I may be overestimating this factor but I believe one of the biggest reasons for LD train service is for people afraid of flying a means to travel long distance/coast to coast. Someone asked me why do I need a train from PHL-CHI when there are plenty of flights available? You know the answer to that. You'd probably ask why Las Vegas and Nashville also need trains for the same reason. I know many of you have traveled cross country on trains. Do you really not want to take trains to Vegas when you certainly will train cross country to Portland for Gathering 11? I know there is an active thread about going to Las Vegas and you can't take a train all the way to the Strip now. Does your fear of or dislike of flying a reason why you travel long distances on trains?
I do know many of you are from the pre-Amtrak days when air travel was not as abundant as it is today and/or rail travel was more abundant. On the other hand those in my generation have had to deal with just one (or two) trains from the East Coast to CHI and some large cities have just graveyard service. CIN has only graveyard service 3x/week but has been (not sure today) a Delta hub. HOS has 3/week service but was a Continental hub. If Cincinnati residents have a choice between a train that only comes in the middle of the night (and a really long train to WAS/NYP) or a choice of many flights to many destinations across the country, which would people in their 30's/40's take? Back in the 60's though there were many more trains to/from CHI and assuredly better times so I can see the "old" people having more of a love for trains. Back in my day I had no trains in my area before I moved. The PRIIA's in general have shown the average age of an LD train passenger is usually in the 50's (Crescent 58, Lake Shore Limited 54, Silver Service 57, https://www.amtrak.c...26-11_final.pdf. This is bad news for the market for LD travel in the future. For Amtrak's sake, hopefully the fear of terrorism and/or poor customer service will draw passengers away from flights, especially in that 200-500 mile range where the difference in travel time is not as much as for coast to coast travel. Faster trains outside of the NEC hopefully will help as well (it is clear travel inside the area is very popular). We know there is a market between NEC-CHI and NEC-Florida, the question is how do we grow these markets (and others)?