Thursday, July 28

Who is the smarter one here?

Saw a great quote this morning that made me smile.

DolphinsIt is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have learned English -- up to fifty words used in correct context -- no human being has been reported to have learned dolphinese.

-- Carl Sagan

Be sure to check out my photography at

Monday, July 25

Sunset without the colors

Instead of thinking of sunsets just in color, we can look at them as shades of grey.
Here is an example from my recent trip to Manasota Key, Florida.

I like the way that the storm clouds look like a battleship on the horizon.

Be sure to check out the rest of my photography at

Monday, July 18

Wednesday, July 13

How many riders COULD Amtrak have?

Amtrak: An American StoryAmtrak announced yesterday that it projects to have 30 million riders in FY2011 which ends on September 30th. This will be Amtrak's biggest year and follows a FY2010 which had over 28 million riders.

My question is how many riders COULD Amtrak have if it was properly funded and had been given the money it needs to purchase equipment to keep up with demand?

Most of the long-distance trains such as the California Zephyr or Empire Builder sell out of sleeper space (which has high margins, if low capacity) months in advance for peak travel seasons. If Amtrak had additional cars, then it would be able to add sleepers to increase availability much like the railroads did in the day of Pullman.

Pullman keep a fleet of extra sleepers which they were able to move meet demand. In the fall, they were used to ship snowbirds to Florida. In the Summer, they worked the cross-country trains to the National Parks such as the Empire Builder, etc...

Amtrak on the other hand has to scratch to put together full sets of passenger equipment. There are cars waiting for repairs at their Beech Grove facility, but they do not have the money to repair them all. Every wreck or derailment causes more cars to be sidelined nd more passengers to be turned away.

With increased funding, Amtrak could purchase needed additional equipment (creating American jobs) and expand their services. More services would mean increased demand and increased ridership.

Then what would the Amtrak annual ridership numbers be?

Be sure to tell your Congressman and Senators to keep the funding for Amtrak during the current budget negotations in Washington, DC.

Congrats on 30 million Amtrak. Happy 40th Birthday.

Here's to 50 million riders by your 50th birthday in 2021.

Monday, July 11

Train Wreck on the New Haven RR

New Haven R.R. wreck (LOC)

This crash lead to the introduction of the all-steel passenger rail car.

Train Wrecks: A Pictorial History of Accidents on the Main Line

Tuesday, July 5

Win a free trip to the Grand Canyon from Amtrak Vacations

If you have never been to the Grand Canyon National Park you really do not know what you are missing.

Yes, there are a thousand shows on TV touting its beauty and you have probably seen a million photographs on the internet showing the canyon from every angle but that still doesn't do the same thing as visiting.

I visited the canyon with my Mom in 1988. I missed getting to ride the Grand Canyon Railway by a year, but had the benefit of missing some of the commercialization which has impacted the South Rim since then.

The Grand Canyon and the Grand Canyon Railway have been high on my list to revisit for years so I'm hoping you WILL NOT enter this contest from Amtrak Vacations so I can win! (Just kidding...)

Amtrak Vacations is giving away a great trip to the Grand Canyon via Amtrak's Southwest Chief from Chicago. It also includes a ride on the Grand Canyon Railway and a Jeep Trip in Sedona. Sounds like a dream trip to me.

Click here to read how to enter the drawing for your chance to win!

Learn More About the Grand Canyon:

Grand Canyon: The Complete Guide: Grand Canyon National ParkGrand Canyon Guide: Your Complete Guide to the Grand CanyonFrommer's Grand Canyon National Park (Park Guides)