I had read that Santa Fe decided only at the literal last minute (within a month or so0 to join Amtrak and only did so because they knew that to provide their quality service, they needed to invest in new passenger equipment and the loss from that would've been too much of a burden.
Originally Posted by Westfalen
As far as retaining steam for passenger service, that would've been a stretch on several counts. Look at the N&W, their locos had well above average availability (better than most dieselized roads) and made money (at the time, N&W had one of the LOWEST operating ratios of any railroad).....BUT parts were getting hard to obtain (even after buying patterns for a lot of the parts they used), labor and fuel costs were going up at a rapid pace. This would've held true for the Santa Fe as well. BUT, it's nice to wonder...what if!