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TRAINS: Faster trains would get even higher ridership

Letter by Joshua Heath, Lake Tapps on Sep. 17, 2010 at 11:02 am with 25 Comments »
September 17, 2010 11:02 am

High-speed rail in America has become the topic over the last year. Why does Europe have trains that go 200-plus mph and we, in America, only have an underfunded passenger rail system called Amtrak?

Some may believe that we should invest in that kind of train infrastructure to allow those high speeds. This would be extraordinary expensive and extreme to get any real support. California did it, but it still seems too big and too expensive even for that state.

Amtrak is not bad, despite popular perception, even with a small budget and close to no resources and political support. Trains travel all over the country, and in many areas have gained partnerships within states that have gotten them higher frequencies, better trains and more riders.

Trains are catching on in America. Which is why ridership on the Amtrak Cascades has gone up every year and is close to 1 million riders a year. With more frequency, the fare-box recovery would go up and less money is needed from the state, allowing it to be allocated elsewhere.

If ridership is high now, imagine trains leaving every hour and making the trip an hour faster than by car for roughly the same price.

Leave a comment Comments → 25
  1. I won’t be riding any trains in this country. Americans can’t seem to keep the trains right-side up for some reason.Most other developed countries in the world are decades ahead of our rail system. Maybe the unions are to blame for over-protecting the under qualified rail crews.

  2. Does Europe have a problem with pedestrians getting hit by trains?

  3. Sumner401 says:

    We don’t have high speed rail because a certain segment of our population is narrow minded and can only see dollar signs.
    It’s the same reason we have an infrastructure that is literally collapsing around us as we speak, too many whiners and criers about the cost of doing what is right.

  4. bkeyport1970 says:

    We need to fix the problems with our rail infrastructure before we get high speed anything – 79 through the I-5 spur would cause the trains to fall off the tracks anywhere past the new crossings in Lakewood… The problem is that we were too short sighted to pave over everything and make it automobile or nothing.

  5. I don’t want to go that fast anyway. The faster you go, the more it hurts when you fall or hit something. Planes are different because if you fall you’re toast anyway, but I don’t want to be inside any object traveling that fast.

  6. BlaineCGarver says:

    *sigh* Geography 101 for knee jerkers……The distances in Eurpop lend themselves to rail. The USA is too spred out to cover much territory, except maybe major rail hubs that transport freight. Our small commuter airlines do the job that rail does in the smaller countries.

  7. “*sigh* Geography 101 for knee jerkers……The distances in Eurpop lend themselves to rail. The USA is too spred out to cover much territory, except maybe major rail hubs that transport freight>

    That doesn’t seem to be a problem for China which is the world’s third largest country.

  8. BlaineCGarver says:

    The vast majority of Chinese are not mobile….they stay close to home. Most of China is dirt, and would not support air traffic. They jam Chinese on trains for multi-hundred mile trips like they crowd NYC subways for a 20 minute ride….Sorry, your reasoning is not valid.

  9. aislander says:

    Even the advocates of these transportation-fund-sucking toy trains acknowledge that they will have NO effect in reducing congestion. I wish their effete liberal proponents had been given Lionels instead of Barbies for Christmas or Festivus or whatever it is that lefties celebrate, so that they wouldn’t be compensating for their deprived and dysfunctional childhoods on our dime…

  10. Sumner401 says:

    Oh look, there are the whiners now!
    I knew they would be along, whining as always.

  11. I have taken Amtrak. Despite what Joshua Heath says, it is bad. I took Amtrak from Chicago to Springfield, IL in 2008. We left on time, but 10 minutes outside the station we sat for 45 minutes because evidently freight trains have the right of way. The rest of the ride to Springfield was comfortable, but it was a bit odd looking out the window as cars zoomed past us on the freeway while we chugged down the tracks.

    Coming back from Springfield, the train was two hours late and lost another hour in the three hour ride between Springfield and Chicago. The dining car was out of food, and the unfortunate conductor was unable to get the bratty kids from blocking the aisle while their parents ignored them.

  12. blakeshouse says:

    Amtrak, another govt subsidised, money sucking waste. Just like Healthcare is about to become. You want a program to work and be successfull keep the govt the hell out of it. The sooner the people learn this the sooner we here in this state can get rid of the idiocy known as lite rail

  13. The problem with Amtrak is they do not own all the railroad tracks that they use. I went to Vallejo California one summer.The trip was suppose to be 19hrs it turned out to be 24 hrs before we arrived due to having to wait to let all the trains to go by that owned the tracks then we had to stop because their was damage to the tracks. Also the cost of taking the train is the same as flying. So since it is I rather fly because I can get there quicker

  14. aislander says:

    Fatuous wrote: “That doesn’t seem to be a problem for China which is the world’s third largest country.”

    Then why are more cars being sold in China than in the USA this year? It’s not JUST because Obama’s wrecked our economy…

  15. Explain to me again how our highway system isn’t government subsidized…..

  16. Sumner401 says:

    Obama didn’t wreck our economy, the GOP and bush the failure did.

  17. Sumner401 says:

    High speed rail between certain cities will work and it will be much faster than flying.
    Even low speed rail is faster from Tacoma to Portland than driving or flying.
    With dedicated tracks (which is the only way to make it work) it would cut that time in half. Running a high speed rail line down the I-5 Corridor would make good sense.
    But as I predicted, the whiners are whining and P & moaning about the cost and how it won’t work.
    They have abandoned the ‘pay it foreword’ principal that their parents taught them and they have picked up the ‘me, me, me’ greed taught to them by their false gods.

  18. It’s the unions fault!! It’s the unions fault!!

  19. Frosty Little…………

  20. Everyone knows that Democrats never whine. Or Lie. They are as pure as the driven snow……

  21. Novelist3 says:

    I would say the greatest boon a fast train has in this country is that a rider doesn’t have go to through the degrading, soul-erasing process flight passengers do. I’ll never fly SeaTac again after they installed “backscatter” machines- nobody, and I mean nobody, especially not some TSA goon, is going to be looking at my wife and kids naked. Course, the sheep in this country have gotten so used to the degradation and depravity of intrusive government, things just hum along like normal.

  22. Noveist – But….don’t you just feel safer having gone through the virtual nudity machine?

  23. Sumner401 says:

    novelist, how quick were you to embrace the wiretapping, the torture the elimination of Constitutional rights for prisoners, taking your shoes off, no liquids, the TSA in itself, in the GOP fueled fear mongering “it’s for your security” crap that got us to this point?

    Now, that you allowed it get this far you draw the line because someone may see and make fun of your manhood?
    I guess all those rights and freedoms you so willing gave up and defended weren’t worth anything to you.
    You have any ‘buyers remorse’ for your life long support of those that removed your rights and freedoms?

  24. Wow, Sumner is a mind reader. Based on the comment from Novelist3, he appears to be one of those evil wascally wepuplicans to Sumner.

  25. Vince Geoghan says:

    @jordan I don’t but the best option for some good traffic is this right here http://tinyurl. com/32uv9us

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