Why can't the US build basic rail?

Jun 2019
61
St.Petersburg
For about $200-$300, you can get from Boston to Los Angeles in about 80 hours using Amtrak... if you want to take the express, it costs more but it cuts down the travel time by 10 hrs. I have some friends who took the train from Philadelphia area to Los Angeles and they enjoyed it.
Do you mean seat price ? Sitting 60-80 hours is not the best way to travel, IMHO.
Sleeper is much more expensive however, over $1000, as far, as I know.
 
Feb 2019
823
Pennsylvania, US
Do you mean seat price ? Sitting 60-80 hours is not the best way to travel, IMHO.
Sleeper is much more expensive however, over $1000, as far, as I know.
My friends were hipsters... they lived for that tough life, hobo-gentry feel. Sitting for 80 hours was the closest they could get to actually hopping a freight train 1930's style. They brought cans of spam with them to eat... Not how I'd choose to do it... They got to blog about it the whole way and enjoyed seeing their hipster cred double overnight. :lol:
 
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royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,630
San Antonio, Tx
The US of A is deciding whether it wants to build high speed railtracks. Currently it is in an impasse as your beloved President thinks it might be a bit pricey to build trains which run about 225kph, as opposed to the new Chinese trains which run at 400 kph.. With the price of Airlines, trains might seem dearer but, they deliver from city centre to city centre! Add the the times spent to travel from airport to airport and the difference will be negligable. Just build the lines!
They won’t be built - not now, not ever. Most Americans no longer live near downtowns or city centers. They live in the “burbs”, unless one is young and like to live near to where the action is. But the action, lol, is now very spread out. Trains were very good at one time in delivering people to city centers, but since the population moved to the suburbs, the convenience of going from downtown to downtown doesn’t mean very much, nor is it particularly desirable.

The reason why things are spread out is because Americans have cars. Lots and lots of cars and this means that destinations can be spread out.
 
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stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,516
Las Vegas, NV USA
By WWI the US had over 400,000 km (250,000 miles) of track. Between the wars rail companies competed for passengers with each other and with cars. They provided good to luxurious service at competitive prices. Ridership peaked in 1945 with wartime demand. Quickly all went downhill from there. Cars and suburbs drove all but commuter rail out of business. The interstate highway network was the final blow taking vital freight business as well. Rail still is the most cost efficient for intermediate passenger travel between cities as well as intermediate and long distance freight. However the drastic reduction in track miles meant the loss of convenient access to rail service. In a market driven economy where consumer demand rules, affordable cars, good roads, suburban homes, and affordable air travel combined to limit rail alternatives.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,630
San Antonio, Tx
Even b
Almost replied "I see what You mean".

But no, as that's one of the differences: even way back then, even on internal flights, You couldn't do that in Europe.
Even better, with Southwest Airlines after they first started, you could just walk on the plane and pay for the seat - cash or credit! If you see the seat, it’s yours.
 

fascinating

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,370
They won’t be built - not now, not ever. Most Americans no longer live near downtowns or city centers. They live in the “burbs”, unless one is young and like to live near to where the action is. But the action, lol, is now very spread out. Trains were very good at one time in delivering people to city centers, but since the population moved to the suburbs, the convenience of going from downtown to downtown doesn’t mean very much, nor is it particularly desirable.

The reason why things are spread out is because Americans have cars. Lots and lots of cars and this means that destinations can be spread out.
Another reason why the Americans are so spread out is because they have lots of space. Compare with China, where a population 3 times as high as that of America is concentrated in an area only one-third the size. Imagine a billion people being concentrated only in the area of land that is East of the Mississippi.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,630
San Antonio, Tx
But you don't know the cost, nor give any reason why they should be built.
This is just dumb. Trains in Europe with its short distances between Capitols makes sense; in the US with its very long distances (1000s of miles) between major urban centers, they make no sense. Before the Interstate highways, they made sense; today, not so much.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,630
San Antonio, Tx
The problem with trying to push something like this through in the U.S. is that all the public dollars are converted into a slush-fund by liberal politicians, which dole out huge sums to companies formed by their cronies for the express purpose, which companies pay out huge bonuses to their "management" and then fold.
This is the broadest of the broad brush analyses of the situation. It’s easy to just lay back and “blame the governement” without any corroborating evidence. Passenger rail in the US west of the east coast is not coming back simply because there is no demand for it. It is not more complicated than that. Maybe if 200 - 300MPH trains and their infrastructure can be built cheaply- no way - it might work in a few restricted places, but nationwide? No way. Europeans in here should just unfold a map and open it next to a map of Europe-and the answer should be readily apparent to anyone who is not already brain dead. Increased rail ridership in the US is a European dream and not an American one.
 

fascinating

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,370
This is just dumb. Trains in Europe with its short distances between Capitols makes sense; in the US with its very long distances (1000s of miles) between major urban centers, they make no sense. Before the Interstate highways, they made sense; today, not so much.
You agree with me, then, that an extensive program of building high speed passenger railways in USA is not justified.
 

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,853
India
This is just dumb. Trains in Europe with its short distances between Capitols makes sense; in the US with its very long distances (1000s of miles) between major urban centers, they make no sense. Before the Interstate highways, they made sense; today, not so much.
you are right people who can afford flights, don't prefer trains for long distance journey.