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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak to bag Mail and Express business

To better serve passengers and reduce costs, Amtrak plans to discontinue its contract with the U.S. Postal Service, and exit the Mail and Express business by early October.

Eliminating the mail service will improve on-time performance, but cut or reduce service on some lines that were extended to accommodate the Mail and Express business, according to a prepared statement.

"Mail and express no longer makes business sense for Amtrak and has negatively impacted the quality of our passenger service," said Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer David Gunn.

The mail service has slowed the national passenger railroad’s schedules because it operates longer trains, and takes time to switch mail cars. After the service is discontinued, service will improve in many cities, including Chicago, Toledo, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis/St. Paul, Los Angeles and Jacksonville, Fla., according to Amtrak.

Discontinuing the service also will enable maintenance crews to concentrate on other areas of the railroad instead of aging mail and express handling equipment.

The plan will affect about 300 employees, primarily those working at terminals and stations, Amtrak officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/3/2004