American Railroads

News each weekday of American railroads. Our focus is on freight rail, but Amtrak and commuter rail are also essential ingredients. Nothing published on holidays.

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Location: Middleburg (Jacksonville), Florida, United States

Published in Trains magazine, Railfan & Railroad, Passenger Train Journal

Sunday, September 24, 2006

23 dead in German maglev crash

A high-speed magnetic levitation train traveling at nearly 125 mph crashed Friday in Lathen, in northwestern Germany, killing 23 people and injuring 10 in the first fatal wreck involving the high-tech system, officials said.

Karl-Heinz Brueggeman, a rescue services official, said the death toll rose to 23 after a search in and around the wrecked train, which derailed after smashing into a maintenance cart. It was the first fatal wreck involving the high-tech system.

Transrapid International, a joint company of Siemens and ThyssenKrupp, makes the train. Munich-based IABG operates the guideway, which runs between the towns of Lathen and Doerpen near the border with Holland.

APTA: Public transportation ridership rises

The American Public Transportation Assn. (APTA) reported on Friday that public transportation ridership has increased by 3.2 percent in the first six months of 2006, as Americans took nearly 5 billion trips on public transit.

“In the first six months of this year, more and more people rode public transportation and transit ridership grew by 3.2 percent, said APTA President William W. Millar.

In the first six months of 2006, light rail – modern light rail, streetcars, trolleys, and heritage trolleys – had the highest percentage of ridership growth among all modes of transportation, with a 9.4 percent increase. Some of the areas reporting the highest increases in light rail ridership opened new services over the past year. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority of San Jose showed the largest increase at 33 percent. The light rail systems in the following areas showed double digit increases from January through June 2006: Minneapolis, (23.4 percent); the state of New Jersey (15.1 percent); Boston, (13.4 percent); Buffalo, (12.2 percent); Los Angeles (11.9 percent); Philadelphia, (11.9 percent); and San Diego (11.9 percent).

Commuter rail grew by 3.4 percent and three areas showed ridership increases in double digits during this six month period: Chesterton, Ind. (13 percent); Dallas (12 percent); and, Harrisburg (11.6 percent).

Heavy rail (subways) ridership grew nationally by 2.6 percent during the first six months of 2006. Two areas showed double digit increases in ridership: Los Angeles (15.9 percent) and New York’s PATH (10.3 percent).

Some free rides in Boston

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority started a free ride campaign on Friday to promote the five-minute commute from Back Bay Station to South Station. The stations are one mile apart.

Free rides are on tap for a month, between now and October Commuter trains are operating between both stations and travel one stop to the Financial District. At South Station, riders can connect with Silver Line connections to the South Boston Waterfront, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and Logan Airport. The ‘T’ is running 85 weekday and 60 weekend departures between the stations.

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