FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (#12-09)
September 17, 2012
Contact: Sean Jeans-Gail – 202-408-8362
Long Distance Trains: Multipurpose Mobility Machines
Passenger groups identify unique benefits to intercity trains, highlight key recommendations to improve the national network
“Long distance train routes form the foundation of the national passenger train network. Their unique capabilities allow them to connect congested urban areas and bring economically viable mobility to rural areas and small towns, many of which are becoming more isolated from major cities as regional airline and intercity bus service disappears.”
Those were the findings of a white paper released today by the National Association of Railroad Passengers and the Midwest High Speed Rail Association. The paper, “Long Distance Trains: Multipurpose Mobility Machines,” highlights the benefits of Amtrak’s existing network of long-distance trains and makes the case for expanding that network.
“Despite limited service, [Amtrak’s 15 long distance routes] account for 42% of passenger miles carried by all of the nation’s intercity passenger trains. Clearly, these routes perform a significant transportation function,” states the document. The paper goes on to demonstrate how “the utility of individual routes grows exponentially when they become part of an integrated system that provides easy transfers to trains on other routes, feeder buses, local transit systems and airports. Such connectivity serves more people, generates greater revenue, drives economies of scale and improves public mobility."
Much criticism has been aimed at long distance routes in recent months, with the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure set to continue its critique of Amtrak with a hearing scheduled for this Thursday entitled A Review of Amtrak Operations, Part III: Examining 41 Years of Taxpayer Subsidies
This document aims to push the discussion in a more positive direction. NARP and MHSRA make four recommendations to strengthen the network going forward:
1. Filling gaps in the current network to create a grid and gateway system
2. Increasing frequencies to allow daytime service to all stations.
3. Procuring high-performance trainsets suitable for overnight and longer distance trips.
4. Making track improvements that increase reliability and decrease trip times.
About the National Association of Railroad Passengers
NARP is the only national organization speaking for the
users of passenger trains and rail transit. We have worked since 1967 to expand
the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the