Freight vs passenger train priority

On a recent Amtrak excursion from Louisville, KY to Chicago, IL, we were periodically stopped. An announcement would come over the intercom system that there was a freight train also on the tracks (presumably a shared portion) that took priority. We would stop for several minutes at a time while this happened. Why does a freight train take priority over a passenger train?

I could be wrong, but I believe Amtrak leases the use of the rails from the railroads. If Amtrak “owned” the tracks, I’d think they would have priority.

I’ll see if I can find a cite for you on that, though.

Apparently, I’m wrong.

I don’t know why.

A wild guess : because in the US, passenger train traffic is a minor commercial activity as compared to freight and because on long-distance trains, passengers are much more likely to be tourists than businessmen, hence less likely to be pissed off when the train is delayed?? (here, the passenger train would take priority, but people actually rely on trains to go from one place to another and expect them to be on time)