American rail campaigners are backing a new five-year strategic plan for Amtrak which involves no service cuts.

Amtrak, the national rail passenger service, has been under attack for years by a group of mainly right-wing politicians.

Now the National Association of Railroad Passengers is calling on the public and more enlightened politicians to back Amtrak's plans and to ensure that in future the passenger network grows, not shrinks.

NARP is also urging Congress and the Bush Administration to develop a "meaningful" transportation policy that addresses the railroad crisis.

"Amtrak highlights the need for the federal government to step forward as a funding partner," said NARP Executive Director Ross B Capon.

NARP also continues to endorse Amtrak's goals to return its existing system - both rolling stock and infrastructure - to a state of good repair.

The new strategic plan identifies track segments where Amtrak service is threatened due to possible track abandonment or downgrading.

One major segment is the 703-mile BNSF line between Newton and Dodge City, Kansas; La Junta and Trinidad, Colorado; and Albuquerque. This is a vital part of Amtrak's Southwest Chief route, but also serves as an important safety valve for the freight network when BNSF's main route via Amarillo, Texas, is

In a briefing on 29 June 2004, Amtrak presented a map showing routes where freight congestion due to track capacity problems causes serious delays.

State officials from Washington, North Carolina and California reiterated that future plans that depend on federal funding.

NARP is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organisation that works
for more and better passenger train service in the U.S.

The Amtrak plan may be view on the web at:

Click on "FY 2005-2009 Amtrak Strategic Plan," the second link.

Information from Ross Capon
Email: rcapon at
National Association of Railroad Passengers
900 — 2nd St., N.E., Suite 308
Washington, DC 20002-3557
narp at
202/408-8362, fax 202/408-8287