A dangerous relationship; how BNSF will end Amtrak

“Our records indicate that you are scheduled to depart on Amtrak train number 28 from St.-Paul-Minneapolis-Minnesota at 8:00AM on Friday August 8 and arriving in La-Crosse-Wisconsin.
That schedule has been affected by late-operations. Alternate transportation is being provided over some or all of your route. To speak to an Amtrak representative about travel options call us at 8772319448 at your earliest convenience.

We apologize for any inconvenience and want to thank you for being a valued Amtrak customer.

Amtrak”  preston

Amtrak PDF: Amtrak Empire Builder Detours in North Dakota to Speed …
A dangerous relationship; how BNSF will end Amtrak,

Recently, times couldn’t be harder for Amtrak. The passenger train empire has been delayed indefinitely because of crude oil and fracking freight in North Dakota and Montana. As if America’s transit infrastructure couldn’t get worse, ironically so, it has. As we speak, passengers suffer major delays throughout the country while BNSF halts passenger travel for freight with priority, dangerously so; Amtrak pulls to the side as non-renewable resources are transferred nationwide, these detours and pull-offs create increasing stays at the station.

Generally, I take Amtrak for transit out of the Twin Cities area, to southern Minnesota. As I am not a car owner, the prospect of any bus, plane, or rail travel is ideal, and more environmentally sound than said car, yet if it doesn’t serve its purpose as a timely institute it lacks the one quality it relies on; movement.

Several times I have attempted to take Amtrak and each attempt varied only in wait time: a possible “three hour” delay, and a new list of excuses. One thing that remained the same was: we took a bus. The last time this happened, I took the opportunity to inquire as to why. The melancholic voice on the line described how he was unsure if he would have a job at Amtrak in a year because of delays caused by BNSF; passengers were keen to the plights of rail travel, and profit numbers were down. I hung up the phone with nostalgic thoughts of young America confident in its punctual mode of transportation; the locomotive.

It is truly sad to comprehend that the very thing that started the expansion of this great nation, the U.S., will get brought to a screeching halt by the depletion of natural resources and the need for corporate expansion. The Amtrak attendant explained that once the oil fields dry up the tracks will run smoothly again, because BNSF owns the rails on which that stretch of land (North Dakota and Montana) sits, and the land the rails sit on- that being said,  they won’t allow Amtrak to build on their land. It seems a futile enterprise.

Apparently BNSF is building an alternative track for freight; however that remains to be seen.

Amtrak has to realize that complimentary donuts and bottled water won’t make up for trains not being in at the station; and buses are not trains. The slap in the face comes when buses are sitting outside of the station and  trains are sitting near oil rigs, or near fracking sites, in another state; Amtrak attendants had previous knowledge and neglected to mention this on the ticket sight.

Why won’t America prioritize progressive and environmentally friendly travel- travel that America built itself on?

Is it because of natural resources and the money made from the sales of?

Irony comes hard when one must take a car over train travel because the resources that fuel that car are holding up passengers trains at the station.

Has the need for more seized the growth of railway transit in America, or have we neglected the very thing that could promote better transit throughout the nation?

I thought of this on a bus sitting at a train crossing waiting for BNSF freight cars to go by while our train sat in another state, this was in Winona, MN.

2 responses to “A dangerous relationship; how BNSF will end Amtrak

  1. Sorry, but both the title and information contained in the article are wrong. While the route in question (the Empire Builder) is dependent on BNSF track use for it’s existence, Amtrak is not. The dollar amount of subsidies for has declined the last 3 years and is expected to again next year and ridership is at an all-time high. BNSF already HAS done a considerable amount of construction on additional track and passing sidings to accommodate both the increased freight traffic and Amtrak. Thankfully for him/her you did not name the misinformed Amtrak employee who provided the incorrect information, as they probably WOULD be out of work.

    However, the REAL reason for these delays is quite simple – the D.C. Circuit decision which gutted the 2008 Passenger Rail Investment And Act. As a part of that legislation, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Amtrak were tasked jointly develop minimum standards for measuring the performance of passenger train operations. Freight railroads are SUPPOSED to give priority to passenger trains, and for the next several years after this act was passed, passenger on-time service improved dramatically. Unfortunately, since the D.C. Circuit decision, freight railroads have essentially ignored this priority mandate, with the result being a huge drop in on-time performance.

    Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review this decision and, with any luck, the act will be reinstated and the delays will cease almost overnight (there is a significant financial penalty for intentionally forcing passenger trains to be late).

    I understand your frustration, but get your facts right.


  2. Firstly, thank you for reading. The intent of the article was to spread thought, it was not to prove subjective idea, but to show objective perspective- and to make a prediction (whether right or wrong).

    I appreciate your comment, however I am uncertain about a few claims within your first paragraph…

    Direct me to this information:
    “The dollar amount of subsidies for has declined the last 3 years and is expected to again next year and ridership is at an all-time high.”


    Although this appears subjective, and your opinion, what does “considerable” mean in respect to the article, and can you direct me to said information? The word is simply loose.
    “BNSF already HAS done a considerable amount of construction on additional track and passing sidings to accommodate both the increased freight traffic and Amtrak.”

    I just want to get the “facts” straight.

    Thank you,



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