The Future of Amtrak

The Future of Amtrak
Carbondale, IL -- The Bush administration has proposed cutting funding for Amtrak from 1.2 billion dollars to zero. Some say, that would effectively derail Amtrak as a company.
Amtrak is the last passenger train service in the United States and without it, thousands of Heartland passengers would no longer be able to ride the rails.
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta says, Amtrak has lost 29 billion dollars in taxpayer subsides over the past 34 years.
Heartland congressman Jerry Costello says, the house voted to keep Amtrak's 1.2 billion dollar subsidy in tact. The senate appropriations committee passed a bill that includes 1.45 billion in funding for the passenger rail service. That figure has yet to be approved on the senate floor, but Costello says, it looks like congress is supportive of keeping Amtrak riding the rails.
However, Costello tells Heartland News this continued funding won't be a free ride for Amtrak. He says, congress wants to see proof that Amtrak is working to find ways of becoming more efficient and cost effective.

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Amtrak Facts
  • The name Amtrak is the blending of the words "American" and "Track". The railroad's official name is the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.
  • Amtrak officially began service on May 1, 1971 when Clocker number 235 departed New York Penn Station at 12:05 a.m. bound for Philadelphia. 
  • In 1971, Amtrak announced a schedule of 184 trains, serving 314 destinations.
  • Amtrak took over the passenger operations of all but three railroads who continued their own intercity passenger train service for a period of time. They were the Rock Island Railroad, the Southern Railway, and the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad.
  • Since the beginning, even-numbered trains have traveled north and east. Odd-numbered trains travel south and west. Among the exceptions are Amtrak's Pacific Surfliners, which use the opposite numbering system (inherited from their former operator the Santa Fe Railway), and some Empire Corridor trains.

Source:  Train Magazine