Track to the Future: Passenger Trains in Today's World


When Amtrak began operating in 1971 they operated about 150 trains a day. Now that number has doubled. NTV's Jacklyn Ryan took a look at how passenger trains operate today for part two NTV's series "Track to the Future."

The California zephyr arrives at 2:34 in the morning in Holdrege.

One lady says she would rather wait for this train during these early hours, as opposed to flying in the sky.

Amtrak passenger Jim Omara takes trains for the scenery.

"The ride form Holdrege to California is the best ride there is because you go through the mountain ranges," Omara said.

Cost, safety and scenery are some of the reasons people choose the train, but sometimes it is the only option. Especially during the winter months.

"People in Chicago who make their way to the east coast are always surprised to see that there are block signs they put across I–80 or US 30 when the weather gets too bad in the middle of the country," Marc Magliari, Amtrak spokesman said.

When severe weather hits, Amtrak counts on the BNSF company to keep tracks in good condition.

"The only thing that would keep us from moving would be an extreme snow storm; we're talking 6 feet to 10 feet," Mark Davis, Union Pacific spokesman said.

When flights are delayed and roads are closed, the trains push on. In the end, Amtrak alone draws in more than 31 million people a year.