Amtrak and the Southern RR

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Amtrak and the Southern RR
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, December 07, 2003 7:02 PM
Why did Southern opt out of Amtrak? When did they opt in and why? Did any other RR's opt out as well?

Thanks,
Tom
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, December 07, 2003 8:27 PM
I can answer a few of your questions.
When Amtrak was set-up, the initial entry fee, so to speak, was based on the passenger mileage runs of the railroad from 1970. IIRC, there were 4 holdouts-
Southern
Rock Island
Rio Grande
Central of Georgia

Southern wanted to keep up the proud tradition of rail travel.
Rock Island couldn't afford to join.
Rio Grande only had the "Rio Grande Zephyr"-again, a pride thing
C of G- had only a mixed train, later merged into Southern.

Southern opted in in 1978, IIRC, for various reasons such as aging equipment, dropping revenue, etc.

HTH[8D]
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, December 08, 2003 10:19 AM
Georgia Railroad, not Central of Georgia, stayed out of Amtrak. CofG was already a subsidiary of Southern but did join Amtrak in 1971.
Rio Grande stayed out because it didn't want a government entity running on its tracks.
Rock Island stayed out because it had trimmed its passenger service even more during 1970 and it was cheaper to run its remaining trains than to join Amtrak.
Reading also did not join Amtrak because it considered its Newark-Philadelphia runs to be glorified suburban service.
The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, December 08, 2003 2:07 PM
Thanks for the info. What happened to Rock Island and Readings trains after they filed for bankruptcy? Did Amtrak take over the routes? Did they get the equipment?

Thanks again.
Tom
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Posted by AltonFan on Monday, December 08, 2003 2:29 PM
I believe the Georgia Railroad continued to run a single mixed train because its corporate charter required the railroad to provide passenger service. The law was changed, and the railroad dropped its mixed train.

IIRC, Rock Island (or maybe Burlington) was ordered to operate two passenger trains to a couple of college towns. I don't recall what finally happened with this.

I thought Southern finally opted into Amtrak when one of the Claytors was appointed head of Amtrak by Ronald Reagan.

Dan

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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, December 08, 2003 3:23 PM
Thanks for the correction on the Georgia RR(knew it was one of them.)

As far as the Rock Island trains, (Peoria Rocket and the Quad Cities Rocket)the state of Illinois partially funded the operation until the 1980 shutdown of the railroad. Amtrak did consider running some of their trains on the Rock, but the track and the company were too far gone. After the shutdown, the passenger equipment was sold off by the trustee. Not sure if Amtrak bought any of it, however.

There was a feature story in TRAINS(in fact the whole issue was about the Rock) in 1982. Back issues may be available through Kalmbach Publishing.[8D]
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, December 09, 2003 7:33 AM
Georgia RR was under no legal obligation to operate its mixed trains. It had a favorable state tax provision in its charter and did not want to take any action regarding its mixed trains that might cause the Georgia state legislature to change the tax provisions.
BN was ordered to run the Quincy Local by a federal court for a few weeks after May 1, 1971. Shortly after that, the Illinois General Assembly began partial funding of the train under Section 403 and Amtrak has operated it ever since as the Illinois Zephyr.
The State of Illinois later funded a Chicago-Peoria train which ran over ICG (former Alton) and TP&W for a short time after the Rock Island ceased operations.
The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, December 09, 2003 7:36 AM
[:)] Thanks everybody for the great info. It fills in some holes!!

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