Try the Acela Express
Geoff Cutler's May 31 column laments the loss of enjoyable train rides. He takes us to a bygone time when train travel was indeed a magical, joyous adventure.
Unfortunately, those days exist only in our memories. When the airlines started to siphon off the ridership that the railroads relied on, it sounded the death knell of the glory days of train travel in this country.
Major railroads soon discovered that passenger trains were a losing proposition. The New Haven Railroad went out of business in the late 1960s. This was followed by the demise of the Penn Central in 1970, which had been formed by the merger of the Pennsylvania and New York Central Railroads.
Because a passenger railroad is an expensive operation to maintain, all passenger railroads in the world are subsidized. Without subsidies the price of a ticket would be too expensive.
In 1971 Amtrak was formed to operate a national passenger railroad. This was necessary as there were not any railroads willing to be in the passenger business. Instead, these railroads wanted to be in the freight business, which is more profitable.
Since 1971 every administration has wanted to take money from Amtrak. Over the years this has resulted in deferred maintenance, antiquated equipment and manpower reductions. As a former employee of New Haven Railroad, Penn Central Railroad and Amtrak, I can assure you this is no way to run a railroad.
I would also encourage Cutler to take a ride on Amtrak's Acela Express that runs daily between Boston and Washington, D.C. This high-speed train runs at a top speed of 150 mph and offers an outstanding comfortable ride. Hopefully, this will restore Cutler's love of train travel.
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