This calendar is an information service for Observer readers. Notices must reach the Observer at least three weeks before the event. Knights of Columbus Hall, Saturday night NEAR FUTURE By John Gjedde Watriss / Baldwin Now-Sept. 28 / Austin: “Photographs from Grimes County,” an exhibit of the work of Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss, documents rural life in East Texas. University Art Museum, University of Texas campus. Aug. 25 / Thurs. / Houston: Sierra Club sponsors a presentation on efforts to protect the Texas red wolf. Non-members welcome. 7:30 p.m., Children’s Zoo Auditorium, Hermann Park. Aug. 26 / All points: Women’s Equality Day. National Organization for Women sponsors celebratory activities in Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston. Information: Aug. 26-27 / Fri.-Sat. / Austin: The state’s Democratic Party conducts a campaign and leadership conference. Strategy and tactics for state and local races will be reviewed. Open to the public; registration is $25. 9 a.m., Villa Capri Hotel. Informa8746. Aug. 27 / Sat. / Austin: The Texas Consumer Association’s annual convention concentrates on the state’s insurance industry and energy issues. Speakers include James Flug, director of the Energy Action Education Foundation, Texas Congressman Bob Krueger and Harry Hubbard, Texas AFL-CIO president. Registration is $15 for the general public; $5 for students and those over 65. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Ramada Gondolier Hotel. Reservations: Texas Consumer Association, 711 San Antonio, Austin 78701. Aug. 27-28 / Sat.-Sun. /. Dallas: “Solar Energy in the Southwest ’77.” Conference presentations include papers on technical, social, economic and legal aspects of solar power. Open to the public. From 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday; 9:40 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday. At the Fairmont Hotel. 5588. Aug. 27 / Sat. / Denton, El Paso, Austin: N.O.W. sponsors money-raising walk-a-thons in support of the Equal Rights 476-0510. Aug. 28 / Sun. / San AntonioAustin: “A Thirst in the Garden,” an award-winning documentary about Mexican-American farmworkers in the Rio Grande valley, is shown on channel 9 at 5 p.m. Aug. 31 / Wed. / Austin:Observer aficionados gather for an evening of clipping, filing, typing and sundry amusements. Refreshments provided; open to all. 7:30 p.m., 600 West 7th St. InforAug. 31-Sept. 3 / Wed.-Sat. / San Antonio: Energy Fiesta Week includes a roundtable on solar and coal power sponsored by the Energy Research and Development Administration. Registration is $40. At Trinity UniverSept. 10 / Sat. / Austin: “The Battle of Chile: the fight of an unarmed people,” a film on life under the Pinochet regime, premieres at 7:30 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre. Information: Train . . thirteen hours late. After a three-and-ahalf-day ride through prairie blizzards, the Canadian Pacific got him to Vancouver, some 3,200 miles away, ten minutes early. In France, trains are convenient, comfortable, affordable, fast and full. They run on time so regularly that provincial stationmasters are not afraid to have clocks on the wall. Couldn’t we do as well in Texas? We could, if we chose to. But our elected leaders have wet concrete for brains, and lack both imagination and the gumption to do anything but build more highways. We need highways, but we need rail passenger service, too. There is no better evidence that people will patronize good trains than that they are now putting up with bad ones. A 1975 congressional report on the Inter-American, a train that Laredo, expressed surprise that people were willing to pay for such a lousy run: “The ridership and financial results of the Inter-American have been better than expected despite innumerable adversities such as the tri-weekly service limitation, slow running time, circuitous routing, failure to make connections with other trains, inadequate stations and facilities, frequent equipment failures, and poor on-time performance.” At the very least, Texas ought to havea high-speed, first-class passenger train system operating within the Houston/ San Antonio/Dallas-Fort Worth triangle, with stops in places like Corsicana, Waco, Temple, Austin, Huntsville, San Marcos and Columbus. Routes established in this area would be in reach of well over half the state’s population, and would provide Texans with a better way of making Dallas-to-Houston business trips, journeying to the Capitol in Austin, heading to San Antonio for April fiesta, or going back home for a weekend. The state need not wait on the federal government to develop such a corridor system. Amtrak legislation allows a state to create the routes it wants and will even pick up a third of any operating los ses incurred. Six statesNew York, Cal ifornia, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota and Pennsylvania have taken Wash ington up on the offer. Texas has the money and the market for an innovative, sophisticated, interurban rail system. There’s no doubt that good passenger service will be restored one of these days, because it is both needed and in increasing demand. The revival of trains is a nonpartisan, non-ideological issue, with big business executives and union leaders, Republicans and Democrats, and a host of other opposites waiting to get on board. The only question is when we will get some leadership from Austin. J.H. 23 THE TEXAS OBSERVER
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