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Therein lies Mr. Wilner’s dilemma: While government indebtedness presents a “daunting” challenge for some high-end Amtrak goals, with an expected population increase of 70 million in 25 years (100 million in 40 years), highways and aviation alone won’t cut it. So what to do?

Amtrak: Past, Present, Future” makes the point that it’s not “either/or,” and that we will require all three modes of transportation. Charles Carroll may have envisioned a robust American passenger train operating in its third century of service.

Wes Vernon, whose journalism career included 25 years with CBS Radio, covered Amtrak’s beginning aboard its 1971 inaugural run.