If dispatchers know Amtrak is a faster train then it would be prudent to have freight step aside for Amtrak. I was given the article on here about the builder having setbacks due to the new locos not working so they had to put a freight loco on the builder which slowed the train from 79 mph to 60 so yes. Freight operators do not make your trainset longer than a siding or face getting a Amtrak train up the caboose. Omaha knows that the Zephyr 6 leaves sharp at 910 AM PST so they better have freight ahead getting the path cleared for Amtrak 6. 5 going west. Since most delays are freight then if Amtrak is late leaving EMY you make way for Amtrak. You caused Amtrak to be late yesterday. Why be so combative?? You caused the problem fix the problem.
1. Dispatchers by and large will put put clearing freights into sidings for Amtrak, especially for meets but also for passes in some cases. In fact, some railroads will fleet hot intermodals behind Amtrak's "slot". In that case, if Amtrak misses its slot, regardless of the reason, those intermodals are now in front of it.
2. Yes, UP knows when Amtrak is leaving and has a slot for it. However, UP isn't particularly invested in keeping it in its slot if various issues come up altering the day's intended operating plan, like a freight leaving a terminal late, pulling a knuckle, having one of the locos breaking down so it cannot go as fast as intended, slow orders, idiots trying to race a train to a grade crossing and losing among endless possibilities for problems. If an airplane has mechanical difficulty it doesn't block the sky, it either lands or crashes. The air also does not require MOW crews to maintain it in condition for airplanes to fly through it. There are no uncontrolled flying cars to run into.
3. I find your terminology interesting. They are not "freight operators". They are railroads that own, dispatch and maintain their privately owned tracks for their own trains to use. They make money from hauling freight. They don't make much money from Amtrak, which they have to host at low rates per Federal statute, the rate based on the incremental costs incurred by Amtrak's presence. It was the bargain they struck in 1971 for offloading their regulatorily required, money losing intercity passenger services to Amtrak. They probably regret it now, at its inception no one involved thought Amtrak would last much more than 5 years. It was intended to have been a decent burial for intercity rail passenger service ("well, we tried"). Not to still be gumming up the works 52 years later. If the railroad management had forseen that, they might well have elected to stay out of Amtrak, and been rid of their intercity passenger trains entirely by the early 1980s at the latest. While I think that Amtrak should be able to better enjoy its statutorily required dispatching priority, I also understand the railroads' motives.
4. I agree that non-clearing trains are a problem and deliberately running them seems like poor railroading to me, but PSR operating plans see gold in them thar trains and current rail management is under PSR's spell. The result, Amtrak entirely aside, is snarling their own networks, getting their customers, shippers, angry at the delays, and causing the STB to start to come down on them hard (like the "directed service" order the STB recently issued to UP for Foster Farms to ensure timely delivery of, yes, chicken feed). However, your proposal for Amtrak to ram slower, non-clearing freight trains would cause concern. Was the Tenerife crash an appropriate response to runway incursion? I think it will ultimately work itself out, but will take some years to do. One of the earliest adopters of PSR, CN in Canada, has now embarked on a capital investment program of lengthening sidings and adding sections of two main track, after having completely snarled up their railroad. In any case, Amtrak cannot move at will. Authority to occupy main track can only be given by the host railroads' dispatchers.