

Northeast Corridor Business Development
Mark Yachmetz, Vice President

State Supported Services Business Development
Joe McHugh, Vice President

Long Distance Services Business Development
Mark Murphy, Vice President

Passenger Experience
Tom Hall, Vice President

Product Support and Management
To Be Announced

Marketing
Rob Friedman, Vice President

In addition, a newly formed group for Commuter and Ancillary Services Business Development has been created, and will be led by Paul Vilter, Assistant Vice President. Paul will report to Mark Murphy.

Further details regarding changes within the Marketing and Business Development organization will be announced later this month.

Finance

The Finance department will continue to report to Jerry Sokol, CFO, with further organizational changes to come within the department over the coming months. Procurement will now report to DJ Stadtler, CAO, effective immediately.

Law

All departments and functions currently reporting to the Law Department will continue to report to Eldie Acheson, GC.

Administration

As the new Chief Administration Officer, DJ Stadtler will be responsible for a newly-named Human Resources department. The new HR department will be developed from the current Human Capital organization and led by Byl Herrmann, Vice President, effective immediately. Byl will assume this role from Barry Melnkovic, who is retiring from the company. I want to thank Barry for his years of service and dedication to Amtrak.

Joining Human Resources in Administration will be Labor Relations, led by Charlie Woodcock, Vice President; Procurement, led by Bud Reynolds, Assistant Vice President; and the Enterprise Project Management Office (ePMO), led by Sarina Arcari, Assistant Vice President, effective immediately.

Further details regarding changes within the Administration organization will be announced later this month.

Planning, Technology and Public Affairs

The new Planning, Technology and Public Affairs group will bring together the network and corporate planning, infrastructure access, government affairs and corporate communications and strategy groups. It will also include fleet planning, real estate, and various station and facility management, maintenance and development functions to better coordinate the long-term development of the company’s key assets and services. In addition, IT will be integrated into this group, as it is an essential function for our current operations across the country, as well as a driver of our future success.

All departments and functions currently reporting to Stephen Gardner will continue to do so, with IT now reporting to Stephen as well, effective immediately.

On February 1, 2017, Stephen’s new organization will include the following:

Department/Function/Leader

Planning
To be announced

IT
Ghada Ijam, Chief Information Officer

Government Affairs and Corporate Communications
Caroline Decker, Vice President

Real Estate, Stations and Facilities
Bart Bush, Vice President

Further details regarding changes within the Planning, Technology and Public Affairs organization will be announced later this month.

Additionally, as part of these changes, we will simplify our titling for senior officials by adopting a three-level titling structure of Executive Vice President, Vice President and Assistant Vice President to apply to all such positions.

I understand that many of you will have questions about these changes. We will follow this announcement up with more information as it becomes available, and I’d ask for your patience, continued focus – especially on safety – and dedication to our mission as we work through this transition.

On behalf of our entire leadership team, I want to thank you for everything you’ve done so far to make Amtrak successful. You are an important part of our continued success and I’m excited for the journey ahead of us, starting with the launch of this new organization.

Sincerely,
Wick Moorman President and CEO