Tag: amtrak california

Amtrak California ends 2011 with continued high ridership

It may almost be March, but Amtrak has just released their December report, meaning we can take a look at Amtrak California ridership for the end of the year. When I last wrote about Amtrak ridership the August and September reports had just been released. My lack of posting hasn’t been because ridership has been poor. Quite the contrary, ridership continues to exceed previous highs, and the year ended quite well.

For the October-December period, ridership is up over 2010 on two of the lines.
Year on year ridership changes
San Joaquin : +8.6%
Capitol Corridor : +6.9%
Pacific Surfliner : -6.1% Click to read more!

The market approach to the Union Pacific problem

Union Pacific is the largest railroad in the US, and they are also strongly against passenger rail. Concerning Amtrak, UP has been a pain in the ass when it comes to requests to allow for more service. For example, when Amtrak sought to increase service on the Sunset Limited (New Orleans to LA) from 3 times a week to daily, UP demanded $750 million in ransom money. This ludicrous amount was simply their way of telling Amtrak to bugger off. The reason behind the astronomical amount is less to do with logical business planning and probably more of political/ideological grandstanding.

However, Amtrak’s Sunset Limited is small peanuts compared to California where the state plans to build a high-speed rail line (HSR) that will run next to UP rail lines for the majority of the route. The problem is, because UP is against passenger rail, instead of helping the HSR program by working together to use excess land (land which was originally given to UP by the government), they have taken the opposite approach and banned the HSR authority from using any of their right-of-way (ROW). This has raised the cost of HSR by a huge amount, because instead of using vacant land, the authority will be forced to purchase land that is occupied by businesses and farmers. The land cost isn’t the only added expense. Bridges have been built over the UP rail lines leaving completely clear the entire piece of land they own, even the unused area. Because HSR will have to be built outside of the UP land, every single bridge will have to be rebuilt, or the line will be forced onto very tall viaducts. Neither choice is a good one, and both are remarkably expensive. Click to read more!

A transit trip to LA – Amtrak, Metro, Universal

Some thought from my weekend trip to LA to see a concert at the Gibson Amphitheater at Universal.

Including thoughts on Amtrak’s San Joaquin, the LA subway and the infrastructure around Universal City.

Note: My D key is not always working, I’ve done my best to find errors, but I may have missed one or two.

I’ve ridden the San Joaquin many times before, but I was surprised to see something I hadn’t seen – a train car that wasn’t the standard California Car I’m used to. It was made fairly obvious by the fact that there was only one boarding door, and it was baggage only. Click to read more!

San Joaquin (Amtrak) ridership continues to soar – is HSR to blame?

Amtrak has finally caught up with their monthly status reports, and their August and September numbers are now available.

What really popped out from these reports was the incredibly impressive numbers from the San Joaquin route, which services California’s Central Valley and is where the first phase of High Speed Rail (HSR) is set to be constructed. To HSR detractors, this section of the state is known as “nowhere”, a land of farms and vast distances, where transit is simply unfeasible.

The latest numbers don’t break the record set in July, because that is typically the route’s best month, but 2011 did feature the highest August and September on record….and by a large amount. Click to read more!

Notes from High Speed Rail discussion at Fresno State

NOTE: This post was edited at 11:45pm Friday to add the section on questions from the audience.

Last night, Fresno State invited four speakers to present their thoughts on the High Speed Rail (HSR) project and answer questions from the audience. The forum was created for students taking a class on HSR, but this presentation was open to the general public.

The format was as follows: Four speakers on the stage were each given 10 minutes to talk about the project. After the speeches were done, questions were asked by the moderator, Bill McEwen from the Fresno Bee, and then the general audience.

Generally, the speeches followed prepared notes. The speakers did not address each others thoughts until the Q&A section, but even then, discussion was focused to/from the audience member and not between the speakers. Click to read more!

Amtrak needs to work on their press relations

A few days ago I posted about how Amtrak California has been breaking ridership records. That post has gotten a awful lot of views, and it’s been linked to when other people want to point to a source of how many people are riding trains.

That got me thinking about why the real media hasn’t reported on the gains made in these individual lines. If a real newspaper had written a similar article to what I did, most people would have preferred to link to that. Take for example the widely read California High Speed Rail blog which linked to my page to make a point about increasing ridership. Sure, my charts are amazing, but while my numbers are real (sourced straight from the Amtrak financial documents of course) I wouldn’t blame Robert or anyone else from preferring to cite a major newspaper rather than a lowly blog. That makes it obvious that no other form of media had reported the news. Click to read more!

Amtrak California breaks ridership records. Yes, again.

If this post feels familiar it’s because Amtrak has been having a very good year, and the California routes have especially been enjoying a surge in riders. The Pacific Surfliner is now the second most popular train line in the nation, beating out the Acela for the #2 spot.

I wonder if all the High Speed Rail press has been working as an advertising campaign for passenger rail in the state?

Just two weeks ago, Amtrak belatedly released their June report, showing the San Joaquin breaking 100,000 for the first time. That was an increase from April, in which the California trains also experienced new records. Click to read more!

Amtrak’s San Joaquin breaks 100,000 monthly passengers for first time ever

Amtrak has finally released their June performance report (2 months late, apparently due to one of those classic SAP switchover screwups) and California ridership numbers continue to impress.

Most notably, the San Joaquin broke the 100,000 barrier for the first time ever, after missing it by 609 passengers in April of this year.

The San Joaquin noted 100,947 riders, a big improvement from 88,638 in June of last year, and up 3,000 from last month.

The Capitol Corridor had 145,495, an increase from 140,941 in June of last year but a small decrease from May.

The Pacific Surfliner recorded 239,984, a massive 30,000 passenger increase from June of 2010, but also less than this May. Click to read more!

Amtrak California hits new ridership highs

Amtrak has released their ridership numbers for April, and the graphs speak for themselves.

San Joaquin missed hitting 100,000 for the first time by 609 riders.
Photobucket

Capitol Corridor exceeds 150,000 for the month
Photobucket

Pacific Surfliner has more than 250,000 riders a month
Photobucket

And how they stack up against each other.
Photobucket

And finally, how does Amtrak California compare to the rest of the system?

Photobucket

Very favorably. I thought nobody rode trains in California?

All numbers directly from Amtrak can be found at
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=Page&pagename=am%2FLayout&cid=1241245669222 Click to read more!