Amtrak’s Grand Plan for Profitability


This video was made possible by Away. Get the perfect suitcase for $20 off by going
to awaytravel.com/wendover20 and using the promo code, “wendover20.” On July 12, 2017, Amtrak got a new CEO. The American government-owned railroad company
would now be helmed by Richard Anderson. Anderson was no stranger to the American transport
industry. He had previously worked for nine years as
the CEO of Delta Airlines—leading it from bankruptcy to prosperity. This job, of turning around a struggling company,
is rarely a popular one. It requires making difficult decisions that
plenty will not agree with, but it’s a job that some leaders have a knack for. Having succeeded with this at Delta, there
was at least some evidence that Richard Anderson could complete the same task elsewhere. That’s why he was brought to Amtrak. Amtrak is certainly a company in need of turnaround. While it is government owned, it is intended
to operate as a for-profit company. Despite that, however, it has never turned
a profit since its inception in 1971. Each year, the difference between what it
makes from running its trains and what it costs to run those trains is made up by government
subsidies, grants, and debt. The company’s primary purpose, beyond making
money, is, of course, to carry passengers, and they don’t even do that all that well. In 2018, only 73% of their trains arrived
on time. In the case of their long-distance trains,
just 43% got to their destination on time. In fairness, the majority of the company’s
delays are the fault of the freight rail companies that own the tracks that carry their trains,
but still, it’s sure that the company could use some work. So, Richard Anderson has been getting to work. To understand how Amtrak works as a company,
you have to understand the types of trains it operates. There are essentially three categories. The first are the Northeast Corridor trains. This route, connecting Boston, New York, DC,
and a number of smaller cities up and down the east coast, is operated by both higher
speed Acela and slower Northeast Regional trains, and overall, the Northeast Corridor
is by far Amtrak’s most profitable route. The slower, regional trains they operate earn
them a profit of almost $25 per passenger. On the higher-speed Acela, they profit more
than $80 per passenger. Without this route, Amtrak would be in a far
poorer financial state. The second type of trains are the state-supported
ones. Essentially, what these are are shorter routes
supported by the subsidies offered by state governments. Every single short-distance train outside
the northeast corridor is state-supported, and this type includes routes like Charlotte
to Raleigh, North Carolina; Chicago to Quincy, Illinois; or Vancouver, Canada to Portland,
Oregon. These routes range in profitability. The DC to Lynchburg train, for example, earns
the company almost $40 in profit per passenger. Meanwhile, the Fort Worth, Texas, to Oklahoma
City, Oklahoma one loses more than $30 per passenger. Overall, though, the state-supported routes
as a grouping are unprofitable, but not by that much. They are somewhat close to break-even. The third type of trains is the long-distance
ones. Ranging from 13 hours to 65, these routes
connect big cities to small towns all across the US. Many of these routes have storied histories
and strong fanbases of those who prefer the more relaxed method of travel, however, these
routes certainly do not help Amtrak’s financial performance. Every single one of Amtrak’s long-distance
routes lose money. How much money they lose ranges anywhere from
$12 per passenger in the case of the Palmetto between New York City and Savannah, Georgia
all the way to $456 per passenger in the case of the Sunset Limited from New Orleans, Louisiana
to Los Angeles. Overall, Amtrak loses more than a half billion
dollars a year operating these long-distance routes. Part of what makes Richard Anderson the perfect
figure to turn around Amtrak is that he does not care about trains. That’s to say, he has no sense of sentimentality
about the history or the grandeur or the allure of particular storied routes. His passion is for profitability and that’s
his goal, seemingly no matter the cost. Therefore, three core parts to Anderson’s
Amtrak plan have emerged—expanding the Northeast Corridor services, optimizing the state-supported
services, and cutting back the long-distance services. Starting with the Northeast Corridor, this
is clearly Amtrak’s greatest asset. The company owns most of the tracks between
DC and Boston meaning that they don’t run into the same problems of using freight railroad’s
tracks like with almost all their other services. This means they can run these services relatively
reliably, and therefore have a clear advantage over planes or buses when traveling between
New York and DC or Boston. Consequently, they have cornered the market
between Boston, New York, and DC. The first part of Amtrak’s plan to double-down
on this route was initiated before Anderson even joined the company. Amtrak is receiving new, faster, and larger
train sets for their higher-speed Acela Express service on the route in 2021. With the introduction of these, Amtrak has
teased plans to create four tiers of transport for the corridor. The lowest would be a new, local train operating
all the way from Richmond, Virginia to Portland, Maine making most all stops along the way. This idea for this sort of, “super-local,”
train would be to connect additional smaller communities to the Amtrak Network, as this
service could be used to connect to other higher-speed trains. The next tier up would be the existing Northeast
Regional service, operating between Boston and DC, with some continuing on into Virginia. Above that would be the current Acela Express,
operating limited-stop service between Boston and DC, then above that would be new, nonstop
services from DC and Boston to New York. The company launched the first of these in
September, 2019, with a travel time of 2 hours and 35 minutes—shaving about 15 minutes
off the travel time of the stopping Acelas. In the future, the addition of nonstop services
from Boston and additional frequencies from DC will cement this as the most premium option
in the Northeast Corridor, and the idea is that these four tiered options together will
help capture more of every customer segment—thereby squeezing more revenue out of Amtrak’s most
profitable route. The fact that some of Amtrak’s state-supported
trains break even is a fantastic sign because it means, with optimization, that Amtrak can
turn this grouping profitable. Anderson has made noise about expanding Amtrak’s
short-distance network across the US. The company has not announced any specific
new routes as part of a major short-distance expansion, but it’s clear that there are
opportunities. Trains tend to be competitive in time and
cost to flights under a distance of about 300 miles or 500 kilometers. That means there are plenty of likely profitable
routes that Amtrak could set up, like Dallas to Houston or Los Angeles to Las Vegas. While it’s unlikely that Amtrak would set
up any additional short-distance routes without state funding, the company does have potential
future competition. Two private companies are fairly serious about
starting up high-speed train service on these routes. Between Dallas and Houston, a company called
Texas Central Railway is months away from starting construction on a high-speed line
connecting the cities in just 90 minutes. Elsewhere, Virgin Trains USA—the company
that owns what is currently the only privately-owned inter-city railroad in the US between Miami,
Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach—recently acquired a company that had begun planning
and permitting work for a Los Angeles area to Las Vegas high-speed line, and is looking
to start construction in 2020. If these projects are completed, which seems
quite possible, two of Amtrak’s most potentially profitable routes would be snapped up and,
if successful, it would open the door to future private rail projects in the US. While significant rail investment and development
would no doubt prove quite beneficial for the country and help solve many of its transport
problems, to Amtrak, it would get in the way of their ability to cherry-pick the most profitable
short-haul routes in order to offset the loss of long-distance routes. That brings us to those long-distance routes. This is where things get tricky for Amtrak. As a publicly-owned company enjoying quite
sizable amounts of public funding, Amtrak relies on keeping in the good graces of the
US Congress. Their long-distance routes pass through more
than 40 states and cutting them would be politically unpopular anywhere. Not only do they serve as economic stimulus
by providing jobs to rural areas, but many of the company’s 500 stops represent the
only public transport link to the outside world from the small towns they’re in. Congresspeople are well aware that the loss
of a route that their constituents use would not help with their popularity. At the very same time, Congress has been putting
the pressure on Amtrak to cut its losses, even though the very thing loosing all their
money are these long-distance routes. Therefore, for now, the company has started
making efforts to cut cost on these trains. As one example, they’ve started to move
their long-distance trains away from serving fresh meals from their onboard kitchen towards
stocking pre-packaged, pre-prepared foods. This, undoubtably, did not go down well with
Amtrak loyalists, but the whole long-distance mess gets even messier. The company has been accused of, essentially,
misleading accounting practices. This would presumably be in order to make
the long-distance routes seem like bigger money losers than they truly are in order
to help the case for their discontinuation. The company attributes different costs to
different lines to give a sense of which make money and which don’t, but this isn’t
always done well. For example, it apparently cost $3 million
a year to maintain the company’s electric train equipment outside the northeast corridor
even though, aside from a small branch line to Harrisburg, there are no Amtrak electric
train routes outside the northeast corridor—only diesel. It also attributed all the cost of its baggage
handling services to its long-distance trains, even though these are used on many short-distance
services as well. The biggest highlight of their cost attribution,
though, is what they marked down as the cost they bore for their station in Miami—the
terminus of some of the long-distance routes—to be cleaned of snow. The last time it snowed anywhere close to
Miami was 1977. What’s likely to happen, in the near future,
is that Amtrak will cut the most egregious losers in its long-distance portfolio while
keeping those that are closer to break-even in order to appease Congress. The termination of any route would be a huge
loss to many. They each provide hundreds or thousands of
jobs and connect many of the country’s smallest towns to bigger cities, but its likely a necessity
given the pressure from DC. The new leader of Amtrak, Richard Anderson,
has, though, helped lead the company towards the goal that long seemed impossible. In the company’s last fiscal year, it lost
just $30 million. In Amtrak terms, that is nothing, and it puts
them on track to break-even in 2020—an achievement that the company has never reached since its
inception 50 years ago. This will occur during what is clearly a time
of great change for Amtrak. It is reinventing itself at the beginning
of a period of reinvention for the American rail industry as a whole. What many are worried about, though, is that
it and the Congresspeople behind it will forget the difference between a private company and
a government-owned one. If Amtrak was a true for-profit company, it
would have long ago made the quite easy decision to cut every single long-distance route. Doing so would immediately turn them into
a quite profitable corporation, but the company’s purpose is to connect America, and there’s
a whole lot more to America than a four-hour radius around the largest cities. Anyone who’s travelled a lot, and possibly
experienced the ups and downs of Amtrak, knows that not all suitcases are created equal. You can get really cheap and flimsy suitcases
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100 thoughts on “Amtrak’s Grand Plan for Profitability

  1. After reading through the comments it seems to me the answer maybe:
    Build it and they will come?.
    The deciding factor is at what level does a public service become for the common good?
    Regardless of cost (within reason).
    It's clear a national wide rail network would most likely be unprofitable, yet if the service connected as many large cities as possible, was fast 200mph or even a Mag-elev train @700mph with entertainment and a good food offering
    More people would use it making it more cost effective.? – not profitable.
    If one is concerned about $$$.
    Then is is justifiable to spend 600$Bn per year on the military – a large part unaccountable
    Because secret/black projects?
    At the cost of public services.
    Think of all the jobs created by a national rail service the people it could connect.
    But only if the service is good, fast point to point direct.

  2. This is economically a bad decision as a basic objective of economy's is to provide welfare to its residents over profit and connecting people and creating employment is much more valuable than short term profit.

  3. Amtrak should make inter sate kind of routes between two big cities not far and have some stops between to make a commuter line so Americans use the trains

  4. Seeing title: Oh my how great hyperloop?
    Seeing profitability: Oh ok well I hope they will build Hyperlooks when they are profitable then.

  5. Why not connect long haul routes by bus? What's the demand from Nowhere, Montana, to Also Nowhere, Idaho? Probably not much.

  6. Ideas for the a hell to of it:

    Sell all terminals and run them like airports. People pay two fees then on every ticket
    Buses pick up and set down passengers be better so carparks can be sold to developers
    Long distance services make no profit so tickets are floated price so always neutral or no profit. Govs can hand out ticket discounts, not train service compensation
    All trains retro fitted with wifi etc
    App that works only if on a train. It can give access to shopping etc
    Plus spot lights which shine out into the night. Ie. Energy will support the train routes if use energy. Thus cheaper fuel/battery if use more..
    Order trays of food before get on train to help food tastes
    People can get cheaper online shopping packages if taken by train
    Or: use captcha at stations to select what ticket is needed. Old school gone new idea
    And last: proceed to place forward a 5 bag type tender for manufacturers and those with these bags purchased in last yr get discounts on travel
    Good luck. Big job and surely some will copy what is a turnaround. Well done

  7. AMTRAK could keep the Services, if they invested more in Self-Propelled Railcars (There's Two usable High-Floor, and a Low-Floor design, up to FRA standards) for Corridor trains- that Feed into the Long Distance Services, and could have broke even ages go, if the Material Handling Cars/Express shipping services, had taken off, rather than be stifled meddling from UPS, FedEx, et cetera. Heck, consolidating Gov. Shipping Costs, by having Amtrak carry USPS mail to Rural America, could save a ton on fuel and labor for the Long-Haul Trucking the USPS, and put more Functionality into AMTRAK.

    AMTRAK's Long-Distance Services aren't Profitable, primarily because of the Freight Railroads putting them "in the hole" (sidings), for Hours-on-End, while their Freights take priority, leading to some horrendous delays (upwards of a full day!); if some way to make incentive for the Freight Railroads to help expedite the Long Distance Trains, Build Service Functionality and make/have Convenient Corridor Connections between the gaps of the Long Distance services, then AMTRAK can be easily Profitable. Connections to Local Services, Mail Contracts, and Express, helped make Trains Profitable.

    It also wouldn't hurt if they got NEW Bookkeepers, and get a Japanese Rail Executive, to lead the Charge (insert "Gung-Ho 2: Make Amtrak Great!" here!").

  8. Now… Please consider these potential episodes. The Collapse of Mexican Rail Travel, VIA Rail's woes in Canada, Brightline/Virgin Trains U.S.A., and Why France's Domestic Air Market- collapsed with Le TGV!

  9. train companies will never be profitable. Thats a fact around the world. They have to be supported by government to be. And thats a good thing, because of environmental issues. So go for it USA.

  10. I thought i've tried all the sorts of transportation during my last visit in the states. I tried out the roads, hated JFK & Newark airport. Tried out renting a 2016 year Ford Mustang. Rode bus from Miami to Orlando.

    But Amtrak, thats the one i havent tried yet!
    Next time 'murica, next time!

  11. Ah yes. Europe with it's 50yo high speed trian network. Japan with its maglevs and shinkansen. China with its work that's larger than the previous 2 combined, and built in 3 years. And then concentration-camp-stan the genocidal racist cunt war criminals and their 3rd world country shithole-country railcars. Such a modern, industrialised country…

  12. I currently live in Ireland (which in European terms has a pretty bad train system they only really work for the bigger cities and small towns are all serviced better by the bus routes) and I've been on trains in Ireland, the UK, and the train from Bellingham to Vancouver. First, I waited nearly an hour extra for the amtrak train, something I've never done in Europe, I understand that they don't own the rail lines, but to be that off schedule, you can't use it for any type of reliable transport. It was also pretty expensive, considering how cheap buses are from Seattle, and it really only made sense because I wanted the experience. I probably would've saved time if I had gone down to Seattle and took the bus.

    I also recognized the other people there didn't feel happy about the wait. I think to some extent the acceptability of a delay is different based on attitudes, any delay under an hour for a flight usually doesn't bother me and is only an issue to fellow passengers if they have a connection. However, those same delays on a train are considered unacceptable. I think part of that is the lack of prep time needed to get a train, you can arrive 10 minutes before departure there's no TSA or anything, for the route into Vancouver, all of the immigration control happens in the Train station in Vancouver. So that one hour wait is a lot more noticeable. Also, the station had a single café and a vending machine, there weren't any public plugs I could see, not exactly the ideal place to wait.

    I think a lot could be done for station amenities to help mitigate the issue of lack of reliable scheduling. But I guess we'll see what happens.

  13. Okay, "radical" idea here. Amtrack doesnt need to turn a profit, amtrack needs to connect America at an affordable rate.

    So dump a couple of billion a year into them, and reap the benefits of having an actual working national transportation system.

    Expand local networks, connect them to high speed long range lines connect major hubs/coasts.

    Build faster long distance routes.

  14. Thanks for a great video Wendover!
    I must say, Anderson's resentment for long distance trains has made probably the most hated railroader alive! And I think he deserves it!
    He is trying to cut long distance route that are a lifeline for small communities and serve to connect the Amtrak network! But when Amtrak was founded in 1971 it was founded to keep long distance routes from being scraped!
    Honestly will Amtrak ever be consistently profitable? This isn't Conrail, so NO! Anderson please just accept that and start giving better service!

  15. Many years ago, I traveled from Denver, CO to Los Angeles on Amtrak. That route no longer exists. It's totally absurd they killed the Los Angeles/Vegas route, what were they thinking? Hop on a train, skip the traffic, and get dropped off at a Casino. It was perfect.

  16. Amtrak's grand plan is to continue to take taxpayer money in order to run their operation . Just like they have been doing for decades.
    Since its inception in 1971 , Amtrak has taken $45 billion from taxpayers and has yet to produce one profitable year .

  17. Almost 3 years of using away suitcases? Hundreds of thousands of milesM I'm sceptical wendover ever leaves his secret room in the airport basement

  18. "We don't do none of that Socialism crap on THIS side of the ocean!" says rural America, as they lose their only means of locally available, long distance transportation, to capitalism.

  19. I just saw you cut southwest chief I take that train to get home from college because I can't afford plane tickets and it lets me take more luggage home!!!

  20. GOVERNMENT SPENDING REDUCES EFFICIENCY. SAME OL' SAME OL'… And please work a little more on your grammar. "The most profitable routes IS…" Should be "are".

  21. If they wanted to actually sustain future profitability for years to come while also keeping the routes open, Amtrak would/should actually invest in building and purchasing its own tracks between the longer distance routes. I take that back.. the US FUCKING GOVERNMENT should invest in creating these tracks, while, at the same time, creating thousands of jobs across the country in the building and subsequent maintenance of these tracks.

  22. If I'm taking a plane, I'm doing it for speed. If I'm taking a car, it's for convenience. If I'm taking a train, it's for comfort. When vacationing in Japan, I was so impressed with how comfortable/clean both the normal and bullet trains were. They were also accessible. I never needed to rent a car while I was there. I either used a train, walked, and occasionally took a bus.

  23. Richard is a talented executive… but Amtrak was a basket case. I mean, I'm sorry… if you put Richard in charge of Buggy Whip, Inc… all the "executiving the shit" out of that enterprise isn't going to restore profitability. Same with Amtrak…

    Nobody gives a crap about trains, blimps, or boats, for personnel transport. Beyond Joe Biden… nobody takes the train enough to make it viable.

    As for the Metroliner (the Acela)… what a joke… it never goes more than 60 mph for about 90% of the trip. There is one stretch of the trip when it finally gets to about 180 mph…

    But compared to say TGV in France… where you're 200+ mph for hours whisking through the countryside… the Acela is not. LOL! 😀 I've ridden it dozens of times…

    And the reason why you take it to NY or Boston from DC is quite frankly… it's less hassle than flying… and quite frankly… it's a nice chunk of time to actually do stuff… you get to the train… you pay for first… you get a nice seat… a nice place to work… maybe have a beer or something … and it takes 3 hours…

    Versus a commuter flight… which also takes three hours… have TSA stick their foot up your ass… and when you arrive in NY or Boston… you feel like a freaking refugee…

    But that's an unusual circumstance in this country… so it doesn't surprise me that the Acela is profitable in that stretch… it's actually useful.

    Unlike 99% of the other trains they run.

    Amtrak can't survive without subsidy… it's like the Post Office… a necessary evil. We need to maintain the track… we need to run the routes…

    but honestly… Richard Anderson can't whip that shit into shape… bottom line is nobody cares about trains. This isn't Silver Streak…

    Trains for Cargo… absolutely. Trains for people… couldn't care less but for Congress doling out welfare.

    In that environment… what can Anderson actually do beyond cut cost, improve efficiency, and hope for the best…

  24. I really don't get it why the US hasn't centralized their Railway anyways, US is huge, i do understand after a certain distance, plane travel becomes cheaper, however, i feel trains do fill a huge gap for logistics and rather having tracks owned by companies, US government should rent lines instead. It will be far more effective in both public transportation and Goods transportation. Just a thought.

    Hey Wendover, loving your work and good to see your fascination for aircrafts hasn't gone down, i would love to see your take on the Indian Rail system someday. A subscriber from 🇮🇳

  25. Amtrak needs to do more routes between cities throughout the country. For example: Phoenix to Los Angeles or Atlanta to Miami.

  26. I looked up the prices a few times and flying was usually around the same price and a lot shorter for long-distance routes. Amtrak is a bit faster than driving. In my opinion, it is just an alternative to driving or the bus for places people usually do not fly too. Like NY to MA, I rarely hear people taking a plane most people drive.

  27. Want a profitable route? Denver to the ski resorts. Even 43% on time service to these would be worth it to not have to deal with I-70 traffic. Just about everyone I talk to would be more then willing to take the train instead of drive and sit in traffic for hours with people that have no idea how to drive in the snow.

  28. I'd love to do train travel…esp. long distance. Retired…time not so important. BUT…I want clean sleeper cars with priv. bathrooms and ability to reserve a table for dining NOT SHARED with total strangers UNLESS THAT'S WHAT I WANTED. I'll pay for this…understood.

  29. cough bring back the privately own railways like the Southern Pacific, and bring back better passenger train travel cough

  30. It's so stupid. We don't make highway systems make profit. We provide billions and billions in fossil-fuel subsidies and parking requirements. Why is this toxic idea that public transportation needs to be profitable being spread everywhere? It's moronic!

  31. I love traveling by train for trips I would normally drive. It's relaxed and easy and normally you get there around the same time. But the routes are not there. If you're traveling to a major hub it's normally fine, but it takes 22 hours by Amtrak to go from KC to Denver, an 8-9 hour drive, because the train must first travel to Chicago and then down to Denver. Clearly Amtrak is not making a profit, but it also doesn't do a bang up job of it's mission of "linking America" either.

  32. Amtrak’s staff costs are absurd. One driver, one conductor, a chef and a dining attendant is all you need on a long distance train.

  33. The truth is, all transportation in the US run on a subsidy. Highways don't pay for themselves with gas taxes and airports don't pay for themselves through fees. They all require a state or federal subsidy to operate.

    Anderson's plan will not come to pass because rural states still want their trains. Some states even support trains because the rural towns they run through don't have private bus service.

    As for the state supported trains "coming close to breaking even" is solely due to the state's paying the difference between ticket revenue and operating costs.

    As for the economic sense of running trains, the long distance trains are more economically valuable than their loss. Thanks to PRIIA, the law that authorizes Amtrak's existence, Amtrak is forbidden to run train routes under 750 miles with federal money. And since it doesn't have capital funding to start long routes that might make money.

  34. I'm surprised that the City of New Orleans route between Chicago-New Orleans would last on that "map" at 10:44… I figured it would be one of the first to go.

  35. Trains don't need to be profitable, they need to get people places on time. Amtrak needs to reinvest any money it makes into buying their own tracks, improving infrastructure and adding more stops. Nationalization of all these tracks and routes is the only way forward. Look all over the world, privatization of train routes always fails, commuters hate them, and they rip people off!

  36. despite the relative reliability of their northeast corridor, it's dishearteningly expensive to travel on it, especially when compared to bus services provided by other companies. i'd love to take a train on my regular round trips from nyc to boston, but am reluctant to spend an absurd ~$200 for the privilege 😐

  37. I don’t get it.

    The US could easily trade F-35s with Japan, in exchange for their Shinkansen technologies and railway expertise…

  38. In Vietnam, nobody cares about the train, but they use motorbikes for transportation. Government is still buiding the rail way, but the project delay year by year because of corruption. I hate riding the motorbike when the traffic jams happen every morning. Public transportation is a good resolution for this problem.

  39. Why can't congress accept Amtrak is SUPPOSED to lose money to provide an essential service? What Amtrak loses in subsidies is made up if we just build ONE less expensive drone or missile!

  40. They dont want "ghetto" people using the train thats the main reason why its been overpriced soo long and as long as the government keeps subsidising their existance this wont change. Make it 5 dollars to ride and sell food and wifi and maybe put a movie theater on it you dumbfucks. Put police on each one and make it accessable to EVERYONE. There is way less crime now with how many cameras we have our ids have rfid on them. Not hard to spot bad people on it nowadays on my opinion.

  41. Dear Americans, go look at the Beeching rail line cuts that happened in England. They decimated the rural communities that relied on them and now our roads are too busy we've not got the infrastructure to put the rail lines back in.

  42. The trains are 50 years old. I rode coast to coast dozens of times, I finally drove. The food sucks. Get new train cars like Europe. They closed the original train stations and make people drive way out t9 cornfields in the middle of nowhere, and forces people to ride busses. If I want a bus, I will ride the greyhound. Amtrak sucks. Screw that. So how exactly are people in Arizona supposed to get to Florida? Answer. They don’t. And who the hell flies Delta? Delta sucks.

  43. So Amtrak will or won’t cut their long distance trains, because I love Amtrak and would hate to see them discontinue those routes

  44. I used to take the train all the time around California. The views were great, the food is pretty good, and it was a cool experience. However, the train was ALWAYS late, and a trip that would take 6 hours by car (SF to LA) could easily take 12 hours by train. The delays were usually caused by Union Pacific trains "taking precedent", although AMTRAK trains did occasionally break down. Sounds like if you haven't taken a long trip by train you should before you can't.

  45. Article on View from the Wing noted that Amtrak’s 30 million dollar loss figure includes government subsidies which are accounted as “passenger revenue”.

  46. I just wish they'd use a better, friendlier booking system. I've wanted to go on a long train trip with Amtrak for years, but everytime I try to plan it out, it's like pulling teeth. They need to use the long routs like an attraction, like a cruise line. Some sort of "SEE AMERICA" route or a "POLAR EXPRESS" route.

  47. Things that help the people of your country? Too expensive!

    But hell we HAVE to increase the military budget by another few BILLION!

  48. "The company's primary purpose, beyond making money, is, of cours, to carry JOE BIDEN" C'mon, you missed the opportunity to make an HAI style joke 🙁

  49. Congress: don't cut lines, we'll be unpopular
    Amtrak: But you said to cut losses
    Congress: wait this is merica, privatisation forever!

  50. I've never quite got my head round roads (usually) being publicly funded but rail overwhelmingly relies on private ownership. Are there many government owned rail lines in the USA or elsewhere?
    I would have assumed there was in incentive to make rail networks public infrastructure.

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