mcgrath618 wrote: ↑Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:30 am
I mean to be fair, A day happened about 30 years before I was born. I'm allowed to dissent what Amtrak is doing.
ryanov wrote: ↑Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:10 pm
Sure, but if you want to be taken seriously, you should probably make yourself aware of the fact that Amtrak was started precisely to allow the railroads to exit the passenger business because none of them wanted it or could make money at it. I wasn’t alive for A-day either, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know why it happened.
Doesn't it? If you knew a bit more than the one-liner history of A-day, it does indeed mean you don't know why it happened.
Amtrak wasn't started just to take over passenger trains. At the time, the railroads were fully regulated by both the federal government and state governments. Service could not be stopped, a railroad had to apply to the feds (or state if local) to stop service, and there was little chance the agency would let the railroad stop service. At the same time, said agencies set the rates for such services.
Let that sink in for a minute. They wouldn't let the railroads stop services, nor increase fare to cover costs adequately. State agencies did the same thing, except the same states set property taxes as well. The DL&W was a typically sad example. The state of New Jersey would not let them discontinue or modify commuter service, would not let them raise rates to cover costs, and set property taxes on Hoboken Terminal at obscene rates.
The railroads didn't want out of the passenger business, they wanted out from under the regulatory bodies.
Still don't believe me?
After perhaps half the ton-miles capacity of the US rail network went bankrupt in the mid-1970's, we established Conrail as a government system to keep freight moving. If one has read any of the books analyzing PC's failure or Rush Loving's book on Conrail (and if one hasn't, I can't imagine how one knows enough to keep discussing at this point), one would know that Conrail was an epic political disaster for five years until deregulation.
Bringing us back to the "doesn't mean I don't know why it happened" assertion. Understanding the regulatory atmosphere and the context for leaving is far more important to A-day than just "the railroads didn't want passenger service coz it lost money". Very few railroads were willing to risk the continued exposure to the regulatory environment that continued passenger train operation would entail. Amtrak was a compact between government and railroads that essentially absolved those railroad from ever again having to run a passenger train.