Amtrak’s Regional Official speaks at Pro Rail Nebraska meeting

A meeting on Monday discussed the progress and updates Amtrak has made in 2018.

Dozens of people in Lincoln welcomed their special guest from Chicago, a Regional Official for Amtrak.

“Amtrak is a public corporation created by congress and owned by the American people so we have a responsibility to make sure that we make ourselves available to the public, to let them know what’s going on with the railroad,” said Derrick James, a Regional Official for Amtrak.

James explained how successful the year was for Amtrak and how they currently run 305 trains a day. He also spoke about improvements and how the board of directors already approved the purchase of 70 new locomotives.

“We are buying new trains, new locomotives, we’re fixing up stations and we’re preparing for ridership growth,” said James.

Another topic discussed was the long distance passenger train that runs coast to coast and passes through Lincoln. One of the District 1 Railroad Directors says they are interested in getting a pair of day time trains.

“Our California Zephyr trains that come through most of Nebraska stops in the middle of the night and that’s very inconvenient for most people,” said Richard Schmeling, a District 1 Director with Pro Rail Nebraska.

Schmeling says the United States is lagging so far behind the rest of the world in rail passenger and now they are finally seeing an uptick.

“We’re finally figuring out that we are behind and we need to do some catch up and that’s exciting to me,” said Schmeling.

Lincoln is not the only stop for Derrick James. He will travel with state Senator Dan Quick to visit the mayors of Holdredge, Hastings, McCook and possibly others on Tuesday.


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