Ladies and Gentlemen:
We at Rails Inc are alarmed about the possible upcoming change to the route of Belen alternative. Unless states along the current route come up with enough money to rebuild and maintain the route, Amtrak says it will shift service to the more southerly route through Texas and Oklahoma.’s . We think the present alignment serves more people than does the proposed Wichita / Amarillo /
While we’re grateful for the BNSF’s kindly attitude toward hosting Amtrak on its tracks, including the Transcon, we think most people are missing the core issue here: Not Enough Track.
We boast comprehensive and pervasive, publicly funded, highway and air infrastructures, hosting both public and private rolling stock. Not a bad way of doing things. But--- our Rail infrastructure is worse than the opposite: privately owned tracks and signals hosting (sometimes reluctantly) one undersized publicly funded national passenger railroad. There are two solutions to the Southwest Chief and most other passenger Rail problems:
Short Term: Allocate the necessary funds to buy and hold the endangered trackage in western Kansas, SE Colorado and the northern half of New Mexico.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is no boondoggle or waste of the taxpayers’ money. This is a shrewd investment. Rail affords remarkable fuel / energy economy, long vehicle life, long infrastructure life, low maintenance, “greener” materials, safety, reliability and sensible re-development of city centers, first-ring suburbs, and ailing rural areas. It also costs less to put in and carries a lot more people on much less right of way land than do the other modes. And people just like trains!
Oh--- and do you think gas will stay below $3 / gallon forever?
Think strategic, ladies and gentlemen, and the public (and someday history itself) will praise you. Everybody needs reliable passenger Rail, not excluding Wichita and Amarillo.