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How to rebut common criticisms of passenger trains


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#1 WICT106

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 07:13 PM

Suggested rebuttals for common criticisms of additional train service Added for the edification of forum members.
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#2 Just-Thinking-51

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 07:43 PM

Warning link is to a 88 page PDF.

Not for those of us with outdated Internet.

#3 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 08:49 PM

88 pages to say "stop listening to idiots and go watch it work, doofus!"?
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#4 benjibear

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 10:01 PM

Maybe it is meant to put the critical person to sleep. I thought it was going to be short and sweet. Have to read it later when I am more awake.

#5 Swadian Hardcore

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 10:53 PM

This huge document almost froze up my computer. No way I'm reading it!

MCI 102DL3WC Professonal Drivers Commited to Safety 1-800-SAFE-BUS
AMERICA'S BUS LINE FOR 100 YEARS
GO GREYHOUND - AND LEAVE THE DRIVING TO US!
OPERATOR: GREYHOUND LINES INC., DALLAS, TX, USDOT 044110
OPERATED BY: GREYHOUND CANADA TRANSPORTATION CORP., CALGARY, AB, NSC-000026177, FHA-MC-304126


#6 RampWidget

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 11:04 PM

Maybe it is meant to put the critical person to sleep. I thought it was going to be short and sweet. Have to read it later when I am more awake.


I just skimmed it a few minutes ago. It's worth a look. There are a few points in there I might disagree with, but there's a lot of pretty detailed information in there. It's geared toward HSR, but much of it also can relate to rail passenger transportation policy in general.

Amtrak Acela, Auto-Train, Capitol Limited, Carolinian, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Downeaster, Lake Shore Limited, Northeast Regional, Pacific Surfliner, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle
Alaska RR Coastal Classic, Denali Star - Central of Georgia Rwy. Nancy Hanks II - Southern Rwy. Southern Crescent - MARC - MBTA - Tri-Rail


#7 Aaron

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 02:19 AM

If this is all about promoting rail, how come there are tire treads on the front?

Looks like the highway lobby ran over it...

#8 none

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 07:31 AM

This huge document almost froze up my computer. No way I'm reading it!


Huge? I have a standard dsl connection and it took less than a minute to load. 88 pages is not an unusually large PDF. We routinely download 300+ page service manuals for stuff we work on.

#9 dlagrua

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 08:42 AM

I don't have to read 88 pages to justify my argument for additional and improved train service.
1. It serves the public interest
2. Its the most energy efficient means of transporting people and it saves energy.
3. It helps alleviate traffic congestion and saves you from being stuck in it.
4. It can be a vital transportation link in case of natural and man made disasters. Trains run when the planes can't. During the blizzard of 2009 the NEC was "standing room only".
5. Its a stress free, relaxing and enjoyable mode of transportation.
6. It helps the economy of the towns and cities that it serves, and creates jobs both within and outside of the system.

#10 WICT106

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 09:07 AM

I don't have to read 88 pages to justify my argument for additional and improved train service.
1. It serves the public interest
2. Its the most energy efficient means of transporting people and it saves energy.
3. It helps alleviate traffic congestion and saves you from being stuck in it.
4. It can be a vital transportation link in case of natural and man made disasters. Trains run when the planes can't. During the blizzard of 2009 the NEC was "standing room only".
5. Its a stress free, relaxing and enjoyable mode of transportation.
6. It helps the economy of the towns and cities that it serves, and creates jobs both within and outside of the system.


Yes, but around here we are converts. These criticisms find fertile ground in the many parts of the US where there is little to no train service. The criticisms also find considerable support among those who see no need to spend any funding on anything other than driving (E. g. many parts of Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, and other states). If there is to be expanded train service in more parts of the nation, then we will have to confront and defeat the numerous distortions and lies about train service.
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#11 the_traveler

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 10:12 AM

"But we taxpayers do not subsidize driving and flying - like we do Amtrak!" Posted Image
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead!

#12 dlagrua

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 12:36 PM

"But we taxpayers do not subsidize driving and flying - like we do Amtrak!" Posted Image


But the transportation budget only gives roads and airports a pittance of the total transportation subsidy. Amtrak is the real problem behind the deficit. Eliminate the service and all of America's problems are solved. Its also common knowledge in Washington that those who ride the trains are either old fashioned or subhuman.

#13 Blue Marble Travel

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 04:22 PM

"But we taxpayers do not subsidize driving and flying - like we do Amtrak!" Posted Image


I know that that was tongue-in-cheek. But, by chance, I just wrote this in Afigg's ridership forum, on the topic of air subsidies:

"I think that the US general fund contributes an operating grant of something like $4 billion a year, above and beyond the $10+ billion that come in from taxes levied on airlines and their users, to maintain the air traffic control (ATC) system. There is always some mumbling about that being a "defense" expenditure (ATC covers military craft, as well), but that is a falsehood. The Department of Defense pays for more civilian ATC than the FAA pays for DOD movements: if anything, the system is further subsidized by our military budget.

If the airlines are "profit making private corporations," where did my $4 billion go?

Many airports are tax-free municipal authorities. Another subsidy.
Pollution costs? So we all live a few months less, and the Carolina coast gets washed out to sea. We can certainly do that to support our Fortune 500 "private corporations."
"Essential" air services? Yeah, why not. Lancaster, PA, certainly needs flights to BWI (see parallel thread): it would take nearly 2 hours to drive that! And there are no trains, EXCEPT THE TEN A DAY via Philadelphia.
And let's not even talk about the capital costs of new runways and air terminals.
Pension guarantees for employees effected by the revolving airline bankruptcies? No problem. We the people will be happy to pay the pensions of all the employees working for American Airlines.

And, yes, we poured $8 billion directly into the companies after 9/11, and never asked for it back, but, well, they were having a bad day. It would be impolite to bring that up."



Just a partial, of course... professionals can do that better.







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