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Amtrak, America's Railroad
Transportation's Orphan and Its Struggle for Survival
by Geoffrey H. Doughty, Jeffrey T. Darbee and Eugene E. Harmon.
Clothbound with dust jacket, 7x10", 256 pages, 42 color illustrations. October 2021.
"Discover the story of Amtrak, America's Railroad, 50 years in the making.
"In 1971, in an effort to rescue essential freight railroads, the US government founded Amtrak.
"In the post–World War II era, aviation and highway development had become the focus of government policy in America. As rail passenger services declined in number and in quality, they were simultaneously driving many railroads toward bankruptcy. Amtrak was intended to be the solution.
"In Amtrak, America's Railroad: Transportation's Orphan and Its Struggle for Survival, Geoffrey H. Doughty, Jeffrey T. Darbee, and Eugene E. Harmon explore the fascinating history of this popular institution and tell a tale of a company hindered by its flawed origin and uneven quality of leadership, subjected to political gamesmanship and favoritism, and mired in a perpetual philosophical debate about whether it is a business or a public service. Featuring interviews with former Amtrak presidents, the authors examine the current problems and issues facing Amtrak and their proposed solutions.
"Created in the absence of a comprehensive national transportation policy, Amtrak manages to survive despite inherent flaws due to the public's persistent loyalty. Amtrak, America's Railroad is essential reading for those who hope to see another fifty years of America's railroad passenger service, whether they be patrons, commuters, legislators, regulators, and anyone interested in railroads and transportation history."
"Geoffrey Doughty joined the Operating department of Maine Central Railroad in 1974. After stints in Accounting and Engineering Departments, he was promoted to the Safety department in 1982 following the railroad's consolidation with the Boston & Maine and the Delaware & Hudson under Guilford ownership. He was later a safety consultant and safety director for two New England trucking associations.
"Jeffrey Darbee has recently completed a 46-year career in historic preservation and is the author of several books on historic architecture and railroad history. He resides in Columbus, Ohio.
"Now retired, Eugene Harmon worked for two major railroads in freight marketing and became an independent contractor in corporate restructuring, logistics management and market development. He has worked in Thailand on passenger and freight marketing and strategic development, and he has traveled by rail on four continents. He is a member of The Lexington Group where he has made a variety of presentations on logistics and transportation."
"Amtrak, America's Railroad is an engineering blueprint of Amtrak's past, with validation by many of the leaders who were instrumental in its development. It explores both successes and failures and their ramifications; and it shows that the issue of money alone has not solely contributed to Amtrak's "sawtooth" history of highs and lows. It is ideal reading for those with an interest in learning about Amtrak's past, its current state, and what its future could be.
~Ronald L. Batory, Administrator for the Federal Railroad Administration, retired
"I led a major freight railroad for 12 years, but the most asked question at social gatherings was, and still is, "Why don't we have better passenger service?" Now I can respond by recommending Amtrak, America's Railroad."
~David Goode, Former Chairman of Norfolk Southern and the Association of American Railroads
"This is a thorough and accurate account tracing the saga of Amtrak's ups and downs since its inception. After collecting input ranging from former Amtrak Presidents to line employees, passengers and government officials, the authors propose provocative changes to Amtrak's governance, administration and funding that they argue will enable Amtrak to take its rightful place as an effective and valued part of America's transportation system.
~Rob Krebs, Retired Chairman & CEO, BNSF