I'm aware of various reasons, like automakers in the early 20th century actively eliminating
railways in the name of profit (thank you, capitalism), and preferential funding for highways over trains, as well as anti-state arguments that trains are too heavily subsidized by the government and Amtrak should be forced to compete on the open market (while conveniently ignoring the fact that gas taxes aren't the entire source of highway funds
, or the massive subsidies on gas and cars (by tax breaks to carmakers)).
Notable conservative pundit George Will
is against trains because they take away our individualism and are the first step to socialism. (I wish I were making that up.) Factor in a bit of projection
(ie, liberals say they want trains because X, but really COMMUNISM) and a bit
, and you have the face of modern movement conservatism. (Note: if you don't know the difference between being conservative and movement conservatism
, spend a few minutes with google before yelling at me.)
A nice piece on CNN fact checks
a lot of these myths, and an operations engineer asks why so riled about rail?
Seriously, why do Americans flip their collective shit at the thought of TRAINS? Trains are awesome. Amtrak kind of sucks, but that's not completely Amtrak's fault. It's in large part due to the inevitable shit-flipping from Americans at the thought of building train tracks and having the government fund something that will let people get from point A to point B without putting 500,000 one-person-SUVs on I-95.
I'm going to Boston this July, and because I object to security theater, the war on liquids, and the option of submitting myself to probably-unsafe radiation levels/naked scanner or a pat-down that borders on sexual assault, I'm taking the train. It's a good 800 miles by train between here and there, and I can go direct, leaving here at 10 am and arriving in Boston at 8 am, or I can take the train to DC and stay with my sister overnight, then catch one of the regular morning trains to Boston, and repeat the process in reverse. Not a big deal, sort of inconvenient, but I'm the person who took an overnight train from Berlin to Vienna because that only cost 49 Euro and about 12 hours. (There were fancier trains with actual sleeping compartments (EuroCityNight), but they were a lot more expensive.)
Ben's going to Atlanta in a couple weeks for a concert, and he wondered if it would be possible to take the train down. Short answer: no. The train to Atlanta leaves from Greensboro at 12:30 am (midnight) and gets to ATL at 8:30 am. Annoying, sure, and I don't know many people who'd want to be in GSO at midnight because it's kind of dangerous. If he went to GSO by train, he'd have to leave Durham around 5:30 and wait in GSO for 6 hours. WONDERFUL, yes. Coming back, he'd leave ATL at 8:30 pm and get to GSO at 4 am. Which is also extremely
Now, if you were going from NYC to New Orleans, you'd have great departure and arrival times, and that 1400 miles only takes about 30 hours, assuming you don't have to wait for CTX trains to pass, since CTX owns the tracks and Amtrak only leases them, so CTX has the right of way.
Here are two people who would rather take the train, rather than be yet another one-occupant vehicle on the road, but American individual-über-alles culture and its worship of cars with the policy decisions that go along with this car-idolatry has made it inconvenient to impossible.
It's not possible to take the train from Raleigh, NC, to Memphis, TN. It's marginally possible to take the train from Raleigh to Detroit (which I looked into because there's a Gold Cup match between the US men and...Canada maybe? this summer).