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Thread: Intercity Passenger Rail

  1. #1

    Default Intercity Passenger Rail

    This has been covered on this forum before, but buried in a Hot Topics thread about a thousand pages long which seems to be no longer in the archives. So, since it does keep coming up, and since Obama likes it so much, the TSA sucks and we really should find less fuel-dependent ways to do things, I want to reprise it.

    Once upon a time, there was a thing called the Interstate Commerce Commission. It was founded to prevent kamikaze capitalism amongst railroads in a day when their efficiencies and primitive technology pretty much guaranteed them a monopoly in viable transportation.

    The best thing Reagan did, in my opinion, and the one time I felt some hope for a moment that he would prove to be the libertarian he claimed to be, was when he abolished this bureau. But it was a decade too late to save the passenger train.

    In 1970, the Santa Fe was voluntarily running very high quality passenger services between Chicago and Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco, Chicago and Houston via Ft. Worth and with a connecting train to Dallas, and Los Angeles to San Diego. All were daily; the San Diegan featured three daily round trips.

    The ICC was also forcing the corporation to operate daily between La Junta, Co. and Denver, and between Kansas City and Tulsa. These services were losing the railroad considerable money. But the ICC refused to let the railroad drop these unpopular services. Montana was the worst, thanks to Sen. Mike Mansfield. The Burlington Northern was forced to maintain six round trips a day between St. Paul and Seattle.

    So, rather than beat Reagan to the punch and declare the ICC redundant in a world of Interstate highways and air freight services, Nixon and his henchman Erlichman found a way to expand government instead. They bought rail from the New Haven and the collapsed Penn Central, and created Amtrak out of it. This rail runs through Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and into the District of Columbia.

    They also took over all passenger services, and reserved unto itself the authority to run on privately owned rail. This was voluntary; 'joining up' required a massive payoff (payable at the government's option in locomotives and passenger cars) and agreement to trackage rights and such. Those that didn't join were to keep running their current schedules for ten years. No cooperation in routing, scheduling or ticketing was to be forthcoming between the holdouts and Amtrak.

    Most railroads joined. Then came the insult added to the injury. It turned out that the government wasn't willing to run many of the 'vital' services that the government wouldn't let private enterprise discontinue. So, after the Amtrak takeover, the national passenger rail network looked much as it would have looked had the government let the railroads run what was popular and drop what wasn't. But with a difference. Amtrak sucked from the first.

    So, would there be high-speed rail if Amtrak were never created? Well, Amtrak would have been created, even if the eight states that benefit most had to create it themselves. But it wouldn't have spread beyond that corridor. And I haven't heard of high-speed rail being created without government involvement in recent years. So, who knows? But it wouldn't have and won't happen(ed) out West, where medium sized cities are hundreds of miles apart. The economics aren't there.

    But what we would have, had Nixon acted like a conservative for once, and in my opinion, are a select few, very nice trains much like hotels on wheels. They would have come back into style by now, they would not only be helpful but really pleasant, and we'd like them. And I think the process could be reversed, if public interest could be kindled. The way Amtrak was equipped in the beginning could be reversed at it's end. This would allow private enterprise to resume their traditions with minimal risk.

    Not Obama's high speed rail. But realistic, a good thing, and a talking point for our side.
    Last edited by acptulsa; 03-27-2011 at 03:30 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    'An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. Thatís what SEP means. Somebody Elseís Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.'
    This government is Not Somebody Else's Problem



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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maury Klein View Post
    'What does the experience of the railroads tell us about the American way of competition and regulation? Obviously it suggests that the usual time lag between policy and reality has grown steadily worse over the years. Regulatory policy, like old generals, seems doomed always to fight the last war, partly because in our system it takes so long to recognize new problems and then to build a concensus for change. At bottom regulation involves a quest for some viable equation reconciling economic efficiency, social justice, and political acceptability. The more complex regulatory mechanisms become, the more difficult it is to adjust them or get rid of them when necessary, let alone tie them to these objectives.

    'Since the pace of change wrought by new technology continues to gain speed, the gap between policy and reality widens daily despite all efforts to close it. In the modern world policy cannot possibly keep pace with change of all kinds.'
    Last edited by acptulsa; 08-25-2014 at 09:41 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    'An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. Thatís what SEP means. Somebody Elseís Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.'
    This government is Not Somebody Else's Problem

  4. #3

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    About a thousand pages from now, if you read this thread through, you'll find a maleducated liberal troll trying to shove all the modern socialist railroad talking points down my throat. Well, I've encountered this line of propaganda before, and I'm so sick of it that I'm going to repeat my response right here on Page One, where all of you can find it whenever you need it.

    Quote Originally Posted by juliusaugustus View Post
    Everything you said is completely obsurd.
    Stop making up words.

    Quote Originally Posted by juliusaugustus View Post
    I do know the difference I was simply asking why the Libertarian party relevant to the discussion at all.
    If you knew the difference between libertarian and Libertarian it would show.

    Quote Originally Posted by juliusaugustus View Post
    Amtrak has to pay for usage of the tracks and this in turn makes money for freight railroads.
    No, it doesn't. It partially recompenses the railroads for their wear and tear, dispatching, and the delays to their non-priority freight traffic. It has never completely recompensed railroads for these very real expenses.

    Quote Originally Posted by juliusaugustus View Post
    Railroads were originally obligated themselves to run passenger trains Amtrak removes this obligation.
    If you had the decency to read the OP of this very thread before you commenced trying to hijack it, you'd realize that Amtrak does not run all the routes that the federal government told the freight railroads were too important for them to discontinue. So, you arguing that the government removes the obligation the government declares to be an obligation is completely circular non-reasoning.

    Quote Originally Posted by juliusaugustus View Post
    Amtrak often improves freight railroads through capital improvement to railroads. Amtrak has in some cases has actually improved freight railroads.
    Link me to proof that Amtrak has ever made capital improvements to anything but stations and their own equipment or just stop lying in my thread, because I'm not letting you get away with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by juliusaugustus View Post
    As for we the people we the people gave them vast sums of land, we the people gave them franchises, we the people gave them eminent domain, we the people bailed out the failing Penn Central, and we the people provide them loans at below market interest rates. Yes government is a thorn in the sides of railroads but railroads have are in large part the successful and prevalent industry they are because of government.
    The government got paid back for the land grants three ways. One, the railroads built railroads, and since the government hung onto half of the grant lands in a 'checkerboard pattern' in each case, the half of the land the government kept quintupled (or more) in price. The government got railroads that attracted settlers, thereby expanding government's tax base. And the government demanded of land grant railroads that they haul strategic materials at a reduced rate right through to the end of World War II, thereby repaying the government for those lands several times over. Just how much servitude do you expect of the railroads for those long-ago 'grants'?

    Franchises? A small enough thing for an industry which was a key factor in the United States' growth into the world superpower. Eminent domain? That is extensively used for highways, but you'll have to prove to me that it was extensively used for the railroads--use of eminent domain for non-government projects is a very recent phenomenon. The only cases of cut rate government loans I'm familiar with are for the original transcontinental and for Penn Central. Credit Mobilier more than repaid the crooked Congress of the Gilded Age for the one, and the other was (if possible) an even bigger boondoggle. And railroads are successful in spite of government in this country, not because of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by juliusaugustus View Post
    Ron Paul did indeed support High speed rail. For his own state mind you. He wanted the private sector to do it but he did support a combination of public and private funding.
    I didn't say otherwise. I said he never voted for federal funding of it. Considering all of the nation, even the poorest parts of it, pay for Amtrak, but two of the wealthiest portions of the nation (the northeast and Southern California) reap almost all the benefit of it, I don't know why he would have. It's not only unnecessary and immoral, it's one of the most regressive steal from the poor and give to the rich programs the federal government runs. Hell, Oklahoma is one of the poorest states in the nation, and had to do without Amtrak until it funded a route on its own, which Amtrak was kind enough to provide ticketing services for and to connect with at Ft. Worth. It's insanity.

    If you don't read my opening post and educate yourself, I'm going to accuse you of spamming my thread. There's no excuse for you displaying such ignorance in a thread designed to educate you. Come back after you claim the free clue I have laid out for you, and maybe we can have an intelligent conversation. Or don't come back at all.
    Last edited by acptulsa; 02-15-2013 at 02:40 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    'An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. Thatís what SEP means. Somebody Elseís Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.'
    This government is Not Somebody Else's Problem

  5. #4

    Thumbs down

    There is a train system from the suburban area to metro Nashville called the "Music City Star". Our local libertarian thinktank has dubbed it the "Music City Debt Star"...


    __________________________________________________ ________________
    "A politician will do almost anything to keep their job, even become a patriot" - Hearst

  6. #5

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    Yeah, suburban rail is something else. Generally, it gets subsidized in metro areas because it solves traffic and parking problems. Intercity rail, however, it isn't, and folks shouldn't compare the economies of the two. For one thing, it doesn't advertise a specific railroad's long distance freight services, a major incentive for the railroads to run intercity passenger services back in the day.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    'An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. Thatís what SEP means. Somebody Elseís Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.'
    This government is Not Somebody Else's Problem

  7. #6

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    If the artificial price restraint of government subsidies were eliminated from air and road transport, inter-city rail would boom overnight.

    For moving people and goods swiftly and fuel efficiently, rail can't be beat.

    Also proving once again that "new" is not always "better".

  8. #7

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    Nice old shot of an F7 EMD.

    According to wiki, this train, the "Super Chief" and the "El Capitan" were the only ones Santa Fe used for passenger service at the time this photo was taken, I'm guessing around 1950-52 or so.

    Neat tech note, even at this point in time, steam was still the prime mover, and power for auxiliary systems as well.

    Note the steam venting from the internal steam boiler at the back of the lead unit. That was there to provide heat and power to the rest of the train that was still steam powered.

    Lol, and also note the big puddles of leaking diesel fuel under each fuel filling hose.

    No EPA and CARB busting balls then.

    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    Last edited by Anti Federalist; 03-27-2011 at 05:59 PM.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    Nice old shot of an F7 EMD.
    E-6

    But I forgive you.

    The only ones they used E-6 models on? Oh, no. By that time they were, in fact, out of transcontinental service and mainly restricted to the Great Plains, as on the Kansas Cityan and Chicagoan. The photo's earlier than that, though. The front coupler covers did not, I don't think, survive the war. Scrap metal drives did away with more than a little streamlining, unfortunately.

    These had MARS lights by '49 as well. Guess I should go educate Wiki, huh?
    Last edited by acptulsa; 03-27-2011 at 07:07 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    'An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. Thatís what SEP means. Somebody Elseís Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.'
    This government is Not Somebody Else's Problem

  10. #9

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    I'm not entirely sure these projects would get built in a strictly private sector capacity, anyhow.

    Why on earth would I want to zoom between Tampa and Orlando (other than, I guess, attraction-hopping)? Moreover, wouldn't I need to first get to the starting point (unless you build it at the airport which would be a whole 'nother headache) and park there and then take rail? Wouldn't it be pretty limited as to where it's going to take me? Wouldn't it be faster, the vast majority of the time, to drive? Other routes being considered in Florida are redundant with already fast-moving interstates. I just don't see it being worth all the cost and planning. I can't think of too many places where it would be.
    Genuine, willful, aggressive ignorance is the one sure way to tick me off. I wish I could say you were trolling. I know better, and it's just sad.

  11. #10

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    To my mind, decent rail service would have three major draws:

    Short trips where traveling existing, non superspeed freight rail from downtown to downtown will save you enough time stuck in airport traffic to come out functionally the same.

    Eight hour (or so) trips where Pullman trains are scheduled overnight. You check into your motel, sleep overnight, and wake up at your destination. Beats getting up in the middle of the night to catch a red eye flight.

    Vacations where people decide to give up a few days at their destination so they can stay the extra day at each end on the rolling motel, enjoying the ever-changing view and the beauty of 'flyover country'. A service which Canada has usually done pretty well with over the years, and where Amtrak has some success in spite of itself.

    High speed rail needs a short hop between serious, serious population centers to do well. I think doing it in the U.S. would be putting the cart before the horse. We need to get rail travel back on people's radar before we worry about extra-special versions of it. Non-high speed rail (which can still be faster than travel by car) relies on freight rail, and is not cost prohibitive. So long as the underwriters don't get goofy, the railroads wouldn't have any particular trouble doing it.
    Last edited by acptulsa; 03-27-2011 at 08:21 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    'An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. Thatís what SEP means. Somebody Elseís Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.'
    This government is Not Somebody Else's Problem

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by MelissaWV View Post
    I'm not entirely sure these projects would get built in a strictly private sector capacity, anyhow.

    Why on earth would I want to zoom between Tampa and Orlando (other than, I guess, attraction-hopping)? Moreover, wouldn't I need to first get to the starting point (unless you build it at the airport which would be a whole 'nother headache) and park there and then take rail? Wouldn't it be pretty limited as to where it's going to take me? Wouldn't it be faster, the vast majority of the time, to drive? Other routes being considered in Florida are redundant with already fast-moving interstates. I just don't see it being worth all the cost and planning. I can't think of too many places where it would be.
    I think this post assumes a similar interstate system would be in place without govt subsidies. If the US govt got completely out of the transportation business, then I think it would make more sense to travel by train between large cities a certain distance apart. It would save a lot of money on road building and maintenance.

    And no, I don't have any numbers whatsoever to back this up.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by IDefendThePlatform View Post
    I think this post assumes a similar interstate system would be in place without govt subsidies. If the US govt got completely out of the transportation business, then I think it would make more sense to travel by train between large cities a certain distance apart. It would save a lot of money on road building and maintenance.

    And no, I don't have any numbers whatsoever to back this up.
    Even without interstate highways, the city of destination is going to need enough infrastructure for people to be able to travel within the city without needing to rent a car or spend a fortune on a taxi.
    Equality is a false god.

    Armatissimi e Liberissimi

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
    Even without interstate highways, the city of destination is going to need enough infrastructure for people to be able to travel within the city without needing to rent a car or spend a fortune on a taxi.
    Interesting you should mention it. A little while before Amtrak, a thing called Auto Rail was created. This was a combination of passenger train and auto transport freight train which took seasonal 'snowbirds' and their cars to Florida for the winter. A little higher ticket and they didn't need to either drive that far or own two cars--one for summer in New York, one for winter in Florida.

    Amtrak got away from it, but since the railroads themselves have unloading facilities for auto racks, they could well reinstate the idea. So, who would need to rent a car? Travel all day, travel all night in your motel room, have your own car when you arrive.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    'An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. Thatís what SEP means. Somebody Elseís Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.'
    This government is Not Somebody Else's Problem

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
    Even without interstate highways, the city of destination is going to need enough infrastructure for people to be able to travel within the city without needing to rent a car or spend a fortune on a taxi.
    True, but my point is that without government subsidy, the economics, or "return on investment" would still probably favor rail over individual cars between cities.

    And actually my larger point is that a true free market in transportation would respond to consumer demand way, way better than govt subsidies ever could.
    Last edited by IDefendThePlatform; 03-27-2011 at 08:44 PM.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by IDefendThePlatform View Post
    And actually my larger point is that a true free market in transportation would respond to consumer demand way, way better than govt subsidies ever could.
    Been so long since passenger rail had a free market in this country, it would be hard to prove. But, freight service has certainly been responsive enough to consumer demands over the years.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    'An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. Thatís what SEP means. Somebody Elseís Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.'
    This government is Not Somebody Else's Problem

  17. #16

    Default

    This is really interesting. I've seen some brochures for scenic tours by rail in various places I've vacationed, and the family has considered it. Weren't there dining cars and even live entertainment back in the day? Or is that just in movies? I can see a real luxury setup making travel pretty fun, but could costs for something like that be kept down to the point that everyone can enjoy it?

    Also what about safety concerns? I guess we hear about every train wreck that happens, but certainly not every auto accident. How does it compare to air travel or automobile?
    I'm a moderator, and I'm glad to help. But I'm an individual -- my words come from me. Any idiocy within should reflect on me, not Ron Paul, and not Ron Paul Forums.

  18. #17

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    There still are dining cars. The story of railroad food is actually a pretty interesting one. Sort of, How Private Enterprise Brought Women To the Western Territories. Look up Fred Harvey. Dude civilized the West just because it got the Santa Fe an edge in good old fashioned competition.

    Back in the day, passengers mostly entertained each other. Yes, there were a few trains with cars that had little in one end but a dance floor and a piano. That was long ago. Now the conductors tend to tune in local stations on the train's stereo as you pass them. Seems like Anthrax--er, I mean Amtrak played with movies for a bit, but since the government takeover innovation has been, shall we say, lethargic.

    Pullman rooms aren't exactly cheap, no. A Pullman fare is liable to be as much as airfare plus lodging for the same period of time. This isn't too bad, considering that traveling in a motel room isn't exactly traveling light. Fortunately, trains are very, very efficient. Plus, the rooms tend to be smaller than you'd expect from a stationary hostelry. Coach travel is for the frugal; you get more room than on a bus but it's still like sleeping in a recliner in a wardroom. You do get that wonderful window, though. You know--the one with the view that never stays the same.

    Safety has been pretty good. Exceptionally good for a government operation. This despite the fact that the railroads and Amtrak have had a very antagonistic relationship from the start. And, of course, history has yet to record the instance of a train falling from 30,000 feet.
    Last edited by acptulsa; 03-28-2011 at 09:26 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    'An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. Thatís what SEP means. Somebody Elseís Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.'
    This government is Not Somebody Else's Problem

  19. #18

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    I was upset that Governor Kasich pulled the plug on Ohio's plan for inter-city rail. Anyhow, here's an article that, while interesting, unfairly paints libertarians on the issue:

    What's So Conservative About Federal Highways

    http://amconmag.com/article/2010/aug/01/00023/

  20. #19

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    *sigh* Unfortunately, American Conservative often needs schooling.

    To hell with the governor. If the market's there...

    http://www.cumbrestoltec.com/

    These people operate ninety year old steam as a private venture. Of course, many of the employees are in love with the country and the railroad, and work for peanuts. Plus, the scenery is just--I can't do it justice. You have to see to believe.

    But ninety year old steam. And the damned thing doesn't even go anywhere. Yet it has stayed afloat for decades and is still solvent.
    Last edited by acptulsa; 03-28-2011 at 09:11 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    'An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. Thatís what SEP means. Somebody Elseís Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.'
    This government is Not Somebody Else's Problem

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    But ninety year old steam. And the damned thing doesn't even go anywhere. Yet it has stayed afloat for decades and is still solvent.
    The fact that Anthrax--er, I mean Amtrak (I love railrans ) has squeezed private enterprise into little pockets means that the attitude toward trains in this country is one of it's the journey, not the destination. Well, you can get to some destinations on Gubbermint Rail, but it's an either/or. Either the journey is wonderful or the destination is reached. Hardly something to make the airlines tremble. But there was a day when American rail travel was about both. Back when rail travel was still popular enough that ICC regulations could not yet completely strangle free enterprise, and Amtrak was not yet a gleam in John Erlichman's beady eyes.
    Last edited by acptulsa; 03-28-2011 at 09:42 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    'An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. Thatís what SEP means. Somebody Elseís Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.'
    This government is Not Somebody Else's Problem

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by nayjevin View Post
    This is really interesting. I've seen some brochures for scenic tours by rail in various places I've vacationed, and the family has considered it. Weren't there dining cars and even live entertainment back in the day? Or is that just in movies? I can see a real luxury setup making travel pretty fun, but could costs for something like that be kept down to the point that everyone can enjoy it?

    Also what about safety concerns? I guess we hear about every train wreck that happens, but certainly not every auto accident. How does it compare to air travel or automobile?
    Conway NH Scenic RR. One of the best in the country IMO.

    http://www.conwayscenic.com/index.cf...n=home.welcome

    Notch train pulled by Canadian National 0-6-0 number 7470

    Last edited by Anti Federalist; 03-28-2011 at 10:39 AM.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    E-6

    But I forgive you.

    The only ones they used E-6 models on? Oh, no. By that time they were, in fact, out of transcontinental service and mainly restricted to the Great Plains, as on the Kansas Cityan and Chicagoan. The photo's earlier than that, though. The front coupler covers did not, I don't think, survive the war. Scrap metal drives did away with more than a little streamlining, unfortunately.

    These had MARS lights by '49 as well. Guess I should go educate Wiki, huh?
    Nah, my mistake, I thought it was an F7 and according to wiki only the Super Chief (which that is a photo of which is why I thought F7) and the El Capitan used the F7.

    Many Santa Fe combinations and passenger trains used the E6 though.

    According to wiki there are only two surviving E6s left, one of which is stripped and on static display only.

  24. #23

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    wiki needs schooling. Probably right about the E-6 shortage though. One of GM's better designs...

    At least one railroad is likely to jump on the chance to restore regular passenger service. I say this because they have been enthusiastically running irregular passenger service all along, and have established patrons already:

    http://www.upexcursion.com/
    Last edited by acptulsa; 03-28-2011 at 11:05 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    'An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. Thatís what SEP means. Somebody Elseís Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.'
    This government is Not Somebody Else's Problem

  25. #24

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    The hidden costs behind air travel are too numerous to mention.
    If it wasn't economical to travel in any way besides by air, then Greyhound wouldn't exist.

    I also think that rail doesn't necessarily need to be high-speed.
    For instance, I'm planning a trip to Cincinnati and Indianapolis in a couple weeks.
    Even if we cram into our compact, it's still going to cost around $250 in gas, and we're going to lose sleep.
    If we want to ride in the van in comfort, that doubles.
    If it was possible to move a family of four even at regular rail speeds (which are about the same as by car) for under $500, I'd do it. It's less wear on my vehicles, less wear on my body, and less wear on my kids.
    I'm far from alone. I don't think it's an economic impossibility.

    I do think that it's a legal impossibility.
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.

  26. #25

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    If you factor in two hours of hassle at an airport and drive time, there is a travel zone where rail makes perfect sense.

    It terms of comfort, it would beat a bus all to Hell - I don't think anything can touch it it terms of cost per ton mile.

    DFW has the Trinity Railway Express http://www.trinityrailwayexpress.org/
    Out of every one hundred men they send us, ten should not even be here. Eighty will do nothing but serve as targets for the enemy. Nine are real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, upon them depends our success in battle. But one, ah the one, he is a real warrior, and he will bring the others back from battle alive.

    Duty is the most sublime word in the English language. Do your duty in all things. You can not do more than your duty. You should never wish to do less than your duty.

  27. #26

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    I have a 1965 Santa Fe brochure that advertises family fares, where a family of four can travel for, iirc, less than two adult full fares. And of course, if you travel Pullman you can all share the room, though you might not want to make do with a roomette.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pericles View Post
    It terms of comfort, it would beat a bus all to Hell
    Shall we stroll to the club car for a cocktail?
    Last edited by acptulsa; 03-28-2011 at 11:57 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    'An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. Thatís what SEP means. Somebody Elseís Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.'
    This government is Not Somebody Else's Problem

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    I have a 1965 Santa Fe brochure that advertises family fares, where a family of four can travel for, iirc, less than two adult full fares. And of course, if you travel Pullman you can all share the room, though you might not want to make do with a roomette.



    Shall we stroll to the club car for a cocktail?
    Trains are the civilized form of ground transportation. The Swiss federal railways wired the cars with wi-fi. I only drive my car local or when taking friends and family around Europe. For an individual, rail is the unquestioned cost leader.
    Out of every one hundred men they send us, ten should not even be here. Eighty will do nothing but serve as targets for the enemy. Nine are real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, upon them depends our success in battle. But one, ah the one, he is a real warrior, and he will bring the others back from battle alive.

    Duty is the most sublime word in the English language. Do your duty in all things. You can not do more than your duty. You should never wish to do less than your duty.

  29. #28

    Default

    Our local line going from Brookhaven to Natchez Mississippi was bought out last year by a company that specializes in recycling. The county that Natchez is in is interested in a multi-county partnership trying to buy it to keep it open but our county (unfortunately named Lincoln), doesn't want to spend any money on it. We are on the main north south line from New Orleans to Chicago that runs through Brookhaven. The line from Natchez I think used to continue on to Meridian but I think that was already shut down.

    I don't know what other lines Natchez has, but Natchez is of course the oldest port on the Mississippi.

    On our main line (whatever it is called now, used to be Illinois Central Gulf) we have never had a shortage of train traffic and we always had two tracks. They pulled out one set a few years ago. I can't see how that was a smart move with as many trains as they are running.
    Member of Ron Paul Forums Double Flat Tariff Only Society - Working towards eliminating all the foreign producer/outsource subsidizing internal federal taxes in favor of an across the board flat tariff applied equally to every country and every product.

  30. #29

    Default

    Single track is easier to maintain, and with computer aided dispatching and real time feedback it can move a lot of traffic. Also, duplicate lines which have come into the same company through mergers are now often paired and used as double track, even though they don't serve all the same towns between endpoints.

    More than a few grainger lines throughout the country are run by farmers' coops, and some are owned by the biggest companies they serve. Remember 'Short Line' from the Monopoly board? Never a railroad with that name. These are the kind of branches that refers to. None of them are likely to be able to offer passenger service point-to-point, though some manage to maintain excursions.

    Of course, if oil keeps going up, the economics of short line rural rail travel could well change.
    Last edited by acptulsa; 03-28-2011 at 12:28 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    'An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. Thatís what SEP means. Somebody Elseís Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.'
    This government is Not Somebody Else's Problem

  31. #30

    Default

    As for the other roads mentioned on the Monopoly board...



    An older Pacific locomotive streamlined for Reading Crusader service, c. 1939
    Last edited by acptulsa; 02-06-2013 at 01:19 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    'An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. Thatís what SEP means. Somebody Elseís Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.'
    This government is Not Somebody Else's Problem

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