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Old 06-17-2017, 05:31 PM   #1
BrokeCurmudgeon
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Japan is a leader in rail travel

I often wonder why that here in the USA that there are not better railways? I my youth rail was the only way to travel. Japan and Europe, not to forget Canada have all exemplary systems!
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/...-japan-8955058
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Old 06-17-2017, 05:41 PM   #2
Deane Johnson
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There are probably several reasons. Much of the U.S. isn't dense enough or concentrated enough to support extensive door to door rail travel. In additional, our destinations aren't set up for extensive supplemental transportation upon arrival. And above all, we love our cars and the independence they give us.

In addition to the East Coast, there are efforts being made in California to get Hi-speed rail travel between LA and SF. It's proving to be a challenge economically.
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Old 06-17-2017, 06:03 PM   #3
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Canada

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Originally Posted by Deane Johnson View Post
There are probably several reasons. Much of the U.S. isn't dense enough or concentrated enough to support extensive door to door rail travel. In additional, our destinations aren't set up for extensive supplemental transportation upon arrival. And above all, we love our cars and the independence they give us.

In addition to the East Coast, there are efforts being made in California to get Hi-speed rail travel between LA and SF. It's proving to be a challenge economically.
Still no excuse in my opinion. I live in Utah and my wife has taken Amtrak from Salt Lake to Sacramento and back many times. Bad service and poor schedule. I want to take Amtrak from SLC to Charleston SC to visit our son but it is very expensive with a sleeper and one has to change trains in Chicago in the middle of the night and again in DC.
I believe that much more can be done to improve US domestic rail service despite the legitimate reasons you cite. Canada has a great transcontinental rail service in the sparsely populated west.
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Old 06-17-2017, 06:28 PM   #4
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No question, Amtrak simply goes through the motions of providing rail service. No attempt is made to make it a desirable form of transportation.
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:26 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by BrokeCurmudgeon View Post
Still no excuse in my opinion. I live in Utah and my wife has taken Amtrak from Salt Lake to Sacramento and back many times. Bad service and poor schedule. I want to take Amtrak from SLC to Charleston SC to visit our son but it is very expensive with a sleeper and one has to change trains in Chicago in the middle of the night and again in DC.
I believe that much more can be done to improve US domestic rail service despite the legitimate reasons you cite. Canada has a great transcontinental rail service in the sparsely populated west.
Well, you are comparing apples to oranges IMO.

First off, yes, there certainly could be major improvements in rail service, no argument there.

Consider the population density of Canada vs. the US, it's a 10:1 difference. It's easy to say that we should improve rail service, but who's to pay the hundreds of billions of dollars that it would take to match the systems in other countries?
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Old 06-18-2017, 11:11 AM   #6
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Well, you are comparing apples to oranges IMO.

First off, yes, there certainly could be major improvements in rail service, no argument there.

Consider the population density of Canada vs. the US, it's a 10:1 difference. It's easy to say that we should improve rail service, but who's to pay the hundreds of billions of dollars that it would take to match the systems in other countries?
I don't mean to compare only to lament what we lost in our rail service.
Anyway, all this has distracted from one of the best rail cultures in the world. My first experience with Japanese rail service was in 1957. As a 15 year old, by myself, exploring post war Japan I rode the train to Yokohama. After getting off and looking around the city I went back to the station. BUT, I did not read kanji and the signs were not in English. Few people spoke English and I began to panic and feel quite lost and alone. Eventually someone placed me on the right train to return. Happy I was!
Japanese rail, despite the damage from the war, was fairly good then and exceptionally good now. For many reasons that can be attributed to Japan and Japanese culture. Sorry for the rant and diversion. The video is worth watching in my opinion.
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Old 06-18-2017, 08:26 PM   #7
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A few years ago, I was riding the trains in Germany, you can set your watch by the train timetable! When they said the train was going to be there at 8:01, that sucker was there! I was suitably impressed with the precision of the RR.
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:57 PM   #8
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Well yes, Japan has been a leader in rail travel for several decades now. I first rode the New Tokaido Line (Bullet Train) from Tokyo to Kyoto back in 1973. I remember building a house of playing cards on the tray table in front of me at 160 mph, flying past Mt. Fuji, and it stood. The ride was that smooth. But it's a dedicated electric railway only for bullet trains, similar to the passenger trains in Europe.

In the U.S., the diesel-electric Amtrak trains travel thousands of miles over railways owned by freight railroads, except for the Acela in the Northeast. So there is quite a difference.

We're also a big country from sea to shining sea, where the four densely-populated islands of Japan could fit into the state of California.

Airlines and cars have taken over the continental U.S., with passenger railroads (Amtrak) a distant third.
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