1995 News Wrapup December 31st, 1995
- “Metrorail’s common wealth,” Article about positive economic effect of passenger rail projects, Progressive Railroading, February 1995
- “Terry Goddard – Excerpt from profiles of former public officials,” The Arizona Republic, March 5, 1995, Proposes Regional Rail
- “America’s railroad system runs off-track,” Daily News-Sun, March 11-12, 1995, Article on Phase I 1995 Amtrak cutbacks
- “Letter to the Editor on favorable impression of Amtrak service,” The Washington Post, May 11, 1995
- “Tempe considers tax for mass transit,” The Arizona Republic, May 28, 1995
- “Lack of funds puts brakes on rail plan,” Mesa Tribune, June 9, 1995, Article on Super Bowl Demo
- June 16, 1995, “Phoenix To Lose Rail Link to Los Angeles” Press Release, Arizona Rail Passenger Association
- “State roads become deadlier,” Phoenix Gazette, June 17, 1995 page B1, Despite safety features, traffic fatalities are up 12%
- “Amtrak looks to cut losses and close Phoenix passenger run,” The Arizona Daily Star, June 17, 1995
- “Amtrak may cut service to Phoenix,” Phoenix Gazette, June 17, 1995
- “Train service out of Phoenix from Amtrak may be stopped,” The Arizona Republic, June 17, 1995
- “Amtrak may leave town,” Daily News-Sun, June 17, 1995
- “Amtrak may eliminate Valley service,” Tempe Tribune, June 17, 1995
- “Arizona Phoenix – Amtrak may end service here …,” USA TODAY, June 19, 1995, News clip on loss of Amtrak in Phoenix
- “Voices: Why are the nation’s highways getting deadlier,” USA TODAY, June 19, 1995, Interviews
- “Railroad Crossings – As Amtrak Cuts Back,” Some States Revive Passenger-Train Lines, Wall Street Journal, June 22, 1995, Article on state involvement to save trains during 1995 Amtrak cutbacks
- “Commuter rail fate linked with Amtrak,” Tribune Newspapers, June 23, 1995
- “Phoenix expected to lose Amtrak passenger service,” The Arizona Republic, June 24, 1995, Article
- “Phoenix Amtrak service set to be derailed,” The Arizona Daily Star, June 25, 1995
- “OFF TRACK? Amtrak dispute on Capitol Hill could derail train travel,” Wall Street Journal, June 27, 1995
- (1)Lack of funding slows RPTA Super Bowl commuter rail project (2)Amtrak considers eliminating Phoenix, Tempe rail service, Transit on the move (RPTA) , July/August 1995
- “Watching Washington -,” Railway Age, July, 1995, Freight roads wary of non-Amtrak passenger operators
- “Phoenix trolley proposed,” Arizona Business Gazette, July 6-12, 1995
- “Passenger rail service rolling nowhere fast,” Arizona Business Gazette, July 13-19, 1995, Amtrak link, local trains lack backing
- “End of the line,” Republic/Phoenix Gazette, July 26, 1995, Article on Phoenix Union Station and Amtrak desertion of Phoenix
- “Union Pacific in talks to buy southern Pacific,” Dow Jones News via Compuserve, August 3, 1995
- “Union pacific in Talks for Southern Pacific,” Wall Street Journal, August 3, 1995
- “$5 billion deal: Union Pacific t acquire Southern Pacific,” The Arizona Republic, August 4, 1995
- “Rail plan may not stay on track,” Mesa Tribune, August 6, 1995
- “Rail merger would restore Union Pacific to big league,” The Phoenix Gazette, August 6, 1995, Article on SP buyout by UP
- “Commuter Rail Project – We missed the train this time,” The Arizona Republic, August 7, 1995, Editorial on Super Bowl Train
- “Airline service bailout grounds midsized cities,” USA Today, August 11, 1995, page A1, Airlines concentrate on large cities and leave smaller ones seeking modes of long-distance transport
- “ALL ABOARD!,” Sun Cities Independent, August 16-22, 1995, Rail transportation may be solution to Valley transit woes
- “Super Bowl train plan for revelers derailed,” The Arizona Republic, September 7, 1995
- “Valley will stay on Amtrak map,” Tribune Newspapers, September 7, 1995, Sale of railroad route may save the day
- “Railroad legend fades from sight,” The Arizona Republic, September 10. 1995, Broadway Limited makes its final run
- “A Future for Amtrak,” New York Times, September 16, 1995, editorial
- “It’s time to quit running Amtrak like a railroad.,” George Will, Arizona Republic, October 9, 1995, page B7, editorial
- “On the food frontier,” Arizona Republic, October 11, 1995, page FD1, Fred Harvey, culinary pioneer, brought culture to the West.
Amtrak to Exit Phoenix November 1st, 1995
– Bill Lindley, Editor
Hopes for a railroad merger keeping passenger service in the Valley of the Sun may not come to pass, at least in the short term.
ARPA sources have now confirmed that Amtrak intends to leave Phoenix, Tempe, and Coolidge. With the pending merger between the Southern Pacific and the Union Pacific, there has been little comment from either about plans for the Phoenix West line.
Thus, after SP’s indication of intent to downgrade or abandon the line, and without any sort of commitment yet available from UP, Amtrak apparently believes continuation of passenger rail service to Phoenix does not make business sense at this time.
It is the responsibility of the Arizona Rail Passenger Association to ensure the best possible future for rail passenger transportation here. Rail service will continue through Tucson, Yuma, and Flagstaff. Even if service leaves the Valley, ARPA must work to keep the rail infrastructure in good condition. This will be crucial if a regional rail system is to emerge here.
The November 1995 Railway Age notes in its region- by-region commuter rail status list that trains will not be coming to Tempe and Phoenix for Superbowl ’96. It also posits that given a lack of political support here, regional rail will not come to Arizona for ten or fifteen years when Phoenix population has grown to over three million and highway congestion has increased to intolerable levels.
One way to avoid this dim vision of public transportation in the Valley is to do whatever is necessary to bring regional rail in any form here as quickly as possible.
I believe that ARPA, to further this goal, should
- use the data from the 1993 Kimley-Horn report, from continued operation of systems like Los Angeles’ Metrolink, and from new starts like San Diego’s Coaster, to revise and expand the 1992 White Paper;
- build on the political experience gained during the operation of the Joint Legislative Study Committee; and
- define and strive for the implementation of a technically, financially, and politically feasible regional rail system which realistically can be built and in operation before the ten or fifteen years posited by Railway Age.
The last Amtrak train to depart Phoenix next spring must not leave ARPA without a mission to fulfill.
West Line Disposition
Documents obtained from Southern Pacific read as follows: “Public notice is hereby given, on behalf of the Southern Pacific Transportation Company, that the following is a black and white copy of an amended
System Diagram Map showing categories of its rail lines in accordance with the regulations of the Interstate Commerce Commission (49 C.F.R. Section 1152.10 – 1152.15).
“Southern Pacific Transportation Company will furnish any interested party, upon the payment of $2.00 per map, a copy of this black and white amended map or, upon payment of $5.00 per map, a color-coded copy. Address map requests to SYSTEM DIAGRAM MAPS, Southern Pacific Lines, One Market Plaza, Room 846, San Francisco, CA 94105.”
Identifier # 616.1. Phoenix Line, Map # 12. State: Arizona; Counties: Maricopa, Yuma; Milepost locations 770.0 near Wellton to 861.3 near Arlington. “The abandonment does not include active industries located at Wellton or Arlington.”
The map shows the line from Arlington to Wellton (west of Roll) as “Lines anticipated to be subject of abandonment applications within three years.” Interestingly, Phoenix has been misplaced, and is shown in the Litchfield position.
Another Reason for Rail October 25th, 1995
– Bill Lindley
In 11 August’s USA Today, a cover story appeared titled “Airline service bailout grounds midsized cities.” The article detailed how the airline industry is concentrating on its strongest segments, while smaller cities see theirÂ air service reduced from jets to commuter planes, or eliminated altogether. Airlines are delaying the purchase of new jets, and putting their existing jet fleets where they make the most money. For instance, according to the article, “American Airlines has eliminated jet service to 29 cities since 1992, replacing it with American Eagle commuter service… But most frequent travelers complain about the noisier, less spacious commuter plans that have a reputation — disputed — for being less safe than jets.”
Dozens of cities are subsidizing air service to keep the airlines in town: “Amarillo pays $1.2 million a year to American Airlines for three jet flights daily to Dallas-Fort Worth. The money comes from a 1/2 cent sales tax.” Meanwhile, the capital cities of Trenton, New Jersey and Salem, Oregon have lost all air service since 1991.
As airlines diminish or abandon their roles in such cities, the transportation needs of the citizens must be met by other modes. Readers of this newsletter will note, Trenton is well served by Amtrak’s Northeast corridor services, while the state of Oregon has been funding additional passenger rail services. The ability to serve smaller cities and towns is one of the rail mode’s strong points. Indeed, it is because of the railroad that many of these communities exist today.
Airlines are continuing their struggle to regain profitability, in spite of government owned and operated airports and the totally federally subsidized air traffic control system; the passenger rail transportation in this country is also in upheaval. Is there not a way to balance the advantages of all modes? Airlines seem to have discovered it is not economical for them to serve small cities: this is where trains excel. Yet for long distances, business travelers demand speed: this is where airplanes excel. For flexibility, automobiles and buses are best, although congestion, urban sprawl, and communities where it is impossible to walk anywhere have resulted from the elevation of the automobile above all else.
Transportation in this country should take advantage of the capabilities of each mode and ensure they are integrated into one system. Perhaps current events are already moving us toward a balanced system. I hope that our government, through its trust funds, subsidies, and regulations, will speed, not inhibit, the creation of a balanced transportation system.
Superbowl: A Missed Opportunity? September 6th, 1995
– Bill Lindley
At the Joint Legislative Study Committee meeting on 6 September 1995, it became quite apparent that unless some last minute funding were to appear, there would be no demonstration train program around the time of Superbowl ’96. As this newsletter goes to press, the likelihood of such funding is decreasing rapidly.
Although this may seem a failure, reflect for a moment on the exposure that passenger trains have received in the press during this program’s consideration. Some awareness has been raised, at least, that railroad tracks do exist within the Phoenix metropolitan area. People have heard that it might be possible to run a regional rail system without the massive investments of a $10 billion Valtrans system, but rather with modest investments creating a small starter system.
Where should ARPA go from here? A demonstration period for regional rail still makes sense during Phoenix’s seasons of pollution alerts and winter visitors. The momemtum gained for passenger rail should continue and grow, not be lost.
Wickenburg Depot Centennial July 29th, 1995
On 29 July 1995, Wickenburg Arizona celebrated the one hundred year anniversary of its railroad depot. The structure stands in its original 1895 design, without additions or modifications, and is one of the few such surviving examples of “Wild West” railroad architecture. Vice-Mayor Carol Ann Beard briefly described the history of the depot, which now serves as the Chamber of Commerce. “Estelle’s Garden,” in memory of a longtime Chamber supporter, was dedicated. The ceremonies were followed by food, music, lemonade, and ice cream, to the delight of the attendees who braved the unusually hot afternoon.
This depot last saw passenger service in May 1969 when the Santa Fe discontinued the “Peavine Line” train between Phoenix and Williams Junction. Freight still travels the line, including auto-racks for the El Mirage auto distribution center, intermodal traffic to and from Phoenix, and general merchandise.
The Arizona Rail “White Paper,” issued by A.R.P.A. in 1992, calls for regional passenger rail service, including extension to Wickenburg.