Browsing Category


Events, San Joaquin, Steel Wheels Conference

RailPAC Annual Meeting 2020

The annual meeting of the Rail Passenger Association of California and Nevada (RailPAC) for 2020 will be held on Saturday Nov. 14 at 1 p.m.

Our keynote speaker is Dan Leavitt, Manager of Regional Initiatives for San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission. He will talk about Valley Rail, a major commuter and intercity rail program in the northern San Joaquin Valley.

In keeping with the goal of minimizing risk and enhancing safety, this year’s annual meeting will be hosted as a Zoom virtual video meeting.

Register and RSVP here for the Nov. 14 meeting. Your confirmation and Zoom meeting information will be emailed back to you. Please respond by Nov. 12 11:59 p.m.

Keep RailPAC involved for you. Donate at

Events, Thruway Bus

RailPAC presentation to Amtrak’s Rick Peterson

On Wednesday September 2nd, a group of former colleagues gathered to join RailPAC’s Vice President, South, Paul Dyson, Vice President Long Distance Trains James Smith, and RailPAC member Mark Ehrhardt to commemorate Rick Peterson’s retirement.  Rick’s career at Amtrak spanned 44 years, but he is best known for his work in establishing and managing the Thruway bus network.  Because of the Pandemic Rick, like many other retirees, was unable to enjoy a celebration with his colleagues, so we hope that RailPAC helped to fill that gap.  Many messages were received from around California and the country from friends who were unable to attend.  Congratulations Rick, you will be missed by a lot of people.

Events, Steel Wheels Conference

Fullerton hosts the 2019 Steel Wheel Conference of the Rail Passenger Association of California and Nevada (RailPAC)

[This post was originally published as an article in the Mid October 2019 edition of the Fullerton Observer newspaper]

Cleve Cleveland of OCTA describing the OC Streetcar project (photo: Brian Yanity)

On September 28th, 2019, over 50 rail transportation advocates from around the state gathered for the annual 2019 Steel Wheels Conference of the Rail Passenger Association of California and Nevada (RailPAC) at the Fullerton Old Spaghetti Factory (the former Union Pacific depot).

RailPAC promotes the development of a modern, sustainable, environmentally friendly passenger rail system through education of the public and government officials.  Fullerton city council member Ahmad Zahra, whose district includes the train station, welcomed the attendees and described the role of Santa Fe Railway in the establishment of Fullerton.  Zahra said “we are trying to improve public transportation, and part of it is looking at our trains, and our train station… We want to encourage people to ride trains more”.  He emphasized the role of local government in improving the passenger’s experience at the train station with adequate pedestrian infrastructure and connecting bus service.

Carrie Schindler. Director of Transit and Rail at San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, gave a presentation on the ‘Arrow’, a 9-mile passenger rail line under construction between Redlands and San Bernardino, scheduled to start running in 2022. The Arrow will start with three new diesel-powered small ‘multiple-unit’ trains, along with one experimental hydrogen-powered train, made by Swiss manufacturer Stadler Rail.

Rick Meade, Senior Executive Officer – Program Management at the LA Metropolitan Transportation Authority, presented on the 13 large-scale rail transit projects in Los Angeles County planned to be completed before the 2028 Olympics. Cleve Cleveland, Department Manager for Orange County Streetcar Operations for OCTA, spoke about the construction of the OC Streetcar project, which is now under construction between Santa Ana and Garden Grove. Expected to begin operations in 2022, the OC Streetcar will be the first electric rail transit system to run in Orange County since the last Pacific Electric “Red Car” to Santa Ana ran in 1950.

RailPAC president Steve Roberts described efforts by rail passenger advocates in different states collaborating on saving the nation’s long distance trains, such as the Southwest Chief which stops in Fullerton, from cancellation by Amtrak management. Congress continues to provide funding for Amtrak long-distance trains, despite opposition from the Trump administration. Roberts and former RailPAC president Paul Dyson also gave updates on the LOSSAN (or Pacific Surfliner) corridor rail Los Angeles-San Diego services which serve Fullerton. Over the next year, the number of daily Amtrak Surfliner trains which stop in Fullerton will soon increase to 13, up from 12 currently, and several more Fullerton-LA daily trains on Metrolink will be added.

Events, Steel Wheels Conference

RailPAC Members Meeting – Fullerton – September 28, 2019


The 2019 RailPAC members meeting and Steel Wheels Conference will be held on Saturday, 28th September at the Old Spaghetti Factory adjacent to Fullerton Station.

Keynote speaker will be Jennifer Bergener, Managing Director, LOSSAN who will talk about the real world challenges of passenger rail.

Other speakers to be announced.

Online registration coming soon.

See you there, and come by train!



Amtrak National Network Campaign 2018, Events, Steel Wheels Conference

Steel Wheels Conference Sacramento September 29

If you want to help RailPAC preserve and expand the National Network of passenger trains, and grow the regional services in California you should attend this important event.  Registration is open at

The event will be held at the California State Railroad Museum from 10.00am and we have a number of experts who will be giving presentations about the State of the passenger rail State, and the future of passenger rail in general.  There will be plenty of time for Q&A and discussion.  Bring your questions and ideas.


Final Agenda and Speaker Times (8/23/18)

Check-In Morning Coffee snack 10:00 AM  – 10:30 AM (Check-in to remain open until Capitol Corridor riders arrive)

10:15 AM – 10:30 AM – Welcome and Housekeeping

10:30 AM – 11:15 AM – Bruce Becker, Rail Passengers Association, will discuss current Amtrak funding status, the National Network initiative and the Southwest Chief effort


11:15 AM – 11:59 AM – Dan Leavitt, Manager of Regional Initiatives San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority, will  provide an  overview of “Valley Rail”, a major expansion of passenger rail service in the Northern San Joaquin Valley

12:01 PM – Lunch

1:00 PM – 1:45 PM – Frank Vacca, Chief of Rail Operations, California High-Speed Rail Authority, will present an update on California High-Speed Rail and an overview of ongoing projects, challenges and upcoming initiatives to fulfill goals of 2018 Business Plan


1:45 PM – 2:30 PM – Jim Allison, Manager of Planning, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, will present Capitol Corridor’s future vision for faster/expanded service between Roseville and San Jose


2:30 PM – 3:15 PM – Mark Singer, Rail Provocateur

RailPAC Business Meeting            3:15 PM – 3:45 PM


Amtrak National Network Campaign 2018, Events

Anderson turns down RailPAC invitation

RailPAC invited Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson to present his vision for Amtrak in the 21st Century at the Annual Steel Wheels Conference in Sacramento, Saturday 29th September.  A brief (terse?) response from his PA informed us that he is “unavailable”.  No offer, as in the past, to send a senior officer in his stead.  It has been clear from his dealings with politicians and other advocates that he has no time for opposing opinions, nor for those of us who are the true, loyal supporters of passenger rail.  So the fight for the National Network continues.

Be sure to support the Steel Wheels Conference and Annual meeting.  There will be plenty of interesting and informative speakers, and discussion as to how we continue the fight for the National Network.

Paul Dyson



CANCELLED March 10: Informal Members Discussion at Philippes

Unfortunately due to a conflict, we must postpone this event.
We hope to reschedule at a later date.

There will be an informal members discussion March 10th at 10 AM within walking distance of LA Union Station and the Chinatown Gold line station at Philippes the Original, 1001 N Alameda, Los Angeles.


RailPAC members welcome!  Meetings usually occupy the first room (to your left at the top of the stairs) on the second floor of Philippes.