I think trains are really cool. Does anyone else think trains are awesome?
Is it true, what I hear about how auto companies bought up railroad land and let it lie fallow to mess up the railroads?
Ditto on trains. I took a train from Phoenix to Pittsburgh and it was an awesome trip, very comfortable. You cannot meet better people than on a train, very chill.
I was telling someone the other day about the mag-lev trains in Japan, he never even heard of them. I think if more people knew of such things there would be more demand for efficient,cheap, and FAST public transit.
alnilam, im pretty sure you are correct on how our rail infrastructure went under. europe is a really great example of how the train is utilized as well. in ireland and northern ireland they have trains that include a car just for your bike.
and on a more micro level, the city of dublin recently (in the last 10 years) installed a light rail system that virtually any city could implement. the rails are embedded in hard rubber which is rolled out on top of the existing streets. it was a little sketchy biking over them, especially when wet, but i got used to it.
I’m a little skeptical about high-speed trains in the US.
They seem to have priorities wrong. You see big article athat talk about “Max speed 140” and “Max speed 210” but not about reduced times from city to city.
The high speed train we do have boasts a 150 mph top speed – but averages 66 mph between DC and Boston. It saves you about an hour and a half over driviing (according to MapQuest).
I think that car companies buying up rail lines ahd mroe to do with light rail and tolley’s tahtn intercity stuff. It’ spretty well documented that they wanted to shut the trolley’s down.
Wiki has an OK article on this
Be sure to read the disclaimer section “other explanations.”
Aside: I’m reading a history of Japan. There is controversy about the government involvement in their development – whether the government was the primary motivating factor or small industry free market forces primary. One suspects many researchers – on either side – are driven by ideology. Same with these issues.
Trolley coverage was pretty good at one point. In one book about the GAP, they talk about trolleys running between Meyersdale, among others. I read once about a newspaper man who took a large arduous many-tranfered streetcar trip from NYC to Chicago (I think).
I’m unable to find any overall streetcar map for, say, the US in 1920.
As for general bias in the history of the automobile? You do not often see in print that Hitlers biggest US supporter was Henry Ford. We like our automotive heroes.
There has been endless investigation of the various people (usually small potatoes)involved with the communist movement in the 20th century, but not very much investigation of the big cheeses (open pun thread here) that supported the fascists.
I like trains too, but in many ways the geography and distance between places can make or break their success. For the US, I think that having high-speed regional lines would be most successful as it would give people a leg up over driving (even though many people prefer driving for control over their schedule).
However, my point about geography: Spain’s train system is no where near as good as, for example, Italy’s. There is a good bit of history to this, but topography also affects a lot of it. Spain has a harder topography to get train lines across than Italy or someplace like France or Benelux. It’s easier to take a bus or to fly to get around Spain than to take the train, when considering time and cost factors.
I would love to be able to hop on a train and go from Pgh to Columbus and to Cincinnati. But I’ll have to keep waiting.
I, too, like trains, and try to take them as often as time and budget permit.
I don’t know about a national streetcar map but the old maps at http://digital.library.pitt.edu/maps/ often have streetcar lines marked in.
I think the problem with the US is maybe you could take a train between destinations, but then more than likely you’re going to need a car to get around once you’re there.
A high speed train that connected Chicago-Pittsburgh-NYC would be awesome. And racer buddies, imagine taking the train to NJ/Philly for bike races instead of driving 5 hours (each way)… I can only dream!
good point. high speed trains that still don’t have baggage cars or don’t transport bicycles are cool but not extremely helpful. i’ve been writing letters to amtrak for years trying to get them to let me bring my bike on the train from pittsburgh to philly. still no response other than “thanks for your feedback”.
however, i successfully smuggled a bicycle on the train by packing it into a large bag. so the size of the baggage doesn’t matter, its the fact that its a bicycle that makes it forbidden on the train.
@bstephens – I don’t know if i totally agree with that. train stations are already in cities will have public transit, etc.
I think high speed rail is all fine and dandy, but i’d be happy if the train service was restored to a 1930s level.
Jeez, Nick. did you take it apart at all? I would love to take my road bike back on the train. I wouldn’t need to be picked up and dropped off at the station if I had my bike with me. I keep writing them as well.
I think Erok posted a while back about the Chinatown bus from Oakland to New York, and that they would let you put your fully assembled bike in the cargo area. I took that from New York City to Pittsburgh a few weeks ago but didn’t ask if they still allow bikes.
i took off the wheels, the handlebars, the racks and i lowered the seat. this is a loop hole i think more people should exploit.
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