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Amtrak is "the blending of the words 'American' and 'track'". Amtrak is "also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation". "Amtrak was created by Congress in 1970 to take over the passenger rail services previously required to be operated by private freight railroad companies in the United States.[1]

"Amtrak operates almost all of our 21,000 route miles outside the Northeast Corridor (NEC) on track owned, maintained, and dispatched by freight railroads," observed Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari.[2] That means a rail strike against the freight railroads interferes with all of Amtrak's long distance routes, leaving only its northeast corridor able to continue to operate.


Amtrak was originally intended to be a financially self-supporting organization, but has never been profitable in its 39-year history, and instead has consumed billions of dollars of American taxpayers money supporting intercity rail services that are little used and unreliable. The Pew Charitable Trusts determined that 41 out of 44 Amtrak routes lost money in 2008. The largest loss per passenger was $462 per passenger on the Sunset Limited, which runs from New Orleans to Los Angeles. The average loss was $32 per passenger trip.[3]

During his years in office, George W Bush attempted to force Amtrak to reform by threatening to end the flow of taxpayer money to Amtrak, but his efforts were thwarted by Congress following lobbying by liberal pressure groups, such as the National Association of Railroad Passengers, who falsely claimed that doing so would cut off rural communities. However, almost all rural settlements in the US are, in fact, connected by all-weather roads easily traversable by private vehicles.


Amtrak routes. Source:Amtrak website.[4]

Name From To
Adirondack Montreal New York
Blue Water Chicago Port Huron
California Zephyr Chicago San Francisco
Capitol Limited Chicago Washington, DC
Cardinal Chicago New York
City of New Orleans Chicago New Orleans
Coast Starlight Seattle Los Angeles
Crescent New York City New Orleans
Empire Builder Seattle Chicago
Ethan Allen Express New York Rutland
Lake Shore Limited Chicago New York/Boston
Maple Leaf New York Toronto
Pere Marquette Chicago Grand Rapids
Silver Service (Palmetto) New York Savannah
Silver Service (Silver Meteor) New York Miami
Silver Service (Silver Star) New York Miami
Southwest Chief Los Angeles Chicago
Sunset Limited Los Angeles Orlando
Texas Eagle Chicago Los Angeles
Vermonter Washington, DC St. Albans

See also


External links