By mid-1971, Amtrak began purchasing some of the equipment it had leased, including 286 second-hand locomotives (of the EMD E and F types), 30 GG1 electric locomotives and 1,290 passenger cars, and continued leasing even more motive power.By 1975, the official Amtrak color scheme was painted on most Amtrak equipment and newly purchased locomotives and rolling stock began appearing.Amtrak serves more than 500 destinations in 46 states and three Canadian provinces, operating more than 300 trains each day over 21,300 miles (34,000 km) of track.Some track sections allow trains to run as fast as 150 mph (240 km/h).Amtrak soon had the opportunity to acquire rights-of-way.Following the bankruptcy of several northeastern railroads in the early 1970s, including Penn Central, which owned and operated the Northeast Corridor (NEC), Congress passed the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976.Thereafter patronage declined in the face of competition from buses, air travel, and the automobile.
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After Fortune magazine exposed the manufactured mismanagement in 1974, Louis W.
Menk, chairman of the Burlington Northern Railroad, remarked that the story was undermining the scheme to dismantle Amtrak.
Reduced passenger train schedules created headaches. A 19-hour layover became necessary for eastbound travel on the James Whitcomb Riley between Chicago and Newport News.
Amtrak inherited problems with train stations, most notably deferred maintenance, and redundant facilities resulting from competing companies that served the same areas.