In response to:

Why Freight Rail Pays and Passenger Trains Flunk

Vladilyich Wrote: Apr 01, 2013 11:46 AM
I cannot understand why U.S. rail services continue to be major money pits. In my area of Canada we have two passenger services as well as a freight service. The national rail line VIA travels coast to coast at very reasonable rates. My wife and I are both legally blind and as long as we travel with a full-fare passenger, our tickets are free. We took VIA to Montreal and back last year at no charge. VIA is more than solvent. There is also a run from Toronto to New York City for under $50. It changes name to AMTRAK when it crosses the border at Niagara. We also have a commuter line (GO Train) that does short hops at very reasonable prices. I can ride from Guelph to Toronto for $13 and they are full. Greyhound is $32 each way.
Cepat2 Wrote: Apr 02, 2013 6:33 PM
Dear Sir, Here are the three grand laws of logistics - including passenger service;
1. There ain't no "free". Your ridership is subsidized by your fellow passengers, citizens, and taxpayers. I hope to say thank you to those around you every time you ride the train.
2. Every foot, every meter, every kilometer or mile costs money. There are no exceptions.
3. Freight costs drive everything. Unless the product can be transported electronically (software, ebooks, whatever) the governing costs will be transportation first, manufacturing next, and source of supply plus final place of rest period. Them's the rules of physics and no one is exempt.
dmacleo Wrote: Apr 01, 2013 4:14 PM
via subsidized and required by law to provide services.
its forced to do so.
True Conservative! Wrote: Apr 01, 2013 1:04 PM
Do you imagine that these aren't HEAVILY subsidized by the government? Do you think that riding for FREE isn't subsidized? Try a reality check!
Joe40 Wrote: Apr 01, 2013 12:58 PM
Freight lines pay their own way due to volume. You can get more boxed and/or palleted freight in a standard size rail car than you can people, and each individual box or pallet has to pay it's own way.
ctruax Wrote: Apr 01, 2013 12:09 PM
VIA is heavily government subsidized and without that does not make a profit. Also, for the long haul (coast to cast) it is quite expensive. Back in the day there was CN and CP passenger service which eventually became unprofitable. VIA rail was created by the government to try and preserve some passenger service. Taxation from many sources supports the rail service, which could not operate without this infusion of cash. Part of the $32 Greyhound fare you speak of goes to support your "free" rail tickets.
rickmcq Wrote: Apr 01, 2013 11:54 AM
Have you checked out the governmental regulations and union wages/rules for VIA versus Amtrak? This might lead you to your answer.
Forty years ago, American railroads were in trouble. The Penn Central, the largest railroad, had recently gone bankrupt.

American freight rail was technologically obsolescent and hamstrung by union rules and government rate regulation. American passenger rail was unprofitable and unreliable.

Freight rail was losing business to trucking firms. Passenger rail was losing out to cars on the new interstate highways and airplanes on long routes.

The past 40 years have seen a laboratory experiment on how to revive railroads. Government has gotten out of freight rail, while passenger rail has become largely a public sector function.

We've had a chance to...