It’s 2009, and Amtrak is raking in the cash. Not from the fare box, but from the federal government. Even though Amtrak accounts for less than one percent of America’s transportation market share, it often is the second highest subsidized mode of transportation.
By J. Bruce Richardson
The Toronto Star newspaper published a commentary by Nick Mulder on March 20, 2013. Mr. Mulder is a former deputy minister for transport in Canada; the equivalent of an assistance secretary of the Department of Transportation in the United States.
In Meredith Willson’s classic play and later movie “The Music Man,” Robert Preston perhaps said — or sang — it best: Read more…
There’s a new guy in the corner office in Washington, running marketing and sales. He’s Matt Hardison, an Amtrak veteran employee who has been with the company since 1999. He replaces the retired Emmett Fremaux.
The old Soviet Union may be dead and gone, but it’s ideals and tactics are still very much alive.
Reports have arrived which say Amtrak President Joseph Boardman has stopped the internal distribution of Amtrak’s primary daily summary of the previous day’s performance, including on-time performance, equipment availability, and unusual occurrences.
Progressive Railroading’s HSR Updates online service has a story today (August 20, 2012) about Governor Mitt Romney’s potential for eliminating Amtrak subsidies. The story goes on at length about various scenarios and has quotes from interested parties, including a quote from the Eno Center for Transportation, located in Washington, D.C. The folks at Eno say they are a “neutral, non-partisan think tank” working to promote transportation.
News item in the form of a press release from the Federal Railroad Administration:
If President Obama wins re-election in November, state departments of transportation can most likely expect huge increases in the cost of Amtrak operating their state-sponsored service simply because of the coming changes in the way Amtrak and states due business due to the changes in federal law. Amtrak is going to be passing along more and more and more of its costs of doing business because it expects fewer federal dollars overall for the company, and the difference has to be made up somewhere.
It’s full-speed ahead on a privately financed, $1 billion plan that will launch fast, hourly passenger rail service between downtown Miami and Orlando by 2014…
Every fall, Amtrak knows winter is coming to Chicago. Yet, every winter, Amtrak acts like it is caught by surprise at the harshness of the typical Chicago winter, and has trouble finding non-frozen and useable equipment for dispatching trains out of the very busy Midwest hub. In the fall, it seems Amtrak never prepares for winter.
Amtrak’s Food & Beverage service is under fire; what can they do? How about 24 hour service, “When You’re Hungry, You’re Hungry”!
Commentary by Russ Jackson, URPA-RailPAC, Dallas, Texas
Food and Beverage availability on long distance trains is essential and its existence is not negotiable; only the “how it is done” is.