Sunday, January 29, 2006

New Mexico RailRunner - How Are We Going To Get There?

The Mid Rio Grande Council of Governments (MRCOG) has posted it Draft RailRunner Service Schedule for Public Comment. (Click the link and read the .pdf file.) Not bad over all.

The following are my comments mailed to the MRCOG for their consideration.


1. Get your train numbers more in line with railroad practice. Odd north and even south, or visa versa. Imagine the dispatcher trying to figure out which Train 3 he/she was talking about.

2. What makes anyone think that there will be nobody wanting to ride the train to Belen from Albuquerque during morning rush hour? Make at least one trip Albuquerque to Belen during the morning rush.

3. Same suggestion, different hours. Ditto 2 for the evening rush hour.

4. This schedule will take 3 trainsets to cover. Maybe I have missed something, but it seems you will have to return two sets light to their starting points for the next morning at the end of the day. (A consequence of ending the three morning trains in Albuquerque and beginning three evening trains there.) Can you get something more efficient? Perhaps if you have to run them at a loss anyway, perhaps the extra trips can carry passengers. Seems like it would make more sense to start all morning trains in either Belen or Sandoval and all evening trains in Albuquerque with some evening trains making 1.5 trips per evening.

5. If this schedule takes 3 trainsets to cover, have you accounted for the possibility that you will need backup?

If anyone has any better ideas, please post a comment or go to the Passenger Rail group on Google Groups.

© 2006 - C. A. Turek -

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The AG Gets It - The Legislature is The Legislature

The Albuquerque Journal reported in yesterday's (January 27, 2006) edition that the AG for the State of New Mexico had some doubts about the deal wherein New Mexico is purchasing the whole line (260 miles) from Raton to Belen from the BNSF Railway for it's communter railroad that will only run (50 miles) from Bernalillo to Belen. Here's the link, but you may have to subscribe, so you may not be able to read it. Maybe they want to tear up the other 210 miles to use for repairs to the rather scruffy 50 miles.

By the way, the state is also getting industrial spurs in Albuquerque and other towns along the line. Oh, wait, there are no other towns with industrial spurs along the line. What's that about? And get this, it's not a bond to the tune of $50 million that BNSF wants, it is an escrow account! Tie up that kind of cash and see what you can buy with it!

The State Legislature is also meeting this week. (In New Mexico, they only meet once a year and no more than a month in off years.) They appointed former Governor Dave Cargo (apt name) to the Cumbres and Toltec board. But that is tourist rail, not passenger rail. The Legislature acts as though Rail Runner is out of their hands.

What this writer fears is that the state will eventually dump millions into this project (Rail Runner), only to have it fail, and the taxpayers will never OK it again in our lifetimes. See previous blogs about other portions of this boondoggle.

© 2006 - C. A. Turek -

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

New Mexico Commuter Rail

Our January 8 blog mentions the Trains commentary about the firing of David Gunn as Amtrak president. We just wanted to note that the same issue of Trains has a multi-column article about the Rail Runner commuter experiment. You should read it, but it doesn't even scratch the surface of the questions brought up in our December 31, 2005 blog. Please read all of these and comment.

Thanks to everyone who has read our blog in the past year. Happy New Year.

© 2006 - C. A. Turek -

Sunday, January 08, 2006

David Gunn and Amtrak

We have been reading the February issue of Trains, which carries a commentary by Don Phillips of the International Herald Tribune. Though we wish we could provide a link, Trains simply does not provide the content of his article on line.

Mainly, Mr. Phillips says what we said about David Gunn's firing, though we said it shortly after it occurred. While we would like to take credit, we haven't had any luck in getting Mr. Phillips to read this blog. If he has, it has been in stealth mode and he hasn't submitted any comments.

Bottom line, the firing of Gunn was political, based on fraudulent information at worst and extremely poor management by Amtrak's board at best.

More sparks will fly in the future.

(Please feel free to email this post to Mr. Phillips. )

© 2006 - C. A. Turek -