Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Livesteam, Mar 20, 2005.
I saw on the news amtrak might be going out of bissinus because they are not makeing alot of money?
Amtrak hasnt made money since the 70's
Well, first off, Amtrak has never made money, isn't making money, and will probably never make money.
There are many points of view, from many different people.
It's not so much they'll go bankrupt, but rather, they will have no money to operate. According to Bush's budget for 2006, Amtrak will not get any federal funding. Everyone knows it's the funding which keeps Amtrak barely creeping along.
Without the federal subsidaries, Amtrak has a serious problem. However, I THINK that Congress will demand Bush improve the budget or ask him to take some action before they approve it or something. Who knows.
Ah, well. *sigh* We really need to improve passenger rail in this country. We really do. I don't hate Amtrak, don't get me wrong, but I think we all need to stand together and keep trains running in this country. After all, it was those ribbons of steel that built and strengthened these United States.
When Amtrak was first formed, the railroads were desiring to get out of the passenger business. Congress agreed to form Amtrak, and fund it in perpetuity to keep passenger service viable. Unfortunately, most of the railroads had already let their passenger equipment deteriorate to the point that what Amtrak started with, with a few exceptions was worn out junk. Congress never properly funded Amtrak, so that they have been "behind the 8 ball" since the start. As far as congress is concerned "in perpetuity" means until the next election. It is unfortunate that Amtrak can't get the funding that is needed, and then is burdened with running some money loosing routes just because they run through some powerful congressman's district. When Reagan was president and he broke the traffic controller's union, I was a member of the Machinist's Union. The Western States Conference of Machinists was being held in Denver Colorado that year, and the delegates from our local decided that they would take the train to avoid having to cross PATCO's picket lines. When we looked into it, we found Amtrak tickets from Los Angeles to Denver were booked up for 1 year in advance! Many of the Amtrak trains are booked up and full every run, but Amtrak can't afford to buy extra equipment to increase capacity. The government made promises to Amtrak and the American people at the formation of Amtrak. Unfortunately they have systematically broken every promise ever made, and I think they are just looking for the opportunity to close Amtrak down.
Hi... sorry need to come out of lurk mode for a minute here. Where did I put that soap box? Amtrak would be profitable if it were allowed to stop operating unprofitable routes (everything save the NE corridor). The NE Direct/Acela trains are booked and if they didn't need to cover the costs associated with keeping the east to west coast trains running it would be even cheaper to run and more popular.
But since Amtrak takes Federal funding, the decision whether or not to keep routes gets embroiled in politics and they can't cancel the losers. Furthermore, I may point out that they are expected to maintain their own infrastructure without government help. If you placed a gas usage tax to cover all highways costs, and an airline ticket tax to completely cover our air infrastructure I'm quite confident that rail travel is the cheapest way to get around. There is no possible way that Southwest can be offering $29 from Philadelphia to DC but Amtrak costs $80+, they need to put a plane 30,000 feet in the sky! But since Americans aren't willing to pay the $3-4 or more per gallon of gas it *really* costs to drive (they'd rather pay it as income tax, sales tax, capital gains tax, etc so it doesn't stare them in the face), and airlines are allowed to siphon funding from allotments for homeland security, alternative transit options will be losers. No one likes them because you can see the cost up front, which is a real shame because rail travel is the most environmental and economical way to get around. If we didn't mess with the system so much we would still be in a golden age of rail travel...
Everything but the NE corridor is a huge money pit. Wont bother me none when Amtraks gone, never was a fan really.
LIRR...do you every ride on amtrak? i like it
I ride Amtrak fairly often (several times a year at least)--I don't like to fly and like trains, and it's an easy way to get to San Francisco (faster than driving, costs about as much, and much less stressful.)
Even if you don't like Amtrak equipment, long train rides are a fantastic way to get a look at every other type of railroad equipment, fantastic trackside views of industries and yards and shops and service areas and mainlines, plus amazing scenery and views you'll never get from the window of a plane--and ones you'd never be able to pay attention to when driving a car, lest one get in an accident from not watching the road!
Passenger rail service is never particularly profitable. For some reason it's okay to subsidize highways and airports, but expecting the government to subsidize rail passenger travel is somehow a horrible, horrible thing to be avoided at all costs, even though just about every other country subsidizes their passenger rail service too.
I would pay 100 dollars more to ride on a train than a plane, Thats if i did not need to get somewhere very fast, i love passing threw the yards and seeing other engines go by, i have not been on a real train in maybe 5 years,
I travel to Colorado from the midwest twice a year on vacation. Being a veteran, I get a substancial discount by taking the train, so therefore, it costs about the same to travel to Denver by train as by car. While I would enjoy the trip much more by train, It would cost more in the long run because I would have to rent a car while out there. And anybody that's been to Denver knows that you just don't cope without a car. Not comfortably anyway.
Thank you gents for keeping a potentially hot topic civil and easy to read!
PS soap boxes are permitted!
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