The passenger train service in the United States. Compared to European train systems, it is pretty much a joke, running old equipment over freight tracks. In some places, it is pretty cool, however. But Congress demands that Amtrak make money, although most other passenger train systems don't make money. Of course, if Amtrak doesn't get any money, it can't compete with airplanes and will never make money in the future.

A large quasipublic train system in the United States, with service to pretty much everywhere (if you count connecting bus service). Amtrak uses a bunch of diesel locomotives. Lots of people with a fear of flying use it for long-distance transportation; it can be slow and expensive, but has nice views of the countryside. Taking it through the Sierra Nevada Mountains is particularly worthwhile.

Amtrak has suffered under representatives who believe that a public transit system need to make a profit, and then slashes their funding so they can't invest in infrastructure they so desperately need. Their Acela service from New York to Boston has been delayed numerous times, which hasn't helpedl.

Recently, though, Amtrak received approval to expand passenger rail service to places that were cut back in the early-mid 90s, and to expand new routes. If they had high-speed rail it would be even better.

The company is officially called the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, with the commonly used name "Amtrak" deriving from the words American and track. Service officially began on May 1, 1971 when Clocker #235 departed New York City's Penn Station en route to Philadelphia. Amtrak immediately took over passenger service for all but three railroads; the Southern Railway gave up its Southern Crescent route to Amtrak in 1979 and the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad ended passenger service in 1983, forcing Amtrak to reroute its California Zephyr service to cover those routes. The Rock Island Railroad went bankrupt in the late 1970s, and when Amtrak wouldn't take over its single long-distance passenger route and the state of Illinois wouldn't subsidize it, that service folded as well. There are more than 500 Amtrak stations in 45 states - those without service are Alaska, Hawaii, South Dakota, Maine, and Wyoming. Trains operate over more than 22,000 route miles, only 730 of which are owned by Amtrak (mostly in their Northeast Corridor and in Michigan) - the rest of the tracks are owned by freight railroads. Service in the New York/Washington corridor alone carries enough passengers to fill 121 airline flights daily, and Amtrak carries approximately 61,000 passengers every day. The company is also contracted to provide commuter rail service for a number of regions, including California's Caltrain, Coasters, and Metrolink, MARC in Maryland, the VRE in Virginia, the MBTA in Massachusetts, and Connecticut's Shoreline East.

Amtrak Routes by Region:

Sources: http://www.amtrak.com/about/amtrakfactpage.html and http://www.amtrak.com/destinations/index.html as well as trainman's helpful tips.

Through the years, as Amtrak service has expanded and contracted, the following train names have passed into timetable history:

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