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Amtrak

Amtrak began operating passenger service across the US in 1971. In the case of New Jersey, it assumed operations of the Penn-Central routes throughout the Garden State.

All railroads operating inter-city passenger service were given the opportunity to join Amtrak. In New Jersey at that time, the Reading, Jersey Central, Erie-Lackawanna, Penn Central and Path all provided passenger service. Out of those, only the Erie-Lackawanna and Penn Central operated long distance trains. Due to the buy-in costs associated with joining, the Erie-Lackawanna realized that passenger service on its routes were numbered and opted out.

Amtrak's original participants were:

  1. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe
  2. Baltimore & Ohio
  3. Burlington Northern
  4. Central of Georgia
  5. Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific
  6. Chicago & Northwestern
  7. Delaware & Hudson
  8. Grand Truck Western
  9. Gulf, Mobile & Ohio
  10. Illinois Central
  11. Louisville & Nashville
  12. Missouri Pacific
  13. Norfolk & Western
  14. Northern Pacific
  15. Penn Central
  16. Richmond, Fredricksburg & Potomac
  17. Southern Pacific
  18. Union Pacific

A few railroads continued to operate passenger service for several more years before joining Amtrak. The most interesting was the Southern. The Southern viewed its passenger trains as a great source of pride. The idea of letting go was tough. But, in 1979 during a change in upper management, the Southern became the last Class-1 railroad to stop running passenger service.

In addition to the Southern, the Chicago, Rock Island & Western; Denver, Rio Grande & Western; and the Georgia Railroad later joined.

What's left:

Amtrak does not have a major facility base in New Jersey. It operates trains on the Northeast Corridor and owns that trackage through New Jersey. In addition, it operates out of most of the Pennsylvania's old stations along that route. But, with the exception of Metro Park in Islin, not much has been added since the Pennsylvania.

For More Information:

The Official Amtrak Home Page

It's tough to find a good book on Amtrak. Most books I've seen are more interested in documenting Amtrak's problems that giving information.

(c) 2000 - Phil Paone