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All photos by Ron Goodenow. Reproduction without Ron's permission is prohibited.



It's September, 1999, almost ten years ago, and I was lucky enough to have a conference hotel room overlooking the tracks between rail yards and the San Diego station. Here's a Coaster train getting ready for its 41 mile run up to Oceanside. Founded in 1995 and now operated by TransitAmerca in cooperation with the North Country Transit District, the train I photographed was operated by Amtrak. A rousing success, the Coaster carries over 1.5 million commuters a year. Its success reminds us that heavy rail commuter services can be a highly successful part of a regional transportation strategy. In that easy connections are made both to Amtrak and the San Diego trolley service to the Mexican border, one could even say they can be part of a national or international transportation environment.

Camera: Olympus D340 digital camera.



April 10, 2009, a beautiful early Spring day in Westborough, Mass. Here's the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited heading west and looking like a real train again. Study this photo carefully and you'll see the very recently restored sleeper and a full dinette car, all Chicago bound. Amtrak has a long, long way to go in our part of the world, where we desperately need the restoration of service to New York City, but perhaps the Lake Shore is a harbinger of good news ahead. We need it after one of the worst winters in history.

Camera: Olympus 510 dslr with Oly 40-150 telephoto lens.



It's late April, 2009, and here's a Virgin Rail Pendolino zipping along in southern Scotland on its way to Glasgow from London on the West Coast Main Line. Identical to one I rode from London to Liverpool a few days earlier, these trains are fast, sleek and a bit too much like airplanes to my liking. Having used them over the years I was disappointed in the quality of first-class service this time around. Though it was a weekend and though prices are astronomical for most riders (I was on a pass), the food was bad and service surly; far worse than the last time I used the train. Perhaps Delta Airlines in now training Virgin personnel.... The good news is on two fronts. Free wireless in first class, and a schedule of about two hours and fifteen minutes from London to Liverpool over a recently upgraded West Coast Main Line. I rode and photographed several trains in the UK and though one can quibble with the quality of food (never a British standout), one cannot argue with the fact that overall services have improved dramatically in the past few years, with new lines opening and new equipment on line. Maybe the US will be so lucky in ten or fifteen years.

Camera: Olympus E-510 with Olympus 40-150 telephoto lens.



Here's a true miracle in the desert. A westbound Phoenix Valley Metro light rail train arriving in Tempe's Mill Street station mid-day in July 2009. Running from Mesa through downtown Phoenix to Bethany Home Road northwest of downtown in the west, passing very near Sky Harbor AIrport, trains were running though Tempe, home of Arizona State University, every five minutes or so in each direction when I was there. The Phoenix area, with a population of over 5 million people, has been totally devoid of passenger rail since Amtrak pulled out several years ago, in part because the state's congressional delegation, led by Senator John McCain, simply refused to support inter-city rail. Now clogged with traffic and pollution it looks like there may be a brighter future, with plans ahead to expand the system (at the same time billions are being spent to expand the maze local freeways). Maybe some bright bulb will shine on the need to connect Phoenix to Tuscon and Los Angeles by heavy rail, but I'm not holding my breath.

Camera: Canon Powershot A550.





Page created by: Craig O'Connell
Changes last made on: July 30, 2009.



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