Promoting passenger trains as a transportation alternative in Florida since 1983.  We are citizens who advocate for Amtrak, commuter rail, intercity rail and transit for Florida's future.

The Silver Rail Blog

  • 30 Nov 2020 12:55 PM | Stephen Sayles (Administrator)

    John Owen is looking to restore of former Seaboard Air Line Railroad Coach Lounge Observation 6400. Louisville Railway Company recently accepted title of ownership. 

    The car was constructed in 1938 by the Budd Company and operated on the inaugural  run of the Silver Meteor Many thanks to Charlestown Indiana mayor  Dr. Treva Hodges and the Charlestown IN city council for the donation of the car.

    Estimates on moving the coach are 15,000 dollars, from its current site which is located on a planned development by March.  Donations are being accepted via go fund 

    ttps://www.gofundme.com/f/help-save-seaboard-air-line-observation-lounge-640?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=p_lico%2Bupdate&fbclid=IwAR21HSLS1KbYNbk-M0gu7KS8_Brcjf8f9qqFA9b9tG99DipHDRzTc

    If anyone interested please donate today.

  • 10 Oct 2020 9:46 AM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    By now, all of us have heard of the draconian cuts Amtrak continues to carry out to its long distance services.

    All of them, with the exception of the Silver Meteor (which now runs just 4x per week, down from daily) and the Auto Train, (which has escaped cuts except to its food service so far), will run tri-weekly going forward. All of them.

    Amtrak has yet to announce a firm daily service restoration date for any of these trains.

    Meanwhile, Amtrak continues to run nearly empty trains in the Northeast Corridor, which Amtrak management sees as its crown jewel. And the Northeast Corridor, which no one in Amtrak's management can argue is profitable now, needs tens of billions in capital funds to replace bridges, tunnels and other items of infrastructure.

    Amtrak is asking for more funds, as noted in this article from Progressive Railroading: 

    https://www.progressiverailroading.com/amtrak/news/Amtrak-Additional-funds-needed-to-avoid-more-service-job-cuts--61792

    And Amtrak does need more funding to get through the COVID-19 crisis.

    While we encourage FCRP members and friends to reach out to Congress, it is important to mention the importance of maintaining daily long distance service from both of the Florida trains in your contacts.

    Amtrak has gutted its Florida services, as well as all of the long distance trains nationwide, even though ridership on these trains is recovering far better than the Northeast Corridor.

    By cutting long distance services, the trains will lose more money than ever--which is already evidenced by the major losses Amtrak is posting on the Silver Star and Silver Meteor, which were cut July 6.

    Make no mistake--the end game of all of this will be to restore only some of the long distance trains. The Silver Star may be particularly vulnerable because it will wrongly be seen by some as a duplication of services (even though it serves different Florida markets than the Silver Meteor). 

    Here's where to speak up:

    To Contact Senator Rick Scott: https://www.rickscott.senate.gov/contact_rick

    To Contact Senator Marco Rubio: https://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact

    To locate and contact your Member of Congress: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/FL

    Please be specific in your contacts with Congress about your desires to see full Amtrak service restored in Florida. The 50% cut in services to the Silver trains which we saw on July 6 is unacceptable.

    In addition to funds, Amtrak needs a new Board of Directors and executives who want to do more than operate the Northeast Corridor and state supported trains. 

    It is also worthwhile to remind our Governor and FDOT that Amtrak service in Florida is important to you.

    To contact Governor Ron DeSantis: https://www.flgov.com/contact-governor/

    To contact FDOT Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, call 850-414-4100

    Keep fighting! Please ignore the opinions expressed on social media and internet sites which regard all of our efforts at contacting politicians as futile. This is a long game which we must play to the end. Your voices are being heard!

    If you have written or called already, please do so again. One or two emails aren't effective--be loud and frequent in your contacts.

    Finally, as we go to the polls--please consider how your elected officials have voted for Amtrak and passenger rail. If their record is hostile, you know what to do.

    Thanks and stay safe! 

    --Jackson McQuigg

  • 02 Sep 2020 3:58 PM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    Amtrak announced this week that it plans to furlough 2,000 workers as its plans to cut its entire national long distance network to service just 3 days per week.

    From Reuters via Yahoo Finance:

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-passenger-railroad-amtrak-furlough-173203384.html

    Meanwhile, the New York Times has picked up on the story and RPA's arguments against it:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/01/us/amtrak-coronavirus-profit-public-transportation.html

    Unfortunately, the article gave Amtrak management an opportunity to incorrectly use stale statistics once again to bolster their arguments for the elimination of daily service to much of its network. 

    We are encouraging everyone, once again, to contact Congress and remind your elected officials about the importance of daily Amtrak service around the country--not just in the Northeast Corridor and a few other select routes.

    Contact Senator Marco Rubio: 

    https://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact

    Contact Senator Rick Scott:

    https://www.rickscott.senate.gov/contact_rick           

    Locate and contact your Member of Congress:

    https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/FL#representatives

    Contact Governor Ron DeSantis:           

    https://www.flgov.com/contact-governor/

    The Congress returns to work next week from its summer recess. Speaking up now about the value of the long distance trains to our country is more important than ever!

    --Steve Sayles and Jackson McQuigg

  • 15 Aug 2020 7:26 AM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    We've uploaded here the signed version of the Tampa City Council resolution passed recently which encourages Amtrak to resume daily train service to Tampa Union Station as soon as possible.

    This week, Amtrak reiterated its plans to cut the service levels on the majority of its trains across the USA back to 3 times per week (from daily) on October 1.

    To restore our daily service and to prevent further train service cuts, Congress must act. YOUR voice is needed.

    Contact Senator Marco Rubio: 

    https://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact

    Contact Senator Rick Scott:

    https://www.rickscott.senate.gov/contact_rick           

    Locate and contact your Member of Congress:

    https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/FL#representatives

    Contact Governor Ron DeSantis:           

    https://www.flgov.com/contact-governor/

    Iconic trains like the California Zephyr, the City of New Orleans, the Empire Builder, and the Crescent are now set for big cuts. Let's do everything we can to prevent them!

    --Steve Sayles and Jackson McQuigg


  • 13 Aug 2020 4:53 PM | Stephen Sayles (Administrator)

    All,

    Here is Amtrak coming up with another way to bury itself. Follow link below

    https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/corporate/position-papers/white-paper-amtrak-long-distance-restoration-plan.pdf

    This really shows the ignorance of Flynn, Gardner and the rest of management.

    Stephen Sayles
    President


  • 09 Aug 2020 3:10 PM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    This past week, the Tampa City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on Amtrak to restore daily train service to Tampa Union Station.

    You may read the resolution here: Tampa Resolution.pdf

    The Council's passage of this resolution was the result of Friends of Tampa Union Station and FCRP working with Council Member Bill Carlson to introduce the legislation--which he did willingly. The Tampa City Council unanimously supported the resolution as it includes several members who use Amtrak train services from Tampa Union Station. 

    The resolution calls for the City Clerk to send a copy of the resolution to Amtrak CEO William Flynn.

    YOUR voice continues to be critical to saving Amtrak's long distance train network across the USA. The 50% reduction to Florida Amtrak service which took place on July 6 was just a warm-up act for the plans to huge train and job cuts still set for October 1.

    Please contact Florida's Congressional representatives in Washington and our Governor to protest the cuts!

    To contact Senator Marco Rubio, click here.

    To contact Senator Rick Scott, click here.

    To locate and contact your Member of Congress, click here.

    To contact Governor Ron DeSantis, click here.

    If you have already emailed, written a letter, or called, please do so again. This is critical for the survival of Amtrak service to key cities in Florida.

    Thank you!

    --Steve Sayles and Jackson McQuigg


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