Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Amtrak Funds To Explore More Service From Denver

The Amtrak improvement bill (Railroad Safety Enhancement Act of 2008) signed into law this week by President Bush contains instructions for Amtrak to look for additional service options out of Denver Union Station. This is a tremendous boost for commuter service options, even if it doesn't result in corridor service via Amtrak like Chicago's Illinois Service. It could simply bring back the long-dead Pioneer service from Denver to Seattle, expanding rail service for residents of the northern Rocky Mountain states currently served by only the Empire Builder. If it does, mandated improvements to trackage would serve Amtrak and any other commuter service that starts up over the same route.

More details will emerge in the future, but also in the bill is $18 Million to build an underground rail transit safety test center at the Pueblo DOT railroad facility. The text specifically says,
There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary $18,000,000 for the period encompassing fiscal years 2008 through 2011 to design, develop, and construct the Facility for Underground Rail Station and Tunnel at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado. The facility shall be used to test and evaluate the vulnerabilities of above-ground and underground rail tunnels to prevent accidents and incidents in such tunnels, to mitigate and remediate the consequences of any such accidents or incidents, and to provide a realistic scenario for training emergency responders.
This is a minor boon for Pueblo, especially in light of the financial meltdown currently taking hold on Wall Street.

I'm going to keep searching this legislation to see what else made it, but this is a great help to the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority.

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