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Thread: Should AMTRAK be kept alive??

  1. #1

    Default Should AMTRAK be kept alive??

    I say YES and heres a good reason why.......

    Ive had the pleasure to travel across the U.S lots of times on Amtrak. Ive done full length trips (in coach every time) on the following trains - "Sunset Ltd", "Southwest Chief" and the "Capitol Ltd" and ive never had to complain once. Ive also had the pleasure of sampling 'First Class' on an Acela from New York to Washington - very nice trains I must say :)

    My most recent trip was from Orlando, FL to Los Angeles, CA on the "Sunset Ltd" back in January. I travelled 'coach' all the way and really enjoyed it. Sure enough there were the expected delays due to huge BNSF freight trains hogging the tracks }> (we arrived in L.A. about 7 1/2 hours late) but it gave me more time to enjoy the scenery!! :) (lets face it, you dont get scenery like that when your on a plane!!)

    I made a page on my website of my trip from New York to L.A back in summer of 2001.
    Go to http://leenavinuk.tripod.com/holiday/id8.html (then click the P42 to the other pics).

    Finally, compared to other countries trains ive been on, Amtrak provide a much better service. Amtrak's staff are more helpful and trains are quieter, cleaner and more efficient. I hope amtrak survives because I want to do another trip in October (was thinking of doing the 'Empire Builder then onto the 'Coast Starlight').

    The U.S should be proud of its passenger rail service (im not being rude here), and I think the government should pump more money into it so it can carry on giving the excellent service it provides....

    LONG LIVE AMTRAK!!!


    Comments anyone??

    Lee
    from England
    [Link Expired]






  2. #2
    kevarc Guest

    Default RE: Should AMTRAK be kept alive??

    In certain corridors, yes. NEC, California and a few others, but the rest should die a peacefull death.

    Kevin Arceneaux



  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default RE: Should AMTRAK be kept alive??

    I think passenger service makes sense in a country like the US. I am not sure it has been executed properly in the present form. I would think the NEC is about right as is. There should be a higher speed regional service that connects the East Coast with Pittsburg, Cleveland, and Chicago. Another should connect Atlanta, Nashville, and Dallas. The West Coast ought to get a good regional network to serve the metropolitan centers from San Diego to Seattle. Probably only one transcontinental service can be maintained at a level of service that will make it suit its purpose. This train should be marketed not as much as transportation, but as a vacation on rails. The scenery and itinerary should look more like a cruise ship than a railroad, not trying to get there quick, but see all the sights along the way, with time to explore them. Too much of "we have always done it that way" will kill the service, it really needs to think in innovative ways to get to another level of service. The future will reward a good passenger service, as airlines start to become too energy guzzling, and airports get to sprawling and crowded, as well as the traffic congestion to serve them. You can't compete on the Boston to Phoenix traffic, but you can compete on a regional basis.
    Bob

  4. #4
    magichb Guest

    Default RE: Should AMTRAK be kept alive??

    Amtrak should be allowed to wither or thrive on its own. The total ridership does not justify the money spent to subsidise it. Our great Constitution does not call for government support of anything including Amtrak. If portions can survive in a freemarket environment that would be fantastic, but no more government handouts. Remember, it is yours and my money they are throwing away.

    Brad
    GT the good track road

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default RE: Should AMTRAK be kept alive??

    I largely disagree with your position, not so much on philosophical grounds, but if you let trucking companies and auto drivers build and maintain the highways at their expense, and force airlines to build and maintain airports at their expense, then we could do as you suggest. As long as we heavily subsidise the competition, then we will have to also support the passenger RR industry. This is not money "thrown away", as a form of passenger train service is vital to a flexible and balanced transportation system. We have started to experience the environmental consequences of the highway and airline overuse, but as time goes on, that will intensify. We need to have a RR option to use when these consequences impact the public enough to yield changes in ridership. The reduction of highway and airline subsidy may be a first step toward a healthier RR industry, including passenger traffic.
    Bob

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default RE: Should AMTRAK be kept alive??

    To all those negativists who want it dead --- a pox on you.

    I am retired from the railroad, and most of us retirees would rather die than get on a train, but I am not one of those. I just wish that Amtrak was subsidized to the extent that highways and airlines are, so that it would not cost so much to ride it.
    As a licensed pilot, I don't want to be 10,000 ft.+ in any aluminum tube that I am not in control of myself, unless it is headed on rails into the Moffat Tunnel.

    The cost has been increasing, very steadily, even as ridership has also been increasing, so if the cost were less, there would not be enough passenger cars to carry the load - not enough now really, and getting worse.

    I won't travel further than a few hundred miles in Coach though, and I thoroughly disagree with anyone that thinks that is great.
    We professional railroaders usually referred to Coaches as "Cattle Cars".

    I always go first class, though I usually opt for an economy room if it is a one night out trip. IN 1984, my late wife and I went from Chicago to Salt Lake City, via sleeper both ways between Chicago & Denver, and Coach between Denver and Salt Lake. At that time, meals were not included in the sleeper ticket as they are now - and should remain. As I recall, our ticket was under $500. In 1/99, my wife and I traveled 8400 miles in 8 days on 5 trains, Jacksonville to Jacksonville via Seattle as it were, and the cost was about $2400. In 9/2000, she and I rode RT to Houston to see my grandchildren from Jacksonville, and it cost about $800 for the two of us. Last year, we did a 5 day package tour including RT in sleeper, Chicago to Williams, AZ, RT on the GCR, 2 nights in Williams, and one night at the Canyon. All meals were included except 2 at the canyon, and it cost about $2500. On August 29, barring any more loss of sleepers, I have a RT ticket on the Sunset to Houston, and it will cost (just me this time) $750. I figure these prices are about 2x what it should cost if reasonably subsidized and I am all for it.

    If, however, they call me and tell me that I am downgraded to Coach, I will demand a refund or a rain check.

    J. H. Sullivan, P.E. (retired from CSX, escaped from Southern)

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Franklin, Tennesee, USA.
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    Default RE: Should AMTRAK be kept alive??

    Simple. Amtrak should be given millions to update its service and the goverment should help fund commercial service (ones that Amtrak uses its tracks). Then after 5 years Amtrak should be released privatly with little funding from the goverment to help it stay on track. And maybe the goverment should give a bonus for anyonwelse that enters the passenger service field to go against Amtrak. Know I doubt this will happen but this is what should happen. &%$# he interstates lol!

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Flushing, NY, USA.
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    Default RE: Should AMTRAK be kept alive??

    Amtrak should be kept alive, although not in it's present form. At least half the money currently spent subsidizing highways and airlines should be spent on the contruction of a nationwide series of regional high speed lines using state of the art technology, and with the running speeds of next generation TGV technology(215 to 250 mph). This will allow railroads to compete effectively with airliners on trips of up to about 900 miles, and with automobiles over any distance. A series of reginal networks crisscrossing the country will allow passenger travel coast to coast on exclusively high speed lines, and if schedules can be synchronized, such a trip could be made to take less than 20 hours. Even though this is maybe 12 hours more than a coast to coast flight, many people might opt for the train for safety and convenience reasons. A coast-to-coast maglev running in an evacuated tunnel at a few thousand mph is an even more attractive option, supplemented of course by the regional high-speed lines that I mentioned.

    It is vital that our legislators stop thinking solely in terms of automobiles and airplanes. Both of these methods of transportation are environmetally destructive in the extreme. The noise, pollution, and congestion caused by these vehicles have all but made many cities nearly unlivable, and the health effects of pollution have caused medical costs to skyrocket. Each airliner is a potential cruise missile, and the ultimate economic damage from 9/11 would probably be sufficient to have constructed a nationwide high-speed network. For some people like myself automobiles and planes are not an option. Traveling long distances by automobile is slow, claustrophobic, and less than civilized. I simply refuse to board a plane at all for a variety of reasons(intrusive security, many fatal accidents, jet fuel fumes, airports inconveniently located many miles from city centers requiring time consuming and expensive additional transportation). My personal feeling is that all long distance traveling or commuting should be done by rail or maglev. Cars should be used only for running errands or getting to train stations, and should be made emission free(i.e. battery-powered). Planes should be restricted solely to overseas flights, and banned from overflying the continental United States. Ultimately, planes should be replaced even in this role with the maglev in a tube concept: http://www.readersdigest.co.uk/magazine/travel.htm

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default RE: Should AMTRAK be kept alive??

    [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Jun-19-02 AT 11:59PM (EDT)[/font][p]Although I agree on many points, I do want to note that battery powered vehicles are NOT emission free. To the contrary, the electric power generation process, largely fueled by coal fired plants, is actually more problematic in many ways, if enough vehicles used the electric grids to recharge. Actually, I think a better solution is natural gas powered autos for the errand service. Methane is relatively soot free, and would make a smoother transition to noncombustion solutions like solar down the road. Further, imagine the pollution problem created by the huge increase in lead acid battery disposals if these became mainstream.
    Bob

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default RE: Should AMTRAK be kept alive??

    I agree. Let's face it, This country is done building roads, and congestion and s are getting worse everyday. Just think how bad it would be if Amtrak shut down especially in the Northeast Corridor. We need something around to divert traffic off the roads.

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