Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Historic preservation?

Media people tend to be a fairly stupid bunch. I know all about that.

Lynne Varner is a columnist for the Seattle Times and I know she must be very well informed when she writes about everything else. What is a bit surprising is that Varner takes off after Amtrak in one of her oped pieces as an exercise in nostalgia after riding the Washington D. C. to New York City corridor.

It’s the fastest busiest portion of the national system and the part that Amtrak owns and operates. Acela is darned high class equipment for us train-deprived North Americans. The loss of this service is unimaginable, even to a hayseed in far off Arkansas.

Recently, I took the express Amtrak train from Washington, D.C., to New York City. If I include the train’s 90-minute tardiness, I could’ve driven the distance in holiday weekend traffic and still have been ahead.

Standing in 100-degree heat waiting for a diesel-powered behemoth, I began to wonder why my fellow taxpayers and I are subsidizing this system to the tune of $1 billion annually.

Let me be fair with Ms. Varner. She is not for an absolute cut in Amtrak spending. I think she worries about whether the program is effective. Most of us that follow the rail passenger service do too.

I am wondering where she would have parked once she arrived in the Big Apple, and aren’t the corridor trains electric?

Let us have a moment of silent prayer that Ms. Varner never decides to take off on the Coast Starlite. I never want to see that column.
And airlines are NEVER late.

Amtrak proponents need to keep away from nostalgia and the “glory days of railroading.” It’s pure poison.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

One Response

  1. Sorta train fan says:

    The problem Lyncho is that we ain’t figured out what sort of rail service we want. We sort of know we need something but what remains the problem.

    On the time/money spectrum, cross-country train travel doesn’t make sense.

    What makes sense though is a series of short regional hops.

    Here in Little Rock, the ideal train service would be a run east to Memphis, a run southwest to Dallas, one northeast to St. Louis, and one west to either Tulsa or Oklahoma City. If you want to short-hop across the country so be it, but a series of short runs makes sense. Ever try to fly to OKC or Tulsa? Nightmare. Dallas or St. Louis? By the time you clear security at the airport you can make a train trip on a good train system. Memphis is pain to drive to despite the close proximity and flying makes no sense at all.

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July 2007


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