Rail Passengers Association Map of Existing and Proposed Amtrak Train Routes
The Rail Passengers Association is a cool organization that advocates for increased service, infrastructure, and dignity of American passenger railroads, mainly Amtrak.
They created this map, and you can vote for the top lines you would like to see implemented (as well as more detail on the proposed service extensions) here: https://www.railpassengers.org/happening-now/news/blog/you-decide-top-10-new-trains-in-the-us/
Original post here with some interesting discussion.
My personal top 10 (no particular order):
- Southern Tier (NY)
- Gulf Coast Restoration
- Florida East
- Front Range
Not shown on this map are other ways the rail network could be improved, such as increasing the frequency of trains, especially for long distance trains.
For instance, there is only 1 Lake Shore Limited train each day in each direction passing through Ohio, and it passes though in the middle of the night. An additional train each way offset by 12 hours would allow for greater passenger flexibility and give more sane train arrival/departure times for places like those. This involves basically no infrastructure changes.
Also, upgrading the rails for increased speeds (even allowing speeds of 110 mph (177 km/hr)) will do wonders.
Even better would be to add higher speed, dedicated tracks along existing routes to mitigate passenger trains stopping for freight trains, which is extremely common on Amtrak.
Another interesting idea another user mentioned is to have more autotrains (take your car on the train) for routes longer than 1000 miles. This would be a great idea to take the train across the country and be able to have your car. Right now there is 1 Autotrain in service in the United States (from the Washington DC area in Virginia to near Disney World in Orlando, Florida) this is actually one of the most profitable routes for Amtrak.