Amtrak focused on the wrong improvements

  • An Amtrak train tolls into in the Springfield station. RECORDER FILE/PAUL FRANZ

Monday, March 05, 2018

After reading the recent Recorder article from Jan. 30 on expanded Amtrak service in the Pioneer Valley, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the transportation planners actually USE Amtrak.

While I am a long-time supporter and consumer of rail service, I believe this proposed expansion may be premature.

On a recent trip to NYC, the train was over 2½ hours late. According to the article, this is not unusual. Of greater concern than mere lateness, though, is the number of recent crashes and derailments around the country.

Much of this may attributed to inadequate and aging trackage and much-needed technical upgrades. More like a third world nation than the US of A.

Adding more trains rather than addressing more fundamental infrastructure seems like putting the carriage before the (iron) horse. And poor service does not inspire the public to ride the rails: a downward spiral.

And one further observation: Besides a slow trip to NYC, I was dismayed to see how unsightly it was. Rather than a pleasant ride through the countryside, much of the route was strewn with abandoned equipment, rotting railroad ties, rubbish and weeds. No testament to success, either.

Celt C. Grant