Ok so I don't live there [but frequent the place] so I'm pretty optimistic about brightline/virgin because Branson being a Brit, I think he's knows something about decent passenger rail service... But perhaps I'm being overly optimistic.   Also if they take it north to jacksonville, then to me they'd really tie it all together -- who needs 95?   

Somewhat related -- Bachmann announced the Siemens Charger for HO, albeit in amtrak livery ... assuming they get the orders I guess.

RailRide posted:

An interesting take surfaced on railroad.net  (<-- direct link to comment in question) that brought up a point I hadn't considered regarding the creation of Amtrak--the regulatory burdens that made it necessary for a federal takeover of passenger rail in the first place (not to mention most of the Northeast freight rail infrastructure).

In short, if you were a freight railroad, you had to run the passenger trains the government said to run. You could not discontinue services that were bleeding cash without permission (which was seldom granted) . You could only charge the fares the government allowed you to charge (which didn't cover expenses), and the state set the property taxes upon the land your tracks and facilities occupied  at whatever the state felt like charging.

Sounds like to me, if the Staggers Act (along with regulatory relief pertaining to passenger services)  had happened in the (early) 1960's, freight railroads might have remained healthy enough to shoulder the losses inherent in passenger rail, at least until the beancounters found their new religion in the "Church of the Holy Operating Ratio". I base this on Conrail, which was something of a raging  dumpster fire until freight rail deregulation.

Now whether we'd have a passenger rail network any more extensive than Amtrak's current one is anyone's guess. The NEC at least would probably still need to be a federal operation, owing to the expense of maintaining electrification (like it is anywhere else in the world).

---PCJ (who uses the service at least three times a year)

Given what I have read about the railroads and their history, I doubt that given the post war world that the railroads would have kept passenger service. The decline of the railroads was a combination of federal regulation, especially ICC setting freight rates and losing ground to long haul trucking thanks to the interstate highway system, and then too it was bad management as well. I suspect had they been allowed to drop passenger service they would have done it a ways before they actually did. Even if they could charge what they wanted, by the early 1960's the penetration of cars combined with the interstate highway system, the explosion of air travel, likely they would have found had they been able to raise fares, it would only drive more people to drive or fly. Not to mention that to the freight railroads, passenger service "got in the way' of freight......

Obviously we don't know what would have happened had the government done for railroads what they did for other industries like the airline industry and the trucking industry (for example, the very real fact that trucks cause a lot more damage to roads than their diesel fuel tax and road use taxes pay for, while cars pay a lot more than they cause in damage),or the various subsidies the airlines get, for example, what if the government helped subsidize rail travel, by perhaps running the stations, helping pay for infrastructure improvements like better track, or even (to use a modern context) be responsible for PTC and signalling system costs on the railroad (analogous to the FAA air traffic control system roughly)...it is interesting to think about,but not solving anything. 

In one sense, I think a proposal to shut down Amtrak entirely would not be a bad thing, and here is why. Every time things are proposed by Amtrak (like for example, using buses on some parts of the long distance routes), suddenly politicians come out of the woodwork demanding that this not happen, or when Amtrak proposes cutting back or eliminating service to areas, politicians object to it, people rally to try and stop it, etc......perhaps if we had that conversation on a system wide scale, the politicians who come out of the woodwork when it affects their district but spends the rest of the time yelling about how much Amtrak costs, that the government shouldn't be in the rail business, etc, might actually realize their contradictory behavior, those who support rail service but normally aren't active in pushing for better rail service, more spending on capital projects, etc, might wake up and act.  What is the old expression, you often don't value something until you are about to lose it? 



The person who dies with the best toys dies a happy person

I'm aghast that folks want to just "shut down" amtrak because of some limited reporting on topic exposing some negative aspects mainly due to policy decision and nothing more.  Every day where I live people ride the train to work and I get the impression they like it.  The lots are full up and I would expect more would take it if a) it ran more frequently, and b) the lots were even bigger.   what's the big deal any way -- we build roads with taxes, why not rails?    I suppose we could go to a purely private road network too.

Mayb a smart airline will start to code share with the railroad from Orlando.  That combo might be cheaper than flying to MIA.

Amtrak might be smart to turn trains around at Orlando, and let Virgin do the local work.

That would give Amtrak some more cars to go elsrwhere.  Or add cars to FL trains.

The TEXAS SPECIAL:  The REAL RED streak of the golden prairies!

New Haven Joe posted:

 It would be interesting to know the experience of any forum member who has ridden this train.  

NH Joe


My wife and I rode it from Ft. Lauderdale to West Palm Beach in March of 2018. Nice train and very nice/helpful employees. The main problem seemed to be the many crossings through residential areas, which had resulted in some crossing deaths. This would probably be why our 40 minute trip took over an hour. High speed? Forget it. It now connects up with Miami. Why they plan to hook it up with Orlando is beyond me. There are already 2 Amtrak trains going north, and 2 going south, each day out of Miami. Yes, a rail link to Disney would be nice, but you don't need BrightLine to build it.

That's a great deal.  Recently 5 of us priced out short trip to see friends from here to there on amtrak.  we came up with around $400 round trip but all else looked good.  we could drive it.  And so $400 its tempting to just drive.  Still we will probably try it once.

Way back up there somewhere on this thread, someone said my tax costs were $13 or maybe it $26 a year for amtrak.  That's nothing.  I spend that at chic-fil-a on any given saturday.

So, I'd easily support a 100% increase in my amtrak tax load and if the net effect were to depress prices on our little trip and similar ones for others by say "40%" -- we'd just about not consider driving it.


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