Report on Rail Users Network Boston Conference

Reporting to the rail group, I thinkwas the only Rhode Islander at the excellent Rail Users Network (RUN) Boston conference last Friday.  Speakers/panelists included FTA Planner Noah Berger (with whom I indicated concerns over the proposed $400 million busway to nowhere RIDOT promotes), MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola (who discussed both short and long-term MBTA planning), local Keolis head Gerard Francis (commuter rail), Astrid Glynn from MassDOT (talked with the last 2 about MBTA-RIPTA fare coordination), Amtrak's Rina Cutler who does their major train station planning, a panel on the north-south rail link (including Mike Dukakis who had some harsh words for Reagan, praise for Weld who is now supportive) that had a detailed argument for its support, another panel of community activists seeking some kind of rapid transit on the Fairmount line and the Somerville Green Line extension.

Among other questions, I asked about commuter rail electrification, which is mandated for any south coast commuter rail to Fall River/New Bedford, needed for the north-south rail link, sought by Fairmont activists, and on the long-term MBTA wish list.  I think we should say something about it in commenting on our 10 year TIP hearing.

Barry Schiller

May 3rd Membership Meeting

 The next meeting of the Rhode Island Association of Railroad Passengers will be held on May 3, 2016 at Kingston Railroad Station starting at 7:00 PM. While it should be light out at that time, you might want to arrive early so you can view the progress being made on the high level platforms and third track.

NARP Division Meeting

The NARP New England Membership Meeting will be held on March 12, 2016, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The meeting will be at the New London Holiday Inn, 35 Governor Winthrop Blvd. in New London, Connecticut, located two blocks from New London railroad station.

Federal Transportation Bill

The Omnibus bill has been printed and is located in the House Rules Committee (Documents). The bill is over 2000 pages (pdf) and transportation starts at page 1474. The attachment shows the whole gory details with comparisons to the House and Senate (as far as they went) bills. Please note that FRA was about the only administration that DID NOT increase over the Senate Appropriation Bill that passed the committee or submitted to the Senate before being withdrawn. The comments section are my own, and should be confirmed before being cited. (I have been known to misread congressional language). The amount for Rhode Island for Federal Highways was for the previous allocation, most likely will be increased with the larger amount of highway funds.

NEC FUTURE Public Hearings

Public Hearings Begin this Week

The Federal Railroad Administration will hold eleven public hearings on the Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) between December 9, 2015 and January 20, 2016. We hope you will join us to help decide on the best future for the Northeast Corridor rail line! 

The first five hearings will be held in December as follows. Please note: the New York, NY hearing will be held on Tuesday, December 15, not on December 14th as originally posted on the website. 

  • 12/9 - Boston, MA, Back Bay Events Center, 180 Berkeley Street
  • 12/14 - New Haven, CT, Gateway Community College, 20 Church Street
  • 12/15 - New York, NY, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue (at 34th Street)
  • 12/16 - Washington, DC, Hall of States, 444 North Capitol Street, NW
  • 12/17 - Providence, RI, Rhode Island Dept. of Administration, One Capitol Hill

All hearings are from 4:00-7:00 p.m. with brief presentations at 4:30 and 6:00 p.m.

Please visit for information on the hearings in January, and to review the Tier 1 Draft EIS or comment online. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the important decisions ahead.

Fall Newsletter Available

The Fall 2015 NEC FUTURE newsletter is available online at the link below. This issue highlights the release of the Tier 1 Draft EIS, key findings of the environmental review, the upcoming public hearings and next steps.

View the NEC FUTURE newsletter

We look forward to your feedback and continued involvement.


RIARP Fall Meeting

Our next meeting is set for November 23, 2015 at Pal’s Restaurant, located at the southeast corner of Division Street and Duke Street in East Greenwich at 7PM. While Pal’s specializes in Italian Food, they have an extensive menu with lots of other items. It is posted on line, just google Pal’s Restaurant. Please note that the Restaurant while not be charging us for the use of their private room, but will be charging a surcharge on credit/debit cards, so you may want to bring cash to pay for your meal.


The meeting should have a lot of information hot off the press.  Now that budget caps have been lifted for discretionary spending, all eyes will be on the Amtrak Appropriations and New Starts. There will be review of the NARP Fall Council Meeting in Indianapolis as well as updates on the Kingston and Providence station grounds construction.


A newsletter containing more information about the meeting and news in general will be forthcoming.

see america right

last week, i rode the train from seattle to chicago with a group of 23 other people, only a handful i had met previously. before i left on this trip i would tell people i did not know what to expect, but that's not entirely accurate. 

Start of Construction on Kingston Station

Work has started on the Kingston Station project, and there are already significant disruptions. 10 spots have been removed from the regular lot, and the grassy areas where people (illegally) did overflow parking are now largely blocked off. The platform lengths have been shortened.

I would like to ask a favor. When I was down yesterday, I saw a potentially serious problem that might have some safety implications during busy days. Amtrak, to my knowledge, will not be addressing this.

I'd like as many of you as possible to independently go down to the station and see if you see anything of the sort I described, and write me with your observations. I want to see if it is just me, or if anybody else picks it up.

In any case, I think the Friends ought to run some local ads advising people of the changes, and suggesting that they start to allow extra time if they're planning on parking at the station. We can discuss this at the next meeting.