Tuesday, April 02, 2019
This photo-story demonstrates the marketing challenge Amtrak faces with long distance trains. A trip by plane from Orlando to New York City would have been four hours at most. By train, it was 23. Even with fast engines and good tracks, the time would have still been more than twice as long than with a plane. Amtrak loses money on every long distance train it runs. It should have given up the routes decades ago but Congress won't let it. So, it staggers along year after year, an unprofitable business that barely makes its way and hardly covers maintenance. There are profitable routes for Amtrak but they are short to middle distance in which the cumulative time riding on rails is close to that of sitting cramped in a plane seat. One wonders when the company and Congress will wake up to reality and cut the service back to its money-making core. It has been since May 1,1971 that Amtrak has been in existence. The marketing challenge was the same then as now. No one seems to realize that unlike Japan and Europe, the United States is a vast land mass best crossed in the air.