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Thread: Amtrak

  1. #16
    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: Amtrak

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    You need dedicated high speed rail lines.

    I have traveled several times through Europe on their rail system. It is amazingly efficient, not exactly cheap, but a very easy way to traverse through Europe. I don't necessarily mind the commuter rail which makes several local stops. One day my wife and I went from Rome to Napoli in the hopes of going to Pompeii. The local rail was closed so we were forced to spend the day in Napoli. One word of advice, never go to Napoli. Anyway we took a high speed rail down that was a little over an hour. The commuter rail back took about double the time, was a little less expensive, but wasn't all that bad.
    Training through Europe is quite amazing, especially when you can get some high-speed stretches. We did Basel to Paris in about 3 1/2 hours and its not all high-speed.

    Also did Napoli-Rome. Agreed that Napoli is a dump, but Pompeii and the Vesuvius are fine places to see.
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  3. #17
    Member medford's Avatar
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    Re: Amtrak

    Quote Originally Posted by oneupper View Post
    Training through Europe is quite amazing, especially when you can get some high-speed stretches. We did Basel to Paris in about 3 1/2 hours and its not all high-speed.

    Also did Napoli-Rome. Agreed that Napoli is a dump, but Pompeii and the Vesuvius are fine places to see.
    Its not always that great. I left Venace, Italy in the morning, travelled all day and night up to London, spend 4 hours in London before hoping on another train up to Whales, hopped on an evening fairy across the Irish Sea to arive in Dublin around 8:00 am. 48 hours of travel (minus the 4 hours in London) definently wears on you. A train from Chicago to Cincy sounds great, until you hear its going to take you 10 hours to get there.

    Of course it could be worse, when leaving Prague, coming back to Germany, we had to get off the train mid-track b/c of work being done on the line, hop on a bus w/ a broken back window and broken plexi-glass shards all over the floor, to hop back on a train on the other side of the work. Meanwhile, nobody spoke English nor German and most of the people weren't exactly sure what they were suppose to do, we just kind of followed the crowd and hoped for the best.

    the biggest challenge, is that people don't generally ride it enough to make it profittable. Even in Europe, the train system is heavily subsidized, as it is here in America. I'd love to hope a train and take a quick ride up to the heart of C-Bus, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, etc... But if its going to take me 10 hours to get to Chicago, or 14+ hours to get to Atlanta, I'll just hop in my car and do the trip in half the time. And I don't really want the government to go about spending the money needed to make those trips more time managable.

  4. #18
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Amtrak

    Quote Originally Posted by medford View Post
    the biggest challenge, is that people don't generally ride it enough to make it profittable. Even in Europe, the train system is heavily subsidized, as it is here in America. I'd love to hope a train and take a quick ride up to the heart of C-Bus, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, etc... But if its going to take me 10 hours to get to Chicago, or 14+ hours to get to Atlanta, I'll just hop in my car and do the trip in half the time. And I don't really want the government to go about spending the money needed to make those trips more time managable.
    I've never been to Europe so I don't know how easy it is to go from Point A to Point B. I do know that if I want to go back to Iowa and see my family, I can hop in my car, get on the interstate and be there in 10 hours if I don't make too many stops. About the only thing I have to worry about is road construction and weather. If I want to go to Indy or Columbus or Cleveland or Louisville I can get in my car and go there. I can drive to where I want to go and leave when I want. If there were some high speed rail that took me to those places, when I got there, I'd have to worry about going where I want to go. If I don't know anyone there, I have to either rent a car or get a taxi. I don't want to get political but I think that is an issue that the Ohio high speed train advocates either really never considered or omitted in their advertising.

    For better or for worse, after WWII this country committed to the automobile and planes. I'm not sure if Europe could commit to autos and planes like the U.S.did. Germany did have the Autobahn but what about the other countries? Perhaps, for them, the train was just fine and it was too costly to make roads like the Autobahn and the interstate.
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  5. #19
    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: Amtrak

    Quote Originally Posted by medford View Post
    But if its going to take me 10 hours to get to Chicago, or 14+ hours to get to Atlanta, I'll just hop in my car and do the trip in half the time. And I don't really want the government to go about spending the money needed to make those trips more time managable.
    Now it's starting to become an issue of economics to me as well. I drive a small SUV that gets about 24 MPG on the highway (if I drive it for economy and not speed). If I'm going to Chicago (roughly 600 miles, round trip) with gas at 3.89 a gallon, that's $98 in just gas alone that I'm burning to get there and back. The Atlanta trip you're speaking of, for me, would be a $150 gas roundtrip.

    I don't know where the "tip" point is regarding gas costs -- but it's getting to the point where I'd be willing to take a little longer if it meant I could save some money getting someplace and have the added bonus of being able to sit with a laptop or sleep on the ride down.

    This goes beyond distance travel too -- I commute 30 miles round trip every day to work. Over the course of a working month, that's a little over $110 in gas that I'm spending to drive in. I also pay $85 a month to park. When I figure out what I'm paying for rent at my current apartment, I functionally add $200 a month because I don't live within walking distance of my work or within a short drive of mass transit with free parking.
    Last edited by Caveat Emperor; 04-15-2011 at 11:09 AM.
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  6. #20
    A Little to the Left Redsfaithful's Avatar
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    Re: Amtrak

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    If I don't know anyone there, I have to either rent a car or get a taxi.
    I hear this a lot as a negative, but is it really that big a deal to rent a car? You can rent a car most places for like $30 a day if you're not getting something big or buying their insurance.

    Ideally of course you'd be going somewhere with good mass transit, but in the cases you're not I don't know that renting a car is that big of a hassle. I see it as more of a mental roadblock people have about rail.
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  7. #21
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Amtrak

    Quote Originally Posted by Redsfaithful View Post
    I hear this a lot as a negative, but is it really that big a deal to rent a car? You can rent a car most places for like $30 a day if you're not getting something big or buying their insurance.
    Where are you going to rent it at? From what I understood the Cincinnati stop of the 3C high speed rail was to be in Sharonville. I'm not aware of many rent-a-car places there. And why would you want to rent a car anyway if you are trying to save money? You are spending $X on a train ticket then you are spending at least $30 extra on a rental.

    Basically, right now, if you are taking a passenger train that's not running on the east coast, you are going to be delayed either for mechanical trouble or because you are sharing the rails with freight trains. If you have the time to waste that's great. If you are on a schedule, not so much.
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