It's been a big week for high speed rail proponents and infrastructure hawks. This week, the California Legislature approved startup funds for the $68 billion
high-speed line linking San Diego to San Francisco and Sacramento and points in between. Today, Amtrak unvelied
its $151 billion plan (PDF)
for the Northeast Corridor. Both will take decades to complete. Detractors worry about exploding costs
and operating losses, while supporters
stress jobs, mobility, and international competitiveness. Europe
have lapped us a few times over. However, those who want to do this quickly and cheaply might want to take a lesson from once-ambitious China.
posted by moammargaret
on Jul 10, 2012 -
The train they call the City of New Orleans
began operations in 1947 carrying passengers from Chicago to New Orleans daily. Although the train service remained popular through the 60's, by 1970 train travel was on the decline. That's when native Chicagoan Steve Goodman and his new bride, Nancy, rode the train down to visit her folks in New Orleans. That trip inspired Goodman to write The City of New Orleans
and an American folk/country standard was born. The song
would go on to earn Goodman a posthumous Grammy 14 years later. [more inside]
posted by Secret Life of Gravy
on Dec 19, 2011 -
uses GPS to tell you the predicted time of the next bus. Google maps show buses in real time, and you can get updates on your phone/PDA. The coverage is limited to certain agencies within the US, so these other sites might be useful: Hopstop
covers subways and buses in NYC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, DC, and more. (mobile version
) Google Transit
has many US metro areas in addition to Canada, Europe, and Japan. (previously)
Many more locations inside. [more inside]
posted by desjardins
on Oct 21, 2008 -
The first National Train Day
is this coming Saturday. There will be events all over
, and concerts, special guests and lots of train related attractions in four main cities, Washington D.C.
, Los Angeles
and New York City
. The day is May 10th to commemorate May 10th, 1869
when the “golden spike
” was driven into the final tie in Promontory Summit, Utah.
It joined two major railways, ceremonially creating the nation’s first transcontinental railroad. Except that it really didn't.
That did not actually happen until August 15th, 1870, near Strasburg, CO. Colorado State officials list it
(pdf) as Comanche Crossing, saying "An unpretentious white monument
marks the spot". The "drab concrete pylon" was moved from the actual site and now sits in Lions Park. Next to the monkey bars.
posted by cashman
on May 3, 2008 -
“Why the hell the train?” and other questions answered
“The real terror is the Three+ Sheltered Old Men, because they don’t sleep and they don’t have normal conversations. They’re completely sporadic: An observation is made, perhaps it is agreed on, then anywhere from two to 45 minutes pass before the next one. That’s the random non-rhythm your brain will feed on... and you’re never going to relax or get any sleep.” As for “train love”? “Ask yourself, do you really want this? Your potential train buddy is travelling by train
. What the hell is wrong with this person? After two days on the train... [y]ou’re not at your Personal Best™”
posted by joeclark
on May 13, 2007 -
The 26th Annual Mooning of Amtrak will take place all day Saturday, July 9, 2005, Laguna Niguel, Orange County, California, U.S.A. "Attending this event may be hazardous due to the large concentration of silly people." Front page includes non-explicit pictures of people mooning, and pictures of trains.
posted by carter
on Jan 24, 2005 -
Having just returned to Paradise
for a little visit, I am reminded just how cool this little place is (not that I needed much reminding *whimper*), and am looking for touristy things to do here without a car. While I was on my way up on the Pacific Surfliner
train, a fellow rider told me about Santa Barbara Car Free
. Awesome! Also props to CalTrans' alliance with Amtrak in California. The trains and service and overall quality of the passenger rail system is quite a bit different from what I've experienced thus far of the stuff handled by Amtrak alone.
posted by WolfDaddy
on Aug 2, 2004 -
"No national railway of a developed country has ever run a profit.
They're not supposed to. The correlative economic and social benefits they throw off -- bringing commuters to taxpaying corporations daily, for one thing -- more than offset any net loss they suffer." [via camworld]
You don't run your home's central heating, air conditioning or plumbing at a profit, so why should a country try to run its infrastructure that way, be it rail, health service, water, ...? Is it forced on us because nationalised services always seem to become fantastically inefficient and bureaucratic?
posted by southisup
on Jun 26, 2002 -
Bye Bye Amtrak?
"If Congress and the Administration do not appropriate adequate funds for FY '03, Amtrak may be forced to discontinue all long-distance train service
effective October 1." Rail advocacy groups have differing reactions
posted by mrbula
on Feb 2, 2002 -
Amtrak ridership up 50 percent
- Most long distance trains were sold out Wednesday and Thursday. Of course, that isn't surprising considering the current air travel situation, but one has to wonder how many of those riding the rails will just decide to stick on the ground for the time being.
posted by mrbula
on Sep 13, 2001 -
AMTRAK still off-track
(NY Times link) Even before living in France I loved trains. So it pains to read that AMTRAK is still
heading towards its last run. Do you progressive, SUV-hating Mefi people have any thoughts on how AMTRAK might get its act together (or whether it's all SUV-futile)?
posted by ParisParamus
on Jul 25, 2001 -
is running one of the most bizarre promotions ever. Yesterday, I saw a bunch of billboards along the freeways saying "Do you have a face that can stop a train?" Below that was this URL: winafacelift.com
. How a train company and facelifts go together, I don't know. It's almost as if they want their slogan to be "when you're too ugly for plane travel, take a train."
posted by mathowie
on May 14, 2000 -