Amtrak’s Grand Plan for Profitability

  • Published on Dec 3, 2019
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    Animation by Josh Sherrington
    Sound by Graham Haerther (
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    Select footage courtesy the AP Archive
    UNSW photo courtesy Sardaka, University of Sydney photo courtesy Jason Tong

Comments • 4 317

    DALE BECK 15 hours ago

    Amtrak should build and maintain there own rails and stations then lease the service portion to the companies that want to open rail lines in the USA.

  • D. S.
    D. S. 21 hour ago

    Make trains and train lines better and faster so that people will want to ride them. Installing a corporate raider like Anderson will not help.

  • Steven Schleusner

    That transition into the suitcase ad was well done.

  • Brandon Mcmullan
    Brandon Mcmullan 2 days ago

    You know what the funny thing is that nobody likes the airlines their terrible here in the east coast everbody takes trains or cars for commuting tickets ain't bad and the added leg room is fantastic

  • Shawn Elliott
    Shawn Elliott 2 days ago +1

    I never would've expected to see the DC-to-Lynchburg Amtrak route mentioned. I grew up in Lynchburg, poor bastard that I am. I rode that train once to get to DC. It was fine.

  • Seth Butler
    Seth Butler 2 days ago

    Typical government waste

  • Matthew Belamont
    Matthew Belamont 3 days ago +1

    I rode the Amtrak from Minnesota to Washington state it was an experience I’ll never forget by drive if you barely sleep u can do the drive in about 3-4 days it was only 2 days on the train had lamb dumbs for the first time while watching the country side flow by I highly recommend it

  • Rick Davis
    Rick Davis 3 days ago

    Let the people that ride for Amtrak.

  • jackdonkey22
    jackdonkey22 3 days ago

    Does Amtrak lease the routes for crazy money?

  • The Trainmobile
    The Trainmobile 3 days ago

    As a person who wants to see highspeed trains make a comeback in the US, I would love for a highspeed line that runs from Nashville, through the center of Alabama, and ends in New Orleans. Hypothetically, a highspeed line running at European train speeds would complete such a route in roughly 4 hours give or take an hour or so. Plus, it adds room to turn Birmingham into a train hub for destinations in south Georgia and Florida, like Savannah, Atlanta, Pensacola, Jacksonville, and Miami. Of course, it would also be much easier to turn either Nashville or Atlanta into a highspeed rail hub as well, especially if they offer greater subsidies for Amtrak or another hopeful rail company.

  • Silas Cochran
    Silas Cochran 4 days ago

    Considering the rails built this country Amtrak is pathetic and now they're cutting long-distance service I hope they just go under then someone will come along and give us some actual decent f****** service to hell with Amtrak I used to ride frequently now I dread getting on that damn train

  • Adam Klein
    Adam Klein 4 days ago

    unless it is for fun why would anyone take a train vs a plane for any trip that is more then 4 to5 hours by train. especially.when it is cheaper as well. it is pretty obvious why long distance are not profitable unless some site seeing or something else is mixed in.

  • Ruiluth
    Ruiluth 4 days ago

    You know, I'm a huge train enthusiast, but my opinion is that passenger railroads died in 1971 with the formation of Amtrak. Amtrak is the rotting zombie of a once-great industry and I don't really care what happens to it.

  • joedmac78
    joedmac78 4 days ago

    Amtrak gets pennies and demands for profits the military gets it's trillions and no one bats an eye. The money in the Pentagons Ash tray would give us high speed rail coast to coast.

  • joedmac78
    joedmac78 4 days ago

    If the nutters in Congress are so concerned about Amtrak profitability why don't they just pay virgin to run the the long hauls. Then we'd have Amtrak profits.. (I'm being sarcastic). Get my point tho? Let it be what it is public transportation. Fund it sensibly as long as there's a demand for it . It's great they saved uncle Sam all that money the last year or so. (That's sarcastic too)

  • John Papa
    John Papa 4 days ago

    I like the train. I frequently travel from Ft. Worth to Fresno Ca. I would ride the train more if I could take my car. I also don't need a formal dining car. Fast food, or even a walk thru buffet would be better.

  • tmanepic
    tmanepic 4 days ago

    Perhaps they could reach a compromise and instead of having passenger trains run to these small towns, have a bus service run them instead. Not the entire route on one bus, but enough to get to a large enough city with an airport and a greyhound bus station. It seems to me that overhead would be much lower AND it would keep congress/rural constituencies happy

    MICHAEL GLASS 5 days ago

    The Superliners need the same Red White & Blue that is on the AMTRAK America baggage car

    MICHAEL GLASS 5 days ago

    Amtrak need to upgrade the Superliners and bring back the Red, White & Blue

  • StormCrowYo
    StormCrowYo 5 days ago

    Sooo, "America's" major rail provider will make money by ceasing to operate and service a large majority of the country aka the purpose for which it was created. Great.

  • X X
    X X 5 days ago

    Sounds like a democrat liberal entitlement program LIE. Just give me more money.

  • Scott Schramm
    Scott Schramm 5 days ago

    Great video but your narration style is really annoying. Maybe cut all the commas from your script, because...commas, keep slowing, down, your voice and, making it sound....robotic. Better yet cut the script all together and just speak normally to us! You don’t need to sound like a professional voiceover!

  • KingArthur
    KingArthur 5 days ago

    The reasons Amtrak will NEVER BE PROFITABLE.
    1. Amtrak doesn't own its own tracks outside the NE corridor.
    2. See number 1

  • Richard Hunt
    Richard Hunt 6 days ago

    The REPUBLICANS won't allow it because it conflicts with their ideology that Government run services should be sold to the lowest bidder ( preferably a campaign donor or foreign Country ) than be used by the people who payed for it in the first place !! 🤬

  • R.S. Cherry
    R.S. Cherry 6 days ago

    Amtrak sucks. I took a ride from west Virginia to DC and back. It sucked so bad.

  • airplanegod
    airplanegod 6 days ago

    Some of it, such as lack of access to rails because the freight companies own them certainly isn't their fault, but a number of faults can be linked back to them, even if it's due to lack of funding such as old rolling stock, surly employees, limited or crappy amenities on board, and most importantly, they aren't really competitive time wise or even price vs the airlines. The only area they succeed in is the NE corridor because they actually are competitive time wise due to the congestion of the major airports. In the rest of the country, they are probably more competitive than taking a Greyhound bus but that's about it.

  • Trenton Gray
    Trenton Gray 6 days ago

    what needs to be done is to run Amtrak into the ground and restart by a random group of people. If they cut the run between Chicago and Pittsburgh I know about 50 people who won't be able to make their daily commutes to work anymore. The biggest problem I have with their new CEO is the fact that he doesn't have a love for trains or the railroad in general. Almost every single CEO of every railroad in US history had a love for the railroad and that's the problem with their new CEO's they don't care. Get rid of em and you'll see a change.

  • Wythe Trumpet
    Wythe Trumpet 6 days ago

    Obviously a Finance Man. Not an Engineer, Conductor, let alone a passenger. These types of SOBs only understand EBIT, sales and cashflow. They know nothing about quality and customer satisfaction. A cross country trip on Amtrak beats being packed like a sardine on a crummy, stinking airplane.

  • Spencer Gambill
    Spencer Gambill 6 days ago

    i dont even understand why it exists in most of the country

  • FreeSpeech Forever
    FreeSpeech Forever 6 days ago

    The greatest problem for Amtrak is that it has to rely largely on freight tracks. The money needed to have their own railroad would be prohibitive. Having someone who doesn't like trains is not a particularly helpful thing for the importance of the nationwide services of Amtrak. I suppose it's a wait and see situation.

  • David Schick
    David Schick 7 days ago

    I'd be shocked if 43 percent of their long-distance trains were on time. I don't think it's that high of a figure.

  • Julie Hansen
    Julie Hansen 7 days ago +1

    Honestly, the rest of the country is mooching off the northeast. The northeast corridor could cut prices by 25% or more and still be profitable and increase ridership if they weren’t carrying the damn west coast roots. Sorry, but if you want to take the train from New Orleans to California ( which is just ridiculous- book a flight) then you need to pay the true cost of this route, which is likely in the thousands of dollars.

    • airplanegod
      airplanegod 6 days ago

      Agreed, and the Northeast corridor is the only part of Amtrak making any money. Yet people on here are whining over "middle America" not getting train service. Most of those long haul routes are losing money.

  • Eric Taylor
    Eric Taylor 7 days ago +1

    In a country the size of the United States, trains simply can't complete with airplanes. You just can't beat the safety and speed of a wide body jet, not even with high speed rails.
    Even with the hassle of TSA and layovers, it's still faster to go by air than by plane, especially if you factor in safety.

  • Steven True
    Steven True 7 days ago

    0:31 dumping fuel illegally this was before LA incident

  • John Deltuvia
    John Deltuvia 7 days ago

    It's obvious what makes the NE corridor work: they have their own tracks. They invested and got a return on investment. Investing in new tracks on the state and national routes would make those routes profitable, just at it did for the NE corridor.

  • Kales Room
    Kales Room 7 days ago

    I think we spend way to much on military and we could have the best train service in the world

  • Tinil0
    Tinil0 7 days ago

    Ooof, I've taken one long haul journey on Amtrak (Portland to the middle of northern arizona) and it wasn't amazing but the one real big enjoyable part (Besides I suppose the view in times) was the meal service. Cutting that for prepackaged meals suuuuucks for customer experience.

  • Malcs GX
    Malcs GX 7 days ago

    He may not care about trains, but the passengers have already complained about the cutting of certain cars on certain trains...whereby losing money

  • Cheng Liu
    Cheng Liu 7 days ago

    No mention of the autotrain? That is one of the most lucrative routes they have.

    ERNEST OBENG 7 days ago +1

    All across the world public transportation provided by the government is not necessarily to make profit. Government run public transportation is to move people all across the country both in the big cities and the small towns so people will have transportation options wherever they need to be and not necessarily to make profit. Amtrak needs more funding from congress so they can improve the trains, tracks and their services. Every year congress approves billions and billions of dollars to the military for foreign operations so easily but funding for Amtrak, public transportation, medicare, Medicaid and other public services is always a hustle. America really need to get their priorities right.

  • Dan McFarling
    Dan McFarling 8 days ago

    This video has an incredibly long list of false statements. First, and most import, an issue that is NOT mentioned: All non-rail modes of transport are subsidized (aviation, road transport and waterway transport. Freight rail is the only mode of transport that does NOT receive significant subsidy. In fact, freight rail CONTRIBUTES to the tax base, and those railway tax dollars are used to help subsidize other modes of transport.

    Rail is the ONLY mode of transport that is generally expected to use private dollars to acquire new right of way (ROW), develop said ROW. maintain their ROW, provide signal system, policing and traffic control on their ROW. And they pay taxes on not only their ROW, but also on improvements to their ROW (as mentioned above, these tax dollars help subsidize all other modes). Aviation, road transport and inland waterway transport rely in part or in whole on public funding for their tax-free ROWs, traffic control and policing. In addition, many very significant indirect costs for aviation and road transport are NOT included when computing the costs of these modes. The health care, environmental and other social costs (including very significant costs associated with sprawl) of road transport are staggering.

    While an essential part of the rail system, the NE corridor does NOT "make a profit. Amtrak employs arbitrary and inappropriate budget gymnastics which arbitrarily spread "administrative and overhead costs" attributable to the NE Corridor that greatly inflate the costs of national or long distance trains. There is far more that needs to be said - but these long distance trains are in many respects, more cost-effective than the corridor trains - and would be even more efficient if they were better managed. Significant improvement would be realized if most national (or long distance) trains operated 2 or 3 times a day, rather than once/day.

  • Allen G
    Allen G 8 days ago

    "What's likely to happen in the near future" ~Wendover
    The most likely thing to happen in the near, far and medium future - any future - is that Amtrak will continue to live on the way it has for the last 50 years. They can't survive without congressional support. And to get that funding from congress, they need pork barrel routes like the LA - Chicago to keep rural state like KS and NM voting to give them funding.

  • jack torrence
    jack torrence 8 days ago

    With luminaries such as Hunter Biden on the board how can you lose?

  • GrimOxford
    GrimOxford 8 days ago

    Why not have the long distance trains also haul some freight? It could help make the route more profitable, while still allowing the train to haul passengers?

  • Alfred Molison
    Alfred Molison 8 days ago

    If Amtrak tries to become profitable by eliminating all of the unprofitable routes then they'll shortly discover that the remaining routes are unprofitable. The appearance of profitability in relation to passenger service is illusory. It's a public service that requires constant regular payment by government. Our society and businesses are better off because of that investment.

  • Alfred Molison
    Alfred Molison 8 days ago

    There's no way to make infrastructure profitable unless you are a private contractor charging the government. Railroad passenger service is like any other form of transportation the government has to massively subsidize it. Public buses, public highways, and publicly paid for airports and air traffic controllers are required. Airlines also get other hidden subsidies.

  • Ken Lewis
    Ken Lewis 8 days ago

    This channel has showed us how rural areas and small towns are heavily subsidized for air and train travel. These same people vote Republican crying that we need a small federal government. Someone please explain this apparent hypocrisy.

  • Virginia Tolles
    Virginia Tolles 8 days ago

    Mr. Anderson has said nothing his several predecessors haven't already said. Give me the NEC, and let the others die. That's not problem solving. Amtrak is funded by taxpayer dollars. That means all the taxpayers must have reasonable access to Amtrak's services, not just the NEC.

  • Nicholas
    Nicholas 9 days ago

    Great, and we all know what a great experience plane travel is...NOT!

  • Megaozojoe
    Megaozojoe 9 days ago

    I wonder how much of the growing revenue for Amtrak has been America's move away from cars and to public transportation. For years it has been reported that gen z is less interested in cars then ever.

  • SRMkay
    SRMkay 9 days ago +1

    Amtrak is as slow as driving and as expensive as a discount airline. I'll pass until something major changes

  • Don Bing
    Don Bing 9 days ago

    Total BS. Amtrak’s wierd non-GAAP accounting show the NEC as profitable. But on a direct-cost basis, would be a money pit. Likewise the long-distance trains make money. But because of allocations to subsidize the NEC, the long distance trains show a loss. WHO PAID FOR THIS NONSENSE? Anderson simply does not understand the nature of the rail passenger business. It is nothing like air travel. He needs to be replaced!

  • Amtrak Traveler911
    Amtrak Traveler911 9 days ago +3

    Richard Anderson needs to go. He is eliminating jobs and serving frozen microwavable meals. I want fresh cooked food on the trains.

    • airplanegod
      airplanegod 6 days ago

      Then pay more for it, stop having the taxpayer subsidize it. If I want a meal on a plane, I either pay for it in coach or get in in first with the price of my ticket. Either way, I pay for it, not the taxpayer who will never use it.

    • Ken Lewis
      Ken Lewis 8 days ago +2

      Amtrak Traveler911 - and the rest of us taxpayers should subsidize your preference for fresh food? Or are you willing to pay more for it?

  • Leland Rogers
    Leland Rogers 10 days ago +1

    Amtrak is not an airline! It was never meant to make a profit. It is public transport. Airlines are subsidized by taxes which pay for airports and their associated employees. Amtrak exists because private railroads knew that rail passenger traffic was not profitable.

  • mbryner74
    mbryner74 10 days ago +1

    Just think, what if the cargo planes got priority at airports. That's how Amtrack runs.
    I'd love to ride the trains in America, but when you have to drive to the bad part of town to get to the station, and the only train runs at 3 a.m., and the rolling stock looks like it's from the 1970s, what's the point??? To make it profitable you have to invest in it. Make enough connections that it's convenient, and make it go where you need it to. Buy modern rolling stock.
    The USA is backwards when it comes to trains. So sad.

  • Kilnmaster
    Kilnmaster 10 days ago

    Can you believe I took the "city of New Orleans" line from New Orleans to Chicago and on that train there was NO wifi....thats a great start AMTRAK fucking morons. where am I "the Philippines?" I was and still am so pissed off I will NEVER take that fucking train system again. GOOD job

  • P S
    P S 10 days ago +1

    yet here in europe our trains are millions of years ahead of the USA

  • O Flo
    O Flo 11 days ago

    I know Virgin is non union in Florida. Yeah, Delta Dick is letting go of state contracts like the California contracts.

  • RD4590
    RD4590 11 days ago

    You Americans call railway a communist thing. And you don't like to pay tax. That's why.

  • D M
    D M 11 days ago +1

    Love travelling with Amtrak when in the US. Went from Seattle to NYC with numerous stops and not one issue along the way