As Amtrak Proposes Changes to Long-Distance Trains, Passenger Rail Advocates Sound the Alarm

By Justin Franz, Flathead Beacon; August 30, 2018

Passenger rail advocates are raising concerns about changes to Amtrak’s long-distance trains that they believe could negatively impact the railroad’s national network, including the Empire Builder.

Since spring, Amtrak has made a number of cuts to save money. Out east, it replaced traditional dining-car service on two long-distance trains with pre-prepared boxed meals. It eliminated local employees at more than a dozen stations across the country, including in Havre and Shelby, meaning passengers boarding at those stops could not buy tickets in person or get any help with luggage. It also eliminated or drastically changed a number of long-standing discounts, including those enjoyed by students, veterans, seniors and AAA members. And it has proposed substituting a large section of the Southwest Chief route (a daily passenger train from Chicago to Los Angeles) with a bus through Colorado and New Mexico.

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