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DJ MC

40th Anniversary of Amtrak

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40 years of late, broken down trains traveling slower than commuter railroads...

 

Hey man things happen out there beyond anyone's control. No one wants delays as a result of a train breaking down but until that new equipment comes along that's the nature of the beast. Traveling slower than commuter railroads too??

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The NEC would be better if it wasn't tied up with NJT while crossing the Hudson Tunnels.. Plus late trains is another issue. Hopefully things change for the future!

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Happy birthday to my favorite system! Forest Glen please don't be a hater...they may be late sometimes but Amtrak puts as much effort in as possible to get their passengers where they're going.

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Amtrak does just fine in the northeast & california, it's everywhere else problems can pop up, mainly from freight side issues.

 

- A

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I give Amtrak a lot of credit for surviving 40 years with inadequate funding and hostile politicians. Thumbs up! (It's not what it could be, but it's a lot better than other North American intercity passenger railroads.)

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Amtrak was organized on May 1, 1971 a little over a year after The Chicago, Burlington And Quincy (CB&Q / Burlington Route), The Great Northen Railway, and The Northern Pacific Railway merged to form Burlington Northern (March 2, 1970) and a little over three years after The New York Central Railroad and The Pennsylvania Railroad merged to form Penn Central (February 1, 1968).

 

Here in Arizona, I've seen Amtrak leave Phoenix to stay on the Main Line with a new station in Maricopa and Southern Pacific Railroad merge with Union Pacific Railroad to become Union Pacific and The Atchison, Topeka, And Santa Fe Railway (Santa Fe) merge with Burlington Northern to become BNSF.

 

Another good railroad that is no more is The Baltimore And Ohio Railroad (B & O). IIRC, The B & O merged with The Chesapeake And Ohio Railroad (C & O / Chessie) to form CSX.

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Considering the very unique series of events to lead up to Amtrak's founding, I think it has held up well despite it's far, far less than perfect operating scenario. I think the best way to look at it is... what if there were never an Amtrak. I'm sure commuter roads in NYC/Boston/Chicago/etc would continue to operate just fine, but the intercity scene would look much different. Perhaps a multi-state board or freight road would own the NEC, and we'd see lots of freight traffic like there were in the Penn Central days. Many long distance routes would have been nixed without remorse by bean counters and we'd have absolutely no national passenger system and I doubt anyone would touch the issue with a ten foot pole.

 

But we do have Amtrak, and as flawed as it can be... and I think things are getting better, although at a snail's pace. First of all, ridership is up across many lines, 34 out of 44 if I remember correctly. Ticket revenue was up $1.7 billion for the 2010 financial year, and up 5.7% from 2009. All the books are public for anyone to check out, and for the most part the numbers look good. A lot of states are on board with funding as passenger rail travel, 40 years after Amtrak's inception, is finally looking attractive again to the public. Even the Acela, which I personally find to be quite overpriced, is no stranger to "having an ass in every seat."

 

I honestly dont like amtrak. I wish the old railroads like NYC,PRR,NH and Erie were still around.

 

I'm all for nostalgia about the classic roads, but, to make a very long story very short, they were f****d years before Amtrak was founded. Do you miss Penn Central? Because that's what the merger of the PRR and NYC gave you - a bankrupt trainwreck (pun intended) of a company that filed to abandon all it's passenger lines and caused the domino effect for other roads to also do so.

 

Also don't forget one of the PRR's last great follies, the demolishing of the original NY Penn station - and the NYC was planning to do the same to Grand Central! Aside from the good ol' days of steam and when the sleek and impressive GG1s were pounding the rails in fresh PRR livery, the roads just didn't age well. Another series of plans drafted to "replace" GCT by the pathetic Penn Central in 1968 were thankfully thwarted.

 

I'd much rather have Amtrak now and at least one of NYC's incredible beaux-arts train terminals standing then neither, and absolutely no national passenger rail.

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