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They conceived the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (NRPC), a private entity that would receive taxpayer funding and assume operation of intercity passenger trains.
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Railroads also faced antiquated work rules and inflexible relationships with trade unions.
To take one example, workers continued to receive a day's pay for 100-to-150-mile (160 to 240 km) work days. Similar proposals were made in 19, but failed to attract support.
Thereafter patronage declined in the face of competition from buses, air travel, and the automobile.
New streamlined diesel-powered trains such as the Pioneer Zephyr were popular with the traveling public but could not reverse the trend.
On the day it started, Amtrak was given the responsibility of rerouting passenger trains from the seven train terminals in Chicago (La Salle, Dearborn, Grand Central, Randolph, Chicago Northwestern Terminal, Central, and Union) into just one, Union Station.