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Old 01-03-2020, 06:04 AM
 
11,036 posts, read 8,824,924 times
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I know bus and train service still exist but no where near what they once were. I wasn’t around prior to the interstate highway system being built. Was the interstate highway system the development that hurt bus and train travel the most? I’ve traveled by bus once and it was fine for shorter routes if you didn’t have your own vehicle, unable to drive, don’t trust your vehicle for such a trip, or don’t want to put those miles on your vehicle. But for longer distances a bus takes far longer than if you drove yourself. I tried mapping out a trip by train and was surprised by how long the trip was going to take as well as how much it would cost compared to flying to the same destination. That brings up another factor. Did the lowering of cost of airline travel impact bus and train service more than interstate highways or were they equally hurtful to bus and train service?
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Old 01-03-2020, 06:29 AM
 
Location: Roaring '20s
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victimofGM View Post
I know bus and train service still exist but no where near what they once were. I wasn’t around prior to the interstate highway system being built. Was the interstate highway system the development that hurt bus and train travel the most? I’ve traveled by bus once and it was fine for shorter routes if you didn’t have your own vehicle, unable to drive, don’t trust your vehicle for such a trip, or don’t want to put those miles on your vehicle. But for longer distances a bus takes far longer than if you drove yourself. I tried mapping out a trip by train and was surprised by how long the trip was going to take as well as how much it would cost compared to flying to the same destination. That brings up another factor. Did the lowering of cost of airline travel impact bus and train service more than interstate highways or were they equally hurtful to bus and train service?
The interstates made both car and bus travel more efficient.

But the interstates were more a matter of effect than cause. The number of private automobiles in the United States more than doubled in the 1950s, while the population was increasing by less than 20%. More and more people were driving. This in itself was partly a reflection of postwar suburban sprawl, which necessitated more automobile ownership. When a family had an automobile, then they didn't need the bus or the train except perhaps for some instances of long-distance travel. So the freeways were more a symptom (rather than a cause) of the death of bus/train travel.

And air travel offered such a significant benefit in time-savings that it was able to flourish despite the rise of the automobile. This was especially true for the bread and butter of air travel - the business traveler. Once business helped create the air travel platform, it was there for the leisure traveler to use as well.
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Old 01-03-2020, 12:07 PM
 
Location: San Diego CA
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I can remember as a kid in the early 50’s traveling with my parents on the narrow dangerous two lane highways prior to the interstates. Today’s highways make for safer travel for everyone.
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Old 01-03-2020, 08:25 PM
 
9,722 posts, read 9,707,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victimofGM View Post
I know bus and train service still exist but no where near what they once were. I wasn’t around prior to the interstate highway system being built. Was the interstate highway system the development that hurt bus and train travel the most? I’ve traveled by bus once and it was fine for shorter routes if you didn’t have your own vehicle, unable to drive, don’t trust your vehicle for such a trip, or don’t want to put those miles on your vehicle. But for longer distances a bus takes far longer than if you drove yourself. I tried mapping out a trip by train and was surprised by how long the trip was going to take as well as how much it would cost compared to flying to the same destination. That brings up another factor. Did the lowering of cost of airline travel impact bus and train service more than interstate highways or were they equally hurtful to bus and train service?
I'll just speak to trains. The interstate highways didn't kill train service because the fate of train service was determined before the passage of the Interstate Highway Act of 1956.

Private passenger train service was never very profitable. Hauling passengers long distances on trains requires a substantial staff of conductors, cooks, waiters, and porters. Salaries for railroad workers have always been a bit on the high side because the employment is unionized and the unions have done a good job getting salaries and benefits for their members. In short, ticket sales barely paid for the cost of the service with maybe a very small profit. The situation grew worse during the Great Depression. Fewer people were paying for seats and sleeping cars on trains because of the bad state of the economy. Trains enjoyed a four year "renaissance" during World War II, but after World War II, railroad track mileage declined every single year from 1946 through the turn of the Twenty-first Century. The private passenger car and the jet airplane made long distance passenger trains economically non-viable. By 1970, the railroads had all made it clear they wished to eliminate all passenger train service in the United States. The government stepped in and created "Amtrak" so that there would still be some train service.

In short, interstate highways helped kill off private passenger trains, but their fate was already sealed at that point.
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Old 01-03-2020, 11:44 PM
 
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This actually makes me wonder why they did not just build an interstate all those decades prior to post WWII as opposed to having chinese people lay down train tracks.

The roads can facilitate horse drawn carriages. Traversing across the country, there is plenty of grass to feed the horse as long as you stay north.
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Old 01-04-2020, 01:47 AM
 
Location: The High Desert
7,835 posts, read 4,264,203 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
This actually makes me wonder why they did not just build an interstate all those decades prior to post WWII as opposed to having chinese people lay down train tracks.

The roads can facilitate horse drawn carriages. Traversing across the country, there is plenty of grass to feed the horse as long as you stay north.
You would not go across the Overland or Oregon trail in a flimsy horsedrawn carriage even if the road was paved. It took months. There would be hundreds of bridges to be built apart from the road. Then there was the pesky buffalos and the Indians. Blizzards in the winter. Steamboats could reach Fort Benton, Montana, up the Missouri River (in the proper season) but were still well east of the mountains. The transcontinental railroad was finished in 1869, thanks to the Chinese and Irish workers. It still took a week to go by train from Omaha to San Francisco - a major improvement over wagon trains.
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Old 01-04-2020, 09:22 AM
 
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There were highly functional locomotives before the automobile reached that point. My grandparents, for example, bought their first car, a Model T, in about 1925. It was not that reliable and many of the roads were wagon trails.



The story in the Kansas City area was that the automotive industry had a lot to do with breaking down the public transportation infrastructure in order to sell more vehicles and force a reliance on cars. In fact, there were likely many other events leading up to the removal of the street cars in Kansas City, but the change over to cars led people to driving to destinations rather than taking trains. Amtrak is subsidized, but I recently read that it may be profitable this year.
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Old 01-04-2020, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
22,480 posts, read 10,372,129 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
This actually makes me wonder why they did not just build an interstate all those decades prior to post WWII as opposed to having chinese people lay down train tracks.

The roads can facilitate horse drawn carriages. Traversing across the country, there is plenty of grass to feed the horse as long as you stay north.

The automobile wasn't invented yet at the time the railroads traversed the U.S. and completed coast to coast rail travel in 1869. You either had to travel by horse, horse drawn wagon, or sailing ship in a long, circuitous route to get to either coast.
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Old 01-04-2020, 09:50 AM
 
11,628 posts, read 16,734,051 times
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I'm surprised you didn't know.....


https://www.vox.com/2015/5/7/8562007...history-demise


Has none to do with FWys. They killed public transportation, got masses onto personal car dope and so it went. Changing it now will require cost prohibitive effort. It ain't no China to do so.

Say, in my g'ol country, it went the other way around - public transportation and trains system(much more cost efficient) became dominant - as no one really had personal car.
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Old 01-04-2020, 12:11 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
7,835 posts, read 4,264,203 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ukrkoz View Post

Say, in my g'ol country, it went the other way around - public transportation and trains system(much more cost efficient) became dominant - as no one really had personal car.
The US is a victim of its own success in many ways. We have not always made the most efficient choices. There are those in the younger generations that seem to see less value in everyone moving around in a ton of sheet metal and steel. Public transportation might gain some converts.
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