Analysis of Cost Savings on Amtrak's Long-Distance Services

Long-distance intercity passenger rail service in the United States has sparked widespread controversy, in large part because of its heavy subsidies. In fact, Congress directed Amtrak to be operationally self-sufficient by 2002 and currently there is no authorization for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak). Meanwhile the subsidy has grown. In Fiscal Year 2004, long-distance trains (those with routes over 500 miles) cumulatively incurred operating losses of more than $600 million. There is no sign that this trend of large losses from long-distance service can be reversed by engaging in business as usual. Although one approach to reducing the losses posted by Amtrak is to simply eliminate long-distance service, this report considers a less drastic measure, namely to selectively reduce costs while continuing to provide basic long-distance service to meet the mobility needs of rural communities that may not have access to other transportation alternatives. The long-distance trains serve 41 states and are the only intercity passenger rail service in 23 of those states. This report presents the results of an ongoing analysis of options for reducing operating losses and capital costs of Amtrak's long-distance operations. The issue of whether all long-distance routes and frequencies should be retained, and the possibility of achieving further savings by cutting routes or frequencies at some time in the future, is not part of this report. Instead, the analysis focuses on ways to cut long-distance route losses while retaining Amtrak's long-distance passenger rail service on all currently served routes at the existing frequencies.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 30p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01003487
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: CR-2005-068
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 31 2005 8:36AM