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Old 06-14-2009, 06:33 PM
 
Location: The Land of Reason
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Can anyone explain to me why we do not have a rail system that runs through all of the states in the U.S (except Hawaii and Alaska)? Would'nt that save on travel cost, boost the economies in many states (tourism), save on tranportation cost and our highways?
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Old 06-14-2009, 06:59 PM
 
Location: New Albany, Indiana (Greater Louisville)
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Moderator cut: orphaned

If you mean a RR for passengers it is simply a matter of economics: why build rail lines were very few will use them? In most rural areas of America everyone gets around by car, so why get driven to rail station to ride a train to another town where you will have to be driven everyway anyway? By comparison riding a train from the suburbs into Chicago, where mass transit is everywhere, is used enough to be profitable

Last edited by Bo; 06-15-2009 at 09:20 AM.. Reason: orphaned - the deleted two sentences no longer apply since the title was updated to make the topic clearer
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Old 06-14-2009, 07:50 PM
 
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We did have that.
People quit riding.
Something about the convenience of cars.
Railroads quit offering service, because they lost money.
Since it loses money, Congress decided it looked like a fit for the government, so...
Amtrak was born.
Amtrak continues to lose money.
People continue to not ride except in limited, primarily urban areas.

Last edited by Bo; 06-15-2009 at 09:20 AM.. Reason: orphaned - the deleted two sentences no longer apply since the title was updated to make the topic clearer
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:17 PM
 
3,970 posts, read 11,838,454 times
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Yes, this is an interesting issue. I have studied this for years and the fact of the matter is, U.S. residents in general do not want to ride trains to get long distances. (The exception, as pointed out above, is the NE corridor, due to many large cities relatively close togehter).

There has been some talk of restoring some old routes in the west and midwest because of high gas prices. Whether or not this comes to fruition remains to be seen.

But, yes, this country had a coast-to-coast passenger rail system that was probably at its peak in the 1930's and 40's. The 50's started to see decline, and then with the advent of jet aircraft and the Interstate system, declined greatly in the 60's. The result was the invention of the government controlled Amtrak in 1971. Since then, (with the exception of certain routes), the decline has continued.

I'm all for expanding the system, but there are many hurdles. First, the tracks are now all controlled by the freight companies, and they have priority. Second, it still is a very slow way to go compared to air, and even highway in many cases. (An investment in high-speed rail is sorely needed). Third, the route system is very inconvenient for many Americans.

I'm afraid the price of gasoline will have to go through the roof before we invest in a convenient, modern passenger railroad system.

Last edited by pw72; 06-14-2009 at 08:58 PM..
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit Area, Michigan
1,107 posts, read 2,708,504 times
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I took the train to Chicago once. I loved it very much. Only took about 6 hours from Pontiac, Michigan (suburb of Detroit) to Chicago Union Station. Would like to see that cut down to 2 or 4 hours. $85 Round trip and the seats were like airliner seats, had power plugs under the windows and I enjoyed seeing the different Train Station designs on the way.
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Old 06-14-2009, 09:08 PM
 
Location: The Land of Reason
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The reason that I brought this up is b/c I looked at Amtrack's website and I was curious (I never rode a train before) and I rode one to Philly from Pittsburgh it was quite interesting. I think that everyone should have the experience of riding on a train. I just figured if a short trip across the state was ok I can imagine one across the country whould be great, especially in an overnight care and the scenic cars that they now have.
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Old 06-14-2009, 09:11 PM
 
Location: The Land of Reason
13,300 posts, read 10,500,602 times
Reputation: 3541
Quote:
Originally Posted by pw72 View Post
Yes, this is an interesting issue. I have studied this for years and the fact of the matter is, U.S. residents in general do not want to ride trains to get long distances. (The exception, as pointed out above, is the NE corridor, due to many large cities relatively close togehter).

There has been some talk of restoring some old routes in the west and midwest because of high gas prices. Whether or not this comes to fruition remains to be seen.

But, yes, this country had a coast-to-coast passenger rail system that was probably at its peak in the 1930's and 40's. The 50's started to see decline, and then with the advent of jet aircraft and the Interstate system, declined greatly in the 60's. The result was the invention of the government controlled Amtrak in 1971. Since then, (with the exception of certain routes), the decline has continued.

I'm all for expanding the system, but there are many hurdles. First, the tracks are now all controlled by the freight companies, and they have priority. Second, it still is a very slow way to go compared to air, and even highway in many cases. (An investment in high-speed rail is sorely needed). Third, the route system is very inconvenient for many Americans.

I'm afraid the price of gasoline will have to go through the roof before we invest in a convenient, modern passenger railroad system.
I was also thinking about the High speed trains like in Japan and some European countries, I'm sure that it would help the economy (jobs) and the environment in some fashion.
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:11 AM
 
Location: Western North Carolina
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I firmly believe more people WOULD ride the rails if they were more available and covered more areas. It's true that once the automobile was king, but many are ready for an alternative.

We took the train from Montana to the East Coast, and eveyone on the train was talking about how they wished we had a better passenger rail system than we do in this country. It's a pleasant, stress free way to travel. But the routes are SO limited, and it takes forever - you can't depend on Amtrak's timing.

It was explained to me by the head of a Railroad Club in Montana that the Airline Industry is the bigger and stronger lobby, and that's why we do not have more rail travel. In fact, Bush wanted to take away all funding for Amtrak. Obama is putting several Billion back into it by way of the stimulus packabge.

By the way the airlines are subsidized as well.
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:43 AM
 
22,769 posts, read 26,225,969 times
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Perhaps if cars were cheaper and easier to rent at your destination, then a railroad system would be viable.

As it is, if I travel by rail, what do I do once I get there? Hitchhike? Spend a fortune on taxis?
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
7,732 posts, read 12,157,068 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubber_factory View Post
Perhaps if cars were cheaper and easier to rent at your destination, then a railroad system would be viable.

As it is, if I travel by rail, what do I do once I get there? Hitchhike? Spend a fortune on taxis?
Call Enterprise. They'll pick you up!
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