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The Legacy of Amtrak
Amtrak got its start as America’s railroad when cars and planes began to take over the transportation industry. American citizens were no longer using passenger trains due to the increased use of commercial airliners. Before Amtrak’s inception, 20 individual private passenger train companies were competing to acquire the dwindling train-using population. However, the American government realized that 20 individual passenger train companies would result in the end of the passenger train industry altogether.
Rather than allow that to happen, the government passed the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970 (RPSA). This act created the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, commonly known as Amtrak. The goal of this was to consolidate all of the passenger train operations under one roof, allowing private railroads to sell their businesses to the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. Eventually, all 20 of the private railroad companies in existence sold their operations to Amtrak, and Amtrak became the sole proprietor of all intercity passenger rail travel in America.