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BUSINESS
July 30, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
Amtrak is taking another step into the digital age. Following the lead of many airlines, Amtrak announced Monday that passengers can now skip the ticket counter by buying online electronic tickets that are sent as a printable document. Passengers on the government-owned train service can print the tickets at home or from a train station kiosk. Train riders can also show e-tickets to a conductor from the screen of a smartphone or a mobile device. "E-tickets deliver the convenience and flexibility expected by passengers and its innovative technology is transforming other aspects of how Amtrak does business," said President and Chief Executive Joe Boardman.
ARTICLES BY DATE
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 4, 2014 | By Matt Stevens
A man described as being about 60 years old was struck and killed by an Amtrak train Friday in Chatsworth, fire officials said. The man was struck around 8:45 a.m. near the 10800 block of North Santa Susana Pass Road, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main. No other injuries were reported. She said the tracks were initially shut down as four fire companies and an ambulance were deployed to the scene. Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham said the Pacific Surfliner train with about 250 passengers aboard was northbound with a maximum expected speed of about 60 mph in the area when it stuck what she called an "individual trespasser.
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ENTERTAINMENT
February 24, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Ask and ye shall receive. At least when it comes to authors and Amtrak. Amtrak has launched a still-unstructured writers residency program thanks to an offhanded remark by Alexander Chee and some impassioned pleas on Twitter. In a PEN Ten interview that posted Dec. 23, Chee, author of the forthcoming novel "The Queen of the Night," said that trains are his favorite place to write. He then commented, "I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers. " Not two months later and Amtrak does.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 24, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Ask and ye shall receive. At least when it comes to authors and Amtrak. Amtrak has launched a still-unstructured writers residency program thanks to an offhanded remark by Alexander Chee and some impassioned pleas on Twitter. In a PEN Ten interview that posted Dec. 23, Chee, author of the forthcoming novel "The Queen of the Night," said that trains are his favorite place to write. He then commented, "I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers. " Not two months later and Amtrak does.
NEWS
September 30, 2012 | By Noelle Carter
This week's Culinary SOS request comes from Kathy McCarthy in Redondo Beach: "We recently traveled Amtrak 's Southwest Chief from L.A. to Chicago. The dining car served the most delicious lamb shanks with mushroom sauce. Could you see if you can get the recipe? Thanks. " Amtrak was happy to share its recipe with us, telling us that the lamb shanks are the creation of Seattle chef and cookbook author Tom Douglas, who is part of their culinary advisory team. Amtrak's executive chef, Daniel Malzhan, developed the recipe, using sous-vide cooking ("20 hours at a precise 160 degrees")
OPINION
December 26, 2009
Ever since Amtrak banned passengers from bringing firearms onto its trains, a step it took shortly after 9/11, the gun lobby has been working hard to get weapons back on board. While this campaign would hardly seem appropriate for a country with terrorism concerns, such has been the case. Part of the eight-year delay has been due to the difficulty of resolving security issues. One problem, for instance, is that many Amtrak stations across the country are little more than a platform and two tracks, and they don't have the personnel to inspect or check luggage, let alone monitor whether weapons are properly stored and secured.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 23, 1995
Our only national passenger train service, Amtrak, and our California rail passenger systems, may be virtually eliminated by the 104th Congress and President Clinton if they proceed to cut all federal rail subsidies. Amtrak has been a success story by increasing its annual ridership by 24% since Amtrak was created, yet its inflation-adjusted operating subsidy is some 70% less. Amtrak covers its operating costs from fares--80%--more than any other passenger railroad in the world! Considering inflation, aviation and highway federal spending went up 97% and 25% respectively from 1982 to 1991, while Amtrak went down 36%. Yet we see no proposals from the 104th Congress to eliminate air and highway subsidies.
BUSINESS
January 10, 2013 | By David Colker
Coming soon on Amtrak: fewer excuses to not work while commuting. The national railroad, which operates 21,000 route miles, is upgrading its Wi-Fi service to 4G on many routes across the country. Amtrak says the aim is to offer increased wireless speeds and greater reliability. Hopefully, this will enable a wider set of online features for train travelers. According to Amtrak's site, its current Wi-Fi service does not allow for "high-bandwidth actions such as streaming music, streaming video or downloading large files.
NEWS
July 26, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Here's an idea for a leisurely autumn trip that's scenic and saves money: Amtrak is taking 25% off tickets on a stretch of the Coast Starlight route between Los Angeles and Davis, Calif. The sale applies to destinations such as Oakland, San Jose, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara and others. -- The deal: The Coast Starlight runs between Los Angeles and Seattle, but the Book Early and Save 25% offer covers only the southern leg of the line. The discount also applies to up to two children, ages 2 to 15, who travel for half fare with the purchase of an adult ticket.  -- When: The offer is good for travel Oct. 13 through Nov. 17. But you must buy tickets by Sunday.
NEWS
April 18, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Amtrak 's online reservation and ticketing service remained unavailable Monday because of work being done to the passenger rail's website. The upgrade began Sunday and was supposed to be completed the same day. But as of Monday, service was still down. I checked at 1:15 p.m. PDT and couldn't access the ticket purchasing option. During some checks, the entire website , not just the reservations section, was inaccessible. Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham said the website should be back in operation sometime Monday, but she had no time frame.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 7, 2014 | By Ari Bloomekatz
Two Amtrak trains from California and a third from Illinois found themselves stuck in snow about 80 miles west of Chicago on Monday night, forcing hundreds of stranded passengers to spend the evening on board. Amtrak officials said the three trains - the California Zephyr from the San Francisco Bay Area, the Southwest Chief from Los Angeles and the local Illinois Zephyr - were carrying hundreds of passengers and were stopped because of too much ice and snow on the rails and bad conditions.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 30, 2013 | By Ruben Vives
A woman was killed Monday morning when her vehicle was struck by an Amtrak train near Camarillo, said Bill Nash, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department. Firefighters had to extract the body of the woman from her vehicle, Nash said. Authorities pronounced the female driver dead at the scene but did not immediately identify her. A second person was injured when the woman's crumpled car was thrown in the direction of a pickup truck that was parked nearby, Nash said. The pickup's driver was taken to a nearby hospital but the victim's identity and condition were not released.
NEWS
November 26, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
You better have a reservation if you're planning on taking Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner from L.A. to Santa Barbara or San Diego over the Thanksgiving holiday. Show up without one and you won't get a seat -- even with the 5,500 extra seats added to accommodate California train travelers -- or even a place to stand. Amtrak is requiring reserved tickets on the popular route that runs between San Luis Obispo and San Diego via L.A.'s Union Station starting Tuesday (today) and continuing through Dec. 2. Just like airlines, Wednesday through Sunday is Amtrak's busiest travel time of the year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 21, 2013 | By Dan Weikel
Amtrak-California set ridership records last year on two of its busiest long distance lines in the state - the Pacific Surfliner along the coast and the San Joaquin through the Central Valley. Rail officials announced Thursday that the two lines, which are funded by Caltrans, carried almost 3.93 million passengers for the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2013. That represents an increase of more than 110,000 riders from the year before. "In California, a rail renaissance is underway," Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 13, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores
A woman who was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Anaheim early Wednesday had apparently waited for another train to pass before she fatefully stepped onto the tracks, authorities said.  The woman, who has not been identified, stopped at a pedestrian walkway at La Palma Avenue after the warning arms went down, and she watched a southbound Amtrak train go by, said Anaheim Lt. Tim Schmidt. After it went by, she stepped onto the tracks, apparently unaware of an approaching northbound train, authorities said.
NEWS
October 9, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
San Luis Obispo on Saturday is marking the grand opening of a new railroad museum that's housed in a Southern Pacific freight house built around 1894. The museum tells the story of the city's important 19th century link in the coastal rail line that joined San Francisco and Los Angeles. Exhibits and displays detail the old narrow-gauge Pacific Coast Railway that ran between Avila Beach and San Luis Obispo, the difficult tunnel and track work along the Cuesta Grade (a route Amtrak's Coast Starlight still chugs along today)
NEWS
April 27, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Amtrak is celebrating its 40th year by letting kids ride free with fare-paying adults. And that's reason enough for a short side trip into U.S. rail history: The golden age of passenger train travel peaked in the 1930s and '40s and then flagged after airplanes and cars became more popular. To pump new life into rail travel, Congress in 1970 created the private company that we know today as Amtrak, and service began a year later. Amtrak's routes stretch across the country. The deal: This is a great way to get children excited about taking a train ride and traveling in something other than the back of an SUV. With Kids Ride Free , you get one free child's ticket (ages 2 to 15)
NEWS
April 19, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Amtrak 's online ticketing and reservation services are up and running after a two-day outage, caused by a website upgrade, that thwarted customers and provoked angry comments on Facebook and Twitter. As of noon Tuesday, the website of the passenger rail operator appeared to be running normally. The upgrade to the ticketing service began Sunday and was supposed to be completed the same day. But problems extended into Monday, when at some points the company's entire website , not just the reservations section, was inaccessible.
NEWS
July 2, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
If you're traveling along any part of the Pacific Surfliner rail route July 19-21 -- the seasonal opening of Del Mar racetrack and Comic-Con -- make your train reservations right now or risk not getting a seat. That's the word Monday from Amtrak , which is requiring train reservations in anticipation of a heavy passenger load on the weekend of those two big events in the San Diego area.  Comic-Con, which draws about 130,000 visitors, is set for the San Diego Convention Center from 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. July 18 to 20 and 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. July 21. Farther north, the Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar opens for the season on July 17. The Pacific Surfliner operates daily service between San Luis Obispo and San Diego by way of Los Angeles, and Amtrak is requiring reservations for all passengers traveling during the mid-July weekend.
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