Major passenger traffic flows in the 1940s and 1950s were along the Trunk Routes, often named for the passenger trains that ran on them at the time. Most railroad lines in North America had some form of passenger service at the time. AS the 1950s turned into the 1960s, the impact of the Interstate and Defense Highway System, introduced by President Eisenhower, and the development of jet aircraft for passenger air travel, started to drain passengers from the long-distance passenger trains, a trend exacerbated by the withdrawal of mail contacts from long-distance passenger trains in 1967. The downward trend in passenger train operation led to the creation of the National Rail Passenger Corporation, known as Amtrak, which took over US long-distance passenger trains (with many train cancellations as a result) on May 1st, 1971.
A similar thing happened to long-distance passenger trains in Canada, their operation bein vested in VIA Rail Canada in the late 1970s.
Cost-pressures on the remaining passenger train operations, for commuters to city-centers, continued, and by the 1990s, all such trains had been taken over by state or local-authority operators.
The number of routes used by major passenger traffic flows in the 1990s has been reduced quite considerably, and traffic flows now travel routes limited to those operated by Amtrak, established in 1971, and the various Commuter Agencies that have taken over the commuter trains around major cities that did not pass to Amtrak in 1971.
A list of Amtrak's Long-distance Trains, indexing their routes.
A list of Amtrak's Corridors, indexing their routes.
A list of VIA's trains, indexing their routes.
Commuter trains operate in the following cities and regions, in the 1990s and 2000s:
Salt Lake City
A list of Tourist Train routes in the 1990s and 2000s.