Amtrak ridership up 50 percent
September 13, 2001 7:35 PM   Subscribe

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 (24 comments total)
Whatever the case, I think Amtrak's funding is probably more secure today than it was last week.
posted by mrbula at 7:42 PM on September 13, 2001

Thank goodness Amtrak had not been completely abandoned over the years. Diversity is good in any system. If one system is crippled, another can take over, or at least provide some relief.

I have always wished for a better rail travel system in America. Maybe this has pointed up the need for such a system.
posted by dewelch at 7:49 PM on September 13, 2001

well seeing how they detained 3 or 4 persons.and they were posing as pilots? i would think it may take some time for trust to come back
posted by iac6969 at 7:55 PM on September 13, 2001

to the airlines
posted by iac6969 at 7:57 PM on September 13, 2001

Trains are beautiful, magical, wonderful creatures.
posted by bargle at 8:01 PM on September 13, 2001

I hope trains aren't the next target, considering ten people with false IDs and plastic knives, some of them trained as pilots by that Florida flight school, have been arrested in New York, trying to board two different planes. This isn't over. How is our train security?
posted by kd at 8:04 PM on September 13, 2001

kd, are you saying there's a danger someone could hijack a train and point it towards the captiol building? And how would they know what they're doing, by playing MS Train Simulator?
posted by mathowie at 8:08 PM on September 13, 2001

Thankfully, the potential damage a passenger train could cause is limited by its reliance on rails.

I would be more worried about freight train security at this point. There are thousands of trains moving all over America at this moment who's cargo could cause major damage and disruption.
posted by dewelch at 8:09 PM on September 13, 2001

A shift to trains is predictable. I am very concerned that they will be targetted next. Derailling a train is a easy as putting a well placed rock on the tracks, or driving a vehicle off an overpass. Personally, I wouldn't be looking at travelling any way other than in a private vehicle, well stocked with food, water, medical stuff and blankets.
posted by krisjohn at 8:11 PM on September 13, 2001

I'm not entirely sure what I'm saying, mathowie, I'm pretty frightened at the moment and since I have very little insight into the workings of the terrorist mind, I'm seeing transportation as a target - whether it's done to cripple us or to do damage with the hazardous cargo that dewelch mentioned. The fact that the terrorist cells are still actively attempting to carry out their plans against us makes me incredibly nervous.
posted by kd at 8:15 PM on September 13, 2001

I've always wondered why more people didn't ride the trains we've already got instead of flying. It seems, if only superficially, safer and more reliable to me, especially for people vacationing with time to spare.
posted by kevspace at 8:16 PM on September 13, 2001

I was kidding around kd, sorry if I made you more nervous.
posted by mathowie at 8:17 PM on September 13, 2001

Thanks - hey I didn't even know about the Train Simulator. Looks pretty cool. I love trains.
posted by kd at 8:18 PM on September 13, 2001

do damage with the hazardous cargo that dewelch mentioned. The fact that the terrorist cells are still actively attempting to carry out their plans against us

I had to re-type that sentence several times before committing it to the page. Just writing it, even in the oblique fashion I did it, gave me the willies.
posted by dewelch at 8:27 PM on September 13, 2001

Unfortunately, rail security is usually light, often non-existant. On a recent trip from the Twin Cities to Boston the only station I saw any security at was Chicago. At the Twin Cities terminal, where the Empire Builder takes a brief rest to resupply, anyone could walk up to the train, walk in and not be noticed by employees or passengers.
posted by mrbula at 8:28 PM on September 13, 2001

Commerce (among other things, like mail) relies upon planes, trains and automobiles (okay, semis). To damage an enemy, it would be logical to go after all three sides of this transportation infrastructure. IF you have the wherewithal to do so, which seems highly questionable in this case. Let's hope.
posted by rushmc at 8:31 PM on September 13, 2001

Well, we know they weren't done with us. They no doubt had more hijackings in mind when we shut down air travel. They tried to get on two of the first planes allowed out, even with the extensive security measures in place - did they think they were going to get away with it? Is that insanity or confidence based upon inside knowledge of their plans? Yes, they are insane. But is that the only source of this... this nerve they have?
posted by kd at 8:43 PM on September 13, 2001

When I heard speculation that the Airlines may discontinue carry-ons (which I think/hope turned out to be false), I checked out the price for a round-trip train ride back home for the holidays. LA to Omaha - $1,800+.

Granted that was traveling alone, assuming a sleeper car - probably not the most economical method in the world, but still….I don't think so.
posted by willnot at 8:50 PM on September 13, 2001

I took Amtrak from Rochester, NY to Chicago and back over new Years in 98-99. Security was non existant, and I remember thinking about all the ways that bad things could happen.

Luckily, there isn't too much you can do with a train, as compared with a plane. It can onl ride on the rails, can't suddenly change direction and fly into buildings, and is fairly useless as far as demanding to go someplace else like another country. So that would hopefully make it a less attractive target.

BUT, when I took the train, I never had to have my bags checked, never went through a metal detector, never was asked questions, and hell, their ticket-checking wasn't all that organized or sophisticated either. (turns out that I could have stayed on through Syracuse, which was closer to home, with no problem at all. I didn't, since my ride was heading to Rochester, though). If trains started to become a mre popular method of travel, I'd be really worried. Because I'm not kidding when I say that I could have easily walked onto that train with an arsenal.
posted by Bernreuther at 9:58 PM on September 13, 2001

why more people didn't ride the trains

LA to Omaha - $1,800+.

Seattle to LA - over $400, a couple of years back - neither holidays nor sleeper car. and the last time I took amtrak, about 7 years ago, horribly late (12 hours late from seattle to la)

alas, right now it's the 2 things that americans seem to hate most in the world: slow & expensive. wish it weren't so...perhaps this will change?
posted by epersonae at 10:28 PM on September 13, 2001

When a train crashes it usually goes a few hundred feet on level ground before coming to a stop. When a plane crashes it usually goes a few thousand feet straight down before coming to a stop.
posted by @homer at 10:36 PM on September 13, 2001

On a more sobering note, Thursday afternoon an AMTRAK train that carried, among other passengers, displaced airline flyers, collided with a Union Pacific freight train on the Utah salt flats, just east of Wendover.

6 people where hospitalized for injuries and smoke inhalation. All things considered, most of them actually said they felt pretty lucky.
posted by Big Dave at 10:41 PM on September 13, 2001

I am also happy to find out about the Train Simulator. Thanks Matt.
posted by eckeric at 9:52 AM on September 14, 2001

Trains can show you that part of the countryside that you can't see from the highway or the sky. I love taking the train for that reason alone.
posted by johnjreeve at 7:08 PM on September 17, 2001

« Older A view from inside the rescue effort   |   Invert rugby player: Hero? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments