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RAIL: Fast trains found in many towns

Letter by Douglas C. Allen, Gig Harbor on April 30, 2010 at 9:17 am | 2 Comments »
April 30, 2010 9:52 am

I am really disappointed in the editorial (TNT, 4-29) that sides with local officials who are afraid of rapidly moving passenger trains in their cities. Have none of the editors and officials ever traveled outside of Pierce County? The anti-train arguments, while no doubt well-meant, sound provincial and misinformed.

Fast trains (regular ones; bullet trains at 200 mph are another subject) are found all over Europe, where they rarely sound a warning at grade crossings, as well as in large metro areas in the U.S. The closest examples are in the San Francisco Bay Area and the metro Los Angeles area.

In the Chicago suburbs where I grew up, trains roar through small towns at 70-plus mph, and because that area has had no horns at grade crossings (except in unusual situations) for many years, there is almost never a warning sounded, regardless of the train’s speed. There are no “wayside horns,” either. There are gates.

During weekday morning and afternoon rush hours, more than 30 trains pass through in two hours or so. That’s 30-plus trains during each rush-hour time frame, plus other freight and passenger trains all day long.

There is a NIMBY mindset at work here south of Tacoma and irrational fear of something different. Maybe a field trip to one of the places that have successfully had fast trains for decades would be helpful in lowering the fear level.

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