The dismantling of LDTs are not near. If they are, Anderson's dismantling is also near. Amtrak is a political organization as much as anything else. I fully believe Anderson is considering these moves, but, it'd be a mistake. Part of how Amtrak got 2 billion in funding this year, is by getting support from congress-roaches who can say "I have a train running through my state's small towns". If you get rid of that, you lose congressional support, and with it, your money. Anderson may WANT to cut LDs. Because, yeah, on paper they DO lose money. But as others have articulated...food service on trains also loses money. That's looking at it from a pure profit/loss perspective. It discounts the value the passengers placed on that amenity being part of the train. Same with LDs. All of Amtrak's most prolific and successful leaders have advocated for the LDs, even expanding them. They lose money, but they are what makes Amtrak a NATIONAL corporation. Anderson needs to get it through his head that he is not running a profitable private airline. He's running a public--owned by taxpayers. So, he may well try to cut a bunch of LDs to 3x a week. And we can then all look forward to the myriad news stories, and congresspeople making a big show of it. I mean, some even went after Amtrak for the private car ban (tourism rev)--imagine what they'd do if service stopped entirely! This is a don't bite the hand that feeds you situation. If you cut off the "losing" things (LDs), you'll find your funding for your cash cow (NEC/corridor services), also dries up. Now, if the NEC was truly self sufficient (it is not, it only makes an operational profit), Anderson would have stronger legs to stand on. Also *cough* gateway, *cough*. Gosh I need to see someone about this cough.
The above being said, Anderson is not running Amtrak well (putting it mildly), in my view, and based on this forum...everyone else's view as well. I wanted to give him a chance; I think many people wanted to give him a chance, because he really DID do a GOOD job at Delta (primarily by motivating employees to provide good service from top to bottom through profit sharing and other "good place to work" tactics). Most of these decisions though, do not make much sense for Amtrak. Fixed consists...yeah, fixed cost, but, you lose the flexibility of spacing by demand--which is a BIG advantage of trains, over buses & planes. You can't magically make a plane bigger if demand increases, you need to buy a whole separate NEW plane that's bigger. Same with buses. You have to run a whole second bus with a second driver and double the gas. Managed consists do make things more challenging, but, done right, can be more profitable. Your biggest cost is the powerhead (looking microscopically at the train). Once you have one, adding cars full of people adds more profit than cost. Conversely, running an excessively long train with low demand results in over-use of already old equipment and more than necessary power draw, which is both expensive and bad for the environment (just saying). The longer Amtrak can make these Amfleets last until a new single-level order is placed (let alone replacing the superliners in the next century...), the better. Running empty cars doesn't help that goal. In the past, perhaps Amtrak managed consists too much, instead of focusing on accurately forecasting demand and creating price buckets accordingly. But, none is too far in the opposite direction. And, I'm frankly worried at this point about what he'll do next. All of these decisions are Penny wise, pound foolish. Some of my thoughts for "coming soon!": Start charging for bags? Create "economy plus" and "economy minus" type seating in coaches? Eliminate the Acela and replace it with "Acela Airlines"-- with convenient hourly departures from DCA, LGA, and BOS!... (jk). But, seriously, he's as bad for Amtrak as Pruitt is for the EPA. Get it together, man.