As a frequent Amtrak rider, I appreciate this

I have ridden the Empire Builder, the Capitol Limited, the Cardinal, the Sunset Limited, the Crescent, and once as a child the Auto Train all the way from Virginia to Florida. Amtrak doesn’t own most of the rails for these long-haul routes, so freight trains always get priority. Since there’s often only one track, I’ve spent a good bit of time pulled over on a siding and waiting for a freight train to go by in the other direction.


  1. says

    VIA Rail in Canada is an important comparison since Canada is as geographically large, albeit the routes are mainly west-east. VIA charges roughly the same prices as airlines, so the choice of travel becomes an issue of time. Montreal to Toronto is similar to NY-DC in terms of time, but business people use the stability of trains to conduct business en route. For long distances (e.g. Vancouver-Winnipeg), the price is the same but it’s hours versus days.

    I live in Taiwan where there are three rail systems. That might seem excessive, but Taiwan gets its electricity from nuclear power and is one of the twenty most densely populated countries. The most expensive High Speed Rail (HSR) costs about US$50 and takes 2:00-2:30 hours from Taipei to Kaohsiung (450km). The two TRA trains are for major cities (blue line, 50kmh) and local trains (green line, 30kmh) to places not served by other transport. All are profitable, though lightly subsidized.

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