WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More freight than ever is being transported along railways across the country and a record number of passengers are riding Amtrak. As a result, rail congestion at cities around the country has become a critical issue – especially in Chicago, the hub of the Amtrak system and the nation's largest rail hub. Chicago's rail network was essentially completed a century ago, but it struggles now to handle the traffic volume and traffic patterns it was never designed to handle, with serious consequences for passenger and freight traffic.
At a National Press Club Newsmakers news conference on Monday, October 26, Joseph Boardman, president and chief executive officer of Amtrak, will be discussing the overall congestion issue facing Amtrak, with emphasis on the recommendations of the Chicago Gateway Initiative Blue Ribbon Panel, which recently completed a year-long study of the Chicago rail gridlock situation.
Joining Boardman for this discussion will be Blue Panel members Thomas Carper, Amtrak board of directors member; Howard Learner, founder of the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago; and Jack Quinn, former chairman of the Railroads Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and president of Erie Community College.
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported an unexpected surge in freight traffic in 2014 as a result of a record grain crop, increased demand for coal and a general uptick in the economy. The AAR also reports that, in 2015, there was a huge increase in U.S. rail intermodal, which are the containers and trailer traffic that can travel by truck, rail or both.
Amtrak's northeast corridor had its highest ridership ever in 2014 (11.9 million), according to Amtrak research. Other Amtrak lines in the northeast and Midwest are experiencing increases in ridership.
This convergence of unexpected change and growth of demand is causing more frequent gridlock and more delays for both freight and passenger services across the country, and more erosion of the aging infrastructure that supports it.
This NPC Newsmakers news conference is scheduled for Monday, October 26, 10 a.m., in the club's Bloomberg Room, on the 13th floor of the National Press Building at 529 14th Street NW, Washington DC, 20045.
Like all Newsmakers events, this news conference is open to credentialed media and NPC members free of charge.
SOURCE National Press Club