After my recent rail trip to Michigan, I’ve been more aware of stories about Amtrak.
I ran across an interactive map from the Brookings Institute showing Amtrak routes, ridership, and profitability. The takeaways: short routes == full trains, long routes == (nearly) empty trains, full trains make money, and empty trains lose money for Amtrak.
One of the Slate stories (on Amtrak boarding) referenced a story on another site regarding Amtrak’s locomotives. They’re built heavier than locomotives in other countries (perhaps because American railroads have been dragging their feet on implementing Positive Train Control).