Said the Southern Rail Commission: “The proposed rule for measuring on-time performance is inadequate and doesn’t come close to providing the full picture of the performance of the system. To access host railroad tracks, Amtrak is forced to pad schedules to provide the host railroads ample flexibility in hitting on-time performance metrics. Much of the padding builds in ample recovery time for the host railroads’ lack of preference for passenger trains, and still arrive at the endpoint destination on-time.”The article also notes that Canadian Pacific (meaning primarily The Milwaukee Road between Chicago and the Twin Cities) turns in the best on time performance, with 804 minutes of delay per ten thousand train miles. C. H. Bilty and K. F. Nystrom would approve.
Passengers at intermediate stations deserve a dependable service too. The Surface Transportation Board is considering new rules defining on-time performance, as mandated in the Passenger Rail Improvement and Investment Act of 2008.