OK; this month let’s take a look where the Northeast Corridor has “come to” over the past forty one years:
PRR 121 Midday Congressional (dp Penn 11AM 3‘50“ to Wash) observed Wilmington Sep 23, 1966 (drove up from Dover AFB for some railfaning):
REX 6561 BoxCar
6564 (those numbers could translate to same style car)
PRR “Congo” Parlor Miles Standish (sp is correct; New Haven had a Diner Myles Standish)
Kitchen Lounge 4625
Full Diner 4624
“World’s Fair PRR” Coach 1523
“World’s Fair N&W” 1498
RF&P Coach 855 NY-Bhm to RF&P/SAL 21 Silver Comet
10-6 Winter Haven
11BR Venice NY-Atl
“Congo” refers to Budd PRR equipment delivered 1952 and intended for specific assignment to the “Congressional” and “Senator”, however by about 1960, Pennsy had simply pooled these cars amongst all NY Wash trains.
“World’s Fair PRR” refers to Coaches rebuilt from Budd 21 Roomette “--Inn’ during 1963 “World’s Fair N&W” refers to Coaches rebuilt from Budd N&W 10-6 “--College” during 1964.
As can be noted, the Corridor trains had become “Maid of all Work” with both the Railway Express Boxcars on the head and interchange cars for RF&P.
So let’s “fast Forward” to present day and consider what Amtrak now offers. This is Regional 125 dep Penn 1135A arr Wash 255P or 3’20”. This train likely has an eight car consist (Business, Café, six Coach likely AEM-7 on the head) AND Acela 2117 (Penn 12N ar Wash 245P or 2’45”). That consist is of course a six car set..
Of course no Amtrak locomotive has the looks of a pin striped (or even solid stripe large Keystone) GG-1, but to the passenger “plunking the plastic down” for a ride (cash, anyone still use that stuff?) they could only conclude that rail service in the Corridor has markedly improved under Amtrak’s stewardship.
However, I guess with PRR you could enjoy a cooked on board Luncheon, but the menu had largely been relegated to cold Turkey and Ham sandwiches and maybe a 6oz Club Steak.
Of course as with anything in this life, "you get what you pay for"; back then PRR quoted $10.65 NY-Wash (any time any train); Amtrak notes at page 115 of the System Timetable a range of $67-128. I defer to others to make the necessary inflation adjustment.