Originally Posted by Time2Travel
If any form of passenger rail travel were an economically viable option then a private company would jump all over it. The problem with rail is speed, convenience, comfort and cost.
Funny seeing this "revival" post (since it started in 2008). We live in Toronto and for the past two summers have driven down to Wilmington for vacation - by the maps (Google/Map Quest) it is non-stop about 16 hours. But with two kids, the border, construction, traffic, rest stops and an overnight stop mid-way, we leave around 9-10AM in Toronto then arrive in Wilmington the next day around 7-8pm. (more than 16hrs!)
We love being in OUR car and packing WHAT WE WANT and not having to follow other's SCHEDULES. The concept of RORO is something I thought about (what if). So far I think India is the only place offering such a service and only to commercial vehicles.
But I think if something like that could be developed it would certainly help tourism all around. From Toronto you are talking at least 8-10 hours to get to key points - Chicago, Philly, Boston, NYC, DC. Sad. I had troubles with the trek to Wilmington staying only
9 nights - so we stayed 16 this year. And I am not against driving to a major pick up point (1-2hrs way) and then along with a few stops per state and then to drive another 1-2 hours to my ultimate destination.
Commercial already has this done - the cargo is on the trains and they just lift up and put onto the trucks with the flatbeds (not sure the term freight wise).
But even so - there is a cost to use RORO and if that cost doesn't help cut the time in at least half - really what is the point?
As Time2Travel said - the way it is today - is crap. For me to go to Montreal by train, I have to go to Union station (during rush hour - subway is really the only practical way) (0.75-1.5hrs). Then board the train at a said time for a 5 hour trip - then have the train stop at stations all the way and then arrive in Montreal. From home to hotel - you are talking at least 6-7 hours. Cripes, I can drive in Montreal in 4.5 hrs from my home when I want to - why would I spend all that time in a tin can which may or may not have working A/C and have to still spend more time after to get to my hotel?
A trip for four of us via Amtrak from Toronto to Fayettville is about $575 - leaving at 8am and arriving the next day at 344pm. What does that do for us? Saves wear and tear on the car - but we haven't saved a day traveling and I still gotta get to the station and get to Wilmington (after renting a car $$$). Add 3 hours of "place to station" "station to place" time. All that and we saved - what? an hour? But it cost us $600 more PLUS the cost of the rental.
The round trip mileage for us was 2500m - about $300US in gas - not bad.
Someone has to think big about it. My buddy and I have discussed this to no end. The only solution is high speed rail like in Japan (/China). And yes something with a RORO concept too would need to be part of that plan. To do high speed rail - you are talking MAJOR overhauls not just minor track improvement. (Angles and all that need to be modified quite radically).
Then again trust me, I ask the same question half the time when going to and from Toronto where we live - subways are only along main streets and after that if you need MORE THAN ONE transfer by bus, forget it. No thought anywhere - unless I suppose you live in Manhattan and don't need a car to get around.