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Why U.S. rail travel is so expensive

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Amtrak’s Acela is the fastest passenger train within the Western Hemisphere, but tickets may be pricey.

Amtrak fares can vary dramatically within the Northeast, home of probably the most heavily used stretch of track within the railroad’s nationwide network, which also includes stops in Canada.

But tickets are sometimes dearer than plane tickets, despite flight times being much shorter than the everyday train ride. Transportation researchers say Amtrak’s fares within the Northeast are higher than those for comparable systems.

Meanwhile, the federally owned and funded Amtrak has not made money in its five-decade history.

Ridership numbers and funds were strengthening before the coronavirus pandemic. A former executive said that in early 2020 the corporate was on its technique to its first profitable 12 months in its history. The pandemic tanked ridership and dashed those hopes.

But now Amtrak has reasons to be bullish about its future. In November 2021 the federal government allotted Amtrak $66 billion to upgrade equipment and repair and expand its network. Amtrak wants to extend ridership by 20 million annually, and expand into areas across the country with fast-growing populations but little passenger rail service. States akin to Texas, Florida and Arizona are all prime candidates.

Watch the video to learn more.

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