Some Advice for Amtrak’s Boss.

Richard Anderson
President and CEO
National Railroad Passenger Corporation
60 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Dear Sir,
With respect, I can’t help but wonder if you truly believe in the Cut-Your-Way-to-Profitability approach as the way to save Amtrak’s national network.
In recent years, sleeping car passengers–your customers–have been told we had to give up the Pacific Parlour Cars, dining cars on eastern trains, the wine tastings, the little welcome aboard gifts, cranberry juice, and even the printed timetables. All that and more has been taken away in the name of reducing costs, with the implication being those little sacrifices were necessary in order to save our long-distance trains.
But I believe, in your heart of hearts, you’re planning to get rid of the overnight trains anyway. Why? Because you think you have a Congressional mandate to eliminate Amtrak’s federal subsidy. And because it’s a lot easier to kill the national network than it is to figure out how to save it.
Fair warning: Just wait until members of Congress start hearing from angry constituents and from the mayors and city council members from every town within a hundred miles of an Amtrak station. There will also be calls from administrators of small town hospitals no longer able to use the accessible bedrooms in Amtrak sleeping cars to send sick or injured patients to big city medical facilities for treatment they can’t provide.
And when the people across the mid-west and west who need your trains finish beating up on their members of Congress because of what you’ve done, you’ll have a brand new Congressional mandate: Save and Expand the National Network!
And here’s a news flash for you: We’ve already started, which us why Congress gave you more money this year than you asked for. You’re going to be getting a NEW mandate from Congress: Save the national network!
I hope you find this helpful.
With aloha,
Jim Loomis