Here’s how US train travel went from excellent to mediocre.
By Dean Peterson, Jul 18, 2023, 11:15am EDT
If you’ve taken the Amtrak recently, you might have no idea that the United States used to have the largest and wealthiest rail system in the world. How did the US go from having luxurious, widely used passenger trains to the Amtrak system we have today?
Video producer Dean Peterson makes a 72-hour journey on Amtrak from LA to NYC to show its current state of operation. From getting kicked in the head by his sleeping seatmate to taking in sweeping views of the desert at sunset, Dean shows the highs and lows of being stuck on Amtrak for days on end.
Along the way, he explains the history of passenger rail in the US — starting in the problematic robber baron era to the US government’s takeover of passenger rail. Will the United States ever catch up to the rest of the world when it comes to train travel, or are Americans stuck with an underfunded, inefficient rail network forever? Join Dean on his journey as he sets out to find the answers to these questions and more.