The new Amtrak regime

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The new Amtrak regime
Posted by CShaveRR on Friday, May 11, 2018 6:35 PM

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/intercity/amtrak-where-is-the-public-input-where-is-the-transparency/

I hope this link works for people.

Mr. Boardman (whom we loved to hate for not doing enough to keep Amtrak moving forward) has managed to nail down what's going on these days.  And he didn't even touch on the charter/private car snafu.

I'm sad, and angry about this.

Carl

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Posted by zardoz on Friday, May 11, 2018 9:08 PM

CShaveRR

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/intercity/amtrak-where-is-the-public-input-where-is-the-transparency/

I hope this link works for people.

Mr. Boardman (whom we loved to hate for not doing enough to keep Amtrak moving forward) has managed to nail down what's going on these days.  And he didn't even touch on the charter/private car snafu.

I'm sad, and angry about this.

 

Hard to believe that any aspect of the current administration is so fupped duck that it is danger of unravelling. After all, hasn't the United States been made great again witht the draining of the swamp?

Whistling

   

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Posted by Firelock76 on Friday, May 11, 2018 9:39 PM

The problem with draining the swamp is the snakes, leeches, parasites, and assorted vermin that live there are very reluctant to lose their happy home, and are bound to fight back.

Just sayin'.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Friday, May 11, 2018 9:49 PM

Some railfans keep saying "give the new CEO a chance".  It's obvious that his decisions made unilaterally and in secret are an indication that he is not concerned with the interests of the rail traveling public.

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, May 11, 2018 10:55 PM

My only hope, and perhaps wishful thinking, is that a free market solution somehow manifests itself and corrects things on Amtrak with food services, dining cars, steam excursion and special movements. 

You know, where opportunity exists something steps in. 

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Posted by Randy Stahl on Saturday, May 12, 2018 6:30 AM

I wonder how much airline stock the current CEO currently has?

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Posted by PJS1 on Saturday, May 12, 2018 9:19 AM
Amtrak is a commercial enterprise.  It carries passengers between two or more points in exchange for a fare.  It competes with airlines and intercity buses in a few markets.  It is not akin to the National Park Service.
 
Initially Amtrak was supposed to turn a profit.  Then it was supposed to be operated in a business-like fashion, which presumably means covering all of its costs.  Or at least its operating costs!
 
If a business has a service line that has been and is unlikely to cover its costs, it discontinues the service.  This is the case for Amtrak’s long-distance passenger trains.  They have been a drain on Amtrak’s resources since the get-go.  They are the biggest single factor in Amtrak’s accumulated losses of $34.7 billion since it began operations.  Moreover, if the losses are stated in 2009 constant dollars, which is a widely accepted federal benchmark, they would be north of $40 billion.
 
Last year the long-distance trains had an operating loss of $500 million on total revenues and $530 million on ticket revenues.  The Southwest Chief lost $54 million before allocation of capital charges.  If it were not for the losses incurred by the long-distance trains, Amtrak would be within $150 to $170 million of covering its fully allocated costs.  If it could negotiate more favorable terms with labor and tweak its fares a bit, it probably could be a breakeven operation in five years were it not for the long-distance trains.
 
The argument that the long-distance trains are vital to America’s heartland communities is weak.  If they are vital, how come they don’t service Abilene, Amarillo, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, and McAllen?  And these are just the Texas cities with populations of more than 50,000 that don’t have passenger trains. There are hundreds more in the U.S.
 
I welcome Anderson’s out-of-the-box fresh thinking.  He appears to be just what the doctor ordered to jump start an ossified Amtrak bureaucracy and head it in a more realistic direction.  Boardman should have the good grace to take his inflation adjusted government pension(s) and retire from the public forum. 

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Posted by PJS1 on Saturday, May 12, 2018 9:25 AM

Randy Stahl
 I wonder how much airline stock the current CEO currently has? 

You can look it up in Delta's on-file documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  

Like most CEOs, 75 to 80 percent of Mr. Anderson's compensation would have been in stock warrants, which he may or may not have exercised.  

Mr. Anderson's wealth, irrespective of its form, has nothing to do with his ability as an executive to analyze Amtrak's key performance measures and develop an effective plan to move the company forward.  Given its accumulated losses, Amtrak needs a fresh game plan.  

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Saturday, May 12, 2018 10:28 AM

PJS1
Amtrak is a commercial enterprise.  It carries passengers between two or more points in exchange for a fare.  It competes with airlines and intercity buses in a few markets.  It is not akin to the National Park Service.
 
Initially Amtrak was supposed to turn a profit.  Then it was supposed to be operated in a business-like fashion, which presumably means covering all of its costs.  Or at least its operating costs!
 
If a business has a service line that has been and is unlikely to cover its costs, it discontinues the service.  This is the case for Amtrak’s long-distance passenger trains.  They have been a drain on Amtrak’s resources since the get-go.  They are the biggest single factor in Amtrak’s accumulated losses of $34.7 billion since it began operations.  Moreover, if the losses are stated in 2009 constant dollars, which is a widely accepted federal benchmark, they would be north of $40 billion.
 
Last year the long-distance trains had an operating loss of $500 million on total revenues and $530 million on ticket revenues.  The Southwest Chief lost $54 million before allocation of capital charges.  If it were not for the losses incurred by the long-distance trains, Amtrak would be within $150 to $170 million of covering its fully allocated costs.  If it could negotiate more favorable terms with labor and tweak its fares a bit, it probably could be a breakeven operation in five years were it not for the long-distance trains.
 
The argument that the long-distance trains are vital to America’s heartland communities is weak.  If they are vital, how come they don’t service Abilene, Amarillo, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, and McAllen?  And these are just the Texas cities with populations of more than 50,000 that don’t have passenger trains. There are hundreds more in the U.S.
 
I welcome Anderson’s out-of-the-box fresh thinking.  He appears to be just what the doctor ordered to jump start an ossified Amtrak bureaucracy and head it in a more realistic direction.  Boardman should have the good grace to take his inflation adjusted government pension(s) and retire from the public forum. 
 

Amtrak was created for many reasons, from some view points the major concern was to relieve the nation's railroads of it's burden to provide passenger service. Thier is language  that it was to make a profit, an unreasonable goal with all of the major carriers losing million of dollars.

Another goal of Amtrak was to save the quickly dissppearing long distance passenger trains. The year Amtrak was formed many trains were  being discontinued including the famed California Zepher. The fear in 1970 was the long distance trains were about to roll thier last miles. 

Amtrak orginal route structure  were primarily long distance trains. Outside the Northeast corridor few short or regional trains survived.

Basically, it was a skeleton route structure that took decades for more progressive states like north Carolina, California, New York, Washington to name a few, to add  and fill in parts of the original structure.

The question today should not be how to kill long distance service, but how to invest in the service to reduce losses but still provide quality service on the  routes that  were selected by it's creators.

It's not to say that Amtrak and it's partners shouldn't continue to develop other routes to add to and improve the system.

Amtrak is not a national park. It's a government funded entity providing a public service that was created by law in 1970. It needs to continue to improve. Investment will be required. Operating loss will continue.

Who shot the passenger train was a popular question in the 60's. Today, in 2018 it's more of a question of who is strangling it.

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Saturday, May 12, 2018 11:05 AM

PJS1
Amtrak is a commercial enterprise.  It carries passengers between two or more points in exchange for a fare.  It competes with airlines and intercity buses in a few markets.  It is not akin to the National Park Service.
 
Initially Amtrak was supposed to turn a profit.  Then it was supposed to be operated in a business-like fashion, which presumably means covering all of its costs.  Or at least its operating costs!
 
If a business has a service line that has been and is unlikely to cover its costs, it discontinues the service.  This is the case for Amtrak’s long-distance passenger trains.  They have been a drain on Amtrak’s resources since the get-go.  They are the biggest single factor in Amtrak’s accumulated losses of $34.7 billion since it began operations.  Moreover, if the losses are stated in 2009 constant dollars, which is a widely accepted federal benchmark, they would be north of $40 billion.
 
Last year the long-distance trains had an operating loss of $500 million on total revenues and $530 million on ticket revenues.  The Southwest Chief lost $54 million before allocation of capital charges.  If it were not for the losses incurred by the long-distance trains, Amtrak would be within $150 to $170 million of covering its fully allocated costs.  If it could negotiate more favorable terms with labor and tweak its fares a bit, it probably could be a breakeven operation in five years were it not for the long-distance trains.
 
The argument that the long-distance trains are vital to America’s heartland communities is weak.  If they are vital, how come they don’t service Abilene, Amarillo, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, and McAllen?  And these are just the Texas cities with populations of more than 50,000 that don’t have passenger trains. There are hundreds more in the U.S.
 
I welcome Anderson’s out-of-the-box fresh thinking.  He appears to be just what the doctor ordered to jump start an ossified Amtrak bureaucracy and head it in a more realistic direction.  Boardman should have the good grace to take his inflation adjusted government pension(s) and retire from the public forum. 
 

Amtrak was created for many reasons, from some view points the major concern was to relieve the nation's railroads of it's burden to provide passenger service. Thier is language  that it was to make a profit, an unreasonable goal with all of the major carriers losing million of dollars.

Another goal of Amtrak was to save the quickly dissppearing long distance passenger trains. The year Amtrak was formed many trains were  being discontinued including the famed California Zepher. The fear in 1970 was the long distance trains were about to roll thier last miles. 

Amtrak orginal route structure  were primarily long distance trains. Outside the Northeast corridor few short or regional trains survived.

Basically, it was a skeleton route structure that took decades for more progressive states like north Carolina, California, New York, Washington to name a few, to add  and fill in parts of the original structure.

The question today should not be how to kill long distance service, but how to invest in the service to reduce losses but still provide quality service on the  routes that  were selected by it's creators.

It's not to say that Amtrak and it's partners shouldn't continue to develop other routes to add to and improve the system.

Amtrak is not a national park. It's a government funded entity providing a public service that was created by law in 1970. It needs to continue to improve. Investment will be required. Operating loss will continue.

Who shot the passenger train was a popular question in the 60's. Today, in 2018 it's more of a question of who is strangling it.

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Posted by PJS1 on Saturday, May 12, 2018 1:11 PM

"..........reduce losses but still provide quality service on the  routes that  were selected by it's creators."

Even the writers of the U.S. Constitution knew that they lived in a world that would change, and they knew that they could not forsee all the changes.  So, they included in the Constituion the procedure for amending it.  And it has been amended 27 times.  

The initial routes selected for Amtrak service may not make sense today.  That being the case, they should be changed. 

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, May 12, 2018 1:16 PM

PJS1

"..........reduce losses but still provide quality service on the  routes that  were selected by it's creators."

Even the writers of the U.S. Constitution knew that they lived in a world that would change, and they knew that they could not forsee all the changes.  So, they included in the Constituion the procedure for amending it.  And it has been amended 27 times.  

The initial routes selected for Amtrak service may not make sense today.  That being the case, they should be changed. 

 

I wonder--what changes would you propose?

Johnny

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, May 12, 2018 1:59 PM

Watch out when you wish for any Amtrak route changes.  Remember, Mr. Anderson used to work for Delta Airlines, and any route changes may involve transfers in Atlanta!

Hey, the joke here in Virginia is you can't fly from Richmond to Norfolk without transferring through Atlanta!

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, May 12, 2018 2:27 PM

To steal from Shakespeare about Anderson

Friends, Americans, countrymen, lend me your ears.  I come to bury Amtrak, not to praise it.

         

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Posted by oltmannd on Saturday, May 12, 2018 2:30 PM

MidlandMike

Some railfans keep saying "give the new CEO a chance".  It's obvious that his decisions made unilaterally and in secret are an indication that he is not concerned with the interests of the rail traveling public.

 

I would like to give him a chance, but I think the private car/excursion thing was botched.  He should have found a way to have his cake and eat it too. If it doesn't pay enough and is too much of a distraction, then fix the process and pricing!

Sooner or later, Anderson has to tell us what his viseion is and how he's going to get there?  Are we doing Kansas in the middle of the night or not and why and why not?

I'm okay either way - just have a reason that wrapped around a vision backed by a good set of facts.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by oltmannd on Saturday, May 12, 2018 2:31 PM

Firelock76
Remember, Mr. Anderson used to work for Delta Airlines, and any route changes may involve transfers in Atlanta!

Well, then.  I'm in!  (helps if you live in Altanta.)

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, May 12, 2018 3:06 PM

All the world over passenger trains are so important. In North America not so much. Even after such a rich and diversified heritage and history many do not care, even many on these Forum sites. 

Not everyone can or will fly. Not everyone can or will drive. I'm sure that is a small % but elders and the young are a significant group. 

It is surprising that several on this Forum actually detest Amtrak.

Railroad passenger service has several good cards to play but none bigger than the environmental card. That beats airplanes and cars hands down.

However....I believe Balt is spot on, to the shame of it all.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, May 12, 2018 4:29 PM

joe Boardman made some good points, but even with all that, I'm very tempted to say to Joe what a lot of Democrats have been saying to Hillary Clinton (publicly and privately) since November of 2016...

"You had your chance, you blew it!  Now just go away."

Now, as far as Mr. Anderson is concerned, a little knowledge of basic retail may help, that is...

If something, a product or service, is a money maker for you, you DON'T get rid of it.  I'm thinking of private car moves, excursions, and the like.

Raise the prices a bit if you have to, people will understand.

Showboat a little to get peoples attention.  Is there a steam locomotive looking for some exercise?  Put it on an Amtrak train and see what a response you get.  Chances are you'll stop traffic for miles around. 

Long distance trains?  OK, that's a tough call.  My suggestion would be since anyone who's taking a train isn't in a rush to get where they want to be you can probably cut the frequency a bit without hurting anyone.  Does it run five days a week?  Cut it to three if the ridership (or lack of) calls for it and run a slightly longer train.  And if you want to kick butt on something kick butt for "on-time" performance.  No-ones going to ride if you can't get there "on the advertised."

Anyway, the head Amtrak should be a cheerleader for the organization, not a hatchet man who looks like he wants to kill it.  If Congress wants Amtrak dead they can kill it themselves, that is, if they have the guts to do so themselves and not by proxy.  And forget about Amtrak turning a profit.  If it gets to the "break-even" point that'd be good enough, but even if it doesn't how many billions of dollars go down the government rathole without any discernable benefit?  At least Amtrak provides a service people are willing to pay for.  I know this isn't Europe but passenger trains in Europe and other places couldn't operate without gernment subsidy.  Hey, their airlines all run with subsidy as well.

Graham Claytor, where are you now that we need you?  OK, I know where he is, you know what I mean.   

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, May 12, 2018 5:16 PM

Well stated Firelock. Unfortunately, Anderson is a hatchet man and there are many who support that, even several on this site. 

I call them Ferengi's with their numerous rules of acquisition, 285 of them, all about screwing and denying your fellow Ferengi or anybody else to their detriment,  for your own personal gain. 

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, May 12, 2018 5:52 PM

Miningman
Well stated Firelock. Unfortunately, Anderson is a hatchet man and there are many who support that, even several on this site. 

I call them Ferengi's with their numerous rules of acquisition, 285 of them, all about screwing and denying your fellow Ferengi or anybody else to their detriment,  for your own personal gain. 

Congress doesn't have the guts to accept responsibility for their actions - they are hiding behind the hatchet man.

         

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, May 12, 2018 6:23 PM

Being a Canuklehead I cannot comment on your Congress because it would be inappropriate or moot, however, lyin' cheatin' swampy' self servin', corrupt, pretentious, kissing babies while stealing their candy certainly apply up here to our guys, only 20% of them do in French. 

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Posted by PJS1 on Saturday, May 12, 2018 7:32 PM

Lets see!  Mr. Anderson has been on the job less than six months.  Correct?  And in that relatively short time span he is supposed have gotten his head around an organization of 20,000 employees that runs more than 300 passenger trains a day and come up with a vision that everyone buys into? 

If there is a single person contributing to these forums who could do it, I surely would like to meet you!

Amtrak was the Nixon Administration's political solution to the passenger train problem, i.e. passenger trains were going the way of canal boats and stagecoaches.  Had Amtrak not come into existence, the railroads eventually would have been able to rid themselves of the passenger trains that were dragging them into the toilet.  It would taken much longer than the Amtrak bailout, but the idea that the freight railroads are beholding to the government for creating Amtrak is nonsense. 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, May 12, 2018 7:50 PM

Ferenghi!  And the "Rules of Acquisition!"  Now THAT sent me on a mad scramble deep in the archives here in the "Fortress Firelock."  Being (ahem, OK, we admit it) Trekkies I just KNEW we had a copy of the same here somewhere!

Cough, hack, wheeze, p-tui!  I waded through an ocean of dust and came up empty.  Time for "Plan B,"  the Internet.

Lo and behold, here they are...

http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Rules_of_Acquisition

Let me draw Mr. Anderson's attention to Rule 57...

"Good customers are as rare as latinum.  Treasure them!"

The rest of the rules aren't bad either.  Aside from some questionable ethics in some of them I think they're more useful for merchants than several thousand dollars spent in an MBA mill.

By the way, know what "ferenghi" really means?  It's an Arabic word for Western Europeans, the English especially.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, May 12, 2018 8:10 PM

PJS1
Lets see!  Mr. Anderson has been on the job less than six months.  Correct?  And in that relatively short time span he is supposed have gotten his head around an organization of 20,000 employees that runs more than 300 passenger trains a day and come up with a vision that everyone buys into? 

If there is a single person contributing to these forums who could do it, I surely would like to meet you!

Amtrak was the Nixon Administration's political solution to the passenger train problem, i.e. passenger trains were going the way of canal boats and stagecoaches.  Had Amtrak not come into existence, the railroads eventually would have been able to rid themselves of the passenger trains that were dragging them into the toilet.  It would taken much longer than the Amtrak bailout, but the idea that the freight railroads are beholding to the government for creating Amtrak is nonsense. 

EHH did it the day he walked on CSX.  Didn't need no stinkin' 6 months, then he had the good sense to die before 9 months expired.

         

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Posted by PJS1 on Saturday, May 12, 2018 8:35 PM

BaltACD
 EHH did it the day he walked on CSX.  Didn't need no stinkin' 6 months, then he had the good sense to die before 9 months expired. 

Overlooking the fact that EHH has nothing to do with Mr. Anderson's getting his head around Amtrak, which is distinctly different organization than CSX, EHH brought a vision from another railroad, i.e. like kind entity, and planted or attempted to plant it at CSX.  

Anderson is coming from a different industry and a different organization, which can be a strength or a weakness.  It will take time to play out.

How is CSX doing.  Not bad! 

EPS is up 253.01 percent over the last twelve months (TTM) compared to an industry average of 151.6 percent.  Cash flow, which is a critical measure of financial performance, is up 18.39 percent (TTM) compared to the industry average of 14.69 percent.  But there is more!

Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) was 45.99 percent compared to an industry average of 42.79 percent.  Pretax margin (TTM) was 30.42 percent compared to the industry average of 29.53 percent.  Return on Equity (TTM) was 45.03 compared to the industry average of 42.07 percent.  The return on total investment was 17.43 percent, which was slightly below the industry average of 18.08 percent.  

Overall the price of CSX's shares increased 21 percent for the 12 months ended May 11 compared to an increase of 14.09 percent for the S&P 500 Index. 

It is impossible to know what impact EHH had on these results, but CSX has been performing well.  Fourteen of the 25 top equity rating firms recommend CSX to buy or outperform.  

Anderson is bringing a fresh point of view from an entirely different entity.  I find it refreshing.  Who knows?  He may be able to turn Amtrak into a real business as opposed to what is outside of the NEC essentially a government funded workfare agency. 

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, May 12, 2018 8:49 PM

I wonder how often Mr. Anderson has ridden trains and eaten in diners. I have the impression that most of us who have eaten in diners have enjoyed the varied company available when eating several meals on one train.

Johnny

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Posted by SALfan on Saturday, May 12, 2018 10:11 PM

Firelock76

Watch out when you wish for any Amtrak route changes.  Remember, Mr. Anderson used to work for Delta Airlines, and any route changes may involve transfers in Atlanta!

Hey, the joke here in Virginia is you can't fly from Richmond to Norfolk without transferring through Atlanta!

 

If you live anywhere in the South other than Dallas/Ft. Worth, Miami and Charlotte, if you die and go to Hell you have to change planes in Atlanta.

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Sunday, May 13, 2018 9:44 AM

PJS1

Lets see!  Mr. Anderson has been on the job less than six months.  Correct?  And in that relatively short time span he is supposed have gotten his head around an organization of 20,000 employees that runs more than 300 passenger trains a day and come up with a vision that everyone buys into? 

If there is a single person contributing to these forums who could do it, I surely would like to meet you!

Amtrak was the Nixon Administration's political solution to the passenger train problem, i.e. passenger trains were going the way of canal boats and stagecoaches.  Had Amtrak not come into existence, the railroads eventually would have been able to rid themselves of the passenger trains that were dragging them into the toilet.  It would taken much longer than the Amtrak bailout, but the idea that the freight railroads are beholding to the government for creating Amtrak is nonsense. 

 

the notion that Amtrak is a commercial 
PJS1

Lets see!  Mr. Anderson has been on the job less than six months.  Correct?  And in that relatively short time span he is supposed have gotten his head around an organization of 20,000 employees that runs more than 300 passenger trains a day and come up with a vision that everyone buys into? 

If there is a single person contributing to these forums who could do it, I surely would like to meet you!

Amtrak was the Nixon Administration's political solution to the passenger train problem, i.e. passenger trains were going the way of canal boats and stagecoaches.  Had Amtrak not come into existence, the railroads eventually would have been able to rid themselves of the passenger trains that were dragging them into the toilet.  It would taken much longer than the Amtrak bailout, but the idea that the freight railroads are beholding to the government for creating Amtrak is nonsense. 

  He certainly has gotten his head around reducing long distance  passenger service quick enough.
 
The notion that the only way to save Amtrak is to reduce it's operating  losses is to discontinue trains and reduce service is simply wrong. It's wrong to consider Amtrak as a for profit  corporation. Thier would be  no Amtrak with out operating subsidies.
If you take away outrageous high gas taxes state and local road taxes thier would be no interstate highway systems. We all be paying tolls on roads built as freeways. Take away mail contracts, air ports built with tax payers  dollars, an air traffic control system funded primarily by the tax payer.  Airlines would virtually disappear .How many air ports  in smaller communties in the us even today are kept open  to provide air service in rural  or small communities. Case in point my own home town, erie pa. 12 flights a day, too delta, United or American hubs. It far cheaper for me to drive to Cleveland or buffalo to catch a highly subsided flight to my destination. It's even easier  for me to board the lake shore ltd. If you took away the subsidy to these small air port the service would be quickly discontinued. Thier is no need for a erie international airport, but it's kept open with tax dollars for the public good.
I wonder where the millions of passengers  along the Northeast corridor would turn too. The region would be in turmoil if amtrak would cease to exist.
Personality I'm sick of the no subsidy/ for profit aurguments brought against Amtrak. Every form of transportation in the us is subsided in some form. Air lines , truckers, buses, barge operators, great lake ship operators, private car owners all receive some form of subsidies. They are provided for the public good, and it's excatly where Amtrak fits in.
It's finally time to have serious aurguments to improve Amtrak not destroy it.

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, May 13, 2018 11:18 AM

I think all lamenting about subsidies for other ways of travel except Amtrak doesn't help. From the beginning Amtrak was required to get at least cost neutreal over time. No question that this was unlikely from the beginning.

But when we dicuss measures for Amtrak we have to work along these lines. To change the lines and get sufficient subsidies for Amtrak the American voters would have to vote for a Congress and Senate in favor of Amtrak. Likely?

When Amtrak ordered its first new locomotives it were redesigned freight locomotives that could easily be rebuilt for freight service in case Amtrak failed early.

Some say Amtrak gets subsidies from the host railroads through the low access costs. I think they forget that it was a deal allowing the hosts to abandon their loss making passenger traffic. At that time the US Supreme Court had ruled that a railroad as a common carrier had to provide loss making passenger service when the company as a whole made a profit.

The host railroads exchanged hundreds millions dollars possible losses per year for access fees. Bad deal? I don't know.
Regards, Volker

  • Member since
    September, 2014
  • 1,144 posts
Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Sunday, May 13, 2018 12:20 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR

I think all lamenting about subsidies for other ways of travel except Amtrak doesn't help. From the beginning Amtrak was required to get at least cost neutreal over time. No question that this was unlikely from the beginning.

But when we dicuss measures for Amtrak we have to work along these lines. To change the lines and get sufficient subsidies for Amtrak the American voters would have to vote for a Congress and Senate in favor of Amtrak. Likely?

When Amtrak ordered its first new locomotives it were redesigned freight locomotives that could easily be rebuilt for freight service in case Amtrak failed early.

Some say Amtrak gets subsidies from the host railroads through the low access costs. I think they forget that it was a deal allowing the hosts to abandon their loss making passenger traffic. At that time the US Supreme Court had ruled that a railroad as a common carrier had to provide loss making passenger service when the company as a whole made a profit.

The host railroads exchanged hundreds millions dollars possible losses per year for access fees. Bad deal? I don't know.
Regards, Volker

 I don't think those first locomotives were bought with the intentions of selling them off if Amtrak disappeared. They were off the shelf freight locomotives, that had a poor safety record and  were sold off.

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