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, is a passenger railroad service that provides medium- and long-distance intercity service in the contiguous United States.Founded in 1971 to take over most of the remaining U. passenger rail services, it is partially government funded yet operated and managed as a for-profit corporation.They conceived the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (NRPC), a private entity that would receive taxpayer funding and assume operation of intercity passenger trains.Nearly everyone involved expected the experiment to be short-lived.The Nixon administration and many Washington insiders viewed the NRPC as a politically expedient way for the President and Congress to give passenger trains a "last hurrah" as demanded by the public.They expected Amtrak to quietly disappear as public interest waned.Amtrak soon had the opportunity to acquire rights-of-way.Following the bankruptcy of several northeastern railroads in the early 1970s, including Penn Central, which owned and operated the Northeast Corridor (NEC), Congress passed the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976.

On the other hand, the creation of the Los Angeles–Seattle Coast Starlight from three formerly separate trains was an immediate success.By mid-1971, Amtrak began purchasing some of the equipment it had leased, including 286 second-hand locomotives (of the EMD E and F types), 30 GG1 electric locomotives and 1,290 passenger cars, and continued leasing even more motive power.