Hotline #871 -- July 18, 2014

The Senate appears on track to pass the House’s short-term Highway Trust Fund fix, having fallen short in an attempt to come up with an alternate proposal. While the 10-month fix has been widely criticized for yet again “kicking the can down the road,” it appears to be the most likely way forward in averting a trust fund collapse that would leave 700,000 construction workers out of a job. The House plan—which fails to expand eligibility...


The Trans-Siberian Railway and BAM: Not as Alien as One Might Think

In a truly all-encompassing dialogue on train travel, one way or another the conversation is sure to pass by the Trans-Siberian Railway. This is because it is, with its 5,772-mile span, the longest railroad in the world, spanning over seven time zones. It is also considered one of the most beautiful train routes in the world, going places where most people have never set foot. It is, in essence, a legend, shaking stories out of...


Hotline #870 -- July 11, 2014

CAF USA announced Tuesday that it will be shipping the first three cars of Amtrak’s order for new long-distance equipment. The cars will be delivered to Albany. CAF USA reported that 70 car shells have been built so far out of the 130 baggage, diner, sleep and bag-dorm cars included in its $300-million contract with Amtrak. The Elmira, NY-based company employs over 700 local workers. Representative Tom Reed (R-NY) was present at CAF USA for the announcement...


Washington Post Says Amtrak Should Solve On Time Performance Issues by Cutting Service; NARP Responds

With 2013 came the highest intercity passenger train ridership ( in the United States since the creation of Amtrak, despite the system being beset by incredible delays. On the Washington Post Blog yesterday (, Christopher Ingraham put forth a solution for Amtrak’s on time performance: simply cancel the trains that don’t run on time. Employing this logic, we should therefore tear up stretches of freeway that become too congested and cause delays. We should simply dismantle...


From the RIARP Blog: May Amtrak Report

Today we are featuring a blog post from the Rhode Island Association of Railroad Passengers. This post was originally published July 10, 2014 on the RIARP blog ( Steve Musen, NARP Council Member, reviews Amtrak's reports each month, and more of his posts can be found on the RIARP blog. (This piece reflects the opinions of the writer and not necessarily of NARP or RIARP.) Steve Musen, NARP Council Member, wrote: May Amtrak Report ...


Railroad Passengers Applaud, Criticize Brookings Report

Contacts: Ross Capon 202-408-8362 [mobile 3010-385-6438]
Sean Jeans-Gail 202-408-8362
March 1, 2013

The Brookings Institution’s report on intercity passenger rail released today has some important insights, including these:  


  • Amtrak’s total boardings and alightings jumped 55.1% from Fiscal 1997 to Fiscal 2012.  This growth “more than triples population growth (17.1%) over the same period and exceeds the growth in real gross domestic product (37.2%).”
  • “Amtrak more than doubled the growth in domestic aviation passengers (20.0%) over the same 16-year period. Similarly, Amtrak also far exceeded the growth in driving (measured by vehicle miles traveled per year; 16.5%) and transit trips (26.4%). All three modes do carry larger aggregate quantities of people, but these growth trends serve as evidence of changing attitudes toward train travel.
  • “As with other areas of infrastructure, recommendations for passenger rail tend to devolve into calls for increased federal spending. Such a call is probably justified especially over the long term for myriad reasons, including Washington’s historically outsized support of other transportation modes.”
  • “States would undoubtedly make better partners by removing the roads-only exclusion for their gasoline tax revenues. By committing a portion of revenues to other modes beyond highways, states would increase their abil­ity to consider the entire transportation system, rather than isolated parts.”



Here, however, are some points that the report missed or did not sufficiently emphasize:


  • Growth has occurred on all segments of Amtrak’s business as Amtrak has repeatedly said.  Amtrak’s Oct. 10, 2012 release on its Fiscal 2012 ridership stated, “All 15 Amtrak long-distance routes experienced an increase in passengers resulting in their best combined ridership in 19 years.”  In that year, long-distance trains accounted for 43% of all Amtrak passenger-miles and provided the only Amtrak service in 22 states and countless major cities including Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, Minneapolis, Tampa and Denver. A passenger-mile is one passenger transported one mile. Our report on the long-distance trains is at (or, from click on Resources and then on White Papers).
  • Growth has been greater on state-supported routes because capacity has been added on those routes. 
  • In passing the 2008 authorization law, Congress recognized the long-distance trains as a logical, federal responsibility. These trains could not survive a mandate that they get state support. It is unrealistic to expect trains that cross so many state lines to gain the support of all the involved states, or to expect all states on a route to agree on schedules, service amenities, and cost allocations among the states. It is a huge challenge for many states to come up with the additional funding for short-distance trains which the law requires by October 1, 2013, even though most of those trains are the responsibility of one or a few states; indeed, some of the biggest challenges are routes that involve two or three states.


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 U.S. Our mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. Our work is supported by over 22,000 individual members.



Mailing Address:

505 Capitol Court, NE, Suite 300

Washington, DC 20002-7706

Phone: 202-408-8362

Fax: 202-408-8287

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The mission of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) is to work for a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want.

NARP is the largest national membership advocacy organization for train and rail transit passengers. We have worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the United States. Our work is supported by around 28,000 individual members.

NARP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  Dues and contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

NARP is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors, which is elected by the all-volunteer Council of Representatives, our national advisory body elected by the general membership by state. Click here for a list of Directors and Representatives, and to learn how to become a member of NARP’s Council of Representatives. Click here for profiles of NARP's Washington, DC professional staff.

Connect with NARP: | |


With stagnant funding for Amtrak, an absence of leadership in developing world class passenger trains in America, and a transit system that is failing to meet growing demand, it is essential that we defend and fight for a modern, national passenger rail network. NARP works tirelessly every day to do just that.

By joining NARP, you are not only supporting our efforts, but in return you receive numerous train-related perks:
  • 10% discount on most Amtrak rail fares.
  • Earn Amtrak Guest Rewards® points for your membership dues or donations. 
  • 10% off best available fare on VIA Rail Canada (including Business, Sleeper and Sleeper Touring classes!).
  • Up to a 25% discount off eligible Avis car rentals. (NEW!)
  • 15% discount on all Travelpro Luggage products at!)
  • A year subscription of NARP News, our respected newsletter.
  • 20% off Adventure Class fares on Alaska Railroad trains in summer and winter.
  • 20% off coach fare on Grand Canyon Railway trains or 10% off a vacation package.
  • 10% off at the Depot Inn and Suites in La Plata, Missouri.
  • Access to the members-only section of, with Congressional voting charts and other exclusive content.
  • Direct access to NARP staff for transportation advocacy support.
  • An “I’d Rather Be on the Train!” bumper sticker.

Click here for terms & conditions. Click here or full instructions on how to obtain membership discounts (member log-in required). 


If you decide to join at the $125.00 or higher level, we will send you this NARP logo jacket as a special gift.