Upscale sight-seeing tours, new products from Amtrak, and planned high-speed routes are making U.S. train travel more comfortable and convenient.
By Barbara Peterson, September 7, 2021
Rail is on a roll, thanks to a new emphasis in Washington on infrastructure and the environment.
These efforts are boosting not just Amtrak’s fortunes, but those of private sector high-speed rail projects across the U.S. But will American travelers reap the benefits—as in, better and more reliable trains?
Train journeys have long been viewed as more sophisticated than traveling by either road or air, but train travel in the U.S. has long lagged behind Europe and Asia, where intercity trains are both high speed and high quality experiences.
In contrast, Amtrak has been plagued by aging rolling stock (some of its rail cars date back almost to its inception 50 years ago) and sagging on-time performance. That’s because the quasi-public company has spent much of its history battling congressional critics who’ve periodically voted to slash the line’s federal funding, arguing it’s a waste of taxpayer money.