Amtrek has turned back the pages of history to learn how early innovators solved some of the same problems we confront today. What we've discovered may help bring Amtrek up to speed with the 20th century.
(Later, we'll worry about how to face the 21st Century.)
Amtrek may cut expenses is by reducing the physical size of tracks and
rolling stock. Even many historians have forgotten that most early trains
were quite small. In fact, the original transcontinental railroad was
hardly bigger than today's "garden railway." This archive photo shows the famous meeting of the
rails in 1869 at Exclamation Point, Colorado. President
Grover Cleveland drives the bronze spike.
(The unidentified man on the left is Gordon Danfrey, President of the Atlantic Western Railway.)
|Amtrek is reducing our dependence upon ticket revenue by carrying more freight. The problem? Not enough Express and baggage cars. This drawing (circa 1825) shows how we might use our rolling stock more efficiently by relocating Guest seating to the exterior of cars. (All mail and freight could be stowed safely inside coaches and sleepers, sheltered from the harsh elements.) According to newspaper accounts from that era, passengers found that the open-air seating provided "an unparalleled scenic vantage point and invigorating ride, especially in the chill winter months."|
|When breakdowns occur, Amtrek trains often sit for hours while rescue engines are dispatched. This could be avoided by simply permitting Guests to assist in moving the stalled locomotive. After all, why delay an entire train when three or four sturdy women can do the job? This news photo shows several passengers pulling the disabled "Anthracite Limited" into Scranton, Pennsylvania in July 1934.||
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