Is This Any Way To Run A Railroad?

It's Judgment Day for Amtrak: the ailing system needs to speed up--or be shut down for good

Judging by the gaggle of travelers pouring onto trains over the Thanksgiving holiday, you might think that Amtrak is finally enjoying a smooth ride. But you would be wrong. Three decades after Congress created this poor stepchild from the remnants of the freight railroads' money-losing passenger business, Amtrak is closer than ever to derailing.

The Amtrak Reform Council, a federal oversight board, last month formally concluded what most observers have known for years: the nation's floundering passenger-train operator has no chance of becoming self-sufficient by the end of 2002, as Congress mandated five years ago. Now that it's clear Amtrak...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!