This is a brief posting as I am working on the next issue of Steel Wheels. In the last two days Bob Johnston of Trains magazine has reported on Amtrak’s reduction of consists on the long distance trains. RailPAC’s James Smith tells me that his daughter has been unable to reserve a seat on the “Chief” from Kansas to Chicago for a number of days because the train is showing “sold out”. SOLD OUT!! In March!!! This is absurd. The Southwest Chief is down to two coach cars while Superliners are parked. I would not be surprised if their next idea is to add seats to the Superliners rather than add cars to the train. Let’s reduce train travel to airline standards.
Today we hear that Amtrak is alienating another group of loyal (and influential) patrons, see below.
At the same time there are consistent rumors from 60 Mass Ave that Amtrak management is once again looking at thrice weekly long distance trains and “corridors” to reduce costs. So Amtrak and the new genius CEO has the formula, keep cutting until we make a profit. How many times since 1971 have we seen this tried, and failed. And after every attempt at starving the patient we emerge with a smaller, frailer network with zero new investment.
Most interesting of these recent activities is the silence from top Amtrak officials. There used to be official and unofficial channels of information, call them leaks if you like, whereby we advocates had a rough idea of what was happening and could at least attempt to react and prevent the worst of disasters. Well, 60 Mass these days is watertight. Anderson and the flyboys don’t care about the advocates and don’t want us to know what they have planned.
RailPAC will continue to do its best to keep you up to date and to act on your behalf to maintain the national network. Your support, and most of all your membership of RailPAC, is appreciated, and more vital than ever.
Comments and updates to firstname.lastname@example.org