The Economist ("The end of the line?" 4/23/05) notes: "It is not hard to think of reasons to kill off Amtrak. In 34 years, it has burned up $29 billion in federal subsidies. And yet there are few passengers -- just 25.1 million in 2004, up slightly from 22.5 million in 2000. The vaunted Acela train arrives on schedule only three-quarters of the time and has had several glitches, including toilet doors that spontaneously fly open."
In comparison, regional/commuter air carriers served approximately 83 million passengers in 2001, with scant subsidies from taxpayers at-large. They were also more likely to be on-time and less likely to have toilet doors fly open.
Wendell Cox offers more background -- for those who can take it. For those who fret over the privatization alternative: any worse than the status quo is inconceivable.