Uncertain train schedules
As a loyal Amtrak rider who commutes twice a week to Boston from Mystic by train, I was happy with the publication of the article, “The battle that will determine the future of American passenger rail,” (July 10), regarding the challenges on expanding passenger trains throughout the United States. However, the article left out an important detail which I believe is essential to understand current environment of the railroad industry.
The Class 1 freight railroads have been transitioning from operating scheduled freight trains to precision scheduled railroading. Unlike in the past where the railroads would couple cars into a long freight train and run them on a set timetable, freight railroads now move freight cars on a schedule set by shippers. This practice, which enables supply chains and just-in-time delivery, has accelerated over the past couple of years due to the vast backlogs of freight in US ports. This not only makes scheduling a passenger train which operates the same timetable daily more difficult, but also creates havoc on the lives of railroad crews, as many are now required to spend days "on call" with only a two-hour notice of being required to work.