Jul 8, 2021
It takes 25% longer--four more hours--to go from New York City to Chicago by train than it did in 1937. And that's when the modern train runs on time.
Amtrak isn't even trying. They have a monopoly. They don't care.
And they did that on jointed rail, with nothing approaching modern train control systems, and oh yes, High Drivered Hudson's.
The biggest issue that they have in keeping schedules is that, until recently, they play second fiddle to freight when scheduling. And even now, while "technically" passenger trains are supposed to be priority, the freight railroads still own and maintain the track and you know that doesn't always happen. Second to that, since the tracks are maintained for freight speeds, much of the track they operate on is speed limited to much less than their equipment can run. Things were different in 1937.
Until the airlines took over business travel in the 1950's, railroad management regarded passenger service as premier advertising to the business traveler. So they put on the best show possible. For instance, if the 20th Century Limited was 30 minutes late into Chicago or New York, the extra fare was refunded to every passenger, no questions asked.
Only 1 out of 5 of my Amtrak trips were satisfactory or better.
Still, I'd rather take them than plane or bus.
But, Next trip to the Amherst show in West Springfield will be by family car or bus.