Why trains instead of planes for long distance?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by dande, Oct 13, 2019.

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  1. Oct 16, 2019 #76

    Larry H.

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    Larry H.

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    This is why you need two trains a day, one morning and one evening to hit all cities at convient times.. We have the same thing here in Centralia, if we want to take the City of New Orleans we have to be at the station at about 1 in the morning and going to Chicago you need to be out of bed by 3am to meet it at 4:20.. That wasn't true when we had the Panama Limited the evening train an the City ran as a day trip to New Orleans, and both were far faster at the trip and rarely late compared to now. Several time we wanted to go shopping in Chicago as people tend to do here at the holidays and the train from New Orleans might be six hours late, or worse. Needless to say you trip is wrecked at that point
     
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  2. Oct 16, 2019 #77

    Ryan

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    Can you share those stats, or should we just imagine them?

    Are you claiming that you can't smell a locomotive?

    [citation needed]

    [citation also needed]
     
  3. Oct 16, 2019 #78

    Larry H.

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    Used to be that when Pullman ran their cars on the rails they had a sign in the sleepers on the wall you faced when going from bedrooms to the roomettes that told how many years it had been since a fatality happened to their passengers.. Last one I recall being up was a sign that said it had been 8 years.. Its mostly location, the pullman company almost always was the last set of cars on the rails.. Unfortunately for Coach passengers they took the brunt of a terrible accident as trains running into another from behind was pretty rare. I have never felt as secure in an Amtrak Sleeper for that very reason. I hate being up front..
     
  4. Oct 16, 2019 #79

    Larry H.

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    I too don't care to fly.. I had flow across the ocean once but didn't like it, and quite a few other coastal locations from the midwest when I was pretty young. Still I loved trains and rode them when ever possible. I must say the degrading of the dinners has reduced my enthusiasm for the trains, and the sad condition as someone one else mentioned of the sleepers is also a problem considering what they charge. My last plane fight was in the mid 60's for work and the return trip no one, not even the stewards were able to get up. The wings were flopping up and down the plane would move up and down erratically and quite scary. After that I swore I would never take another plane and so far 60 years or so later I have kept that promise.
     
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  5. Oct 16, 2019 #80

    jis

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    I came across this Abstract of a paper on the subject of pollution caused by airplanes near airports compared to ambient urban pollution, which seems to have some bearing on claims being made by some here.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15093276

    The full paper will probably require mucho dinero to obtain, since it is Elsevier after all! ;)

    Note that this is about relative pollution at ground level. DA has already pointed out that the NOx emitted in stratosphere has a more immediate effect on the atmosphere than those emitted at ground level, though the latter helps create the icky yellow smog.

    Here is an interesting article from National Geographic on deaths caused by particulate pollution caused by airplanes. I was actually surprised by how low those numbers are, and how much can be easily done to lower them further.

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/10/101005-planes-pollution-deaths-science-environment/
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
  6. Oct 16, 2019 #81

    DonNewcomb

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    My brother-in-law gave up flying because of what he goes through with the TSA. He's been rebuilt several time, mostly metal, always in pain. A metal detecting wand goes off like a burgler alarm when it gets anywhere near him. The alternative "pat down" is extremely painful.
    I've met some pretty cranky crew members on trains. People are people and you find A.H.s everywhere. People shouting in the sleeping car passageway and slamming doors in the middle of the night comes to mind.
     
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  7. Oct 16, 2019 #82

    Chey

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    Sarah:
    Thank you for understanding. I expected an angry reply; most 'normal' people don't understand... I have a friend who is afraid of bridges. I love them but after researching their failings I get why she feels that way.

    I used to love the Sunshine Skyway when I lived near it but to see the photos of the car that stopped within a few feet of death still puts the fear of g_d in me and I was nowhere near it at the time. The last time I crossed it I was shaking, at least 20 years after its reconstruction , I was really scared and wished I hadn't been driving.

    Which was probably mercy for the one who would've been driving if I hadn't.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
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  8. Oct 17, 2019 #83

    daybeers

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    May I ask why you agreed to the search?
     
  9. Oct 17, 2019 #84

    Anderson

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    I'll step in and point out that many people don't feel as though they can refuse, whether out of a lack of knowledge of the rules, a sense of intimidation, or some quirk of perceived social rules.
     
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  10. Oct 17, 2019 #85

    SarahZ

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    Nah. I don't get angry about phobias. I get angry about misinformation, speaker phones, and people who drive slowly in the left lane.
     
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  11. Oct 17, 2019 #86

    anumberone

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    For me it's all about time and convenience. You can fly to a vacation, but flying is no vacation. Meanwhile, a train ride can be a vacation in itself.
     
  12. Oct 17, 2019 #87

    Winecliff Station

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    My "triggers" as they are called today are animal cruelty, fat shaming and people who use the present tense to describe past events. A close fourth is the slow left lane driving as you mentioned, but it's tied with those people who insist on driving side-by-side with me.
     
  13. Oct 17, 2019 #88

    MARC Rider

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    Actually, the cops can, at the least, severely inconvenience you, and it's no comfort that at some time in the future you could prevail in the courts. Before that, they could hold you, take you off the train, etc. You have to balance that against the possibility that they could plant fake evidence. The best thing to do is to ask the car attendant to be present when your bag is inspected, so that there are witnesses resent.

    In the long term, the best thing is to agitate with your elected officials to end the counterproductive "war on drugs," and otherwise reduce the amount of material considered to be "contraband." This reduces the career incentives for law enforcement to want to conduct random or targeted searches. They should also stop rewarding officers for making a lot of arrests.
     
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  14. Oct 17, 2019 #89

    jiml

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    This is a cloudy area in North America. You may have the right to refuse, but at what cost to you? The escalation of refusing could very well lead to further discussion "down at the precinct" and the loss of the rest of your trip. Non-compliance is also viewed by many - not just the police - as "having something to hide". The right to refuse, even in a free society, does not always equal the best result. A current non-train example is a police officer asking you to hand over your cellphone and password to prove you haven't been texting while driving. You can refuse, just as long as you have plenty of time to get where you're going.

    Edited to add: I didn't see MARC Rider's post immediately above, but similar point.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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  15. Oct 17, 2019 #90

    iplaybass

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    The train is just... nicer. No TSA, no sardine/cattle car feeling.

    1) I fly when I have to be there by X and I can't account for the increased travel time. I had a business trip to Dallas last year and I took the train. Left Saturday evening instead of Sunday morning. Had dinner as soon as we left STL, slept in a roomette, got to Dallas at noon the next day within walking distance of the hotel. Saved $100 as well. Flew back. Thinking of doing the train to DC for a similar trip, despite the 6 hour layover. The Art Institute or aquarium are great places to spend a few hours. Beats any any club in an airport/railroad station.

    2) As many have said, vacation starts when I board the train, not when I get there. I don't truly relax until I get to the hotel when I fly.

    3) Convenience. STL to CHI/KCY is a longer trip by train. But the ride from ORD/MCI to downtown removes some of that advantage. Plus, the added check-in time removes even more. Add to that the cost savings, the ability to move around during transit, and the much more comfortable seats, it's an easy decision.
     
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  16. Oct 19, 2019 #91

    Qapla

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    In an episode of "Modern Marvels" from 2008 that I saw on TV today they had this comment:

     
  17. Oct 19, 2019 #92

    Willbridge

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    One was on vacation. The other was headed to teach a class. Both were affable company.

    The only time I've been affected by drug enforcement was on Greyhound in 1998. Between Denver and Portland a dog smelled marijuana on the handle of my checked suitcase and it was delayed for 24 hours, requiring an extra trip to the depot in order to get the clothes I was expecting to wear for my college reunion.

    I'm not sure what would happen now. ALL suitcase handles coming out of Colorado and entering Oregon probably smell of marijuana and in Portland there no longer is a Greyhound station. (Maybe the bag would go to their city ticket office?)
     
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  18. Oct 20, 2019 #93

    adamj023

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    if there was a high speed train from NYC to Chicago, it would vastly improve Amtrak for long distance trains. I realize its impossible to do nationwide high speed right now but NYC to Chicago would really open up the network and make long distance trains more viable.

    i was looking at doing NYC to out west on the Southwest chief. I would need to connect in Chicago and the train options to Chicago could be better. Trains could be made just as fast if not faster than airplanes but the interstate highway system took years to finish with the last gap of I95 only filled in recently. Our transportation system is antiquated and hasn’t kept up with technological capabilities.
     
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  19. Oct 20, 2019 #94

    MARC Rider

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    Even with high speed rail, I think East Coast - Chicago is pushing it on being time competitive. I suspect that the most likely HSR would have an end to end average of 80 - 100 mph (the Acela end-to-end average between New York and DC is about 80 mph), which means that the trip would be shortened from the current 18 - 20 hours to maybe 8 - 10 hours. Even with driving to the airport, TSA lines, waiting at the baggage carousel, etc., the 2 hour flights between the east coast and Chicago are still way faster.

    And, of course, high speed rail would need brand new infrastructure that costs billions, especially the Philadelphia - Pittsburgh and Washington to Pittsburgh routes that have to cross the Appalachian Mountains. All kinds of crazy expensive viaducts, cuttings and tunnels would be needed to straighten out the route to allow for high speed running. On top of the fancy trackwork and specialized signaling needed for high speed operations. The New York to Chicago Water Level Route via Albany and Buffalo doesn't have the topograhical problems, but it is longer, so the point to point times won't be as fast, and the trains wouldn't serve Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington (plus everything in between), the the market would be more limited.

    If you were going to bite the financial bullet and do real high speed rail, the optimal way would be to base the route on the old Broadway limited, running it through Philly and Harrisburg and routing the new high speed rail track through State College, bypassing Huntingdon.

    Probably the best option to improving service on this corridor is incremental improvements (like extra tracks and improved signaling) to allow a 60 mph end-to-end average speed (as opposed to the current 45 - 50 mph) on all three corridors (Water Level Route, old PRR Maine Line, and the B&O route from Washington), and extra service timed at the opposite ends of the days from the current service. This would allow daylight service between Ohio and the East Coast (which might be competitive with flying -- at our work, we started driving to visit our contractors in the Akron area rather than flying, it was much more convenient, as well as cheaper), as well as daylight service between Ohio and Chicago. Also, frequent corridor service between Pittsburgh -- Cleveland -- Toledo, and maybe Cleveland-Buffalo, too, though I've never driven that interstate and don't know how heavy the traffic is.
     
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  20. Oct 20, 2019 #95

    MARC Rider

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    You know, with legalized cannabis in a lot of states, I wonder whether the mere reaction of a drug-sniffing dog is really enough to be considered "probable cause" that a person is possessing drugs anymore. I guess that will have to be thrashed out in the courts.
     
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  21. Oct 20, 2019 #96

    tricia

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    Ditto with legalized industrial hemp (no THC, but smells exactly like marijuana--it's a different variety of the same species). It's being grown and processed in many states (including NC) where marijuana's still not legal.
     
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  22. Oct 20, 2019 #97

    nti1094

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    So many reasons... Firstly, it is a more responsible way of travel for those of us that care about global warming. (flygskam) Also anything is better than the dehumanizing experience of the TSA “security theater.” Also I can get work done or catch up on reading. The country is truly a remarkable beauty and I enjoy seeing America . Price is not really an issue for me. and of course it just feels right, feel like it has more class. Every train has a colorful historic past that is exciting to re-live even if only a fraction of what it once was.

    I arrive refreshed, relaxed, and usually sorry the trip didn’t take even longer.
     
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  23. Oct 20, 2019 #98

    nti1094

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    IMG_2577.JPG

    Did I mention the scenery? IMG_2576.JPG
     
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  24. Oct 20, 2019 #99

    Amtrakfflyer

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    With 2 kids under 2 it’s a whole lot easier getting on the SWC in Galesburg and getting off 36 hours later in Fullerton blocks from the inlaws.

    Flying from Moline changing in Den, Ord, Dfw never goes smooth especially in the winter. Over the years, 35 percent of the time we’ve got stuck overnight or missed a connection and had a 6 hour plus layover. The last 12 months alone 2 overnights at ord and one 6 hour missed connection in Denver. These all are issues with paid tickets not standby. So even as an airline pilot Amtrak is easier to me from any city that requires a change of planes when traveling with a young family.
     
  25. Oct 20, 2019 #100

    crescent-zephyr

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    It takes about an hour to get from Manhattan to JFK.... allow 30 minutes to get to your correct terminal, allow 30 minutes for security, and plan on being through security an hour before your flight boards. That's 3 hours right there... 2 hour flight.... and an hour to get into downtown chicago. That's looking at 6 hours city center to city center.

    I just took the train into, and flew out of, NYC. The train is SO much easier. It's right there. When I looked at flying to NYC or taking the train (Silver Meteor) when the price was similar I chose the train. Coming back I would have to take the crescent and Delta first class was 1/2 the price of a roomette. So naturally Delta won.

    There's a certain amount of wondering and what if's when going to major airports... I felt like I wasted most of my day when I flew because I allowed even more time than necessary because I didn't want to miss my flight and I knew JFK was a big place. Maybe if I wasn't so familiar with NYP I'd waste a similar amount of time but I know I can show up 20 minutes before train time and not be even remotely worried about missing my train out of NYP.

    (On a positive note.. I got to JFK so early I got to take a few joy rides on the Air Train.. pretty fun to get a "cab ride" at 60 mph!
     
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