The Bright Future of U.S. Passenger Rail

High-speed rail may still be a distant vision in the United States, but conventional passenger rail is having a resurgence.

1 minute read

November 14, 2023, 10:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Close-up of old-fashioned trains departure board with yellow text on black background in Boston, Massachusetts train station.

JCG / Adobe Stock

Writing in Fast Company, Benjamin Schneider offers a hopeful vision of U.S. passenger rail, which is being infused with historic levels of federal funding. Schneider admits that the $66 billion federal investment in trains “will not yield revolutionary changes to passenger rail,” it will help improve and expand service for many U.S. train riders. “On several rail-friendly corridors—big city pairs less than 300 miles apart—train travel will go from an eccentric travel option to a perfectly logical one.”

Pointing to new train cars on Amtrak’s Midwestern lines, Schneider writes, “State-of-the-art rolling stock is the most vivid sign that train travel is no nostalgia trip. It’s modern, it’s efficient, it’s comfortable, and it’s only getting better.”

Schneider points out that improvements to conventional rail—rather than the more glamorous high-speed rail—“will cumulatively impact the lives of many more Americans, much sooner, than multigenerational infrastructure projects like California High-Speed Rail.”

The article lists several impactful projects in states across the country, such as Colorado’s new Front Range Line, expanded service between St. Paul and Chicago, and improvements to a popular Southern California train line threatened by coastal erosion.

Friday, November 10, 2023 in Fast Company

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