February 24, 2014 |
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.
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.
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.
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.
January 10, 2013 |
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.
April 18, 2011 |
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.