Infrastructure no image

Published on June 3rd, 2013 | by Andrew Meggison

2

The Narrowing Of Amtrak In America's MidWest

3022390899_081b2480bb

Amtrak is in a strange place these days. As the company upgrades to alt-fuel powered “GenSet” locomotives, boosts passenger wifi service, and looks into local high speed rail, the once great cross country train lines are receiving little to no funding and their value is once again being questioned.

Cross country train travel in America used to be strong. It was not just a means of transportation, but a symbol of how far America had come – truly a country of United States. The problem is cross country train travel costs a lot to keep up and is not that convenient since air travel is readily available at a cheaper cost and faster travel time. Although some rural areas do benefit from the train lines because they lack easy access to airports, overall passenger train service sees little use outside of the popular Northeast corridor.

Echoing the financial restraints, Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman said at the Midwest High Speed Rail Association the agency has a lot on its plate and little in the bank. Overall, Amtrak pays for about 88% of its operating costs, relying on the government to cover the rest. Without actually turning a profit, it is hard to argue for the expansion of rail lines, which could bring in enough money for Amtrak to finally break even.

Maybe.

Unfortunately for Amtrak their high-speed rail lines have been highly scrutinized due to the definition of “high-speed”. A planned high-speed line from St. Louis to Chicago would only reach 110 mph, which compared to the 200+ mph trains of Europe and Asia seems kind of pathetic.

Also, the Not-In-My-Backyard attitude of many people means that lawsuits could delay projects and cost millions more than budgeted. So despite cities like Chicago wanting expanded service to popular places like O’Hare Airport. Expansion in the MidWest could go either way; it could become the next NorthEast corridor, with trains being a popular alternative, or it could be another government money sink.

Can America’s MidWest become proponents of high-speed rail? Or is the money and interest just not there yet?

Source: dailyherald.com

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison 



MAKE SOLAR WORK FOR YOU!





Next, use your Solar Report to get the best quote!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor's Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master's Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison



  • Ziv Bnd

    I really like Amtrak, but if they can’t use modern technology to get the InterCity speed limits up to 125 mph at least, on part of the LD routes, they are going to have problems. Amtrak has to be faster, and if possible, cheaper.

    And they have to have LFAAA option for traveling in coach so that you don’t have to pay roomette fares in order to sleep comfortably. Price LFAAA halfway between coach and the roomette price. The airlines seem to be able to sell seats that are able to lay flat enough so that you can sleep comfortably. Amtrak should try to do the same.

  • Sloan Auchincloss

    Unmentioned in the article were three very important Amtrak benefits: 1. Energy efficiency as measured by BTU use. 2. Less land intrusion. 3. Adjunct to emergency management agencies.

Back to Top ↑