RailPAC writes Caltrans re new Amtrak California Timetable

30th June, 2008

Mr. William Kempton
Director, California Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 942873, Sacramento, CA 94273-0001


Dear Mr. Kempton:

RailPAC’s Board met on Wednesday 25th of this month and directed me to write to you to express our deep disappointment with the new Amtrak California timetable. While we can all have our opinions as to style, format and color, our concern is with the contents, omissions, and utility of the document.

The biggest omission of course is the Capitol Corridor service. This is quite unacceptable, regardless of the opinions of the CC Board, or whether they are in some way unhappy with Amtrak. From the Rail Passenger’s point of view this is an Amtrak service which provides connectivity with the San Joaquins, bus services and the Coast Starlight and California Zephyr. This omission cannot continue into the next edition.

Our second concern is the way the long distance services are treated. In particular the Coast Starlight is an integral part of the service along the route which includes the Surfliners and Capital Corridor. The average fare and taxpaying customer is not concerned whether the service is or is not state supported, and regards all of the services as being provided by Amtrak. A traveler from say Santa Barbara to San Jose should be able to find the Coast Starlight option in the same timetable as the Surfliner, not stuck in the back as an afterthought.

Finally, we would like to see the commuter services integrated into the timetable. Even if the complete schedules are not reprinted, the timetable should indicate specific trains that connect with Amtrak services, e.g. Antelope Valley Metrolink trains that connect at Los Angeles with the Surfliner.

One of the biggest failings of our public transportation system in general is the lack of integration among and connectivity between the various taxpayer-supported entities. We would like to see Caltrans Division of Rail lead the way in providing a comprehensive timetable that encourages trips using all of the passenger rail services in California. If we can assist in the compilation and preparation of the next edition we’d be glad to do so.

Yours faithfully,
Paul J. Dyson, President.

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