A library of documents drafted by the Association focusing on Amtrak business lines and public transportation policy.

North Coast Hiawatha Restoration: A Solid Return For Taxpayers And Business

This 2021 research note, an assessment of the restoration plan proposed by the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority, studies the economic impact of the return of Amtrak service along the Southern Tier of Montana.

So Much to So Many for So Little

A 2019 white paper by the Rail Passengers Association that outlines the benefits of daily passenger train service on the I-10 corridor between Los Angeles and New Orleans, also know as Amtrak's Sunset Limited.

Research Note: Impacts from a Second Train to Minnesota

2019 assessment of an Amtrak feasibility study for a new train to St.Paul, Minnesota from Chicago, Illinois. By diverting thousands of car trips and inducing new travel and spending that would not otherwise take place, a new, second daily train between Chicago and the Twin Cities could generate total annual economic returns in the range of eight- to ten- times Minnesota’s annual net spending to support the service.

Bustituted: The Socioeconomic Impacts of Replacing Southwest Chief Service Over Raton Pass

2018 socioeconomic study that estimates direct economic impacts, indirect social impacts, and the effects of replacing Southwest Chief passenger rail service with Bus Bridge Service (BBS) in New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas using numbers that Amtrak provided along with its proposal for BBS along Raton Pass.

Amtrak's Route Accounting: Fatally Flawed, Misleading & Wrong

2018 Association critique of Amtrak's Performance Tracking reporting system.

Dismantling A National Transportation Network

2017 economic report from NARP that looks at the Trump Administration’s FY2018 budget proposal, which calls for eliminating Amtrak’s long distance passenger rail service while preserving service for the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and state supported routes.

NARP President's Report: What the FAST Act Means (March 2016)

NARP President Jim Mathew's report on the FAST Act, presented to members of the Mid-Atlantic Division and ESPA.

Long Distance Trains: A Foundation for National Mobility

A signature NARP White Paper on the efficiency and critical importance of the often maligned long distance national network passenger trains

Fact Sheet: Trains & the Economy

2015 edition of NARP's analysis of the economic benefits of passenger rail investment. Shows how investing in trains promotes greater mobility and economic development, generates new jobs, encourages energy efficiency and enhances Americans’ standard of living.

New York–Buffalo– Cleveland–Chicago Corridor Improvement Proposal

Like so many parts of the country, a corridor full of potential is served by one train a day, the Lake Shore Limited, leaving much of its population literally in the dark. Really, there should be at least four trains a day-- and this is why

Transport Cost Analysis

A Summary of Victoria Policy Institute's excellent dismemberment of the oft unquestioned concept that current North American transportation choices are the result of free market outcomes

Five Reasons Conservatives Should Support Passenger Trains

Yes, public investment in passenger trains advances many key elements of the Conservative Agenda.

Tax Policy and Transportation: A Case Study in Michigan

"One unforeseen problem with both Amtrak in general and the state supported trains was that they were funded by annual appropriations with no dedicated operating or capital funding. This meant an annual fight for survival against “free-market” advocates who forgot about the massive subsidies to highways which caused the decline in passenger trains in the first place."

Freedom and Transportation

"So while effective policy making is about enabling people access to choice, it seems that American policy makers have gotten myopic the role they play in enabling these choices. The boom in automobile use necessarily led to more roads and highways; but at some point legislators forgot that this growth didn’t occur in a vacuum, and their road legislation played a key role part in encouraging it. Returning balance to the U.S. transportation network means investing in the modes we’ve neglected, like passenger trains and transit. Not just for the benefits specific to passenger trains. By balancing investment in infrastructure, we can develop a clearer understanding of the role government plays in directing the movement of people and goods, and move away from a view of roads and highways as a natural extension of the free market."

Sleeping Car Revenues Keep Operating Subsidies Low

Sleeping Car revenues are pure gravy for Amtrak. The cost of operating solely coach long distance trains would be far greater than what is currently paid now. Furthermore, there is pent-up demand for sleeping car service wherever it is offered, indicating a great need to expand such operations. To do so would only help the bottom line of the railroad.

"Food For Thought" as published in Railway Interiors International

"Studies claiming that Amtrak’s lounge and dining car services “lose” money make the mistake of analyzing them as restaurants. That’s the wrong business model. The correct model can be found in the hospitality industry – bed and breakfast operations and that part of the hotel industry that has followed their lead. Operators provide food and beverages free of charge. While this strategy would put any restaurant out of business quickly, it makes economic sense in the hospitality industry because food & beverage service helps sell something of greater value – rooms. Similarly, in the passenger train business, lounge and dining car service helps sell something of greater value – tickets."

A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s Future

As the average number of miles driven by Americans heads into its eighth year of decline, a new report from the U.S. PIRG Education Fund finds that the slowdown in driving is likely to continue. Baby Boomers are moving out of the phase in their life when they do the most commuting, while driving-averse Millennials move into that phase. These demographic changes and other factors will likely keep driving down for decades, according to the report.

Trends and Market Forces Shaping Small Community Air Service in the United States

This study, undertaken by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, shows that most airports have seen a reduction in scheduled domestic flights over the past six years as a result of a difficult global economic climate and a U.S. recession, high and volatile fuel prices, and a recent trend of “capacity discipline” strategies by major airlines. The nation’s small- and medium-sized airports have been disproportionally affected by these reductions in service, and recent airline behavior appears to signal a trend towards consolidation of service at the largest airports with fewer direct flights available from smaller airports.

America Must Build Interstate High-Speed Rail

Thomas Dorsey, SoulOfAmerica, March 2013. 7-part series with a host of arguments for building new high-speed rail lines, following the model of the Interstate Highway System, to supplement existing passenger service the same way the Interstates supplemented the pre-existing US Highway network.

Midwest High-Speed Rail Supply Chain

Environmental Law & Policy Center, February 2013. 28-page report detailing the supply chain that has developed to support passenger rail in the Midwest, highlighting potential benefits to the U.S. manufacturing that would come with increased investment in trains.

Opportunity Cost of Inaction: High-Speed Rail and High-Performance Passenger Rail in the United States

American Public Transportation Association, July 2012. 30-page report detailing the cost savings in highway and aviation construction and maintenance, and the mobility and economic benefits, that would come from a more robust intercity passenger train network in the US.

Amtrak's Long-Distance Trains

Amtrak Product Development Chief Brian Rosenwald's April 2012 Presentation to the Rail Users Network's National Conference This 16-page PDF (presented as a PowerPoint) outlines improvements that Amtrak is making to its fleet and the quality of on-board service, including food and beverage. It also has conceptual design images of the single-level dining and sleeping cars currently on order from CAF USA and scheduled to start being delivered in late 2013.

US Transportation Secretary LaHood Praises April 2012 Kansas City Passenger Rail Symposium

In his official blog, The Fast Lane, Secretary Ray LaHood touts passenger trains in general, and specifically the proposed train connecting Fort Worth, Oklahoma City, Newton and Kansas City. NARP President Ross Capon was one of the panelists at the April 5, 2012 symposium, organized by the Northern Flyer Alliance.

Mobility & Economic Benefits of Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer

This Texas Transportation Institute study goes over the benefits of Amtrak’s Oklahoma City-Fort Worth Heartland Flyer to the economies of on-line communities and the mobility freedom of their residents, and reports the results of surveys of Flyer riders.

Amtrak Hiawathas Model Mobility Benefits of Passenger Trains

Based on surveys of riders on-board Amtrak’s Hiawathas and of transfer passengers at Milwaukee General Mitchell Airport Station, the Texas Transportation Institute concludes that “As part of a fully integrated multimodal intercity corridor, passenger rail can provide a number of measurable impacts on urban, regional, and national mobility,” including by giving greater Chicago more access to (often less expensive) air service.

Highway Air Much Dirtier Than Subway Air

After monitoring levels of fine particulates in the air while riding Los Angeles Metro Red Line (below ground) and Gold Line (aboveground light rail) trains, and on Southern California freeways, a University of Southern California professor concludes that, while the Red Line’s air is a bit dirtier than the Gold Line’s (and that of an average spot in metropolitan L.A.), the freeway air has “five to 10 times higher” concentrations of particulates than a typical urban site.

Secretary Ray LaHood Asks Rail Advocates to Maintain Momentum

Transcript and link to audio recording of US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s address to NARP leaders and supporters during the Association’s 2011 Capitol Hill Reception.

Regional Passenger Rail Transport in Europe: An Overview and Comparison of Organisation and Responsibilities

This report, prepared by the German Association of Rail Passenger Authorities, details the organizational and financial differences of regional rail systems in 25 member countries of the European Union as well as Norway and Switzerland. Many thanks to our friends at the Verkehrs-Club der Schweiz for sharing this report!

Five Myths about Gas Prices

This piece by Robert Rapier appeared in the Washington Post’s Outlook section on March 27, 2011. Rapier explains why gas prices are on the rise and how Europeans have been living well despite much higher gas prices for decades (a more robust passenger train and transit network is a key piece).

Quantifying Intercity Trains’ Economic Benefits

A study commissioned by the Michigan Department of Transportation concludes that the three Amtrak routes serving Michigan bring over $62 million in direct economic benefit to the state each year, breaking this down by route and by type of benefit.

Presentations Given to the NARP Council

Presentations and talks given by distinguished invited guest speakers before NARP’s Council of Representatives at its twice-yearly meetings:

Legislators, Business and Nonprofit Leaders Urge Indiana Governor to Develop Passenger Rail

Encouraged by the high-speed rail funds in the Recovery Act, a group of state legislators, business leaders and leaders of health, transit and environmental nonprofits wrote [PDF] to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) on March 27, pushing him to seek federal funding for passenger train improvements. (In a July 1 letter to NARP members in Indiana, NARP Council Member Steven Coxhead of Hammond has urged NARP members to contact the governor and state legislators directly.)

Restoring Rail Service between New Orleans and Florida

A resolution passed October 20, 2006, by the Southern Rapid Rail Transit Commission that pledges “to work with Amtrak in support of planning, funding, and implementation of new regional intercity passenger rail service east of New Orleans” and (NEW!) a letter from SRRTC to Amtrak CEO Alex Kummant urging Amtrak not to formally discontinue the Sunset Limited.An April 25, 2007 letter from SRRTC Executive Director Karen Parsons to Amtrak President and CEO Alex Kummant urging Amtrak not to formally discontinue the Sunset Limited and to work with SRRTC on establishment of corridor service. Click here to read the letter

A resolution passed by the Southern Rail Rapid Transit Commission

that pledges “to work with Amtrak in support of planning, funding, and implementation of new regional intercity passenger rail service east of New Orleans.” Click here to read the resolution (requires Adobe Reader)

Poll After Poll: Americans Want Trains!

Opinion polls show that Americans want more, better, faster, and convenient passenger trains. Here’s a compilation of such polls over recent years.

Open Letter from Dr. Vukan R. Vuchic to Secretary Mineta

Dr. Vuchic is a UPS Foundation Professor of Transportation Systems Engineering and Professor of City & Regional Planning at University of Pennsylvania. He is a widely-recognized authority on intercity passenger rail. There are three letters on this page (from top to bottom): Vuchic’s May 23, 2006 letter to Mineta, Mineta’s July 3 response to Vuchic, and Vuchic’s July 28 response to Mineta and Mineta’s sucessor.

Economic Benifits of Empire Builder to Montana

A 2003 study by the Montana Department of Transportation that outlines the economic benefits Amtrak’s Empire Builder to state of Montana

Future rail expansion in North Carolina

A page on the North Carolina DOT Rail website that discusses future service expansions to western and southeastern North Carolina.

Letter with 27 House Republican Signatures - February 16, 2006

Requesting full funding of Amtrak’s fiscal 2007 appropriation request.

Letter from House T&I Democratic Members to Amtrak Chairman Laney

Democratic members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure demand answers from Amtrak Chairman David Laney about the termination of David L. Gunn as Amtrak’s President and CEO.

Letter from Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) to Secretary Mineta

Rep. Corrine Brown responds to Secretary Mineta’s statement that Amtrak is a “systemic failure”

Letter from Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) to Amtrak Chairman David Laney

Rep. Corrine Brown responds to a meeting with Chairman Laney regarding the Amtrak Board’s actions to create a subsidiary to operate the Northeast Corridor

DOT Inspector General’s Report

November 22, 2004 Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (DOT-OIG) Congressionally-mandated report on the state of Amtrak.

» Letter with 21 House Republican Signatures - March 3rd, 2005
» Letter with 19 Governors’ Signatures - July 9-22, 2004
» Letter with 35 Senate Signatures - February 14, 2005
» Letter with 51 Senate Signatures - August 20, 2004
» Letter with 219 House Signatures - June 26, 2003
» Letter with 19 Senate Signatures - February 5, 2003
» Letter with 163 House Signatures - February 3, 2003
» Letter with 50 Senate Signatures - June 25, 2002
» Letter with 52 Senate Signatures - June 17, 2002
» Letter with 162 House Signatures - June 6, 2002
» Letter with 51 Senate Signatures - March 19, 2002