Are we re-training America?

Are we re-training America?

Summary: Rail transit is the most efficient current method of moving more than few people over long distances. Yet the U.

TOPICS: Tech Industry

Rail transit is the most efficient current method of moving more than few people over long distances. Yet the U.S. is far behind most wealthy nations in its speed and usefulness of its long-distance rail travel. There is some indication the U.S. is going to play catch-up. Federal money is now going into upgrading and expanding railroad service. One whole rail car has now been refurbished and put back on the rails under the stimulus plan passed earlier this week. The work's done at the Amtrak maintenance yard in Delaware.

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • An unfair comparison

    I agree that trains are great, and cost/fuel efficent in many circumstances. I just feel led to point out that it is not merely an issue of retraining America. There are demographic/geographic considerations that mean we may not be able to just copy Europe.

    Trains are highly efficient in travelling between population centers. But throughout a large portion of the midwest a lot of population movement is not between population centers (as is the norm across most of europe). We have to remeber that Europe has been 'developing' about three times longer than America (in a western civilization sense) and the result is the most of Europe has a higher, more evenly spread out population density. The result is a system that is almost designed for train travel.

    That is not the case outside of the east coast (and maybe part of the west coast). Before I think we should start 'retraining' America we need to answer two questions:

    1. Why has rail travel failed in the east coast (Amtrak is a financial disaster)?

    2. Is rail travel the most efficient form of travel in the midwest, or are there lighter infrastructure measures (i.e. busses, smart-car micro-rental programs) which are better long term solutions?

    I have yet to see either question answered (even from those who tout rail travel the strongest...hem hem....Harry). Until then I am indifferent to rail development (and a little miffed at federal expenditures on programs like Amtrak).
    • The answer to which, of course

      is to forcibly move Americans to closely-packed urban areas. All in the
      name of saving the planet, of course.
      • Or your can forcibly move all Middle Easterners off their supply of oil

        so you can drive bigger trucks.
        • Easier to move the Canadians...

          They're closer, they's fewer of them, they're easily
          distracted by hockey and doughnuts, they have as much
          oil. Oh, wait - I'm Canadian... ok, never mind... carry on,
    • Let's talk freight

      Say what you will of the commuter rail situation (IMHO economics will settle that one soon or late.)

      What continues to boggle me is that we still ship [i]freight[/i] coast-to-coast, one carload at a time, with a human being, engine, etc. for each carload.

      This is freaking [i]insane[/i] and the only way it works is because the trucking is subsidized relative to rail.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Trucking is subsidized more

      and highways compete with rail for tax money.
  • RE: Are we re-training America?

    Rail Fright is a much better way to use the network, its going to be imposible to get people that love the quick and easy way to fly, even if they have to wait at terminals for at least an hour before they get on the plane.

    Think about it, the only reason why people get the train from NY, to Wasington is becuase the stations are in a better loaction then the airports, and the cost of the train is a cheaper way to travel in daily peak.
  • its about time you started moving like NYC

    rail is what makes NYC possible. Without our indispensable subway system ten million people could not come in and out of Manhattan to work and shop on any given day. Unlike London our system could handle even double that amount given more trains and proper funding.
    • While it works for NYC...

      It will no work in suburban areas of the Midwest
      not enough people/business's per square mile.
  • Rail is only the best way of moving people

    When you are living in an area that most people are
    going into a city to work and the time on the
    train/subway/walking to work is SHORTER than driving
    to work.

    With my parents, it is not. It might be if there was a
    Marc station in Aberdeen, Maryland that went to
    Baltimore and then my parents could catch the subway
    and walk to work in less than 60 minutes..... right
    now, that is not true in the slightest.

    I did mass transit from my area (I was staying
    somewhere that there is MARC train access) to
    Baltimore one time.... even though I was only 20
    minutes by car away from where I was going, it took 40
    minutes on mass transit.

    If Mass transit (i.e. Rail, Buses, etc.) is TRULY the
    best way to move people, they are going to have to
    improve those times compared to just hopping in a car
    and driving.
  • Don't need trains for everyone....

    Like most "solutions" to a complex problems, this isn't
    a "one size fits all". In locations where there is an
    appropriate population density, trains make a lot of
    sense. And there is a lot of the continent where there
    is the density. By taking a large part of that population
    out of cars, you free up resources (like oil) that can be
    used in other places (like rural areas). As well, by
    taking all those cars off the highways in the urban
    areas, those people who are still needing their cars will
    find the roads less congested, and delivery trucks (I
    don't see anything replacing trucks for the "last mile"
    stuff) will have less traffic to contend with. Its a win-
    win situation.

    I've recently read an article about the Erie canal in
    upstate New York. Once an industrial artery, until very
    recently a recreational waterway, several factories
    along the canal have discovered that shipping by canal
    is even cheaper than by rail.