They Never Said What You Heard Them Say.
There was a high-level meeting a couple of months ago to discuss the fate of the Southwest Chief. All interested parties were there, including two United States senators and at least one very senior Amtrak executive.
The purpose of the meeting was to hear how Amtrak proposed to transport passengers between Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Dodge City, Kansas—bypassing a stretch of track that has deteriorated. Amtrak’s solution is a 550-mile bus ride in the middle of the night.
As the attendees were wrapping their heads around that, one of the Amtrak people either did or did not say that Amtrak would not operate trains after January first on any route where the Positive Train Control system (PTC) had not been installed.
Ka-BOOM! That policy would essentially shut down six or eight of Amtrak’s long- and medium-distance trains.
The reaction from people in the room at the time was one of shock, then outrage, because the Federal Railroad Administration had already said Amtrak would be permitted to operate trains even where installation of PTC has yet to be completed.
The uproar continued in the Social media and really blew up when the Amtrak exec’s comment was quoted in TRAINS magazine. It finally began to abate when Amtrak put out another release, saying, in effect, our people never said that.
Conclusion: Amtrak appears to be looking for an excuse to shut down some of the long-distance trains and everything Amtrak says in the near future should be taken with a grain of salt. And ain’t that a kick in the head!