Think Madden is a big deal at EA? Yeah, well so is the Tiger Woods franchise. The series began after the PGA Tour series was retired in 1998, rebranded Tiger Woods ’99. Since then, the game has become increasingly easier, and has reached out to a wider audience who have apparently snapped it up in droves.
As such, the series has generated $500 million for EA. That’s across numerous platforms, including the PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, PS1, PS2, PS3, Gamecube, Wii, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, N-Gage, DS, and cell phones. That’s a massive selection to choose from, and nearly all of them wonderful digital versions of the sport (and yes, the N-Gage version was quite good).
Amtrak Shutdown Could Stall Travel; Most Commuter Service Would Be Halted
The Washington Post June 22, 2002 | Don Phillips An Amtrak shutdown, threatened for the middle of next week, would ripple far beyond intercity passenger train service to halt or severely curtail rail commuter service along the East Coast and California, officials said yesterday.
Any commuter trains that use the national passenger railroad’s tracks — basically the Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston – – or are operated by Amtrak under contract or use Amtrak stations, would be affected.
In the Washington area, Virginia Railway Express said it would shut down all service. Maryland Rail Commuter Services (MARC) said its Washington-Baltimore Penn Line would shut down, and it is still reviewing options for the Camden and Brunswick lines. No MARC trains could enter Union Station, however.
An intercity and commuter rail shutdown could create havoc along the East Coast, where hundreds of thousands of people would be forced onto highways, subways and airports. Amtrak, for instance, now hauls more passengers between Washington and New York than the airline shuttles combined.
“This is no way to treat the traveling public,” said Pete Sklannik Jr., VRE’s chief operating officer. “It’s a bad time to play brinksmanship, it really is.” Congress and the Bush administration are arguing over how to save Amtrak from a cash crisis that could shut down all the country’s intercity passenger service before the July 4 holiday period. Amtrak President David L. Gunn said that unless the Bush administration comes through with a $200 million loan guarantee or Congress is close to appropriating the money, he will begin an orderly shutdown by Wednesday or Thursday. Amtrak also would be placed into bankruptcy under a court-appointed trustee.
Federal Railroad Administration staff members said they would work through the weekend to try to make a loan guarantee work, and members of Congress continued to protest what they called the administration’s inaction.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) said yesterday he would attempt to add $200 million for Amtrak to a Senate appropriations bill for homeland security that is now under negotiation between the Senate and House. President Bush has threatened to veto the bill, saying it is too expensive. this web site amtrak promotion code
Administration officials have said they would insist that any additional direct aid to Amtrak be linked to major reforms including eliminating or contracting out some routes.
Gunn said a shutdown would take four days or so, enough time to avoid stranding any passengers and to get Amtrak equipment to storage areas where it could be guarded from vandalism until Amtrak’s creditors could assume custody in bankruptcy. web site amtrak promotion code
“We’re trying to be as optimistic as we can,” Gunn said yesterday. “I really can’t believe that wisdom isn’t going to prevail in this case.” VRE’s Sklannik said that he had hoped to be able to operate trains into the L’Enfant Plaza station, but Amtrak informed him yesterday morning that the necessary collective bargaining agreements could not be worked out for VRE to hire the Amtrak engineers that run his trains. The only Amtrak track used by VRE is through the tunnel into Union Station.
In addition to the Washington area shutdowns, Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority would be largely shut down, as would New Jersey Transit.
“The operational chaos that will result from this is incalculable at this point. It’s a disaster,” New Jersey Transportation Commissioner James P. Fox told the Associated Press.
In New York, Metro North would be largely unaffected since it owns and operates its own trains and tracks from the north and east and uses New York Grand Central Station instead of Amtrak’s Penn Station. The Long Island Rail Road could operate as usual with one major exception — it couldn’t get into Manhattan because its trains use Penn Station.
Boston’s commuter system would be mostly shut down because its trains are operated by Amtrak and use many stretches of Amtrak track and stations.
Chicago’s Metra would be inconvenienced because many of its trains use Amtrak’s Union Station, but other trains into other stations could continue to operate as long as they do not use Amtrak tracks.
In California, all commuter service would apparently be shut down, including major systems in Los Angeles and San Francisco, because they are either operated by Amtrak or use Amtrak facilities.
In some ways, the Amtrak crisis is a carbon copy of many incidents during the corporation’s 31-year existence. Amtrak was formed as a “profit-making” corporation on May 1, 1971, a description long acknowledged as a fabrication by many of the federal staff members who helped form the company. For three decades, Congress gave Amtrak barely enough money to maintain service while ordering it to run trains that passed through the states or districts of key members of the Senate or House.
Often, Amtrak management has threatened to shut down certain routes as a way of forcing Congress to come up with more money. Many observers apparently believed that was happening again — until last week.
This crisis is different in two major ways:
Over the last few years, Amtrak has papered over its crises by borrowing against its assets. Amtrak also ran out of cash last year, then mortgaged New York Penn Station for $300 million to keep operating. But Penn Station was the last major asset that Amtrak had to mortgage.
Gunn, on the job only five weeks, is no-nonsense, politically independent and decisive. When he said Amtrak would shut down, people who knew him believed him.
The Bush administration has acknowledged that it has no contingency plans if there is a shutdown. FRA Administrator Alan Rutter appeared a little surprised by a question Thursday before a Senate subcommittee as to whether the FRA had a contingency plan. He said he would prefer to spend his time working on a way to keep Amtrak running.
Meanwhile, Standard and Poor’s downgraded Amtrak’s credit rating yesterday to the lowest investment grade, and Moody’s placed Amtrak on a a watch list for a possible downgrade.