Anthony Perl

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North America faces a transportation crisis. Gas-guzzling SUVs clog the highways and air travelers face delays, cancellations, and uncertainty in the wake of unprecedented terrorist attacks. New Departures closely examines the options for improving intercity passenger trains’ capacity to move North Americans where they want to go. While Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada face intense pressure to transform themselves into successful commercial enterprises, Anthony Perl demonstrates how public policy changes lie behind the triumphs of European and Japanese high-speed rail passenger innovations. Perl goes beyond merely describing these achievements, translating their implications into a North American institutional and political context and diagnosing the obstacles that have made renewing passenger trains so much more difficult in North America than elsewhere. New Departures links the lessons behind rail passenger revitalization abroad with the opportunity to recast the policies that constrain Amtrak and VIA Rail from providing efficient and effective intercity transportation.

"Any Canadian or American with a serious interest in transportation policy will find this thoughtful and informative book worth reading."—Canadian Public Administration

"Well written and timely, New Departures provides excellent background from the current debate over the future of Amtrak and VIA Rail (in Canada)."—Choice

"Dispassionately examines every angle of the perplexing rail-passenger dilemma in North America."—Louisville Courier-Journal

"A seminal work that lays out all the dimensions of the current state of intercity rail passenger service in both the United States and Canada."—New York History

"An informed analysis of where rail passenger operations in the U.S. and Canada have been, where they are, and where they may be going, along with a look at those countries whose passenger trains are light years ahead of ours."—Railway Age

"New Departures is not only the most comprehensive look at rail passenger service in North America, it is the most timely. With air travel suddenly becoming a mature industry after September 11th, the nation is realizing that it is missing a vital balance in passenger transportation, a balance that could be provided by high speed passenger rail service. Anthony’s book lays out the best policy framework I have ever seen for making rail passenger investments. Anyone engaged in debating the role of high speed rail in North America should read this book."—Thomas Downs

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Railroads, Passenger traffic, High speed trains, United States, Canada, North America



New Departures: Rethinking Rail Passenger Policy in the Twenty-First Century
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