Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Was Supertrain ahead of schedule?

Mark Stencel, quoted here previously from CQ Weekly, writes an excellent blog, Assignment: Future, dealing with future trends. You must read his entire entry concerning HSR and this blog. I am humbled and complimented to be so kindly treated by such an excellent source and highly qualified commentator.

We have had quite a bit of fun with the super-flop of NBC TV so many years ago, Super Train. Mark has links to the first episode and a proposal that it has become a parody of our national transportation policy discussion.

In the opening scene, a blustery, gray-bearded executive — played by character actor Keenan Wynn — explains that he has the backing of the federal Transportation Department to quickly build a new “atom-powered, steam-turbine” train “capable of crossing this country in 36 hours.”

The executive’s cigar-chomping board of directors is skeptical, if not hostile. “I think you are letting your psychotic fascination with railroads lead you into a suicidal gamble with the future of this company,” one board member says.

Funny enough, this opening exchange pretty well sums up most of the public policy arguments about high-speed rail in this country, both before and since Supertrain’s short, nine-episode run on network TV.

Stencel mixes in a quote from the “About” section of this blog and confers as fine a compliment as I could have ever asked.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

3 Responses

  1. patlynch says:

    Peter, thanks. I often write on the fly and mistakes are common. Never hesitate to let me know when I mess up.

  2. Mark Stencel says:

    Pat: Our mutual admiration and cross-posting could easily turn into a perpetual motion machine — and in so doing solve our country’s energy crisis. Many thanks for the kind words. — Mark

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April 2009


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