Why Is It So Hard To Get A Daily Sunset Limited?


By Noel T. Braymer

There has never been daily passenger service on the Sunset Limited as long as Amtrak has been around since 1971. The Southern Pacific on who’s tracks the Sunset ran had cut it back to tri-weekly before the start of Amtrak. The overhead costs of running trains 3 times a week are almost as high as running them daily. But daily trains earn much more revenues than trains running 3 or 4 days a week. From an economic standpoint it doesn’t make sense to run rail passenger service less than daily. The Southern Pacific was more interested in getting rid of passenger service than maximizing passenger service revenue in the 50’s and 60’s. They were not alone in the American rail industry. The main problem for the railroads was too much overhead and not enough revenue miles. Quite often the reason the railroads, including Southern Pacific wanted…

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