Jun 17, 2011
Well, IF handled right, it could work....
One very real outcome could be that any private contractor would skim off the potentially profitable routes and dump the rest, to the detriment of the rail traveling public. I may be mistaken, but I believe this is what happen early on with privatization in the UK until the government stepped in to block the practice.
It would be wonderful if our "leaders" would stop feeding the American public yearly doses of fertilizer claiming that rail passenger would be profitable if only it were managed properly, rather than admitting to the truth the it, like air travel, bus travel, barge travel, etc., are ALL Public Services that would fail if not for government subsidies in the form of: Terminals, Traffic Control, Roadways, Waterways, ad nauseum.
it won't work, if it did, the UP and NS would be running passenger trains
Keep in mind this is just the NEC. Which has Amtrak owned (not all) trackage.
It's funny that the second paragraph describes Amtrak as a "for-profit federal corporation". I can't recall a time when Amtrak ver made a profit. Sell off what we can and scrap the rest.
I believe all the Class 1's and many of the larger regionals would support passenger trains if the USPS would return long distance mail transfers to rails instead of trucks. Probably be less expensive also.
I think it was in a recent Trains magazine article that explained that the only way to sell the whole concept of Amtrak to Congress and the White House at its creation was to include that phrase. The thinking was that it would fail after a few years and go away and they would not have to worry about it. Then came the big energy crisis of the early 70s and ridership went up. It then became politically desirable to keep it going a little while longer. So some money was put into it to placate the public for a while. And it has lurched along in that manner to this day.
It's a weird double standard in our transportation system. Auto, truck, ship, and plane travel and shipping are all subsidized yet we expect just the flanged wheels on steel rails to be "self-sufficient."
[Grabs drink and ducks behind bar.]
The key to why Amtrak has troubles is in their startup. Those who planned and executed that phase were not even close enough to talented for accomplishing such. When I was involved with these things, we looked at the whole story- Things Joe Public doesn't know or cannot comprehend.
Yup. And much of this lies within a poor public education system. All too often they pass along the impression that rail is archaic. Just the opposite is true. It's actually the bonding agent which is holding our entire infrastructure together.
Recently posted by Mr. RSS...
The above article also refers to this article:
My favorite quote:
How in hades can someone who professes to like trains (of any size) express such teabaggery?
I see from your profile that you live in Kent. Have you ridden an Amtrak Cascades train? Relaxed in the lounge, or stood in the vestibule as the cars tilt from side to side through S-curves along bays and rivers?
Those are subsidized by WSDOT, the same guys who maintain I-5, because they realize it's not a good idea to put all your eggs in one transportation basket.
What about a Sounder train? Have you noticed how -easy- it is to take the train to a Mariners or Seahawks game? Those are subsidized by, well, you (and the rest of the voters of Puget Sound), although I believe the game specials run a small profit.
I should hope not! Riding in the Vestibule is a no-no! (At least on other Amtrak services. :tb-tongue:
But wouldn't that make the most sense? It sure does to me! But then again I am not some moron in Wash D.C. making stupid decision after stupid decision only worrying about how to line corporate Americas pocket book and less concerned for the American public and then putting this country into more of a $$$$ hole that we already are.
As long as I've been with NJ Transit, there's been talk of breaking up the NEC. We'd get NY & Penn St. to Philly. CTDOT would get all of CT & the T would get Mass. I guess Septa thru Pa. & Del. Then Marc in DC.
James McCommons recent "Waiting on a Train" does an excellent job of bringing many of these issues forward. The whole subsidy issue is the biggest sham.....that air and highway are subsidized to such a degree is crazy. A notable point he relays is when the state of Texas was proposing to put in hsr, but Southwest Airlines threatened to pull out if they did. Yeah right.
I just can't figure out why so many people are indoctrinated into the anti-train mindset. I think the recent Trains articles on hsr here and in Europe are really good examples...public/private partnerships. TGVs make money!
That's a good book. I had the pleasure of hosting him at our bookstore last year, and then I ran him to Union Station to catch his next train.
Yes, I thought his approach was very even handed and fair. I think the thrust of his argument (that the corridors are where its at) is right on. The system near me, caltrain, is fantastic...super easy to get on, lots of arr/dep times, and you can get anywhere in north and central california in 5 hours.
Though, it is super appealing to imagine getting from SF to Chicago at 200 mph!
Then you would really start some competition.
An earlier post in this thread mentioned that the bigs would have already done it if possible, but they do seem to always keep the idea alive (esp. BNSF). Once gas hits $5 a gallon nationwide (not just here and in nyc), the whole thing will be wide open......