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Freeways killed the railroad star

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Does anyone agree with this? Do you think that with the creation of the Interstate system and other highway networks that rail travel is now nearly obsolete? I find it sad, but then again I don't think I could live without the Interstates and freeways that we have now, since I have come to rely so much on them.

Honestly, I think rail travel was kinda already headed down hill before the interstates, but the interstates certainly solidified the fate, at least until recently.

I do think that rail travel could make itself more viable by adding more high speed track, something that the US lacks (except the northeast corrdior/acela in the northeast). If rail becomes faster then driving, all of the sudden it becomes a very reasonable alternative to driving, even if it is a LITTLE more expensive. To me, time is worth money.

And to drive the high speed rail point home, the acela is a very quick, comfortable, and popular alternative to driving and flying in the northeast. There definitely is a market for more high speed rail in the United States.

Revive 755:
Yes, passenger rail was seriously maimed by the interstate system, and somewhat harmed by improving the US and state highway systems.  But some of the blame also belongs to jet travel and the failure of the railroads to adapt.  At the very least, the railroads needed to offer trains that moved faster than most highway traffic - at least 85 mph.  They could have tried to fill a gap between flying and driving.

Today, at least in the US, Amtrak should try and take advantage of the difficulties/irritants of flying.  I don't believe one has to worry about packing too much shampoo in a carry-on bag for Amtrak, nor if one placed their nail clippers in the check-in bag.  And why waist two hours trying to get through security - or at leas allowing that time - when that two hours could be spent actually traveling?  Many trips could be about half done in that time, especially at 100+ mph.

Another problem today is reliability.  Amtrak doesn't work for travel requiring moderately precise (within two hours) timing.  Then there are the times and places to pick up a train.  There are some stations I don't want to be around at 4AM due to the crime problems in the area.  Finally, there are routing problems.  Having to take a train to Chicago if you want to go from St. Louis to Indianapolis or Memphis doesn't work.

I think the main problem was that personal transportation is much more efficient than rail transport. That's why everybody choose the automobile over the trains. Besides that, not only the car, but also airplanes caused rail to minimize.

On the other hand, rail freight is much larger in the US than in Europe, where it plays only a marginal role in transport.


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