Passenger Train

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, August 13, 2004
Capitol Corridor Train 527 from Auburn is supposed to arrive in Sacramento at 7:37 every weekday morning, in plenty of time for riders to get to work at downtown offices by eight. Don't count on it. The 537 is late about half the time. Why? A few years ago, the honchos at Union Pacific railroad, miscalculated. UP encouraged a slew of early retirements and then failed to perform needed maintenance on its tracks and equipment. When the economy surged, and shipping demand soared, UP was caught with a crippling shortage of workers and reliable equipment. The result, clogged tracks and stalled trains from Oakland to Chicago, with those Auburn to Sacramento commuters caught in the squeeze. Often there are not enough crews or locomotives at UP's Roseville yard to move boxcars onto sidings. So cars are parked on one of the two main lines, leaving only one track available to move both freight trains and frustrated passengers. California taxpayers invested hundreds of millions of dollars to fix UP tracks. In exchange, they are supposed to get priority access. UP hasn't delivered, not for passengers, not even for its own freight customers. That's no way to run a railroad.