Amtrak

Make Amtrak Safer and Privatize It

The federal government should not be in the railroad business.

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The fatal Amtrak crash earlier this month is generating renewed discussion about the right way to run a railroad.

Some say the solution is mandatory seat belts for train passengers. Others want more government spending on "infrastructure."

Missing from the conversation, at least until now, has been the name of a publicly traded, for-profit private company that might help show the way to a solution to the Amtrak problem.

The company is Genesee & Wyoming, Inc., which owns or leases freight railroads that operate in 41 states, four Canadian provinces, Australia, and Europe. At Genesee, safety starts not with technology or spending but with culture. The company's core purpose is "to be the safest and most respected rail service provider in the world."

The company's website home page showcases its "safety first" approach front and center, and safety awards earned by Genesee & Wyoming employees are recorded in the company history as events just as significant as corporate acquisitions of other railroads.

G & W's injury rate, one measure of safety, is four or five times better than that of other railroads of its type, and better than that of much larger railroads, including Amtrak.

"Safety is never 'fixed,' and we are committed to continuous improvement. Our goal is for every one of our operating regions to be injury-free, every day," the company says on its website. In a video, one of the safety award winners, Mark Sheffield, explains some of the tactics involved—signs, audits, checklists.

The emphasis on safety hasn't been bad for business; $10,000 invested in GWR stock ten years ago would now be worth $55,975.90, an increase of about 460 percent. In a free, competitive market, businesses that emphasize safety can decrease costs for insurance and litigation and increase the satisfaction of customers and employees.

In other words, safety doesn't have to be a mandate that comes from government. It can be a differentiator, a unique selling proposition in the competitive market that is capitalism.

This is true in transportation industries other than railroads, too. Remember the Volvo commercials showing that car's protective steel cage? Or consider how other automobile companies are introducing safety features, from back-up cameras to lane-drift alerts, to attract safety-conscious buyers.

After the government deregulated airlines during the Carter administration, airline safety actually improved, while flying became more affordable. That's part of the reason that inter-city passenger rail service is a money-loser, despite government efforts to make airplanes less attractive than trains by imposing intrusive Transportation Security Administration searches on airline passengers but not on Amtrak passengers.

How bad is Amtrak? The airlines have figured out in-flight wi-fi internet in the sky, while Amtrak's internet service on the ground is still painfully slow. The railroad even manages to lose money on its café cars, which have a captive audience.

One reasonable solution to the Amtrak problem would be to put the railroad's routes up for bid to be bought by private operators. Routes that make economic sense, like the Northeast corridor, might attract private bidders—perhaps airlines like Delta or Jet Blue, perhaps freight train companies like Genesee & Wyoming or Warren Buffett's BNSF. Others might have to be shut down, displeasing politicians.

But railroads shouldn't be run for the purpose of pleasing subsidy-providing politicians. They should be run to serve customers and make profits for owners.

Vice President Biden issued a statement after the crash asserting, "Amtrak is like a second family to me."

The rest of us would probably settle for having a railroad that gets us and our actual, real families where we're going safely and reliably.

NEXT: Do Sex Offender Registration Laws Do Any Good?

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  1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Mandatory seatbelts on a fucking train. That’ll drive ridership right up, geniuses.

    Why are people so unbelievably stupid?

    1. I demand a five point harness and one of those balls in everyone’s mouth… you know the ones– like they have in Road Warrior?

      1. Cue Lord Humungus to tell us how disappointed he is with the children of the wasteland….

      2. Cool! Amtrak could totally remake their image!

        “There’s something about a fucking train! She’s meanness set to music and the bitch is born to run!”

    2. Why are people so unbelievably stupid?

      Hitler?

      I was told the answer to these questions is always Hitler. I dunno any more…

    3. Especially how does it work with the sleeper cars on the longer routes?

    4. What makes you think they care about increasing ridership at all? More funding, yes. More work, hell no.

    5. “Why are people so unbelievably stupid?”

      Because they’ve been fed idiot starter mix since at least kindergarten age ( with progs, for many, the feeding began in the womb via special prerecorded starter mix piped into the uterus through speakers placed on the mothers stomach )?

  2. I remember having a friend tell me about a guy in one of his classes who actually said that if it weren’t for the government, restaurants would be serving us dogs and cats.

    That’s how people think when it comes to businesses cutting corners. Granted there have been some businesses that cut corners at the expense of safety but overall most businesses have an incentive to make sure their customers are served well and aren’t hurt by their products.

    1. I remember having a friend tell me about a guy in one of his classes who actually said that if it weren’t for the government, restaurants would be serving us dogs and cats.

      South Korea: Utter and complete anarchy

      1. The two pillars of Progressive ideology is that one people are too dumb and uninformed to make good decisions so they need top men (such as themselves to make those decisions) and secondly people are too evil to be trusted to do the right thing.

    2. I remember having a friend tell me about a guy in one of his classes who actually said that if it weren’t for the government, restaurants would be serving us dogs and cats.

      If a libertarian moment does happen then people will have to stop thinking like this.

      1. I sometimes think that is their worst fear, what they hate most about individualism — that it just might be true and put paid to their collective fantasies. That is why they are so rabid against even thinking about it, let alone allowing it.

        1. Your worst fear is that everything you think you know is wrong!

        2. I have a sneaking little feeling you just wrote something mildly important. Please re-write it so’s I can unnerstand it

    3. I remember having a friend tell me about a guy in one of his classes who actually said that if it weren’t for the government, restaurants would be serving us dogs and cats.

      I think your friend has a good point. I say that if there is a market for it, let a restaurant serve whatever it wants! I knew this restaurant once that served snails, fatty goose liver, extra large sodas, Trans-fat fried potatoes, horse meat and frog legs; at least until the state house banned it. I’ll admit that it made for a very strange omelet, but illegal?

      1. Well, it would certainly be one answer to an out-of-control cat population!

    4. What amazes me the most about the anti-business types is how they can talk in one breath about how businesses are greedy and care about nothing but profit, then in the next breath make all sorts of preposterous claims about how stupid businesses are, for instance not raising the minimum wage so they’d attract better employees, or not installing safety equipment which would raise their profits.

      If you dare point this dichotomy out to them, they get all purpley and indignant and sputter about how you *just* *don’t* *understand*.

    5. You can thank Teddy Roosevelt’s progressive class hero, Upton Sinclair for that one.

    6. That’s how people think when it comes to businesses cutting corners.

      Did you ask your friend as to why this guy was such a witless moron that he’d eat at a restaurant serving cats and dogs?

  3. In a free, competitive market, businesses that emphasize safety can decrease costs for insurance and litigation

    A good point which I hadn’t thought of.

    The railroad even manages to lose money on its caf? cars, which have a captive audience.

    That’s because the person handing you that 10 dollar sandwich with all the charm of a DMV worker is probably pulling in six figures.

    1. A ten dollar sandwich which is the exact same quality as the 2.50 dollar sandwich you can get at Circle K.

      1. But the Circle K one doesn’t have a union standing behind it.

    2. Not that captive. Coolers are not banned, and I bring one on every train trip.

  4. Who would buy this. Aren’t most of the lines unprofitable. Would they magically become profitable if run privately or would they just be shuttered?

    1. Most of the lines would close down. Some lines should profit nicely because they wouldn’t have to subsidize the closed lines and hopefully they would use cheaper labor.

      1. Don’t forget actually using automation when they buy and install it, as opposed to what happened on this line.

    2. I think the ones on the East Cost going to New York, Philly, Boston, and DC are profitable.

      1. Only if you disregard capital costs. Amtrak revenues can cover day-to-day operating costs on those routes, but when time comes to replace the locomotives, rails, ballast, bridges, overhead wires, computer systems, etc., Amtrak can only keep in business, even on the Northeast Corridor, by squeezing the taxpayers.

        1. then shut them all down.

    3. The only profitable Amtrak routes are the NE corridor. DC to Boston.

      From what I understand most of the track operators would be perfectly happy to not have to deal with passenger rail on their tracks. Passenger trains are must-carry traffic; freight pays the rent.

      1. The only profitable Amtrak routes are the NE corridor. DC to Boston.

        Yes, I know, NPR was quick to focus mainly on that.

      2. The NE Corridor is NOT profitable.

        It only has an operational profit, and only because of the laws giving it preferred rights of way.

        Once you do the correct accounting and add in the capital costs, no lines on Amtrak are profitable.

        1. Color me unsurprised.

      3. As a railroader, I can attest to this. We are often stopped and staring at a red signal for four hours, with millions of dollars worth of freight sitting behind us, because we are held up for an Amtrak. Then the motherfucker goes by and there’s like two people on it.

        1. That ridership sounds like the government buses around here. Both the city general rider buses and those “Community Action Committee” buses that pick up anybody, anywhere in the county, and drop them off wherever they want to go. Sliding scale “need based” price from $0.00 – $2.00

    4. We thought about taking a train out west to the mountains. Except that it cost more than flying, and the route for getting there involved going way the fuck out of our way. Like the opposite direction. No thanks.

    5. This is exactly why it won’t be privatized. Amtrak’s assets would sell for scrap and nothing more. And FedGov doesn’t want the average boob to have the transactional proof that he’s been robbed for decades.

    6. Passenger rail service would be more profitable if price discrimination had not been restricted by law. One might say that only government can run passenger rail service because only the government can keep running at a loss. Or one could say it’s time to re-evaluate the current regulatory climate for passenger rail service and get rid of some of those restrictions.

  5. Speaking of bottomless pits in which the ‘royal we’ dump money, The Big Dig II, The Big Dig Goes to Washington is worse than we thought, more damage than we originally knew, and repairs will take longer than initially predicted.

    Bertha repair will take longer ? there’s more damage
    The seals inside Bertha and the steel casings around them are completely ruined, with the damage so profound that pieces fell into gears deep in the machine, where 24 electric motors rotate the circular cutter drive, said Todd Trepanier, Washington Department of Transportation administrator for the Highway 99 tunnel project.

    […]

    Though the damage is worse than predicted, all of those parts are due to be replaced or repaired anyway, Trepanier said. It wasn’t immediately clear, then, why there would be further delay.

    Council members at the Monday briefing showed a lack of patience with the project, posing questions about how anybody can know if Bertha will survive the next 1.5 miles of drilling toward South Lake Union, and how long it might take.

    Council members who for the most part (as I recall) supported this project– nay, demanded it!

    1. Listen peasant, those property owners on Western need tax-payer funded boondoggles so they can have unobstructed views of the Sound and send their real estate values through the roof. So shut up and get with the program.

      1. Yeah, exactly! Those of us on Western…oh fuck, I don’t own, I rent!

        NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    2. 6.4 Billion on One half of the Bay Bridge but now it might not be as safe as they had planned.

  6. My girlfriend was babbling about the United States not investing in trains and I asked her, ” When was the last time outside of the CTA have you used to train to travel home to Cleveland or anywhere outside of Chicago?”

    She said,” None.”

    I responded with, “There you go.”

    1. This sentiment usually comes from people who either have never been outside of a very narrow strip of the Northeast Corridor, or were a tourist in Europe.

      Even if the political group who’s utterly obsessed with trains that run on time COULD get them built pretty much, oh, anywhere west of the mississippi, it’ll still end up faster and more efficient to fly.

      I mean, that is unless what’s-his-name can build his hyperloop, which will have stations everywhere and other stations everywhere else.

      1. That was the conclusion that my girlfriend came to after I asked her this question. For example, m flying to Cleveland from Chicago while a tad bit more expensive then Amtrack is a huge fucking time saver. Even driving a car to Cleveland is much more efficient then riding a train.

        1. And once you get to Cleveland, you can take in the sights without having to rent a car.

          1. I do try and avoid Warty’s rape dungeons.

            1. Cleveland is a rape dungeon. Why do you think Warty lives there?

      2. TSA is the reason train ridership is up. By the time you get to your 90-minute flight to DC AMTRAK is pulling into Union Station. And you don’t have to deal with the unfrocked priest that likes to hump little girls pawing through your luggage.

        1. Why haven’t we TSA-ified the trains then?

          Oh, right, ’cause the beltway crowd rides them every day.

          1. VIPR is all over them shits down South. Greyhound, too.

          2. Well, you also can’t fly a train into a skyscraper or stadium with thousands of people…

      3. Also, people completely ignore the massive taxation going on in Europe to provide such inter-city rail. Bring it up and they’ll immediately say “What taxation? The rail tickets are not expensive.” Then you have to ask them if they ever owned an automobile or real estate in Europe – and none of them will answer in the affirmative. And if you’re lucky 2% of them will make the connection and shut the fuck up about passenger trains.

        1. Check out the population densities of European countries vs. US States. To the extent trains are workable, it requires densities only seen in places like New York.

  7. The company is Genesee & Wyoming, Inc., which owns or leases freight railroads . . .

    The reason their stock is increasing is precisely because they run freight over rails and not passengers.

    Looking at this realistically – the reason Amtrack is having problems is that they run a lot of unprofitable passenger lines. Its not even a matter of privatising Amtrack, as either these lines will go away immediately (and the profitable lines are *already* also served by private trains) or political interference will keep them open, in which case any private company will be in the same boat Amtrack is – skimp on maintenance and capital upgrades to cover operating costs – except then the government will be able to point at those evil private companies putting profit over lives instead of the current system of rather embarrasedly trying to cover up their own incompetence.

    1. You don’t even have to proffer this as a theory… already been done and happened.

      http://www.historylink.org/ind…..le_id=9309

    2. True. Given improvements in cars and roads plus air travel availability, passenger rail was walking dead by the end of the 1950s

      Freight rail stayed profitable thanks to unit trains, container shipping and union neutering.

      1. No. Freight rail is hugely profitable because we move thousands of tons of freight in one train. One stack train is the equivalent of 600-1000 semi tractors on the road, and we can move it all at one time. When it comes to moving freight, nothing can come remotely close to holding a candle to rail.

        You guys seem to hold this retarded idea that just because railroads have been around for awhile, they must be an anachronistic creature of the state (you give the state too much credit). It is railroads that make your standard of living possible–we haul the grain that feeds you, the coal that gives you electricity, we make all mass retail possible (it is stack trains that make Walmart and UPS possible, for instance). I’m sure your favorite startup hipster website is neato mosquito, but would industrial civilization exist without it?

        1. And trains can *profitably* move 600-1000 semi loads *because* of unit trains, containerized shipping, and the neutering of unions.

          Which is what Homple said.

          No-one here thinks *freight* rail is anachronistic. Though it was a creature of the state, especially in the WW1+ era.

          But freight rail has shown that it can support itself without government subsidy – something that passenger rail struggles to do even in a few places.

  8. Also

    CHOO CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZ!!!!!

    /prog

  9. Wasn’t the stimulus package created in part so we can upgrade our infrastructure. What in the hell happened to that money?

    1. LOOK, OVER THERE! REPUBLICANS ARE LITERALLY DYING OFF!!!

      /prog

    2. Shovel ready projects!

      Actually, I think that is partly the answer. The administration really wanted the money to be spent quickly and visibly so relatively short-term projects were prioritized.

      That was partly because the administration thought that spending the money quickly would jump start the economy, and partly for political reasons.

      Which is a shame, because infrastructure spending is one of the less objectionable things that government spends money on. In many cases it really does function as a public good. But our government can’t even get that right.

  10. Can someone explain the leftist love of trains? Is it the Government control, pork, pubsec unions, hatred of cars, social control of herding people together and reactionary beliefs?

    1. It’s all about control. People in cars have the freedom to go wherever they like and the Progressives deep down inside their horrid souls hates that sort of freedom.

      1. There is truth in this. It’s about building a better society and more strict urban planning.

        If everyone is on public transit, that has a LOT of positive to the leftist mind.

        In no particular order:

        1. It greatly expands the public sector infrastructure.
        2. People become beholden to the infrastructure via union strikes which the leftist government administrators support.
        3. Development and said lucrative contracts can now be better controlled along rail and transit corridors.
        5. There’s a strange hodge-podge of beliefs surrounding the idea of ‘community’. Having everyone on the train reinforces that.
        6. It makes an excellent target for terrorism– lots of people in one place at one time. How do we protect people from terrorism when they’re all milling about in random directions?

        1. People used to take mass transit a lot in this country, at least in urban and suburban areas. Until the leftists started their price-fixing schemes on such services and then suddenly there was a shortage of mass transit and government agencies had to take over all the bankrupt private operators. Hell, the suburban area I grew up in in the 60’s had 2 bus companies..

          1. Its less ‘price-fixing’ on buses and more ‘rising prosperity allowed people to afford cars, which they preferred’.

    2. A lot of it is hatred of cars and suburban sprawl. Some of it is Europhiles. I also think it comes from a simple biased experience: most people on the left live in urban areas where mass transit actually can make a lot of sense.

      1. It’s also a less individualistic, more communal way to travel.

        Instead of everyone driving their own individual automobile, people get together to move collectively. And it is a grand, top-down project. Seems to fit in nicely with their preferred way of doing things.

        1. But 90% of the trips are going to roughly the same places everyone else is going. If the suburban bus agency in my area doubled fares and doubled its service level, people would use it more. But because they try to keep the fares low, they have to cut service to levels of pure necessity only so unless you have no choice you simply won’t take it.

          Automated driving will eventually render the idea of buses and trains moot unless government screws it up and makes it cost more for no good reason.

    3. Someone help me out. I’m having a devil of a time remembering those two American paleoconservative/nationalist conservative writers who went absolutely ga-ga over passenger rail. One of them founded a lobbying group to support rail transport. Does that ring a bell for anyone? I think they’re both dead.

      1. Anthony Haswell

        1. I meant that to have a question mark

          1. I don’t think so. This is going to bug me for weeks.

            1. Was one of them Paul Weyrich?

              1. In contrast with many conservatives, Weyrich had a long history of ardent support for rail mass transit.[11][12] He opposed “Bus rapid transit”,[13] (a particular type of bus transit with higher capacity but also higher costs than ordinary bus transit), and instead supported rail transit as a more effective alternative. In 1988 he co-founded a quarterly magazine on the subject of urban rail transit, called The New Electric Railway Journal, which until 1996 was published by FCF, and he was its Publisher.[14] He wrote an opinion column for most issues and contributed a few feature articles. FCF discontinued its affiliation with TNERJ in 1996, but the magazine continued being produced, under a different publishing company,[14] until the end of 1998, with Weyrich listed as “Publisher Emeritus”. In early 2000,[15] about a year after the last magazine was published, Weyrich and William S. Lind (who had been the magazine’s Associate Publisher until 1996) launched a website where they could continue to post their views and news about rail transit. They called the webpage “The New New Electric Railway Journal”,[15] and Weyrich wrote numerous op-ed columns in favor of proposed light rail and metro systems. He also supported bringing back streetcars to U.S. cities.[16]
                Weyrich also served on the national board of Amtrak (1987?1993)[17] and the Amtrak Reform Council, as well as on local and regional rail transit advocacy organizations.

                1. William S. Lind

                  Didn’t he write some articles for Rockwell?

                  1. Didn’t he write some articles for Rockwell?

                    You are correct, sir.

      2. Was one of them Russell Kirk? I believe he had a deep seeded hatred for cars and highways for some reason.

    4. Can someone explain the leftist love of trains? Is it the Government control, pork, pubsec unions, hatred of cars, social control of herding people together and reactionary beliefs?

      Train travel is really nice and comfortable, provided you mostly need to travel between major train stations. That tends to be true of students, academics, city dwellers, and the urban wealthy, i.e., the core constituencies of the left. They don’t want to pay too much, so they want to have train travel subsidized (unsubsidized, it would be far too expensive). They are supported by upper middle class American tourists who travel to Europe, like the train system on vacation, and don’t realize that even in Europe, their experience is the exception, not the rule. I guess there is always also a certain degree of nostalgia for “the good old times” people see in movies. The other factors are important in garnering support, but probably secondary.

  11. The irony is that the left of old hated the railroads for being corrupt cronyism. Of course they also used to hate taxes, deficits, bureaucrats, jobbery, etc.

  12. But the Lac-Megantic disaster just proves definitively that for-profit rail is dangerous. Government is the only solution!

    1. Unless the train is hauling oil.

      Then it’s the best thing going.

      1. “Don’t go getting any crazy ideas about that Keystone Pipeline, young man!”

        /Warren Buffett and every mindless leftoid parrot

  13. As always, I’m proud of my distant cousin’s admonition that “the public be damned.”
    Passenger trains make no economic sense outside of the Northeast corridor. They are a subsidized hobby for train enthusiasts and tourists. Luxury buses can serve more towns, faster, and more frequently. Every passenger train that is cancelled will free up one slot for another freight train to get 100+ trucks off the highways.

  14. Never knew that progs were so fond of a government program created by Richard Nixon.

  15. From Amtrak’s wiki page:

    Nearly everyone involved expected the experiment to be short-lived. The Nixon administration and many Washington insiders viewed the NRPC as a politically expedient way for the President and Congress to give passenger trains a “last hurrah” as demanded by the public. They expected Amtrak to quietly disappear as public interest waned.[28] Proponents also hoped that government intervention would be brief, but their view was that Amtrak would soon support itself. Neither view has proved correct. Popular support has allowed Amtrak to continue in operation longer than critics imagined, while financial results have made a return to private operation infeasible.[citation needed]

    1. Government programs never die.

    2. That’s pretty damning and depressing.

      1. Libertarian Moment!

        1. Seriously I find it extremely unlikely that you could even get a bunch of Reason commenters in a room and have them agree on a concrete plan to abolish Amtrak.

          1. ? plan? just stop funding it. no plan required.

            1. Well you have the “End the Wars First!” people, the “End the Drug War First!” people, the “End Corporate Welfare first!” people, the “Stop the ROADZ first!” people, etc….

              1. It is a given that, if you have two libertarians in a room, you will have at least three arguments going.

  16. In other words, safety doesn’t have to be a mandate that comes from government. It can be a differentiator, a unique selling proposition in the competitive market that is capitalism.

    “Yes, but you see, government has to step in and mandate these things because there shouldn’t be a differentiator! How can you let people profit from things that should be free, like a safe train ride?”

    “But if you mandate the same safety standards, then people will not realize the efforts made by the more safety-conscious company by giving an unfair advantage to those businesses that previously skimped on the investments.”

    “But safety is a right. Can’t you get that? You can’t have a company profit from what should be given as a matter of right!”

    “You use the word “right” yet I don’t think you realize the true meaning of the word.”

  17. But railroads shouldn’t be run for the purpose of pleasing subsidy-providing politicians. They should be run to serve customers and make profits for owners.

    But profiting is what subsidy-seeking companies are doing ?out of our taxes, of course. What should be said is that rail services are not the responsibility of government, notwithstanding the wishes of the politicians who wish to shower their cronies with subsidies.

    Vice President Biden issued a statement after the crash asserting, “Amtrak is like a second family to me.”

    There’s a lot to be said about the psychology of an individual who holds dear to his heart what in essence is a rail company that he does not manage or own. “Delusional bastard” comes to mind.

  18. “Vice President Biden issued a statement after the crash asserting, “Amtrak is like a second family to me.”

    Joe Biden probably does think of government agencies as his families, if you assume that he uses “family” in the sense of the Gambino or Genovese family.

    1. Nah, he uses it the same as Stalin and Hitler.

    2. Amtrak was his personal chauffeur service for many years, going from his suburban DC home directly to work.

  19. the only problem I have with privitizing Amtrack is the sneaking suspicion that nothing short of The Rapture is going to cure a large subset of the Political Class of their obsession with rail. If they have Amtrack, itsharder for them to claim that their latest boondogle is going to make money. They do it anyway, but still.

    I’m scared that if we FINALLY get rid of Amtrack they will instantly start agitating for some even more expensive idiocy.

    1. They know Amtrak is an anachronistic boondoogle and ultimately doomed.

      That is why they have been peddling the High Speed Rail snake oil.

      “It doesn’t work, but if we make it faster, it will (somehow) work.”

  20. so these are the good kind of free riders. you need a scorecard because there certainly is no principle as to what kind of free rider is good and what kind is bad in derpworld.

  21. My best friend’s mother-in-law makes $85 /hour on the internet . She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her pay was $16453 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    Visit this website ????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  22. Privatizing Amtrak is impossible: railroads make no economic sense in the 21st century; ticket prices would have to be way too high compared to airplanes, cars, and buses to be competitive.

  23. The problem is that passenger rail will never be profitable. It’s why all the US railroads stopped running passenger service 40+ years ago. Unfortunately, passenger rail is only viable with tons of government money. It’s why the European system is so nice and affordable to ride.

    G&W is a freight railroad. Freight is cheap to ship, with high margin for profit. People are not cheap, and increased costs would be catastrophic.The private company would have to get trackage rights on the freights roads being as it has no trackage of it’s own. Ticket prices would skyrocket and no one would ride. Also, it is far slower than flying. These factors combined make for an environment that no company would dare try to get in.

    By comparing Amtrak to G&W, you are comparing apples to oranges.

    I suggest you educate yourself on the history of passenger rail in this country before you go blindly, and foolishly, screaming “Privatize it!”

    -Froggie

    1. It’s why the European system is so nice and affordable to ride.

      Not so affordable to most Europeans, because after they have paid all those taxes, those tickets end up really expensive for them.

      In Germany, rail was protected from most competition by law for a century as well (the EU struck down that law last year), and road travel is taxed much more highly; that’s another huge hidden subsidy.

  24. I’m making $86 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging $65 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I’m my own boss. This is what I do… BEST DEAL

    ………………. http://www.Wage-Report.com

  25. Nathaniel . although Stephanie `s rep0rt is super… I just bought a top of the range Mercedes sincee geting a check for $4416 this last four weeks and would you believe, ten/k last-month . no-doubt about it, this really is the best-job I’ve ever done . I actually started seven months/ago and almost straight away started making a nice over $79.. p/h….. ?????? http://www.Jobs-Cash.com

  26. Nathaniel . although Stephanie `s rep0rt is super… I just bought a top of the range Mercedes sincee geting a check for $4416 this last four weeks and would you believe, ten/k last-month . no-doubt about it, this really is the best-job I’ve ever done . I actually started seven months/ago and almost straight away started making a nice over $79.. p/h….. ?????? http://www.Jobs-Cash.com

  27. OK, I’m a transportation nut. I like planes, trains and cars (not busses.) I’ve ridden almost all of the Amtrak trains in the country as well as many trains in Europe. I also remember the trains of the fifties when they were all privately owned. I would HATE to return to trains of the fifties. Amtrak has many problems, no question, but they have done a remarkable job with very limited funding and a lot of political interference. As of today we don’t know the cause of the Amtrak derailment and need to wait for the NTSB’s report before jumping to conclusions, but it does appear as if some kind of projectile thrown at the train (a common occurrence) may have been a factor.

    As a libertarian (or perhaps more a pragmatist than ideologue) government has but two roles: build infrastructure and provide for the common defense. We screwed up the common defense part by spending trillions on nation building everywhere but at home, and have ignored infrastructure, Ride the trains in Germany, Switzerland, France or Spain (I hear they are phenomenal in Japan and China, too) and tell me that trains should be privatized. There are some things a national government can indeed do better.

  28. Amtrak is one of the few tangible benefits I see from my federal tax dollars. I would not support defunding it.

  29. We should privatize humanity. Oh wait, we’re already doing that. God bless America.

  30. “One reasonable solution to the Amtrak problem would be to put the railroad’s routes up for bid to be bought by private operators.”

    Hell no. Get the government out of the business of selling things. Just liquidate AmTrak and all of its legacy – Chapter 7. AmTrak leases most of its track. Let the bankruptcy court auction off the 730 miles it does own – no strings attached. If anybody wants to offer passenger rail service let them negotiate their own contracts with the rail owners. The government shouldn’t have anything to do with any of this crap.

  31. If money=speech, and we have free speech, I think it stands to reason that any business regulations are illegal.

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  33. Privatizing every aspect of society is a truly asinine proposal that can only be found on Reason. The Tea Party and its mindless followers who think too much with their hearts and too little with their minds (just as all zealots do) have really done a number on reasonable libertarianism.

  34. Nathaniel . although Stephanie `s rep0rt is super… I just bought a top of the range Mercedes sincee geting a check for $4416 this last four weeks and would you believe, ten/k last-month . no-doubt about it, this really is the best-job I’ve ever done . I actually started seven months/ago and almost straight away started making a nice over $79.. p/h….. ?????? http://www.netcash9.com

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