• Amtrak: Connects US // American Jobs Plan Infrastructure Legislation

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by eolesen
 
You mean taxpayers money? Because it's going to be spent somewhere... they might as well take advantage.

That's how countless successful companies got successful and efficient - spending other people's money.

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  by electricron
 
David Benton wrote: Sat Jun 26, 2021 9:51 pm True , just never seen as a subsidy, just taking whats available. Whereas Amtrak is seen as a bottomless pit .
True. Ever wondered why it is thought as a bottomless pit by so many?
Most, no all, capital projects financed by Uncle Sam is for a sort duration. The Panama Canal was an investment for a decade or so, and the tolls it charged ships for passage through financed its operations and maintenance, and the capital required to build it. It ultimately became self supporting.
Amtrak has never been self supporting. Tracks require constant maintenance and bridges, viaducts, and tunnels also require replacement. The US taxpayers have been sinking at least one to two billion dollars a year into it, for over 50 years now. And Amtrak wants another $80 Billion to fix it, specifically the NEC and it’s expansion.
50 years later, Uncle Sam did not have to sink more money into the Panama Canal, and 100 years later we gave it away to Panama. Over 33% of Panama’s GDP is associated with the Canal.
Can we say the same for Amtrak?
  by eolesen
 
If you look only at the NEC and state corridors, it's a strong maybe on breaking even.

The long distance networks are the bottomless pit. It's time to part ways and stop worrying about long, thin routes and focus on the corridors.

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  by rcthompson04
 
eolesen wrote: Sun Jun 27, 2021 3:34 pm If you look only at the NEC and state corridors, it's a strong maybe on breaking even.

The long distance networks are the bottomless pit. It's time to part ways and stop worrying about long, thin routes and focus on the corridors.

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Not to mention the use of profits from the NEC to prop up the rest of the system instead of reinvesting in the NEC.
  by photobug56
 
You completely miss the point of the LD trains. They provide viable city to city transportation in areas that often have nothing else. Also, they can be a much nicer way to travel. In other parts of the world, LD train travel, passenger trains in general are not about profit or breaking even - it gets cars off the road, less air travel and therefore less air pollution. If you judge by US ridership, keep in mind that never on time trains, freight carriers ignoring Federal law regarding Amtrak, none of that helps. Plus non stop interference by those who oppose it. For instance, degrading of food wasn't just about COVID, it was an attempt to destroy the service. Good food service on LD trains actually helps the bottom line because it attracts more passengers. But the equipment and rail need to be well maintained.
  by ExCon90
 
Don't forget that the Panama Canal's only competition was Cape Horn, which gave the Canal the latitude, so to speak, to charge what was needed to keep it in operation while providing a return on investment. Amtrak is far more constrained in its ability to charge compensatory fares.
  by eolesen
 
I don't believe Amtrak is at all constrained on what it charges. They have no problem matching airlines in the NEC...

There is no compelling argument for keeping long distance rail intact. It's a convenience that looses millions and only serves a fraction of communities in the US.

If it disappeared overnight, the impact would be negligible.

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  by rcthompson04
 
eolesen wrote: Sun Jun 27, 2021 9:47 pm I don't believe Amtrak is at all constrained on what it charges. They have no problem matching airlines in the NEC...

There is no compelling argument for keeping long distance rail intact. It's a convenience that looses millions and only serves a fraction of communities in the US.

If it disappeared overnight, the impact would be negligible.

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I also suspect eliminating them would eliminate one of the biggest friction points between the Class Is and Amtrak elsewhere.
  by NRGeep
 
ExCon90 wrote: Sun Jun 27, 2021 9:12 pm Don't forget that the Panama Canal's only competition was Cape Horn, which gave the Canal the latitude, so to speak, to charge what was needed to keep it in operation while providing a return on investment. Amtrak is far more constrained in its ability to charge compensatory fares.
Apples and mangoes...
  by scratchyX1
 
eolesen wrote: Sat Jun 26, 2021 9:19 pm You mean taxpayers money? Because it's going to be spent somewhere... they might as well take advantage.

That's how countless successful companies got successful and efficient - spending other people's money.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk
Even Elon Musk has gotten a lot of federal funds, for both super battery factories, and spaceX.
(but a lot more efficient use of the funds that ULV.)
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Here is a Times Opinion piece that was also noted on a recent MSNBC Morning Joe show. The author has concerns that the $66B to be allocated to mostly passenger rail will be poorly allocated with any direction to the LD "National Network":

Fair Use:
Passenger trains are nice, but are only truly useful in dense areas. Meanwhile, we must dedicate much more resources to expanding broadband, getting cleaner water, better airports, and making sure our bridges and buildings are not in danger of collapsing.

But will the money be apportioned based on true need and spent efficiently — or will we end up with more Amtrak-esque infrastructure? The government-owned corporation, which operates in 46 of our 50 states, lost $475 million on its long-distance trains in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2019. (Then, there are repairs, equipment costs and other capital expenditures.)

On the same day that President Biden unveiled his proposal to shovel billions into its coffers, the company announced plans to serve up to 160 new communities, including routes that would terminate in places like Duluth, Minn., Christiansburg, Va., and Cheyenne, Wyo. (thus making Wyoming the 47th state with service).
Amtrak had the opportunity to begin in earnest what was started with the Carter Cuts but owing to whatever got "deferred". The COVID frequency reductions could have been extended "indefinitely", and could have been the base from which to resume the orderly discontinuance of the LD trains.

There is a significant difference between today and when the Carter Cuts occurred during '79. There was both Amfleet II and Superliner cars being built and Superliner service had been selectively inaugurated.

Now both A-II's and Superliner I's are at the end of their service lives. If the now restored LD system is to continue, these cars will need to be replaced and the cost of operating the LD's will increase exponentially as well as ensuring that Amtrak will be stuck with these trains for maybe another 40 years - and paying the railroads the "bargain basement" rates believed to prevail.

Addendum: Morning Joe clip; relevant commentary starts at 30:15
  by lordsigma12345
 
I don’t really get where Mr. Rattner is going here. Most of the $66 million is meant for developing corridors in denser areas - not for expanding long distance service. If long distance gets money it’s for maintaining the status quo. Obviously one can have a reasonable debate about whether we should be expanding passenger rail at all or whether money should instead be focused on highways and airports exclusively - but he doesn’t seem to know that a huge chunk of Amtrak service is corridors outside of the northeast corridor - he seems to be advocating cutting all those as well.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Lord, let's take a look at Corridor passengers carried FY 19 (better reflecting "normalcy" than FY20).

According to "Monthly" Performance Report for all of '19 (its at the website) NE Corridor passengers were 12526M. Now to that we add from "State Supported" the Empire and Keystone Corridors with X.XM and X.XM respectively, or an adjusted total of XXXXM. "State Supported" total of XXXXM less the two noted routes above result in an adjusted total of XXXXM.

For this analysis, let's ignore the LD's for their numbers are "embarassing", But they're there for the looking.

All told, it appears the NECorridor handles more passengers that all the other "Corridors" do combined.

Not to dismiss the others out of hand, but the NE "is what it's all about". So it goes that most of the $51B allocated to Amtrak in the House version of the Infrastructure bill should ho to the Corridor.

(I'll "fill in the blanks" later using my Desktop for that).

Finally, let us consider the passenger rail funding under ARRA09. So far as I can tell, the only thing tangible from that legislation was the upgrading of the C&A Chi-Stl. The biggest beneficiary from that appears to be the UP with a new line to access Chicago. That funding was intended for passengers. All the rest from that legislation appears to be "slop in the trough" for the consultants to feed on.
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