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TrainWeb NARP Page
www.trainweb.com/narp

TrainWeb supports the rail passenger advocacy efforts of NARP
and I have been a Sustaining Member of NARP since 1995.

Click here to go to NARP's own web site at: www.narprail.org .

Now for some personal notes!

I don't know how you found this page. As far as I know, it is not promoted and there are no links to it from anywhere within TrainWeb. The exception might be the TrainWeb Search Engine which has links to almost all of the pages on our server and to our sponsors. It is not my intention to cover nor take "official" sides in the current controversy regarding the leadership and direction of NARP. But, this semi-hidden page does give me a place to collect and summarize my own views of the situation.

I have friends and associates and even business contacts throughout the rail advocacy movement both inside and outside of NARP, inside Amtrak, and inside a number of state rail passenger advocacy organizations, including some not recognized by NARP. The views of these people range through the complete spectrum from "NARP can do no wrong" to "NARP can't do anything right". Thus, I know that whatever opinions I express, there are people that I know who are going to take great exception.

Though, at the proper time, I expect to be more public with my own personal opinions, you can expect "TrainWeb, Inc." to remain neutral. We host the web sites of many rail advocacy organizations which have expressed opinions on various sides of this issue.

I've attendend most of NARP's meetings in my region. One of the largest criticisms of NARP seems to be that they rubber stamp most everything that Amtrak does. Even when Amtrak takes an action of which NARP disapproves, the public response of NARP is absent. At these regional meetings, I've been told by NARP speakers that a lot is discussed between Amtrak and NARP behind the scenes and much is accomplished. However, NARP does not wish to be a public critic of Amtrak. I've been told that being publicly critical of Amtrak would decrease the effectiveness of NARP and would not reflect well in press circles that are already anti-passenger rail.

At first, I thought this might be a proper strategy: publicly support Amtrak while working cooperatively behind the scenes to continue to improve the national rail passenger system. However, I've had to rethink that strategy. I think time is running out for Amtrak. I don't know if Amtrak has enough time left for NARP's current approach to turn things around.

More specifically, there are a number of areas that I think need to be addressed by NARP and by Amtrak before we can hope to see any serious growth in the passenger rail infrastructure in the United States. I don't see NARP or Amtrak addressing any of these issues. Thus, I feel like passenger rail in the U.S. is stuck in quicksand and we are slowly sinking. Something has to be done before the sand rises above our nose.

Some of the difficulties that I have with NARP were best put forth by Dan Meyer in a post to the All-Aboard Mailing List:

  • 1 - NARP not pushing for better, more accurate accounting
  • 2 - NARP not showing the powers that be that long distance trains are profitable
  • 3 - NARP not asking that the NEC be operated as a completely separate entity
  • 4 - NARP giving the nod of approval to Tom Downs and George Warrington
  • 5 - NARP not recognizing all state-level ARP's

I've looked at the platform of the Modern Trains Party. I don't agree with everything in the platform, but I do see more hope for getting passenger rail back on the road with the vitalization that Modern Trains is proposing than with staying with the status quo.


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