Railroad Trade Magazine Profiles Amtrak

A recent feature story published by trade publication Progressive Railroading about Amtrak on the eve of its 50th anniversary said little new and gave only vague hints of what the future might be for the intercity rail passenger carrier.

The story reviewed the carrier’s recent financial and ridership numbers and highlighted some of the steps it has taken to reduce operating expenses.

It also reviewed how Amtrak has been overhauling the interiors of its rolling stock devoted to corridor service and plans to buy new equipment to be used for both corridor and long-distance services.

It is information that has widely been reported before including by the railroad trade press.

The magazine interviewed Amtrak Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating and Commercial Officer Stephen Gardner but did not speak with CEO Richard Anderson, although some of his congressional testimony was reported.

Although providing a fairly comprehensive overview of where Amtrak stands in 2019, that view was largely from an Amtrak centric perspective.

Amtrak executives have said they are working on a restructuring of the carrier’s route network and the Progressive Railroading article said the new national network will be sent to Congress next year in time for consideration before the next surface transportation authorization legislation is worked out.

The article said the restructured network is expected to include corridor and long distance routes.

As part of that planning process, Amtrak staff members have been meeting with state department of transportation officials and other unidentified stakeholders “to learn of their preferences.”

“Suffice it to say, we see opportunities for growth across the continental United States,” Gardner said in his interview. “But there are some obvious places — particularly in the Southeast, the Mountain West and the South — where you see growth in cities and a dearth of Amtrak service.”

He said six of the eight major metropolitan areas that have grown the fastest since 1971 — Tampa, Florida, Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix, Houston and Riverside, California — are minimally served by Amtrak.

The article can be found at https://www.progressiverailroading.com/amtrak/article/Amtrak-at-nearly-50-The-railroad-faces-its-next-chapter–59244

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