1950’s, Interstate Commerce Commission forced private railroad companies to keep open lines which were losing money, and set rates instead of letting market decide.
Unions helped cripple railroad companies. Even though the job of stoking the old steam engines had been eliminated, railroad unions fought for 35 years to keep firemen in diesel locomotives.
After helping to destroying the industry, the government (Nixon and Congress) nationalized it in 1970 and created Amtrak.
The “Father of Amtrak” Anthony Haswell later said “I feel personally embarrassed over what I helped to create.”
Joseph Vranich (former Amtrak spokesman and rail expert): “Amtrak is a massive failure because it’s wedded to a failed paradigm. It runs trains that serve political purposes as opposed to being responsive to the marketplace. America needs passenger trains in selected areas, but it doesn’t need Amtrak’s antiquated route system, poor service and unreasonable operating deficits.”