Why can't the US build basic rail?

Edratman

Forum Staff
Feb 2009
6,847
Eastern PA
As Nao already said it, we always forget to count the effective time: from leaving home to the train/plane starting to move.

In the best of cases, You pass 2 hours in plus for getting the plane.

That's 500 miles for a high-speed train ;)
I started flying in the 70's, and if direct flights were available to my destination, I would choose flying if the drive would take three hours or more.

Today, if the drive is six to eight hours, flying isn't even a consideration.

Way back when, I could arrive 15 minutes before departure, park real close to the terminal and walk to the gate unimpeded. Today........................
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
15,036
Europix
Way back when, I could arrive 15 minutes before departure, park real close to the terminal and walk to the gate unimpeded. Today........................
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.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Edratman

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
You don't know what You've missed, Rodge!

It's so good to move without doing nothing, or watching the landscape, or talking to perfect strangers, or reading a book.

If I drive 100 miles (and for some good time I have to do that almost daily), it's 2-3 hours of my life that I've lost. If I can do that by train, it's 2-3 hours of my life that I gained.
Maybe rails are for middle aged to elderly? As I get older, driving is more of a hassle so a train may be an option, although fly seems more efficient, if not convenient in today's environment. But for the first half of my life I enjoyed being in the driver's seat. I preferred being active rather than passive. For my friends and I the drive was a challenge. Who could drive the longest, the farthest, the fastest (without getting a ticket).:)
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
15,036
Europix
Maybe rails are for middle aged to elderly?
You might not believe it, but I simply refused to have a car till my late 20s. And I made almost half of Europe...

I had to have one later, because of the job.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Rodger

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,811
Las Vegas, NV USA
I think self driving cars will eventually replace passenger trains (but not subways) and short hop air connections. Owning your own car will be a luxury and used just for fun on auto ranches. Anyone can call a car to their door and go anywhere roads can take the them
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
36,314
T'Republic of Yorkshire
I started flying in the 70's, and if direct flights were available to my destination, I would choose flying if the drive would take three hours or more.

Today, if the drive is six to eight hours, flying isn't even a consideration.

Way back when, I could arrive 15 minutes before departure, park real close to the terminal and walk to the gate unimpeded. Today........................
See, there's a difference betweem short haul European air travel and domestic US air travel. European flights air about cramming as many people in as possible. It's cramped, and unpleasant. Domestic US travel tends to use larger planes. You still have a first class section on aircraft, which is similar to business class of a couple of decades ago. European business class usually means exactly the same as economy class, but with the seat next to you vacant, plus you get a free drink and maybe a salad.

I hate European short haul with a passion.
 
Jun 2013
511
Connecticut
Not even speed rail, just a reliable garden variety electrified rail service with a minimum average speed of 65mph at least, I mean would could have multiple trips a day between cities like Seattle and Portland, or Atlanta and Raleigh, or Chicago and St. Louis, this is a lot cheaper than high speed rail, and should be easier to build.
I think that there are quite a number of "garden variety" electrical railroads that exist in various parts of the USA, I think they do quite well and provide decent service to the people.

I know the NYC area. It's densely populated and definitely not built for speed. Surface rail travel around here is very important. Rail conditions are reported daily in the morning news along with weather and highway traffic. The reason is because the three largest surface railroads in the USA exist here. Metro Transit Authority's Long Island RR and Metro-North (Hudson River and CT) and NJ Transit (NYC ti Phila). Together these lines (there are over 25 of them) service 965,000 people a week (excluding weekends) through 410 stations. Almost all are electrified. 965,000 is like moving the population of SF or Indianapolis or Seattle or Denver or Boston in a five days. On time is not perfect but the rolling stock is very, very good. So this covers transit from mid-state NY down to Phila.

On top of this Amtrak runs through these systems and at night, every single night, freight runs through on many lines. National carriers such as CSX and Norfolk plus dozens of short run local lines. So rail travel is alive and well in this area. It's a definite necessity.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,819
Australia
You don't know what You've missed, Rodge!

It's so good to move without doing nothing, or watching the landscape, or talking to perfect strangers, or reading a book.

If I drive 100 miles (and for some good time I have to do that almost daily), it's 2-3 hours of my life that I've lost. If I can do that by train, it's 2-3 hours of my life that I gained.
Rail travel in Europe is one of lifes treasures. Maybe I am easily entertained, but there is nothing like the excitement and sense of adventure when waiting for a late night train at a grand European railway station.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rodger

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,767
I think that there are quite a number of "garden variety" electrical railroads that exist in various parts of the USA, I think they do quite well and provide decent service to the people.

I know the NYC area. It's densely populated and definitely not built for speed. Surface rail travel around here is very important. Rail conditions are reported daily in the morning news along with weather and highway traffic. The reason is because the three largest surface railroads in the USA exist here. Metro Transit Authority's Long Island RR and Metro-North (Hudson River and CT) and NJ Transit (NYC ti Phila). Together these lines (there are over 25 of them) service 965,000 people a week (excluding weekends) through 410 stations. Almost all are electrified. 965,000 is like moving the population of SF or Indianapolis or Seattle or Denver or Boston in a five days. On time is not perfect but the rolling stock is very, very good. So this covers transit from mid-state NY down to Phila.

On top of this Amtrak runs through these systems and at night, every single night, freight runs through on many lines. National carriers such as CSX and Norfolk plus dozens of short run local lines. So rail travel is alive and well in this area. It's a definite necessity.
Yes, the NYC area has lots of commuter trains, intercity trains, and subways. It has to. This is somewhat true in Philadelphia, Boston, the northeast corridor, and other big cities.