A recent opinion column [by Railway Age Contributing Editor Jim Blaze] with a Perils of Pauline title—Amtrak vs. Freight Railroads: Shippers, You Are Impacted!–urges freight rail shippers to take up arms against recently introduced federal legislation that would allow Amtrak to bring a legal action to enforce its statutory dispatching preference over freight trains. While there may be things that freight rail shippers have reason to be concerned about, Amtrak’s preference rights are not one of them.
Author: Stephen Gardner
Over the past eight months, Railway Age has published 31 op-eds about Amtrak—many more than it published on the freight railroad, railroad supply and transit industries combined. The majority focused on long-distance trains, which account for only 15% of Amtrak ridership, and their dining car food. Most of the others depicted Amtrak as a “failure” facing “the sword of Damocles,” to quote one op-ed author. They urged privatization of Amtrak’s operations and Northeast Corridor infrastructure, and “open access” to freight railroads’ lines for new passenger rail operators.