Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
3
AMTRAK TO THE RESCUE
The great trains are gone, and it's a pity. But with the advantage
of 20/20 hindsight, most people agree it probably wasn't realistic
to think that a nationwide system of privately operated passenger
trains could have survived. It certainly hasn't worked out that
way anywhere else in the world.
After a decade or more of struggle, by 1970 it had become
clear that the private railroads were simply not going to provide
the country with anything even remotely resembling a nation-
wide rail passenger system. Even government oversight and regu-
lation of the railroad industry wasn't going to save the passenger
train. The railroads' claim that their financial health would be
threatened if they were forced to continue providing passenger
service was quite true in most cases. In fact, the Interstate Com-
merce Commission had all but officially acknowledged the plight
of the railroads during the '60s by granting various railroads per-
mission to eliminate what amounted to almost 60 percent of the
nation's passenger trains. Even that relief wasn't enough help for
some, however, and private railroads continued to go broke at an
alarming rate.
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