Living in the suburbs along the NE corridor and working in the city, I find that my life is rather affected by the goings-on of the American train industry. When work send me into downtown DC or Baltimore, I take the local commuter rail. If work sends me further out along the corridor, I take Amtrak (last minute along the NE, it is the best option). I believe that a successful train industry is needed to bring the whip down on the airlines to improve service. Automotive travel is just too different from the airlines to call them competitors. Granted, Amtrak has long gotten the short end of the federal funding stick. Federal funding is key to making broad improvements that would encourage riders to move from aircraft to trains. But, is that the only reason that the NE corridor is the only segment where Amtrak is even marginally profitable? I would have expected that Amtrak, with its control of the passenger rail lines, might have even some of the success that the freight industry enjoys. But, instead, they continually founder, only encouraging cuts as you have to question if the only reason to fund the trains is pork barrel spending. Losses are greater than ever, as prices continue to rise. Is it time for Amtrak to be privatized? Do we give Amtrak a massive dose of federal funding in a one time shot to try and get something going? Or is there something that Amtrak can do from the inside to improve itself? I know that the solution cannot be singular, but there has to be a greater weakness. I only ask all this because we are planning on celebrating Christmas at my sister-in-law's place in Utah (there is a long story about why we are looking for tickets now - I typed it up before I realized it's irrelevancy to the proceedings). Looking at leaving on Friday 12/21, getting home on 1/2, I noticed a drastic difference between trains and planes. Trains will give us 7 days there, planes 11. Travel cost per day of visit? $281 and $133. I did look at getting the Roomette on the train because of the long travel time, and First class on the plane because it was $20 more than coach. In the end, who would choose the train?