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Old 06-13-2014, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
How do you know that? Are you a mind reader?
But if someone means to say western Europe, then simply say western Europe. I can't read their minds.
Because I'm old and have talked to thousands of travellers

It's basically a leftover mindset from the cold war. Western Europe the old accessible part, it was the Europe that people travelled to in great numbers. Eastern Europe, the portions behind the iron curtain, were rarely visited and just not in the mindset of people when speaking about travelling to Europe.
I will also add, in conjunction with talking about Europe and trains, the countries available on a Eurail pass also contributed to what people considered " Europe " from a train travel perspective.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:59 PM
 
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Given the length of the trip and the price, sleeper cars aren't a very cost efficient way to travel. My grandparents used to travel by sleeper and they said it wasn't cheap.
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armory View Post
The first problem with rail travel in the USA is AMTRAK is owned by the US government. Anything the government touches turns to s##t.
The government has been regulating railroads since the late 19th century.

I can't get over how some people can't spend more than 8 hours to travel 3000 miles. AT one time people looked forward to the voyage as well as the destination on ships, trains and in their cars as that was part of 'getting away' from it all. Planes trips are generally under 3 hours in length, and hectic before, during and after the entire ordeal. Those 3 hours on a plane can easily turn into 10 hours from home to destination; if you're lucky. Most people tune out with iPods or books or other stuff. It's almost as if it is a solitary experience save for the few families with 3 toddlers that demand full time attention and aren't seated near each other.

The reason RR travel is so expensive is because government runs it and lobbyists tell then how to run it down. Planes can't carry as much freight as trains but they can move more passengers at higher rates of speed. The airline companies have deep pockets and lobby for regulations to hold back RR. They did to the point RR companies shut down starting in the 60s. Government started AMTRAK in 1971 and it is what it is today. It is never profitable but the government does nothing to make a profit. The government can waste all of the money they can possibly get away with but never have anything to show for it at the end of the fiscal year. It can buy cars, planes tanks, ships and administrative junk - huge salaries - but can government show actual product or profit?
Such it is with RR.
Amtrak is "owned" by the federal government because otherwise there wouldn't have been much if any passenger rail service left in the USA.

It was Congress/Washington D.C. that regulated and or otherwise drove intercity rail service (and much of the commuter part as well) out of business. In particular in the post WWII era when the push was to autos and then air travel.

I've said it before, NO passenger rail service in the United States or elsewhere exists without some sort of local or state (federal) subsidy. Indeed much of the US rail system would not have been built if the government had not granted RRs easements to lay ROW.

When Amtrak was first put together it was mainly to solve the mess created by Conrail going under, and also to quiet those that felt American needed some sort of passenger rail service. Then as now the main jewel of Amtrak is the NEC.
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
Because Amtrak service is pretty mediocre. The trains are really dated and look like they haven't been upgraded since 1971 when Amtrak was started. Even back then they looked dated. The seating areas are very basic and not appealing at all. There's nothing glamorous or special about riding on Amtrak. Just a means to get from point A to point B, like a Greyhound on rails. If I can barely tolerate a 3 or 4 hour day trip on an Amtrak train why would I want to sleep in one overnight?
You've not ridden on the Acela trains then have you?
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:10 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natnasci View Post
Because I'm old and have talked to thousands of travellers

It's basically a leftover mindset from the cold war. Western Europe the old accessible part, it was the Europe that people travelled to in great numbers. Eastern Europe, the portions behind the iron curtain, were rarely visited and just not in the mindset of people when speaking about travelling to Europe.
I will also add, in conjunction with talking about Europe and trains, the countries available on a Eurail pass also contributed to what people considered " Europe " from a train travel perspective.
At least these days, the Czech Republic and maybe a few other former communist eastern European countries are in the "American tourist" circuit. Prague is among the more visited European cities. From Vienna, only an hour train ride away:

https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=V...=start&start=0

Going further east, is still a bit off the beaten path.
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
On RailEurope's website, I'm currently looking at 4 options for Florence to Paris, and all are under 16 hours. All have one transfer in Milan. (that's new, as it was a straight shot, when I made the trip) The overnight route I'm talking about is one of the longer ones, at 12h 30m. (There is a cheaper 10h 22m option, but it's during the afternoon/evening) Leave Florence at 9pm, and arrive in Paris at 9:30 am. I don't know what "best" vs. "flexible" means with regard to first and second class, but "best second class" is $220, "best first class" is $293, and "flexible first class" is a pricey $469.

I don't mean to dwell on this, but I think this is a good example of how overnight trains can work, and be competitive with the cost of flying & additional night in a hotel.
There you go again, comparing Americans to Europeans or even Canadians.

Truth is large numbers of Americans prefer to drive distances you seem to believe would be covered well by trains with sleeper service for a host of reasons. That or they will take a plane which is often faster and takes them closer to their destination and leaves from near their home. If you throw in the costs for say a family of four to take say Amtrak from NYC to Chicago or NYC to Florida it is certainly cheaper (and often faster) to drive.

Most Europeans never lost their use of rail/trains. Indeed after WWII part of the rebuilding was rail infrastructure and then along the way investments were made by various state run or funded rail agencies to improve service. It was American railroads that developed high speed trains long before WWII. However post war equipment and ideas were shipped off to Europe and elsewhere. The French took that ball and ran developing the TGV.

Petrol costs in the USA historically are no where as dear as what you find in Europe. Thus the idea of driving long distances does not put many off to the point they would take a train. I can see the same scenery from my car as I can via rail. But in an auto I can stop where and when I want, depart and arrive when I want and so forth.

Long haul rail service makes sense when you are moving large numbers of persons from one urban area to another. This is especially true if you want to reach speeds that make a difference in the time.
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:29 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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European sleeper train services aren't exactly popular, either. There's more of them because trains in general are faster and have better coverage, but most use cheap flights. The more expensive gas prices are partially canceled by more fuel efficient vehicles, train fares are still pricier than driving for a family of four.

If you're not making many stops a very long road trip (say over 6 or 7 hours) isn't exactly pleasant. A train is definitely more relaxing.
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:30 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,985 posts, read 41,937,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
Because Amtrak service is pretty mediocre. The trains are really dated and look like they haven't been upgraded since 1971 when Amtrak was started. Even back then they looked dated. The seating areas are very basic and not appealing at all. There's nothing glamorous or special about riding on Amtrak. Just a means to get from point A to point B, like a Greyhound on rails. If I can barely tolerate a 3 or 4 hour day trip on an Amtrak train why would I want to sleep in one overnight?
Amtrak isn't exactly special but intolerable? I don't find the service mediocre, just often slow or not that useful.
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
At least these days, the Czech Republic and maybe a few other former communist eastern European countries are in the "American tourist" circuit. Prague is among the more visited European cities. From Vienna, only an hour train ride away:

https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=V...=start&start=0

Going further east, is still a bit off the beaten path.
Yes I'm aware of that, but the " gained " tourist area is still quite small when comparing all of Europe.
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Old 06-13-2014, 04:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
European sleeper train services aren't exactly popular, either. There's more of them because trains in general are faster and have better coverage, but most use cheap flights. The more expensive gas prices are partially canceled by more fuel efficient vehicles, train fares are still pricier than driving for a family of four.

If you're not making many stops a very long road trip (say over 6 or 7 hours) isn't exactly pleasant. A train is definitely more relaxing.
Guess that rests on what your definition of "pleasant" means.

Persons routinely drive between NY and Boston, NY and North Carolina, NY and Florida and hundreds of similar routes all over the USA without complaints. Each of those routes are > seven hours each way.

I'm going to say this for hopefully the last time; everyone's unique situation is different and that will influence how they choose to travel long or even middle range distances.

If a family or person wants to go to NYC to Ashville North Carolina but needs to leave at a certain time and be back home the same unless the train is convenient and economical they will find alternate means of transport sleeper cars or not.

Also the above example leaves out that many persons doing road trips take the driving in turns if more than one adult is going along. One person does not have to drive the entire six or seven hours, that is unless they wish.

Here is a break down of pros and cons of traveling between NYC area and Boston via various methods:
How to Get Between New York City and Boston

Finally again will say that sleeper service adds costs to RRs that they do not otherwise have with coaches and or that may not be recouped as ROI.

Trains have to be made up in advance of boarding and often even ticket sales which can go on right up until the thing pulls out of station. Once you've spent the funds to purchase, equip, stock and staff sleeper cars if they do not fill up the train still must leave and those "seats" are empty. However the aforementioned provisions are still their and or paid for so now you've lost money.

Railroad workers including "Pullman car" workers had and still have some of the strongest unions. It does not make a difference to a union man if say Amtrak did not sell out their sleeper seats. If the train pulls out of the station with empty cars he gets his money regardless, even if he spends the time between NYC and Chicago playing Bridge.
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