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Passenger and Freight, Prosperity in Cooperation -- Walter N. Smith

RailPAC Annual Meeting, NARP Member Meeting


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Passenger and Freight, Prosperity in Cooperation

Walter N. Smith, General Director, Commuter Construction, BNSF Railway

Mr. Smith said the Golden Age of Rail is behind us - the age of the Harvey Houses and pheasant under glass in the dining cars.

He mentioned that there are still great passenger train stations, namely, Chicago, LA Union Station, and Bakersfield Stations, all built in the past, but still great.

The 2008 fiscal passenger ridership at BNSF was 26,716,407  (slide says 26,726,4007 - exactly how do you read this number?)

His presentation slides:

Historic passenger trains and stations.
IMG_3989.jpg IMG_3990.jpg

Amtrak's 46 state, 21,000 route mile system.
Top 20 Busiest Amtrak Stations and passenger facts, including "more than78,000 passengers ride 300 Amtrak trains a day."
Commuter Ridership by Station

BNSF's Passenger Principles
Flyover near LA, replacing a 4-track diamond, was a cooperative effort between California Amtrak, UP, Metrolink, and BNSF, all shown in this photo.
IMG_3997.jpg IMG_3998.jpg
Next was lunch at which time I took a photo of this definition of the proposed Silver Rails Resort in La Plata, MO.

Mr. Smith said the current project is triple-track from Fullerton to LA.

Since I had just returned to LA from Chicago on the Southwest Chief (their track), I asked why the section west of Kansas City, MO, was commonly known to Amtrak train crews as the worst/roughest of the 2,000 miles, why is it historically so rough.  His Answer:  "That section is 'The Race Track' and is high maintenance."  Talking with Chris Guenzler at lunch, he said that section is not the "Race Track" and Smith had given me a non-answer.

A nice box lunch was served and you could either dine on the patio or inside.  Plenty of time to network with others during lunch.

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