Thursday, March 26, 2009

IL Metra Accept Credit Cards? That's (For) The Ticket!

Monday's Chicago Tribune featured a story, "Metra service: Why Metra is riding slow train to future" with a list of "suggested" improvements to bring Metra into the 21st century. Accepting credit cards for tickets was the second "suggestion."

State Senator Michael Bond from Grayslake thinks that "suggestion" should become law and yesterday became the Chief Sponsor of Senate Bill 577 (SB 577) that would direct Metra to accept credit cards. This is long-overdue. I've waited numerous times in Metra ticket lines, watching potential passengers, incredulous and frustrated, find out that they cannot buy a ticket without cash or a check, and leave. We should make riding Metra easy, not difficult. If you think it's time for Metra to use credit cards then please

Click Here To Take Action

Senator Bond will be giving a press conference on the legislation today - Your Action Now will help increase the chance that Metra will start taking credit cards soon!

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Iowa City Rail Supporters Grow, Using Facebook

(Hat tip Trains4America)

The Iowa City Chamber of Commerce is encouraging supporters of rail to Chicago to add their name to a list of supporters, join the Facebook group "I Support Iowa City Rail to Chicago" and tell friends and legislators that you support passenger rail.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

France's SNCF hopes to run high speed rail in US

Via Google News - the potential of high speed rail isn't lost on the companies who provide it:

France's SNCF hopes to run high speed rail in US

"The United States is ready for a truly high-speed rail system and France's national railway SNCF would be 'very interested' in operating a network, a senior executive said Thursday.

'We strongly believe that in this country, in some of the corridors, the system should logically be profitable,' SNCF International chairman Jean-Pierre Loubinoux said in an interview on the sidelines of a rail conference in Indiana.

While detailed market analysis still needs to be undertaken, Loubinoux said the French experience has shown that high-speed rail operates most effectively between large cities that are around 1,000 to 1,500 kilometers (600 to 930 miles) apart.

These conditions exist in the east coast, California, the midwest, Texas and Florida.

'You could have more than just a corridor. You could have a system,' he told AFP.

'If the possibility (of operating a network) is open we certainly would consider it with great interest.'"

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Now That's Frequent - San Fran High Speed Rail Every 5 Minutes!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Obama Sees Rail Potential - "Railroads Were Always The Pride Of America"

President Barack Obama speaking Wednesday covered in Thursday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"'I think there's enormous opportunities here,' he said. 'Railroads were always the pride of America and stitched us together. Now, Japan, China, all of Europe, have high-speed rail systems that put ours to shame. And the potential economic benefits of a high-speed rail link between Chicago and Milwaukee, so that people are avoiding I-94, or the link between Chicago and St. Louis, Detroit, all those Midwestern cities, I think is enormous and is a very real option. Although gas prices are low right now, it becomes a very meaningful option for people who don't want to take off their shoes (for screening), drive to an airport, pay for parking, suffer delays.'

He also said improving freight rail in the region was critical and 'would help with the whole distribution of goods in the region (and) would save businesses a lot of money.'"

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Monday, March 09, 2009

IL High-speed Rail Predicted To Get $500 M Stimulus - Develop Corridor Within 5 Years

Greg Hinz reports that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, at a Union Station appearance with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Amtrak Chair Tom Carper, said Illinois expects to get at least $500 million of the $8 billion stimulus money for high speed rail. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Senator Durbin said that he and Governor Quinn would work to develop a high speed rail corridor between Chicago and St. Louis within five years. You can listen to Governor Quinn's Q&A here (Update: the beginning and towards the end of the prior link deal with rail. This link of Senator Durbin and Governor Quinn contains *Much More Rail Discussion* - listen to it first).

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Capital Times Gives Wisconsin High Speed Rail Summary

The Capital Times article gives monetary breakdowns, scheduling and a bit of background information - worth a read!

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NPR Interviews Governor Doyle About Visit To See Spain's High Speed Rail