By Dr. RICHARD D. REDDY
I was surprised and disappointed to see the lead story in OBSERVER (June 15), "Dem candidate talking Amtrak."
In it Nate Shinagawa is quoted as saying "It (an Amtrak stop in Dunkirk) will help our businesses grow and thrive, it will help our students who are going to SUNY Fredonia get here to Dunkirk and SUNY Fredonia more easilyIt will also help our tourism industry..."
OBSERVER?Photo by Gib Snyder
Democrat Nate Shinagawa, center, voiced his support for an Amtrak stop.
All that might be true if we had a very different Amtrak, but it is pure fantasy for Amtrak as it currently operates.
My reading of Amtrak schedules indicates that there is only one train per day eastbound and one train per day westbound that run through Dunkirk (both are on the Lake Shore Limited route). The eastbound train leaves Erie at 7:22 a.m. and arrives at Buffalo-Depew at 8:58 a.m. That would suggest a Dunkirk stop, if there was one, at about 8:15 a.m. or so. The westbound train leaves Buffalo/Depew at 11:59 p.m. and arrives in Erie at 1:36 a.m. That would suggest a Dunkirk stop, if there was one, at about 12:40 a.m.
There was a golden age of train travel. That age came to an end about 60 years ago. Amtrak was never a part of that golden age.
There is no way that with this schedule - or anything remotely like it - Amtrak is going to help local businesses grow and thrive, help students to get to SUNY Fredonia, or help tourism. Indeed, it's doubtful that the stops in Erie and Buffalo really do all that much for those economies either (although in Buffalo's case there is also service on the Maple Leaf run that goes from New York City to Toronto).
Nate may have other ideas that merit attention, but this one doesn't.
Dr. Richard D. Reddy is professor, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice at Fredonia State University.