Sorry Norfolk/Southern, CSX, BNSF, et. al., but your freight should not be priority to passenger travel. I took a very nice and enjoyable trip on AMTRAK to Chicago today, with one exception – we had to sit in Hammond, Indiana waiting for a stupid freight train, because a certain unnamed railroad (with a bronco as its logo) held up our passenger train. They own the tracks, so they gave themselves priority. Big surprise!
Rail travel seems to be the only major form of transportation where humans are superseded by objects. Airlines do not own/control the skies, tarmacs, or runways; trucking companies do not own/control the interstates and highways; barge operators do not own/operate our canals and rivers; so why the heck do we have a system where the railroads allowed to own/operate the nation’s railroad tracks for their own benefit?
I can understand why AMTRAK is not happy with this format, for it puts them at the whims of railroad’s corporate board rooms. In addition, how can high-speed rail ever be truly successfully, if a railroad can “railroad” the passenger trains off to a siding at any given moment?
The good people at AMTRAK are doing there level best to make our nation’s passenger rail service top notch. My train today was nearly full, which is a clear indication that Americans WILL use rail travel if it is affordable, efficient, and competitive. AMTRAK is affordable and competitive. However, politicians, especially Congress needs to unshackle AMTRAK from the freight operators’ whims and stop treating passenger rail like it is a second-class citizen to assure efficiency is achieved and maintained.
I for one will definitely write my senators and representative, because people could and should come first ahead of commodities.