I recently completed a two-overnite trip on Amtrak from Pittsburgh to Denver. I had only once traveled on Amtrak, in a transportation emergency, and it was kind of OK, but I'd never overnited, and frankly I pushed my wife into it because I wanted to see what the experience was like. Certainly it's no cheaper than Air, but let's see. First night we were leaving Pittsburgh at midnight, so I thought I'd chance it and just get regular seating. It would theoretically be more comfortable than airplane seating, so possibly OK to sleep overnight. The seats were not particularly comfortable, there was noise all over the place, the ride was worse than I've experienced in either sea travel or air, and I was somewhat surprised to learn that throughout the night, every time the train went over a road crossing, the Engineer blows the horn repeatedly. All. Night. Long. In short, it was a terrible night. Got essentially no sleep at all. So we switched to a Cabin-ette for the second night. It is a microscopic affair with an upper and lower bunk, and no room whatsoever to do anything once it is set up for sleeping. The cabin attendant was very courteous and competent, but he couldn't make a bad situation good. Same noises, same rocking and rolling, and a little bit more comfortable "bed." Slept a few hours, but laid awake for most of the night. Amtrak has not mastered the advance science of loudspeakers. Announcements were near-impossible to hear, largely contradictory, and seldom offered any valuable information. On night number 2, we rode through a severe thunderstorm that felled a tree on the tracks in front of us. Well, not much you can do about that. Amtrak leases the track from Burlington Northern, and we had to wait for them to send a crew to clear the track and inspect for damage. But as a result of the delay, we had to ALSO wait for another crew because the existing crew had run out of time. throughout this EIGHT-HOUR DELAY, there was not a single P.A. announcement telling us what the fuck was going on or how long the problem was likely to last. Our official notice of when we would arrive in Denver came when...we arrived in Denver. As bad as air travel has become, it is still miles ahead of rail, at least when Amtrak is the mode being compared. I would consider Amtrak for a daytrip on occasion, and in fact they gave us a coupon for $200 to compensate for our MISSING OUR BUS TOUR IN DENVER, and we may use that for a day-trip to Philadelphia later this year. But over night? Not on your life. One can only wonder how it would be if Amtrak were replaced by some number of regional, privately-owned rail carriers. No doubt they would still be sucking the hind teat with respect to freight traffic, so they would have some considerable obstacles to overcome, but I can't believe it would be this bad. With the possible exception of Social Security, I can't think of anything that government does well.