Jeanne —

Jump on board and join the SR Team for any of these upcoming events!

RSVP by clicking links above, or scroll down for more info.

Big Sky Passenger Rail

Wednesday, June 2nd

2pm Pacific / 3pm Mountain / 4pm Central / 5pm Eastern

Link to RSVP:

The award-winning Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority is a multi-county subdivision of Montana State Government devoted to reviving passenger rail service across Southern Montana and connecting that service to points beyond Montana both east and west and north and south. Its immediate focus is on renewing service along the North Coast Hiawatha route from at least Fargo, ND, to Sandpoint, ID, and fostering regional interstate discussions of broader passenger rail expansion across the western U.S. stretching from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Coast and from the Northern to the Southern Rockies.

The Authority was established in 2020 with the passage of a joint resolution by twelve diverse counties—urban and rural—located across Montana. It organized and began operating in January 2021 and has since expanded to 13 counties, with more counties considering joining as well. The creation of the Authority was recognized on May 21, 2021, with the National Association of Counties 2021 National Achievement Award in Transportation.

With the prospects emerging for major national infrastructure funding, the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority has launched consultations with partners in several western and midwestern states to support:

  • A dedicated carve-out of 25% of federal passenger rail development funds for rural long-distance service, with immediate funding for restoration of the North Coast Hiawatha and Pioneer Road, and
  • Support for regional planning and interstate development of rail service through
    • (a) creation of a Greater Northwest Rail Working Group to be convened by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation with representatives of states, local communities and tribal governments and
    • (b) authorization of interstate rail commissions to help develop passenger rail service in underserved regions of the U.S.

The Authority is committed to being a partner and catalyst for expansion of passenger rail service on a broad scale. Join Solutionary Rail next Wednesday to learn more!

History of Passenger Rail in the US

Tuesday, June 8th at Noon Pacific / 2pm Central / 3pm Eastern

Link to RSVP:

The privatized freight railroad system currently subjects Amtrak trains to long delays, denying them the priority over freight trains as the railroads agreed to when the federal government formed Amtrak in 1970 to relieve the railroads of their obligation to provide passenger service.  Further, Amtrak’s recently announced planned expansion of passenger trains throughout the U.S. will be severely restricted if these violations of the agreement are allowed to stand.

These are only the latest private railroad violations of agreements made between it and the federal government dating back to the 1860s when very favorable Land Grants were provided to Railroad Companies for their westward expansion.  These topics are explored in the context of railroad ownership, and how the public may enforce its will and the mandate that these private companies have an obligation to provide preferential access to passenger trains.

In this webcast conversation, George Draffan will discuss Land Grants and their impact of Railroad Ownership from 1860 to 1941 and Steve Chrismer will discuss Amtrak’s formation in 1970, its present, and its future.

This event is co-sponsored by our friends at RWU-Railroad Workers United.

Solutionary Rail Hive Meetings

Thursday, June 3rd at 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern AND Tuesday, June 15th at Noon Pacific / 3pm Eastern

Our team of volunteers – which we refer to as the SR Hive – meets every other week to discuss progress on rail electrification, mode shift, transmission, and other rail-related issues. We will begin forming teams to work more deeply in areas such as Congressional outreach, Railroad stories, Publications, Virtual Conference Planning, and more.  If you’re interested, we warmly welcome you to join these Zoom conversations and see where you can plug in.

At the beginning of each of these meetings, we’re honored to have Alan Fisher, the Armchair Urbanist, on to show one of his excellent short videos and take questions on a relevant railroad topic. (Topics TBA)

RSVP for June 3rd meeting:

RSVP for June 15th meeting:

If you can support this work with a tax-deductible donation, you’ll keep this vision growing, and together we’ll make the impossible become the inevitable!  Sign up for a small monthly donation HERE or make a one time contributionHERE.  Thank you!

-=-=-Backbone Campaign · PO Box 278, Vashon, WA 98070, United States
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