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NEWS
May 10, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
A call for a "no-ride" list to tighten security on Amtrak passenger trains, floated this week by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York), has drawn cautious responses from Amtrak and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security . Schumer on Monday called on the U.S. government to expand its Secure Flight Program , which cross-checks air travelers against a security watch list, to keep anyone on the no-fly list off trains....
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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.
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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.
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.
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")
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)
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.
TRAVEL
October 6, 1985
My son Christopher, 17 months, and I just completed an 11-day trip on Amtrak's See America plan. We traveled a total of 96 hours on the train, including three nights without a sleeper. Amazingly, we enjoyed ourselves. The Amtrak people were efficient and friendly, the food surprisingly good and the scenery terrific, especially the Denver to Salt Lake route. We met all kinds of interesting people and, as far as I'm aware, Christopher didn't ruin anyone else's trip. We sat in the handicapped section and the lounge areas so the baby had some freedom of movement.
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
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 19, 2013 | By Ruben Vives
A man was killed Thursday when he was struck by an Amtrak train in Moorpark, officials said. Ventura County firefighters responded at 9:07 a.m. to the 10900 block of West Los Angeles Avenue, according to Capt. Mike Lindbery. Firefighters at first had trouble locating the body, but later discovered it behind a row of businesses, he added. The victim, whose identity was not immediately released, was pronounced dead at the scene.   Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham said the incident occurred a few miles from the Moorpark train station.
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)
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 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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 21, 2013 | By Tony Perry
A former Amtrak clerk convicted of receiving more than $650,000 in disability and insurance payments after faking injuries was sentenced Friday in San Diego County Superior Court  to 20 years in prison. Wanda Lee Ann Podgurski, 60, had been a fugitive since being convicted in January of 29 felony counts of insurance fraud, tax evasion, perjury and grand theft from the Amtrak Railroad Retirement Board and private insurance companies. Podgurski had been free on $500,000 bail during the two-month trial.
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