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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Railway Age: "The folly of dismantling Amtrak’s National Network"

   
Author Topic: Railway Age: "The folly of dismantling Amtrak’s National Network"
MargaretSPfan
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Please read this excellent May 23, 2018, Railway Age article by Lyndon Henry, who is a long-time transportation planning consultant and an investigative journalist.

"The folly of dismantling Amtrak’s National Network"

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/the-folly-of-discarding-long-distance-passenger-trains/

The title really says it all.

Fair Use:

"Astoundingly, the primary push for this appears to come, not from anti-Amtrak forces in the Capitol or White House, but from Amtrak’s newly revamped management itself. Indeed, as former Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman recently warned in a May 10 Railway Age commentary, efforts are under way “by Amtrak’s current leadership to dismantle our interconnected, intercity rail passenger network …” "
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Please contact your elected representatives in Congress and express your views on this important issue.

Posts: 211 | From: California | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
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Interesting article.

One other thing that I think is pertinent. Although Amtrak long distance trains have an average of 15% of passengers in sleepers, the sleeping car passengers account for at least 36% of passenger revenue.

Another factor; the 15 Amtrak LD trains represent 42% of passenger miles for the entire Amtrak system.

I wonder if they are really serious about splitting up the lD trains into "stand-alone" segments of 400 miles or less. I think the purpose of the idea is just to mollify critics of the LD route breakup.

Richard

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RRRICH
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Thanks for the link, Margaret! Yes, an interesting article indeed.

We now not only have a billionaire President with no political/leadership experience running the country, but also a former airline executve running AMTRAK. Hmmmmmm..........

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Gilbert B Norman
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"Not the Railway Age I once knew...."

"Back in my day" when I was employed within the industry, and RA was a freebie, one would never have expected the following material, which I'm at a loss whether to label as Opinion. Very simply, the party line was "get rid of 'em - sooner the better".

It certainly appears Amtrak has been assured that the present "whopper" funding will continue without the interconnected National system. So long as Amtrak is involved with locally funded services throughout the land, the National System mandate under RPSA70 is being fulfilled.

Posts: 9393 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
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More from the pages of Railway Age. For being the industry's ostensible "house organ", Railway Age has become quite the advocacy platform of late. Here is the latest "95 Theses" submitted by an author and representing a "coalition" of which I had no previous knowledge:

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/amtrak-riders-revolution-no-confidence-for-richard-anderson

Fair Use:
  • Today there appears to be another revolution finding its genesils in the Garden State, far less bloody but sweeping in its own way. It is just beginning, but Amtrak’s riders in New Jersey and elsewhere are expressing their frustration with Amtrak under its President, Richard Anderson, and the way we who ride Amtrak trains have been treated since he assumed the top job at “America’s Railroad” slightly more than one year ago.

    The word “we” is appropriate here, because this writer has played a central role in this drama, which pits Amtrak and its political allies against riders who are fed up with service reductions, loss of travel amenities and plans by Anderson and his minions that could make conditions even worse for Amtrak’s beleaguered riders (and New Jersey Transit’s, too). Over the past two decades, this writer has authored roughly 1,000 commentaries, news stories, statements and other works about the state of trains and transit in New Jersey and elsewhere in the nation. This piece will not be like any of them. It is not a news story, because this writer is precluded by circumstances from displaying the journalistic detachment required for fully objective news coverage. It is not an essay either, because the subject is far broader than merely personal issues that concern our rail service. Maybe it is a valedictory in a sense, even though this writer plans to keep writing, both here in Railway Age and elsewhere.
The surprise is that NJ is not looking at any service cuts - only enhancements of the only passenger train market where Amtrak provides meaningful transportation.
Posts: 9393 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
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This author seems to be aligned with the "flat earth" segment of Amtrak critics who believe that the LD system is generating mountains of free cash while the NEC is bleeding the company dry. I'm won't pretend to be an expert on railroad accounting methods, but as someone who commonly rides the LD network at least once a year, this form of "advocacy" seems to do more harm than good for the network.

Anderson has created a serious kerfuffle with his boneheaded Southwest Chief plan, but I believe Amtrak's current problems are more about the lack of initiative during the Boardman years than a devious cabal being initiated by the Anderson team against the LD trains.

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Roger Farnworth
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The network of railways in the UK suffered devastating cuts as a result of a report in the 1960s by Dr Beeching. Railways were considered in those days in the UK to be outmoded and dirty.

We still have an anti-rail lobby and railways have their detractors but usage figures have been growing steadily. There are new lines being constructed and some old lines being re-opened.

There is a nostalgia for the past as well as a sense that railways and tramways now represent the future for travel. Heritage lines are well used and modern railways are increasingly overcrowded.

Posts: 243 | From: Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester, UK. | Registered: Dec 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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