Philly Amtrak Fan
If they want the train so bad, they should pay for it. If it weren't for Byrd Crap, the Broadway Limited/Three Rivers would still be running. If we (PA, outside of Philly, Pittsburgh, or Erie) can't have a train to Chicago why should we pay federal taxes for a worthless train?
Pretty hypocritical view. If "you" (PA outside of Philly Pittsburgh or Erie) want a one seat ride to Chicago so bad, you should pay for it. Using your logic, why should cities like Nashville, Louisville, Phoenix or any other city without Amtrak pay federal taxes for service that is already offered with a connection?
You've illustrated another problem, the large cities you mentioned don't have train service while irrelevant towns like Thurmond, WV do. Trains work best when they have a larger population base. That's why the big cities often have rapid transit trains and more transportation options. You couldn't fill a train through Thurmond because not enough people can fill it. Trains that go through Thurmond and Rugby, ND are a waste of taxpayer money. At least if it went through Philly or Nashville there would be more passengers and more ticket revenue subsidizing the cost and less money for taxpayers to pay. Right now Amtrak can cover about 94% of operating costs with ticket revenue. Shift away a train from West Virginia to Pennsylvania and you get more potential riders with the same trains (and since the old BL is shorter than the current Cardinal you take less time and it costs less for fuel and labor). Maybe then Louisville and Phoenix could have trains then.
The only reason Byrd Crap exists is Byrd himself, he demanded Amtrak run it even though Congress themselves said the train had a lower PM/TM than several other trains that got canceled (National Limited, Floridian, Lone Star, to name a few). Had the Floridian been kept, there's your Louisville and Nashville train. The only relevant market the Cardinal serves that no other train serves is Cincinnati and Amtrak can run a Chicago-Cincinnati train (or better yet a Chicago-Indy-Cincinnati-Columbus-Pittsburgh-Philly-New York train which would still be shorter than Byrd Crap and hit more populous regions). In fact, the Cincinnati-New York route described was the old Pennsylvania Railroad Cincinnati Limited train that was canceled at the start of Amtrak and replaced with the George Washington that runs the same Cardinal route today which means more miles and lower population. Any guess on whose fingerprints were on that one? Nobody has hurt Amtrak more in history than Senator Byrd.
Trains should take the train costs and miles and try to maximize the number of potential passengers and passenger miles and not waste time going through Thurmond, WV, population 5 (and no I'm not kidding).
Please correct me if I am wrong, but isn't one of the reasons for long distance passenger rail service is to serve municipalities that lack any other transportation outside of driving? If an Amtrak thruway bus could fill this need, then the arguement would be to replace all LD trains with buses in these underserved markets. However, since Amtrak is a national system, then all cities and towns should be treated equally with a service tailored to their needs. The people in Thurmond are no different than folks in Philadelphia or any where else.