The Scale of Amtrak

Recently there has been some talk about passenger railways in the USA lately, the new president is even nick-named Amtrak Joe. You would think that Amtrak, the corporation that handles passenger railways in the US would be a big company. It is not.

Consider this, Amtrak has 306 locomotives and 30 Multiple-Units (MUs). The Swiss Federal Railways has 338 locomotives and 640 MUs. The Swiss Federal Railways also handles cargo trains (which Amtrak does not), but even if you only consider the MUs, there are still twice as many as Amtrak. This is for a country which has 8 millions people, as opposed to a country with 328.

If you look at the number of passengers, Amtrak served 31.7 millions passengers in 2018, in the same year, the Swiss Federal Railway transported 455.9 millions. Granted, the average Swiss journey is shorter than the US one, but most of the Amtrak journeys are not that long: 83% of passengers travel on routes shorter than 400 miles, around 650 Km. Even if you consider that an US journey is 10 Swiss journey, the Swiss Federal Railways still carry more people…

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