Comment on A blueprint for Amtrak success from T4A Chair John Robert Smith by francis Manzo

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Best to put Amtrak on an “Asset Lite” model.

Since employee hiring and retention will always be a problem going forward due to demographics and work ethic, fewer employees will be the new normal. Perhaps better to convert all long-distance trains to Santa Fe’s El Capitan model (or UP”s Challenger) – coach only long-distance service. Less new equipment types would be needed, and all could be standardized for systemwide use. There is nothing in the law that says Amtrak has to provide sleeping car or dining car services.

Second best to privatize equipment maintenance and shops. Beach Grove may be better in another entity’s hands who will commit to passenger car equipment construction and repair. Shift work and responsibility others that want to do those services for profit. Catering is outsourced already to ARAmark.

If the northeast corridor is so profitable, perhaps another for-profit entity will purchase it and the proceeds used to purchase equipment for both long-distance and corridor services.

If maintenance on the northeast corridor infrastructure is expensive, better to transfer ownership and responsibility to a State Compact-USDOT entity. Then Amtrak management could concentrate its’ efforts on providing good quality passenger services for what rail lines it operates on.

Forget about operating on the nostalgia of the past passenger rail model, the future is going to be completely different.