Why Amtrak Sucks
So it’s a failure to enforce (e)(1) but it’s also the fact that Amtrak depends on infrastructure that freight companies have very little incentive to maintain. To put it drastically, if the railroads bizarrely decide it’s profitable to tear up the tracks between Cleveland and Toledo, oh well, no more Amtrak between Cleveland and Toledo.
This Wendover video is pretty good. It goes into a surprising amount of detail about how the passenger rail industry died and why Amtrak isn’t really working out. (Short version: A federal law requires freight rail companies, who own most of the track that Amtrak uses, to let Amtrak trains have priority on the tracks. But for technical and business reasons, they just don’t.)
It’s not just the failure to enforce (e)(1) though. What I’m hearing in this video is that the private freight companies have no legal obligation and no practical reason to maintain the tracks in a way that supports passenger service. They only have to yield the track when Amtrak is coming through. That’s all. (And they don’t even do that.)