Report of Amtrak’s on-time performance sparks letter from Ill. lawmaker

Report of Amtrak’s on-time performance sparks letter from Ill. lawmaker
Freight interference has lowered Amtrak’s financial stability, as well as reliability (Source: KFVS)

ILLINOIS (KFVS) - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is pushing to improve Amtrak’s on-time performance.

Durbin recently sent letters to Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration to continue a longstanding and crucial discourse on the negative effects of on-time performance.

This follows the Amtrak Office of the Inspector General’s report titled “Better Estimates Needed of the Financial Impacts of Poor On-Time Performance.”

Durbin suggested an amendment that would help Congress better understand the impact of poor OTP on Amtrak’s operations and how to improve the issue for Amtrak’s riders.

“As a firm supporter of passenger rail, I stand ready to continue working with Amtrak, as well as with the FRA to push Canadian National, to improve Amtrak’s reliability for Illinois riders,” Durbin wrote in the letter to Richard Anderson, Amtrak President and CEO. “The people of Illinois deserve better—they deserve assurance that they can arrive at their destination in not only a safe but a timely manner.”

Read the full letter here.

The report highlights the Illini/Saluki route in particular, it shows OTP as low as six percent for Northbound Illini trains and 17 percent for Northbound Saluki trains during Fiscal Year 2018.

This is a decline from 29 percent OTP on this route as of FY 2017.

Durbin said poor OTP leads Amtrak to pay financial penalties for crew staffing violations.

Freight interference has lowered Amtrak’s financial stability as well as reliability. It caused roughly 60 percent of Amtrak’s delays in FY2018.

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