Plumb Lines

May 15, 2009

The Pitiful State of American Passenger Rail

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael E. van Landingham @ 1:15 pm

Why would I pay $85 for an off-peak Amtrak ticket from Boston, MA to Baltimore, MD and sit on a train for seven hours when I can fly on AirTran for $50 (taxes inclusive) off-peak and be in Charm City in an hour and a half? Certainly not for the scenery of New Jersey’s Northeast Corridor. And the train does not run on time. Don’t give me any of that “by the time you check in and get through security,” nonsense, either. One wonderful invention, on-line check in with boarding pass printing, and traveling with a carry-on means I spend less than 30 minutes getting to my gate. In short, you’d have to be a hayseed to ride the train. For goodness’ sake, the bus is cheaper and takes about the same time. The only reason Vice President Biden loves the train is because Delaware has no FAA-designated commercial airports. Zero.

An article in Slate today discusses the decline of American passenger rail, and it is not pretty. The most shocking fact: trains are slower today than they were in 1920. Horsefeathers!

-Michael E. van Landingham

Post post: No “No Two Things Are Alike” today. Boy I’m glad I said “pretty much.” Look for it Monday.



  1. Government subsidized failures don’t seem to function as well as free enterprise successes.

    Can’t wait to see how GM (Government Motors) turns out.

    Comment by billsmithem — May 15, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

  2. Whatever. I’m taking Amtrak tomorrow. And don’t forget, buses are for losers.

    Comment by Suzanne W — May 16, 2009 @ 12:57 am

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