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amtk_header1 The Chiefs, the Limiteds, the Zephyrs. They were more than passenger trains. They surrounded us with impeccable comfort and tantalized our palates with elegant dining fare as they whisked into a world of romance and mystique. During the 1940s the passenger train began fighting a battle against the airplane and private automobile. By the 1960s the passenger train was rarely considered as a means of travel. Schedules were erratic, trains were run down, and more often than not the journey was a miserable experience. Then, in October, 1970, in an attempt to revive passenger rail service, congress passed the Rail Passenger Service Act. That Act created Amtrak, a private company which, on May 1, 1971 began managing a nation-wide rail system dedicated to passenger service.

Amtrak Historical Society


The National Railroad Passenger Corporation does business as Amtrak, a passenger railroad service that provides medium- and long-distance intercity passenger and baggage transportation across the continental United States. Founded in 1971 through the government-sponsored consolidation of most of the remaining, mostly fledging domestic passenger rail companies, it is partially government-funded but operated and managed as a for-profit corporation. Although it began operations using secondhand locomotive and rolling stock purchased from the railroad companies exiting the passenger business, today Amtrak operates its own fleet of modern electric and diesel-electric locomotives, passenger rolling stock, and -- in a few geographical areas -- maintenance of way equipment. The majority of Amtrak trains operate with trackage rights over the rails of domestica Class 1 and regional freight companies; in areas such as the Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston, Amtrak itself owns and maintains the right of way. The carrier operates more than 300 trains each day on over 20,000 miles of track and connects more than 500 destinations in 46 states abd 3 Canadian provinces. Its headquarters is at Union Station in Washington, D.C.


Amtrak system map / web

Links / Sources

This page was updated on 2016-12-03