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LETTER: Do we want passenger rail service?

By Staff | Jun 1, 2018

It has come to my attention that the current Board of Directors and the CEO of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation a/k/a AMTRAK would just as soon eliminate all long distance trains in America. They cite costs, aging equipment and safety concerns as their reasons behind this misguided thinking. This also means that the Board wants to eliminate the Empire Builder that stops in our community twice a day.

The Empire Builder served over 100,000 passengers in North Dakota in 2017. Here in rural America, Amtrak is a safe, reasonable costing and somewhat dependable method of transportation for young and old. We need and use Amtrak.

The Board is also considering eliminating sleepers and hot food service on long distance trains. These are reasons that passengers use these trains in addition to getting to where they want to go.

Our communities have been faithful supporters of AMTRAK through the years of turmoil. It is now time again, to stand up and be counted for support of this passenger rail system in our county. Contract our Members of Congress and urge them to support the maintenance of the Empire Builder and the rest of the long distance trains in the system and in AMERICA. I have written to each United States Senator from Illinois to Washington and all states in between. Many of them have spoken up and challenged the Amtrak Board about their thinking. It is important that we keep the NATIONAL in the National Railroad Passenger Corporation and not just the east and west coast service corridors.

We need your help to keep the Builder and other long distance trains rolling across our country.

Dale G. Niewoehner

Former Mayor


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