UP will then have to come up with a bunch more cash to maintain the right of way. As will all the class 1's. Amtrak is 'largess' for politicians and class 1's. JKP
Well Barry and his highly elevated fuel prices have increased Amtrak ridership some more. De-fund Amtrak and subsidize the private railroads with funds for more efficiently operated passenger trains!
Progressive Railroading Daily News
4/8/2011 10:00:00 AM Amtrak
Amtrak ridership rose 5.5 percent in March
Amtrak served 137,000 riders in March, a 5.5 percent increase compared with March 2010 and the 17th consecutive month of year-over-year ridership growth.
"Our ridership has grown more than 36 percent since 2000, and I expect that trend to continue and — if gas prices continue to rise — to accelerate," Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Boardman said in a prepared statement.
Speaking before the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday, Boardman also said Amtrak's "only restriction" on potential ridership growth "will be the available capacity."
Amtrak set annual ridership records in seven of the past eight fiscal years, including a mark of more than 28.7 million passengers in fiscal-year 2010.
For the first six months of FY2011 (October through March), ridership totaled 802,745 passengers, up 5.9 percent vs. the first six months of FY2010. In addition, ridership during the first six months of FY2011 increased on all three of Amtrak’s major business lines: Northeast Corridor, up 3.9 percent; state-supported and other short-distance corridors, up 7.7 percent; and long-distance trains, up 5.3 percent.
Ridership during the six-month period also increased on most individual Amtrak train routes across the country, with strong gains posted in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and California.
National ridership numbers for the period likely would have been higher in the Pacific Northwest if harsh winter weather hadn't caused frequent mudslides, which prompted track closures, according to Amtrak.
Rail ridership was declining hard leading up to 1941.
I have books which show the traffic numbers, I'll dig out and give you the statistics. The point is that rail ridership had dropped so badly that the Pullman Company which had 55,000 passenger cars was at the point of insolvency. The war temporarily saved them, but eventually as you indicated the hiway and freeway system eventually killed them off.
The damage was done by 1941. Automobiles had done enough damage that by the 1960's railroads across the country were insolvent and thats why conrail was formed for the freight service for Penn Central, New Haven, Wabash and teh rest.
The "guberment" thought railroads should haul the mail for almost free. Railroads in the early 70's were more than willing to give it all up. Luckily for the railroads there was a brief period of time when the snotty post office told the railroads "FU" and to satisfy the public put the mail on airplanes. Airlines of course were more than happy to take the work as the stupid postal officials thought it was ok to pay about 10 times the amount to fly the mail verses the slow dog railroad way. By the time the Arab Oil Embargo hit, most of the railroads had been let out of their mail contracts and any of it left was hauled by Amtrak.
Taking mail of the railroads and putting it all on airlines goes to show you the degree of the stupidity of former administrations and their postal executives.
Now since the railroads are no longer interested in hauling the mail and will never sign another contract to do so, the stupid jerks at the post office hire truckers to ship the mail who in tern pay the railroads about 10 times the rate they used to get to haul their trucks piggyback across the country.
Why is it nobody has asked the stupid jerks at the post office why they made such horrible financial blunders that now cost us tax payers about $10 billion a year we wouldn't need to pay had those good ole boys in the late 60's and 70's had not screwed up so badly.
Japan finally got a clue a couple years ago and privatized the post office there. Instead of running an anual deficite of about $10 billion they now have about $10 billion in profit. Of course they will need all the extra change to pay for the nuclear cleanup.
Cars were not killong railroads. They were getting more popular, but they were not killoing railroads. Post-war freeway expansion killed railroads.
If the U.S. government has to institute rationing coupons again like it did in 1941, trains would enjoy a significant resurgence no doubt. But that historical event, a virtual armageddon, is exactly the circumstances that I contend are absolutely required to see it happen. Short of that, I do not see any way that any U.S. politician would even dream that scenario, let alone suggest it out loud.
$200 is not a magic number, but simply another 'double' from here....just like every other double before it. $2 to $4, $10 to $20, $40 to $80......they all had the same effect on consumers, they each eventually were absorbed.
Cars were already killing the railroads in 1941. Guess what happened? Pearl Harbor.
Passenger Train Travel increased 8 fold in 1942. I have several books on the matter with great statistics. The bottom line is that due to rationing coupons, there was no way anyone was going to drive cross country in an automobile.
Cars are fine today. I love driving too and take a vacation every year where even if I rent a car on the vacation I still drive a couple thousand miles. Last 2 summers I drove 4,000 miles each year on vacation and loved every bit of it.
As a realist, I know that had not the Pullman company had 55,000 passenger cars, America would had been in serious trouble. The good news is rail passenger travel had not decayed to the point of Pullman scrapping all those rail cars just yet.
Steel wheels on rail simply make the best possible surface transportation mode. We could be far more efficient buy building more tunnels and avoiding grades. Canada has paid for several big tunnels, to bad our government doesn't do the same.
if oil moves above $200 a barrel a lot of people who have to travel will change their tune when they can't afford gas for the car and airline tickets become cost prhibitive or scarce.
The solution is build tunnels under mountains and build nuclear power plants there. Electrophy the passenger train routes.
We need to review the Pacific Railroad Act.
Union Pacific was given huge amounts of free land to build and operate the railroad. In the text of all these land grants, railroads were required to provide both passenger and freight service. Legally they had no way out. Since they were given millions of acres along the right away, they have no place to belly ache.
Unfortunately "Credit Mobiler" who was the financial arm in the early days was full of crooks, and that history is well known.
In order for the railroads to get out from under their legal requirement to haul passengers based on the land grants and the Pacific Railway act, they utilized a Republican dominated congress to pass the law in the early 70's that had the government take over all passenger railroad operations in the form of conrail.
Here's my suggestion, have the railroads buy back all the land grant sections and give that back to the government, then we'll make sure the railroads no longer have to have passenger trains. Thats not likely to happen. Republicans do not like passenger trains, nor do people who have no desire to ride them.
But what if oil gets scarce and prohibitively expensive for automobiles and airlines? How would we transport the population then?
In 1942 this scenario actually happened. Without railroad passenger trains, this country would have been screwed big time.
All major wars require passenger trains.
Eventually when confronted with $5,000 airline tickets, the public would stop flying and wish the hell they had a passenger train that went nearby.
Passenger Trains are a strategic element of our national security. During times of oil disruption, guess how you will get there?
On the Thanksgiving after 9/11 I took Amtrak across country. Guess what I witnessed? 4 locomotives and a lot more passenger cars than normal.
It may happen again especially with the cupcake we got in the white house.
I think the railroads should take back the passenger rail system and run it.
They would do a hell of a lot better than the wasteful government.
Give the railroads 80% of the money that Amtrak gets now and watch a huge improvement in rail service.
Anyone that is old enough to remember how the railroads ran passenger service, knows how well they ran it.
If the railroads know that they are going to get that funding from the government than they will do their best to run it well.