Amtrak: The History and Politics of a National Railroad

By David C. Nice | Go to book overview

5
International Amtrak

In an increasingly interdependent world, international transportation capabilities have grown more and more important. Companies that require raw materials from abroad or depend heavily on foreign markets cannot survive without sound international transportation services. Business managers in firms with subdivisions or subsidiaries all over the world need fast and dependable access to those operations. International transportation enables individuals to reach better jobs, visit friends and relatives, and enjoy cultural amenities offered by other countries. No longer is international travel exclusively the province of the very rich, nor is international travel simply a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many people. 1

Although international transportation commonly evokes images of airplanes and ships, the automobile, bus, and passenger train account for many international trips each year around the world. This chapter will explore international services offered by the Amtrak system and the evolution of those services over time.


International Aspects of U.S. Passenger Rail Service

Over the years, America's private passenger railroads offered connections from the United States to Canada and Mexico. Travelers could choose from a variety of international routes, schedules, destinations, and accommodations during the period when private passenger rail service was most abundant generally. As private service declined, the international services declined as well, with only a few surviving the 1960s. 2

Although the Amtrak system began its life as an exclusively domestic transportation system, it developed an international flavor early on through the use of imported technology. As noted earlier, because private passenger railroads in the United States largely stopped investing in passenger equipment by the late 1950s, much of the most advanced passenger train

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Amtrak: The History and Politics of a National Railroad
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Creating Amtrak 1
  • Notes 12
  • 2 - Development: Building the System 15
  • Notes 28
  • 3 - Distribution: Who Gets Service? 31
  • Notes 42
  • 4 - The States: Reluctant Partners? 47
  • Notes 58
  • 5 - International Amtrak 61
  • Notes 69
  • 6 - Bringing Passengers on Board 71
  • Notes 78
  • 7 - The Balance Sheet 81
  • Notes 91
  • 8 - Amtrak: Worth the Cost? 93
  • Notes 103
  • Bibliography 107
  • Index 115
  • About the Book 119
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