Amtrak, as with all passenger trains, should be of highest priority. All other trains hold for Amtrak. Freight, while it pays the bills, can wait for people.
And so that is what is lost with the railroads. Back when the railroads ran the passenger trains, instead of Amtrak, passenger trains where the pride of the railroad and everything held for them. Then, as the automobile and airplane took over as the main transportation modes, passenger rail turned into an adventure more than a necessity.
And thus, the railroads threw away their bastard child and Amtrak was created. Now, with main lines at or exceeding capacity due to a oil boom, Amtrak has suffered.
But alas, not on this day as the westbound California Zephyr speeds by a waiting freight on the west side of Galesburg, IL.