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Amtrak: An American Story Paperback – June 7, 2011


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Paperback, June 7, 2011
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Amtrak: An American Story + Amtrak Across America: An Illustrated History + Riding Amtrak: The Rise and Fall of America on Rails
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Kalmbach Books (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871164442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871164445
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The Staff of Amtrak is based in Washington, D.C.

Customer Reviews

The quality of the photos is excellent, as is the book itself.
David W. Richter
I feel it's worth the money and you'll find yourself picking up the book and rereading certain sections again.
planenut
I recommend this book to railfans interested in Amtrak and passenger trains.
Robert Wilhelm

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kris on June 18, 2011
Verified Purchase
This is a great picture book with rare photographs. Like it or not, it is published by Amtrak folks, but the pictures don't lie. This is a worthwhile, historical record of the same caliber of the Making of the Washington DC Metro book. It's has several photographs of rare scenes, including one of the infamous Union Station Washington DC Visitors' Center, something that has curiously few photographs to see.

If you're a fan of passenger trains and understand the significance of the forty-year anniversary of a public/private corporation that was designed to fail, you need this book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Frederick S. Goethel VINE VOICE on June 28, 2011
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If you are even a little younger than I am (mid 50s), you will have a hard time remembering the creation of Amtrak. I was a junior in high school when it was created and I barely remember this happening, despite being a rail fan at a young age. That alone makes this a valuable book, as there are millions of people who fail to understand just how amazing it is that Amtrak is still alive and kicking.

The book consists of three basic parts interwoven together. Every 3 or 4 pages there is a page or 2 that is dedicated to the story of an Amtrak employee. Most all are people who have either been at the company since the beginning or have had amazing stories while at the company, all of which makes for fascinating reading. The space in between the stories is dedicated to well captioned photos of the railroad. The photographs cover just about the entire Amtrak operation and include copies of posters, brochures and advertising material that has long gone out of use. Finally, there is a timeline that runs along the top of the pages which shows major milestones in Amtrak history, along with major events in world history that help put the time frame into perspective.

The last 10% of the book is dedicated to a day in the life sort of photograph arrangement. They asked employees on one single day to photograph whatever they felt was worthy and send it in to the corporate offices. The result is a look at the railroad from across the span of a day and a country. Although these are "amateur" photographs, most are extremely well done and it is obvious that the employees put much thought into what they thought was important to portray.

Although this is not a "detailed" history, it makes for fine reading and would be a wonderful addition to a train buffs library. It is also a look at a piece of American history and should be of interest to those with an interest in history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. R. DINGS on October 7, 2013
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It's more of a historical view and looking at some workers more than a look at how the actual working of running trains for Amtrak
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mac on February 18, 2012
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I am a rail fan, it is a complete history of Amtrak from the beginning up to the present. I ride Amtrak frequently for leisure.The photos were great!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David W. Richter on September 7, 2011
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The book authored by Amtrak for its 40th anniversary is great. The pictures are well selected and do a good job representing each decade of Amtrak's existence. The quality of the photos is excellent, as is the book itself. The layout and design are also superb. And best of all, the price is well under $20. Where else can anyone get a full-color high quality book for that price today? If you like trains, especially passenger trains, this is well worth the ticket price.
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AMTRAK An American Story, National Railroad Passenger Corporation, c. 2011. Reviewed by Peggy Lucero.

For anyone who has an interest in passenger railroads and how they has evolved in the United States this book will meet and likely exceed your requirements. Though only a 143-page work, it has drawn from men and women who have worked at AMTRAK and captures their personal experiences in engaging and insightful ways. This book has incorporated a wide range of historical pictures that compliment and reinforce the narrative.

Twenty-two individual voices give their stories of life and AMTRAK. These men and women’s lives were shaped and changed by working on the railroad and the AMTRAK of today is a testament to their labor and dedication. And, Valerie and George Samuel found both a career and a life partner via AMTRAK.

In a nutshell, AMTRAK operates a nationwide rail network, serving more than 500 destinations in 46 states and 3 Canadian provinces on more than 21,200 miles of routes, with more than 20,000 employees. This is America’s single high-speed intercity passenger rail provider, running trains at speeds in excess of 90 mph. These 20,000+ employees work around the clock every day of the year. There is a twenty-nine-page section, A Day in the Life of AMTRAK, that walks the reader through a 24-hour inside look at all that it takes to keep the trains running safely and on schedule.

Though AMTRAK earned about $2.51 billion in revenue it also incurred 3.74 billion in expenses (at the time of this book’s publication). Therefore, public support is required. To quote a recent AMTRAK press release, “For FY 2014, Amtrak is seeking $373 million in federal operating support or about 17 percent less than it requested in FY 2013.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Stephen Franks on February 25, 2014
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As a long time Microsoft Train Simmer, I was hot to get some books about the Amtrak passenger service. It is not what I was looking for (need lots of photos or rolling stock and interiors please!), but the book is an interesting read dedicated to many personal stories.
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