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May 9, 2011

Maryland gets $22 million toward new Amtrak bridge

Maryland has been awarded $22 million in federal high-speed rail money for engineering and environmental work to replace the century-old Susquehanna River Bridge on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor.

The money directed to Maryland comes from the $2 billion rejected by Florida Gov. Rick Scott for a high-speed rail project in that state. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the current Susquehanna bridge causes frequent delays because of the frequent need for critical maintenance work.

The $22 million is part of the $795 million redirected to the Northeast Corridor to increase the speed of travel on the line from Washington to Boston.

Some of the other projects on Maryland's wish list did not make the cut. After Scott ended his state's participation in the proposed high-speed line from Tampa to Orlando, Maryland applied for $450 million in federal grants toward projects including replacement of bridges over the Bush and Gunpowder rivers, a new station at BWI Marshall Airport and replacement of the B&P Tunnel leading into Baltimore's Penn Station.

Continue reading "Maryland gets $22 million toward new Amtrak bridge" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 11:52 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

April 22, 2011

Amtrak to install heavy-duty fence at Middle River

Amtrak plans to install a heavy-duty, 8-foot-high steel fence along the stretch of its Northeast Corridor in Middle River where a 14-year-old girl was killed in January 2010.

The national passenger railroad announced Friday that it would spend $3.1 million to install 6,400 feet of fencing between Martin Boulevard and Stemmers Run Road. That section of track includes the area where Anna Marie Stickel (right) was struck and killed by an Amtrak train while walking along the tracks as she too a popular but unauthorized local shortcut to Kenwood High School.

Amtrak said the project would also include improvements to a pedestrian underpass at Martin Boulevard that some local residents now avoid because of its darkness. The railroad said the work will take about six months to complete.

Since Anna's death, Amtrak has come under pressure from her mother, Tara Stickel, and U.S. Rep. C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger to improve safety conditions in the area. Between Stemmers Run and Martin Boulevard there are stretches of track where there is no barrier to pedestrian access to the tracks. In other sections, the existing chain link fence is decades old and in poor condition.

The poor condition of Amtrak's fences in the area was the subject of a February 2010 Getting There column. The actions Amtrak announced Friday appear to be exactly what was called for in that article.

Photo courtesy of Tara Stickel

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 10:59 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

April 7, 2011

MARC, commuter buses to run during shutdown

If the federal government shuts down because of the current budget impasses, as seems increasingly likely, MARC and commuter bus service will continue on a normal schedule -- at least at first.

The Maryland Transit Administration says that if ridership levels plummet, it might decide to reduce service. But transit riders who work for  non-government employers in Washington -- as well as reverse commuters -- apparently will not be forced into cars because of a shutdown.

 

Continue reading "MARC, commuter buses to run during shutdown" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 2:09 PM | | Comments (1)
        

April 5, 2011

O'Malley adds specifics to request for rail funds

Gov. Martin O'Malley has fleshed out his previously announced bid for a chunk of the $2.4 billion in federal high-speed rail funds spurned by Florida Gov. Rick Scott as Maryland made its formal application for more than $400 million of the money for two state projects.

O'Malley applied for $299 million for the final design and construction of a replacement station and improvements to the rail infrastructure at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The state is offering $41 million in match funds for the project, which would add a fourth track in the station area and build a new pedestrian bridge to serve all tracks. Maryland estimates the project would create 1,830 jobs.

Continue reading "O'Malley adds specifics to request for rail funds" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 6:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

March 29, 2011

Amtrak now tweeting Northeast Corridor delays

Amtrak may not be able to prevent its trains from being delayed, but now it can at least tweet about it.

The national passenger railroad announced it has just launched a pilot program under while it will alert ride using Twitter when trains are delayed on the Northeast Corridor for 60 minutes or more.

In addition to Northeast Regional and Acela Express trains on the corridor, the Twitter service will also cover the Keystone Service between Philadelphia and New York via Harrisburg and Shuttle trains between Springfield, Mass., and New Haven, Conn. Amtrak said it would monitor the service's level of activity, including re-tweets and the number of followers, before deciding whether to continue or expand its use of Twitter.

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 5:04 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

February 18, 2011

O'Malley makes pitch for money Florida spurned

Seeking to capitalize on Florida Gov. Rick Scott's decision to turn down $2.4 billion in federal stimulus funds for a high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando, Gov. Martin O'Malley has asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to shift much of the money to projects in Maryland and other places along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor.

In a letter dated today, O'Malley urged LaHood to move much of that money to projects such as the estimated $1 billion construction of a new tunnel to replace the century-old B&P Tunnel just south of Penn Station. That tunnel is regarded as a critical bottleneck slowing trains on the Northeast Corridor.

Continue reading "O'Malley makes pitch for money Florida spurned" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 10:18 AM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

February 16, 2011

O'Malley would pursue money Florida spurned

In the previous blog posting, I wondered whether Maryland would pursue a share of the $2.4 billion in stimulus funds Florida Gov. Rick Scott turned down, essentially scuttling a high-speed rail project.

We didn't have to wait long for an answer. Shaun Adamec, spokesman for Gov. Martin O'Malley, said Maryland would be happy to compete for the money Florida's Republican chief executive spurned. Adamec passed this along:

The Governor will certainly pursue any funds available that can help create jobs and rebuild Maryland’s infrastructure.  This is not unprecedented.  You’ll recall the example of Talgo, that then-WI-Gov Doyle courted to execute a deal to build a high speed rail system from Milwaukee to Madison.  Gov. Doyle teed it up so that federal funds would provide the necessary $810M investment to make the deal work, but [new Republican Gov.] Scott Walker ultimately turned down the money, and Talgo pulled out.  And now Pat Quinn (Democratic Governor of IL) has courted Talgo to come there instead, bringing the investment and the jobs to the people of Illinois.  It’s hard to imagine just how well the people of Wisconsin were served by political posturing that ultimately resulted in watching millions in investment and thousands of jobs walk over the border to Illinois.

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 4:11 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

Florida rejects $2.4 billion for high-speed rail

Florida's new governor, Republican Rick Scott, has rejected $2.4 billion in U.S. stimulus money that had been intended to go for a high-speed rail project linking Tampa to Orlando.

The Obama administration has said it will redirect that money to other states. Hmmm. I wonder whether Maryland can think of a use for some of that money for projects on the Northeast Corridor.

Scott said he was rejecting the money over concerns that the project would cost too much money and fail to meet its ridership projections. He also expressed worries over the possibility of  cost overruns that could be passed on to Florida taxpayers.

Critics charged that Scott was costing the state thousands of jobs at a time of high unemployment as  well as squandering an opportunity to expand the state's tourist infrastructure.

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 3:34 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

February 10, 2011

Man hit by train was wearing headphones

A man who was struck and injured by a train at Halethorpe Thursday -- interrupting or delaying Amtrak and MARC service about midday -- was wearing head phones as he crossed the tracks and failed to hear the oncoming Acela Express, according to Baltimore County police.

The victim -- described by Amtrak  spokeswoman Danelle Hunter as a white male "trespasser" of about 30 -- was taken to Maryland Shock-Trauma Center. Lt. Robert O. McCullough, the county police spokesman, said the man was still alive late Thursday afternoon.

Hunter said the Washington-to-New York Acela train, with 121 passengers aboard, was  held at the scene for more than an hour after the 11:27 a.m. incident. Maryland Transit  Administration spokesman Terry Owens said two MARC Penn Line trains were delayed.

Baltimore County Fire Department spokeswoman Elise Armacost said the call came in at 11:41 a.m. and the victim was taken by ground to Shock-Trauma.

Continue reading "Man hit by train was wearing headphones" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 5:05 PM | | Comments (19)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

Amtrak, MARC traffic resumes after pedestrian strike

MARC and Amtrak trains have resumed operations through the Halethorpe area after being held up when an Acela train struck a pedestrian on the tracks near there late this morning.

Danelle Hunter, an Amtrak spokeswoman, said the person -- whom she described as a "trespasser" -- was hit about 11:27 a.m.

Baltimore County Fire Department spokeswoman Elise Armacost said call came in at 11:41 a.m. and the victim was taken by ground to Shock-Trauma. No word on age or gender. Hunter said that to the best of her knowledge the victim was still alive. She said there was no indication yet whether the strike was an accident or a suicide attempt.

Hunter said the Washington-to-New York Acela train, with 121 passengers aboard, was being held at the scene as of about 12:45 p.m. But she said the tracks have been reopened to other traffic.

Maryland Transit  Administration spokesman Terry Owens said two MARC Penn Line trains were delayed by the incident, but he said MARC traffic resumed service through the area at restricted speeds shortly after noon.

 

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 12:16 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads, MARC train
        

December 8, 2010

Amtrak sets Thanksgiving records

Amtrak posted a record this year for the number of passengers it carried over Thanksgiving, as well as the number of riders on a single day, the railroad announced today.

Ridership for the weekend increased 2.7 percent over last year to a record of 704,446 passengers even though travel on the Northeast Corridor showed a slight decline, Amtrak  said. It also reported that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, when it carried 134,230  riders, was the  busiest day in its history.

Amtrak said that in spite of the overall decline in the Northeast Corridor, ridership on its high-speed Acela Express trains increased  by 12.9 percent over 2009.

Posted by Michael Dresser at 3:08 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

Amtrak Northeast Corridor service fully restored

Amtrak has fully restored service on its Northeast Corridor after an electrical problem this morning interrupted service between Philadelphia and Baltimore.

In a 10:30 a.m. announcement, the railroad said repairs to the overhead wire system near Wilmington  had been completed, allowing full service to resume. Amtrak said the service interruption ocurred  at 7 a.m. when a power problem involving the damaged overhead wires forced a temporary suspension of service between Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Terry Owens, an MTA spokesman, said  there were there were no problems with MARC Penn Line trains, but he said there were delays on two Amtrak morning trains that stop along the Penn Line and honor MARC tickets.

Amtrak said riders can expect residual congestion-related delays of 15-20 minutes through the affected area.

Posted by Michael Dresser at 11:34 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads, MARC train
        

November 23, 2010

BWI rail station platform to reopen

The northbound platform at the BWI MARC/Amtrak railroad station, which has been partially closed for construction in recent months, will fully reopen in time for the busiest travel day of the year, the Maryland Transit Administrattion says.

The MTA said the barriers will be removed  and the platform opened to passengers by 5 a.m. Wednesday. The platform renovation is part  of a larger project to replace the aging station, which opened 30 years ago and has seen a steady growth in ridership.

According to the MTA, the renovation project has lengthened the sttation's northbound  and southbound platforms from 350 feet to 1,050 feet -- allowing all of the ccars on nine car trains to open their doors for passengers.

The station serves both Amtrak trains and the MARC system's Penn Line.

Posted by Michael Dresser at 7:34 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads, MARC train
        

November 5, 2010

Amtrak riders face delays too; 7 hurt in crash

An Amtrak spokesman said train delays are expected to persist into the evening peak travel period as a result of this morning's low-speed collision of two trains and resulting derailment at Union Station in Washington.

Spokesman Steve Kulm said Amtrak long-distance trains could be delayed 1-2 hours, while MARC and VRE commuter trains could leave up to 30 minutes late. He said Acela trains, as well as Northeast Regionals that are stopping at Washington, will not be affected.

Kulm also updated the injury count from five to seven and said six of those hurt were Amtrak employees. All six were taken to local hospitals, he said, while an injured passenger who had been aboard a private car declined hospital treatment.

  

Posted by Michael Dresser at 4:37 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads, MARC train
        

Amtrak says 5 hurt in derailment in D.C.

Five people sustained minor injuries this morning when two trains collided in the rail yard at Union Station in Washington, derailing five cars, Amtrak says.

Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm said both Amtrak and MARC trains were operating but that delays could  be expected on some trains throughout the day. He said Amtrak hopes to have normal service restored by the evening peak travel period  but could not be sure.

According  to Kulm, a train pulling  private passengers cars collided with a MARC Penn Line train shortly before 9:20 a.m. in the Washington rail yard. He said three Amtrak employees and two persons aboard the other train were injured.

Kulm said the MARC train had already discharged its passengers and that only crew was aboard. The crash occurred after most morning MARC commuters had already arrived at Union Station, according to Maryland Transit Administration spokesman David Clark.

According to Kulm, the five derailed cars remained upright. He urged MARC and Amtrak passengers to check the Amtrak website for service updates.

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 10:50 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

October 25, 2010

Amtrak: Cause of delays under investigation

Amtrak confirms that there were delays on its tracks between Baltimore and Washington this morning because of signal problems but says the cause has not yet been determined.

The Inside Charm City blog had reported that sabotage might have been the cause.

Amtrak spokeswoman Barbara Petito did not rule out sabotage as the reason a  wire came down in the Seabrook-New Carrollton area at 8:42 a.m. Neither did she confirm the report. She said Amtrak Police were still investigating why the wire came down and set off a signal warning that the track ahead was occupied.

Petito said two Amtrak trains were delayed -- one by five minutes, another by 13. She said she had no information about MARC delays. She noted that that of copper wire has been a problem for Amtrak of late.

Posted by Michael Dresser at 5:11 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads, MARC train
        

Blog reports possible Amtrak sabotage

Jeff Quinton at the Inside Charm City blog is reporting that some delays on the MARC Penn Line this morning might have been the result of sabotage of some Amtrak signals.

Quinton reports  that tthe MTA sent out a message on Twitter confirming that there had been "malicious destruction" of Amtrak signals.

Meanwhile, the MTA is reporting that CSX is having signal problems at Greenbelt on the Camden Line, causing delays of 20-35 minutes. No word on a cause, but the Camden Line usually doesn't require a saboteur to make it late.

 

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 4:42 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads, MARC train
        

October 14, 2010

Storm knocks out parking payment machines

This from the MTA  MARC website:

Attention BWI Commuters:   A storm knocked out the communication on all the cash payment machines at the BWI Parking garage. Signs have been placed on the machines  informing customers that they can pay at the machines with credit cards or at the exit with cash. The machines are expected to be out for about a month.

A month? That must have been one heck of a storm.

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 6:02 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads, MARC train
        

October 13, 2010

Fatality shuts Brunswick Line at Rockville

Service on the MARC Brunswick Line has been shut down after a pedestrian was killed by a train on the CSX tracks this afternoon near Rockvillle, according to the Maryland Transit Administration.

A Montgomery County police spokeswoman, Blanca Kling, said an adult male was hit by a train at the Randolph Road crossing at 2:07 p.m. She said witnesses reported that the man jumped in front of a CSX  freight train. An investigation is continuing. Police have not yet released the man's identity.

MTA spokesman David Clark said MARC had established a bus bridge to meet passengers at the Rockville Metro station and take them to points farther west  on the line -- one branch of which runs to Frederick and the other to Martinsburg, W.Va. He said Metro will honor  MARC tickets.

Clark said the tracks, which are also used by Amtrak trains between Washington and the Midwest, are expected to reopen about 6 p.m.

The apparent suicide would be the second on Maryland tracks so far this month. On Oct. 4, 46-year-old Mark Young, 46, of York, Pa., killed  himself by getting in front of a train on the Amtrak Northeast Corridor tracks in Middle River.

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 4:26 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads, MARC train
        

October 6, 2010

If N.J. bails on tunnel, Md. should seek funds

Published reports indicate that New Jersey Gov, Chris Christie may withdraw the state's participation in the proposed ARC tunnel project that would greatly increase rail capacity under the Hudson River -- currently a major bottleneck for trains going into or out of New York.

The freshman Republican governor is reported to want to spend the money on roads instead. If Christie does so, it could free up about $3 billion in federal funding for other rail projects around the country. The Maryland congressional delegation and state Transportation Department would be remiss if they didn't put on a full-court press for a big share of that money to replace the Amtrak tunnels through Baltimore or to improve freight traffic to the Port of Baltimore. Both are worthy local projects that accomplish national transportation objectives. They could also put a lot of Marylanders to work.

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 6:28 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

State starts '511' service for travelers

The State Highway Administration has announced it will launch a free. round-the-clock "511" telephone service to provide real-time traffic information to travelers in the state.

The new system, provided by Televent of Rockville, under a five-year contract with the state worth $4.7 million, will start up in fall 2011, according to Gov. Martin O'Malley.

The SHA wil manage the statewide service, under which the contractor will collect traffic information from a variety of sources and provide it to travelers who place calls to 511. The informatiion will also be  made available through social network operators and a website. The 511 system is later expected to add a personalized service that will alert subscribers to traffic conditions via text messaging.

 

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 11:55 AM | | Comments (3)
        

October 4, 2010

Pa. man kills self by lying down in front of train

A Pennsylvania man killed himself Monday morning by lying down in front of an Amtrak train in Middle River, Baltimore County police said.

A police spokesman, Cpl. Michael Hill, said a conductor aboard an Amtrak regional train saw a man step out from behind a pillar about 9:30 a.m. and lie down on the tracks at the Route 43 overpass near the Martin State Airport MARC station. Hill said there was no opportunity for the train to stop before hitting the man, identified as 46-year-old Mark Young of the 400 block of Marion Road in York, Pa.

Barbara Petito, an Amtrak spokeswoman, said there were about 125 passengers aboard the northbound train, which was traveling from Washington to St. Albans, Vt. She said the train was delayed about two hours.

The fatality was the second on the Amtrak tracks in the Middle River area this year. In January, 14-year-old Anna Marie Stickel was killed in an accident while walking along the tracks on her way to school.

Posted by Michael Dresser at 3:34 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

Pa. man killed by Amtrak train in Middle River

A Pennsylvania man was  struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Middle River this morning -- the second fatality in that area in the past year.

Amtrak spokeswoman Barbara Petito said the unidentified adult trespasser was struck by a northbound train just north of the Martin State Airport MARC station at 9:07 a.m.

In January, 14-year-old Anna Marie Stickel was killed by an Amtrak train while walking along the tracks on her way to school. The Middle River area has long had a problem with unauthorized people gaining access to the tracks, which in some locations are not protected by fences.

According to  Amtrak, there were  about 125 people aboard Amtrak Train No. 56, coming from Washington and traveling to St. Albans, Vt.,  when it struck the man.  The train was delayed about two hours.

The victim has been identified as a York, Pa., man but his name is being withheld until next  of kin can be notified.

 

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 11:47 AM | | Comments (30)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

September 3, 2010

Hurricane Earl takes aim at Amtrak

Not really. But Amtrak has suspended service between New York and Boston until sometime tomorrow. The rail line had planned to suspend service beginning this afternoon, but a tree fell across electrical lines in New London, Conn., and that was the end of that. From Amtrak's press release:

Overhead electrical system damage from a tree which fell from outside Amtrak property in Connecticut and more severe weather forecasted this evening has led Amtrak to suspend all through service between New York and Boston (South Station).

Those passengers currently on Amtrak trains in the affected area are being returned to their stations.

While tooling around their website, I also noticed that as of Sept. 1, Amtrak is no longer accepting money orders or travelers checks as payment. Probably not a big deal. The days of travelers checks seem of a bygone era. I do think money orders are still somewhat popular in some communities, though. Soon we'll all have an embedded strip in our bodies to pay for everything. I look forward to that.

Posted by Michelle Deal-Zimmerman at 4:10 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

August 19, 2010

CSX identifies track as cause of tunnel mishap

CSX Transportation has determined that the cause of the Aug. 5 derailment at the Howard Street tunnel was defective track, spokesman Gary Saese said today.

Saese said "there's no doubt" that a broken rail caused 13 cars to jump the tracks in and near the more than 100-year-old tunnel -- the site of a more serious derailment in 2001 that led  to a chemical fire that disrupted downtown Baltimore for a week.

The spokesman said the railroad has not yet determined what led to the break, but he added that typically such damage is  caused by an internal defect. Saese said the track  in the tunnel had  already been scheduled for replacement. He said work on that project would begin this month and be finished around Labor Day.

 

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 4:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

August 12, 2010

Get breaking news on traffic, transit here

Has a four-vehicle crash closed the Jones Falls Expressway? Did a light rail train jump the tracks? Are hundreds of passengers stranded on a MARC train?

You can find out fast by receiving text message alerts from The Baltimore Sun's Breaking News Desk. Just click here to sign up to receive traffic alerts and other news as it happens. These are not routine announcements or advisories about everyday congestion but the type of major developments that can help commuters get to home or work faster.

There is no charge for the service from The Sun, though standard test-message charges from cell phone providers may apply.

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 5:28 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Commuter wonders: Why no crosswalk at station?

Jim Nelson of Towson has the following question for the city Department of Transportation. It's a good one, and Getting There hopes to get a reply from the city soon.

As a daily MARC train commuter to Washington, DC, I make my way to Penn Station on foot via W. Oliver Street, crossing over N. Charles Street to get to the station.  Many other rail riders do this as well.


The hazardous nature of crossing N. Charles, particularly in the afternoon, is the reason the reason for this message.  Typically, people exiting the station walking toward homes and parking garages to the west, literally have to sprint across the busy street, through gaps in fast-moving traffic.  Obviously, this is very dangerous; particularly, for seniors and children.

Has the City ever considered placing a pedestrian crosswalk and light at this location?  If not, why?  If so, why hasn't a pedestrian crossing been situated there?  Given that our Penn Station is one of the busiest passenger rail terminals in the country, with an annual total ridership of over 1 million, it would seem appropriate that those who forego the use of their cars subsequently be permitted to safely cross the street once they get off the train.

Posted by Michael Dresser at 1:04 PM | | Comments (8)
        

August 6, 2010

Howard Street Tunnel to reopen this evening

CSX Transportation has finished the removal of derailed cars from the Howard Street Tunnel and is expected to resume rail traffic through it by this evening, according to a railroad spokesman.

Thirteen cars of a 79-car freight train left the tracks Thursday in the tunnel and outside its northern portal at Mount Royal Avenue for reasons yet to be determined, said CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan. With the cars removed, he said, railroad officials were repairing and inspecting the tracks to prepare for a resumption of traffic.

Sullivan acknowledged that the incident had disrupted north-south traffic on the CSX line, for which the single-tracked Baltimore Tunnel is a significant bottleneck. But the spokesman said CSX was working with customers to reroute some trains, though they would have to swing far to the west to get through.

In 2001, East Coast freight traffic was disrupted more than a week after cars carrying hazardous chemicals derailed and caught on fire.

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 4:34 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

July 20, 2010

Amtrak adds Virginia service

Amtrak has added daily round-trip service between Richmond and Boston, giving Baltimore riders expanded options for travel to several stations between Virginia's capital and Washington.

Among the Virginia stations served by  the new trains, which began service today, are Alexandria, Woodbridge, Fredericksburg, Quantico, Ashland and  Richmond's Staples  Mills. The service is the second launched by an Amtrak-Virginia partnership that introduced service too Lynchburg last fall.

The line will operate on tracks owned by CSX Transportation but to which the partnership contributed the infrastructure needed to launch the service.  A schedule  is available here.

 

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 6:30 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

July 7, 2010

Amtrak breakdowns not limited to MARC

MARC Penn Line riders are not alone in their misery on Amtrak-operated trains.

In an echo of the June 21 "hell train" incident on the Penn Line, an Amtrak train became disabled near Larchmont, N.Y., and passengers were left to bake on the tracks in cars without air-conditioning for an estimated 2 1/2 hours. In a departure from the Maryland incident, water was distributed on the train.

The Larchmont incident is one more illustration of the toll the current Northeast heat wave is taking on Amtrak's aging system. It seems that intercity passengers, as well as commuters, are paying the price for years of neglect of the nation's rail infrastructure.

 

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 11:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

June 22, 2010

Baltimore has a stake in Prince George's decision

Gov. Martin O'Malley's decision last week to relocate the Department of Housing and Community Development from Crownsville to Prince George's County. is almost certainly good politics -- and it could turn out to be good policy as well.

When you think about it, it just doesn't make much sense to locate a department that mostly serves urban communities on a leafy suburban campus far from transit routes.  And Prince George's is an important population center with far superior transit connections.

But while the news is undoubtedly good for Prince George's, it could go either way for Baltimore. Certainly it's not like moving a department out of Baltimore to fulfill a pledge to that county -- as former Gov. Bob Ehrlich tried with the Department of Planning. But some Baltimore-area employees of the department could be severely inconvenienced if the  wrong decision is made about where to locate in Prince George's County.

Continue reading "Baltimore has a stake in Prince George's decision" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 10:07 AM | | Comments (6)
        

June 2, 2010

Amtrak extends free Wi-Fi on Acela trains

After a three-month test period, Amtrak has decided to make free WiFi service on its Excela Express trains a standard of the service and is planning to expand it to other trains.

According to Amtrak, almost 40 percent of its passengers have logged on to the service since it was instituted March 1, with three-quarters of those surveyed reporting a favorable experience.

The railroad said it is making the AmtrakConnect service  permanent on all of its high-speed Acela Express trains between Boston and Washington.

Continue reading "Amtrak extends free Wi-Fi on Acela trains" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 4:37 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

May 6, 2010

Trespasser killed by Amtrak train south of BWI

The following just came in from the Maryland Transit Administration's MARC notification service:

An Amtrak Acela Express train has struck a trespasser between BWI and Odenton.  All service on the Penn Line is suspended until further notice.  Train 520 will hold at Odenton.  Train 427 will hold in Baltimore.  Updates to follow.

It was followed later with:

Penn line service has been restored with delays 30 - 45 minutes to trains 422,427,520 and 424. Train 427 is not canceled out of Baltimore.

The Associated Press is reporting that person was in fact killled by the train. There is no identification at this time. Amtrak is warning of continuing delays this afternoon in the Northeast Corridor.

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 2:01 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads, MARC train
        

April 8, 2010

Amtrak on pace for a record year

It might be a sign of recovery or it could be an indicator of the hassle of air travel, but Amtrak is reporting that it is on a pace to break ridership records this year.

 According to the passenger railroads. the 13.6 million passengers it carried during the first six months of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, represent a 4.3 percent in increase from the  ridership in the October-March period the previous year. Taking into account the normally strong ridership during the summer months, that puts it on a pace to break the record set in fiscal 2008, when it carried 28.7 million passengers during the 12-month period.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In the Northeast Corridor, the railroad said, ridership was up 2.9 percent on the high-speed Acela Express service and 4.7 on its Northeast Regional trains. But Amtrak reported double-digit increases for both services during March.

Amtrak also posted strong numbers for its long-distance trains, which have long depended heavily on federal subsidies. Those trains posted a 5.2 percent gain for the fiscal year so  far, and a thumping 16 percent gain in March alone. A half-dozen of its long-distance routes poster gains of more than 20 percent for the month, compared with last-year's recession-mired March.

 

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 12:26 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

February 11, 2010

Amtrak trip to New York is 7-hour ordeal

The Sun's Paul West reports that Amtrak Train 174 from Washington to Boston, which he was aboard, arrived in New York's Penn Station just before 6 p.m. after a seven hour trip punctuated with snow-related delays.

The train arrived after one boarding, two re-boardings (including an Acela "rescue" after a breakdown just north of Baltimore).

West described the seven-hour trip as the rail equivalent of a bad day at the Jersey Turnpike, but found it less than surprising in light of the record snows.

Part two of the trip, for passengers headed north to Boston and intermediate stops, will require another train transfer in New York. "Will there be a bar car?" a passenger asked the conductor. He received no reply.

 

Continue reading "Amtrak trip to New York is 7-hour ordeal" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 7:04 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

Amtrak train stalls north of Baltimore

A northbound Amtrak train (No. 174) from DC to Boston became disabled between Essex and Middle River in the vicinity of Orems and Compass roads. Passengers were transferred to an Acela train.

There were no injuries, but conitions were crowded on the stranded train, with many passengers standing.

According to a conductor, the train may have hit a snowdrift, causing damage. The conductor said the undercarriages  of the trains are ice-clogged and that a big chunk could have broken loose and damaged the  underbody. 

 "For what it's worth, I heard a loud clunk under our car shortly before the train stopped," the conductor said.

POSTSCRIPT:  The Acela rescue train, fully loaded with a standing-room-only passenger load,  now stopped unexpectedly about 10 or 15 minutes outside Wilmington.  There was a P.A. announcement that the train was "having trouble with one of our cars and the conductor has gone outside to look."

After less than 5 minutes the Acela started rolling again

Posted by Michael Dresser at 1:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

February 1, 2010

Maglev fails to get $1.7 billion in U.S. funding

At the same the Obama administration allocated $70 million to two Maryland rail projects last week, it also turned thumbs-down on the city's effort to gain $1.7 billion  in funding for the long-discussed, semi-dormant proposed Maglev train  line between Baltimore and Washington.

The Maryland Department of Transportation had put the request in at the behest  of the Baltimore city administration -- hardly a ringing endorsement. Robert Kulat, a spokesman for the Federal Railroad Administration, said a statutory impediment to Maryland spending any money of its own on Maglev was a significant impediment to federal approval.

Maglev supporters can take some comfort in the fact the Federal Railroad Administration did not find the project ineligible. The FRA classified it a a project that was "not ready" for funding. So the grant application could return another day. Until then,  Maryland will have to content itself with $60 million for the engineering work on a new Amtrak runnel in Baltimore to replace the 1873 Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel and $10 million toward a new BWI train station.

Posted by Michael Dresser at 5:57 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

Maryland got 'peanuts,' Florida congressman says

When the Obama administration announced which states would be the winners in the $8 billion high-speed rail derby last week, Florida was one of the biggest winners -- getting $1.2 billion to build a rail line from Tampa to Orlando. Maryland, on the other hand, received $70 million for two critical but more  modest projects -- better than many states but far behind the biggest beneficiaries.

So now a Florida congressman is contending that Maryland got "peanuts," Southerrn Maryland Online reports.

U.S. Rep. John Mica, the ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee and one of the leading cheerleaders for high-speed rail in Congress, said the money Maryland received toward a new Amtrak tunnel in Baltimore and a new BWI train station was "an insult."

If Maryland's own representatives were feeling insulted, they concealed it well. Most of the state's top Democrats welcomed the money. But Mica's point is that more of the money should have been directed into the Northeast Corridor to bring it up to a condition that would support truly high speeds.

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 3:52 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

January 29, 2010

Here's the rail projects that weren't funded

The good new this morning was the $70 million Maryland received out of $8 billion the Obama administration allocated Thursday for high-speed rail projects. Maryland's share will go toward two important projects for the state -- replacement of Baltimore's ancient Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel on the Amtrak Northeast Corridor and replacement of the far-too-small Amtrak/MARC station at BWI.

But those two projects were only two of seven on the state's original wish list totaling $360 million.

Getting $70 million out of a $360 million request might not sound like much, but it was a  better performance that the national average. The Obama administration received $57 billion in proposals for a share of $8 billion in high-speed rail funds allocated under last year's stimulus bill -- meaning that $1 was granted for roughly every $9 requested nationwide. Maryland received better than $1 for every $6 requested.

Here's the five Maryland projects that didn't make the cut after No. 1 and No. 2 were granted:

 

Continue reading "Here's the rail projects that weren't funded" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 11:37 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

January 28, 2010

Maryland gets $70 million in federal rail funds

Two high-priority Maryland projects will receive $70 million in funding as part of the $8 billion in rail investments announced yesterday by the Obama administration.

Jack Cahalan, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Transportation, said the state will recived about $60 million toward engineering and preparation of environmental impact statements on a project to replace the more than 100-year-old Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel just west of Penn Station on the way to Washington along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor.

Replacement of the tunnel, a significant bottleneck for Amtrak and MARC Penn Line trains as they pass thhrough Baltimore, is expected to eventually cost on the order of $1 billion, Cahalan said.

Receiving $10 million in funding is a project to replace the Amtrak station and add a new platform at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Cahalan said. That money will also be used for engineering and ebvironmental statements -- a  necessary step before coonstruction on the $80-$100 million project can begin. As part of that project, Cahalan said, the state will add a fourth track to the current three and  build a middle platform so that all tracks can be used for getting on and off. Currently only two of the three tracks can be used for that purpose.

Cahalan said that in addition to improving Amtrak service, the tunnel and station improvements are also part of MARC's long-range expansion plan.

 

 

Continue reading "Maryland gets $70 million in federal rail funds" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 12:32 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads, MARC train
        

January 25, 2010

Councilman urges schools to teach rail dangers

In the aftermath of this month's death of 14-year-old  Anna Marie Stickel (right) along the Amtrak tracks in Middle River, Baltimore County Councilman John Olszewski Sr. is weighing in to ask the county school system to do a better job of educating students about the dangers of intruding in the railroad right-of-way.

According to students at Kenwood High School, where Anna was a  freshman, the school administration had said little or nothing to them about the dangers of the tracks before Anna's death. Past students at the school report that in the past, school authorities would hold assemblies to emphasize the hazards -- a practice  that apparently fell by the wayside in recent years. The councilman makes a good point. Here's his letter:

 

           January 21, 2010

 Dr. Joe Hairston

 Superintendent

Department of Education

6901 N. Charles Street

Towson, Maryland 21204

Dear Dr. Hairston:

The recent tragedy in Middle River that took the life of one of our students is cause for much sadness and concern. It is not the first tragedy involving the railroad tracks and fast moving trains.

Continue reading "Councilman urges schools to teach rail dangers" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 11:34 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

January 22, 2010

Amtrak fatality revisited

It was Jan. 7, just two weeks ago, that I visited the Middle River community where 14-year-old Anna Marie Stickel was killed when struck by an Amtrak train while walking along the tracks on the way to Kenwood High School. During that visit, I had the opportunity to inspect some of the fences that supposedly separate the public froom the tracks, and to find some of the gaps that had been created over the years by people wanting to cut through.

One of those  cut-through points was one off an alley not far from Kenwood. A well-worn path signaled that it had been used for years by local residents -- most  likely high school kids -- seeking a shortcut.

During that visit, two days after Anna's death, there was a brand-new fix in place -- apparently added in response to the tragedy. But my impression at the time was that it was an amateurish job at best -- held together by a metal strip that could be removed by hand with no more difficulty than popping the top on a  soda can. The fence that had been repaired looked worn and shoddy.

Continue reading "Amtrak fatality revisited" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 1:12 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

January 21, 2010

Amtrak replies on victim identification

Amtrak's chief spokesman, Steve Kulm, sent this clarification of Amtrak's policy on the identification of victims of train-pedestrian collisions on its tracks. The statement represents a change from the railroad's previous flat assertion that it was Amtrak policy not to release such identifications.

When individuals trespassing on railroad tracks are struck and fatally injured by Amtrak trains, we are saddened by the unnecessary loss of life and understand all too well the grief that surviving friends and families experience.  The emotional impact of a trespass incident can extend also to our Amtrak train crew members and to passengers aboard the train.

When it comes to investigating trespass accidents of this nature, it is generally the state and local law enforcement agencies that assume the responsibility as the lead investigating agency. 

Continue reading "Amtrak replies on victim identification" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 4:03 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

Man killed by Amtrak train in Aberdeen named

After some resistance from Amtrak, we now have an identification of the man who was killed last Friday when he was struck on the railroad's Northeast Corridor tracks in Aberdeen. According to the Aberdeen Police Department, the man is James Dexter Sharon, 48, of the Aberdeen area.

According to department spokesman Sgt. Fred Budnick, next of kin have been notified but police are not aware of any fixed adddress. Sharon was struck by a southbound train along the  tracks  at the 600 block of South Philadelphia Boulevard (U.S. 40) in Aberdeen. Budnick said questions about whether the victim was intoxicated could not be answered until toxicology reports came back.

Earlier this week the Aberdeen Police deferred questions about the man's identity to the Amtrak Police as the lead investigative agency. The Amtrak Police declined to provide an identification, saying it was their policy not to do so. On Thursday, Budnick said the matter had been clarified and that the matter was  now considered "a joint investigation."

Posted by Michael Dresser at 2:31 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

Amtrak still won't name Aberdeen victim

It's almost a week since a man was killed on the Amtrak tracks near Aberdeen and there's still no word from the railroad's in-house police force on the victim's identity.

The Amtrak Police are the lead investigative agency in the case, but public affairs officials for the railroad were still refusing Wednesday to provide any information on the name, age or hometown of the victim -- or even to say whether the person had been identified at all. The Aberdeen police deferred to the Amtrak police because the railroad cops are running the investigation.

An Amtrak spokeswoman deflected an inquiry Tuesday, saying: "Amtrak Police informed me that the medical examiner could provide this information for you" and passed along that number.

Continue reading "Amtrak still won't name Aberdeen victim" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 7:35 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

January 19, 2010

Councilman seeking rail safety solutions

Monday's Getting There column calling on the entire Middle River community to take a share  of responsibilty for preventing recurrences of the tragic  railroad track  accidents such as the one that caused the  death of 14-year-old Anna Marie Stickel was not universally persuasive.

Quite a few readers continue to hold the view that Anna, who was certainly on the Amtrak tracks unwisely and without authorization, was solely responsible for her death -- or as one writer put it "this girl got what she asked for."

Fortunately, the east side of Baltimore  County is represented by a councilman who sees a community interest in protecting young teenagers from their own immaturity. Baltimore County Council Chairman John Olszewski Sr. (right) sent me this  email signaling that he is interested in looking for solutions -- not merely pointing a finger at a dead girl and her grieving parents:

Good morning Michael, I just finished reading your article in the morning paper and I think you got it right. This issue isn't just a parental one but it is one that everyone involved should come together and come up with some collaborative ideas to bring a bright light onto the subject of dangerous train tracks.

Continue reading "Councilman seeking rail safety solutions" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 11:22 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

January 14, 2010

Amtrak to add WiFi to Acela Express

Amtrak announced this  week that it will add WiFi service to its Acela Express service  this  March -- but with the ominous  caveat that it would "make it available to every passenger initially free of charge.

The addition of a high-speed wireless Internet connection is encouraging -- if a little behind  the times. The Autopia blog notes that some intercity buses already offer the service, as well as JetBlue, which also operates in the Northeast Corridor.

In addition to WiFi, Amtrak also announced it will upgrade the Acela Express service  -- the nation's fastest -- by renovating the interior of its rail cars by the end of the year. Amtrak said the improvements will include  leather seating  and better tray tables and power outlets for laptop computers,

The Sun/Jed Kirschbaum

Continue reading "Amtrak to add WiFi to Acela Express" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 7:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

December 23, 2009

Power restored on Northeast Corridor

The AP is reporting that power has been restored after a three-hour interruption on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. The outage had affected traffic between New York and Washington.
Posted by Michael Dresser at 12:27 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

Top 10 Md. transportation stories: 2000-2009

Apart from disasters, transportation stories tend to unfold over the course of many years. Some of the ones that garner big headlines at the time will be all but forgotten in a few years time. So in choosing the Top 10 Maryland transportation stories of the past decade, it helps to project forward to 2020 or 2030 and look back at what made a lasting difference.

A little disclosure is in order. I have covered transportation for The Sun since 2004 and before that followed many transportation-related stories as a State House Bureau reporter. So there might be a bias in favor of the stories I covered. (Thanks to my colleague Scott Calvert to reminding me of the Howard Street Tunnel fire, which occurred before my time on the beat.)

With those caveats, I present my top 10 in the bottom-to-top format made wildly popular by David Letterman:

10. Light rail double-tracking project completed. When Baltimore's light rail system opened early in the 1990s, it soon became clear that the system had been built on the cheap. The decision to run trains on a single track over long stretches led to constant delays and operational difficulties. Thus, under the Glendening administration, the decision was made to add a second track. The Ehrlich administration then made a tough decision to expedite the work by closing down the southern and northern stretches of the system for periods of about a year. It was a rough time for light rail users, but the project was finally completed in early 2006, and the result has been much more reliable service on this still image-impaired system.

 

                                                                                                 Sun photo/Amy Davis/2006      

Continue reading "Top 10 Md. transportation stories: 2000-2009" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 7:33 AM | | Comments (7)
        

November 17, 2009

Drill simulates train disaster responses (VIDEO)

CSX played host Tuesday as up to 150 first responders from fire departments throughout the region took part in drills simulating several disaster scenarios at the railroad's Washington Boulevard rail yard.

A Baltimore Fire Department spokesman, Capt.  Kevin Cartwright, said oorganizers were pleased with the "fluid" response of the multiple agencies that participated in the train wreck simulation.

Firefighterrs fromBaltimore, Anne  Arundel, Howard, Harford, Carroll and Cecil countiies joined thhose from the cities of Baltimore and Annapolis in the practice session. Cartwright said the first responders dealt with scenarios including an engineer trapped in a locomotive who needed extraction, a chlorine leak, a liquid propane gas release and an ethanol spill.

About 150 observers were on hand from the Environmental Protection Agency Region III Emergency Preparedness and Prevention & Hazmat Spills Conference, now taking place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Also there was The Sun's Algerina Perna, who took video of the exercise.

Cartwright said the drill went well. "Everyone was pleased -- especially EPA and CSX," he said.

 

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 3:54 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

October 28, 2009

Reader dissents on high-speed rail

Csaba Hanyi of Towson sent along a well-written, reasoned critique of my Oct. 26 column on high-speed rail -- or the lack of it -- in the United States. I though it was worth posting in its entirety, though I disagree with its conclusions.

I read your column about high speed trains with great interest, since I
have been interested in rail travel most of my life. However,
considering some of the facts, I must disagree with some of your
observations.

You probably know that all European governments subsidize their rail
systems by handicapping truck traffic on their highways in order to
force more freight to rail, since the rail needs the revenue to enable
inexpensive commuter traffic.

Similarly, Maryland subsidizes MARC to remove some motor vehicles from
the road between Baltimore, Montgomery county and Washington.
Therefore, MARC is much cheaper to use than Amtrak on the same line.
MARC trains on the Penn Line do exceed 100 mph om some stretches.
The Camden line has obsolete track which prohibits high speed.

High speed rail requires ridership which is willing to pay premium
rates for the comfort, speed and convenience of traveling between
main city centers. This is only possible between major cities with
moderate distances between them. You get that in Europe, Japan, and
China by having high population densities.

In the US you can get the same thing along the Boston - Washington -
Richmond corridor, and we have a reasonably fast train service on
this corridor. When you travel further south or west the cities
get smaller and the distances much greater.

Continue reading "Reader dissents on high-speed rail" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 12:51 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

October 23, 2009

After Virginia loss, Amtrak wins one

Amtrak got its share of bad publicity lately when it lost the contract to operate Virginia Railway Express trains to a French company. Now, with a big win under its belt, Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm thinks it's only proper that the media recognize its successes.

Happy to, Steve.

Amtrak, which lost its contract with Southern California's Metrolink system in 2005, has regained that business and will take over operations of its commuter trains next July. The nation's largest passenger rail company reached an agreement on a four-year contract, with a possible two three-year extensions, with the Southern California Regional Rail Authority.

In 2005, the SCRRA decided to dump Amtrak in favor of Veolia Transportation. That didn't work out so great for the Metrolink system. In 2008, a Veolia engineer who was later found to have been texting while on the job ran a signal and collided with a Union Pacific freight train. The crash killed 25 people, including the engineer. Metrolink has been dealing with the legal and public relations fallout ever since.

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 5:33 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

August 25, 2009

Rails and NIMBYism

shanghai maglevMaryann here, providing spot support this week while Mike's on vacation.

Maryland is seeking $360 million in federal funds for rail upgrades, Tim Wheeler (of B'more Green) wrote for today's paper. The state is hoping to use stimulus funds for improvements to replace the aging passenger tunnel (not the freight tunnel that caught fire years ago), expand the BWI Marshall airport rail station, and make improvements on passenger rail in the area.

However, one of the most interesting tidbits lies farther down in the story. The Federal Rail Administration will open up bids in October for greater infrastructure improvements, which could possibly include the first maglev train in the U.S. (The train pictured at left is Shanghai's maglev.) But problems are afoot, Wheeler reports:

Any bid for maglev funding faces a potential hurdle. A preliminary study of a maglev train between Washington and Baltimore halted after state lawmakers barred Maryland officials from studying, developing or building such a system in response to constituents' vocal fears about the safety and potential disruption of super-high-speed trains in their communities.

Call me daft, but wouldn't a high-speed rail be a boon for the Baltimore-Washington area? Are we so consumed with NIMBYism that we can't even study and consider the option?

Personally, I would love to have a quicker, more convenient route to and from D.C., especially on days when the B-W Parkway is closed both ways. But that's just my non-homeowner perspective. I'd like to know your opinion: Would you be down with a maglev train connecting Baltimore and Washington, or are you firmly against?

Photo by kanegen @ Flickr

Posted by Maryann James at 9:43 AM | | Comments (30)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        

April 14, 2009

Call for help from a railroad buff

Charlie Pyles of Cold Spring, Ky., has a request that may be of interest to Maryland railroad and history buffs: “I was wondering if you would ask your readers to share information and photos they may have of the Western Maryland Railroad. I have a project started that revolves around the Elkins Yard down in Elkins, W.V., but I’m seeking unpublished photos of Western Maryland trains and stories with photos of Western Maryland people. All material will be scanned or photographed and promptly returned to the donor in the same condition received. Any materials are intended to be used on the web site http://www.shakylake.com/wmrr.htm. The purpose of the project is to keep the memory of the WM alive for future generations. Information can be mailed to: Charlie Pyles, 238 Misty Cove Way, Cold Spring, KY 41076-8513. Phone calls are welcome 859-442-7334 or e-mail cpyles@shakylake.com.”  Sounds like a worthy project to me. Feel free to copy this blog on any particularly fine pictures.
Posted by Michael Dresser at 5:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads
        
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About Michael Dresser
Michael Dresser has been an editor, reporter and columnist with The Sun longer than Baltimore's had a subway. He's covered retailing, telecommunications, state politics and wine. Since 2004, he's been The Sun's transportation writer. He lives in Ellicott City with his wife and travel companion, Cindy.

His Getting There column appears on Mondays. Mike's blog will be a forum for all who are interested in highways, transit and other transportation issues affecting Baltimore, Maryland and the region.
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