List of railroads eligible to participate in the formation of Amtrak
On May 1, 1971, there were 26 railroads in the United States that were eligible to participate in the formation of Amtrak.
Twenty railroads opted to participate. Each contributed rolling stock, equipment, and financial capital to the new government-sponsored entity. In return, the railroads received the right to discontinue intercity passenger rail services; and some received tax breaks while some received common stock in Amtrak. Because Amtrak discontinued many passenger rail routes when it commenced operations, some of the participating railroads never actually hosted successor passenger rail service. The twenty participating railroads are as follows::7–8
There were six railroads that were eligible to participate in the formation of Amtrak that declined to spin off their passenger rail services. The intercity passenger operations of those six railroads eventually were absorbed by Amtrak or another governmental entity, or were discontinued altogether. The six non-participating railroads and disposition of their routes were as follows:
A few major railroads with operations in the United States were not eligible to participate in the formation of Amtrak. The Alaska Railroad provided long-distance service, but was already owned by the United States government. In addition, Canadian Pacific's Atlantic was taken over by Via Rail in 1978; it crossed northern Maine until 1994, and for a time another Canadian local service crossed part of northern Minnesota. The Erie Lackawanna's Hoboken-Port Jervis trains were considered commuter trains as were the Long Island Railroad's parlor car trains. Penn Central's Chatham, New York-Grand Central trains were not added to Amtrak and were discontinued in 1972.