Why do trains suck in the U.S.?

Oslo you say?

Does the US need a different system to what it has? It has a freight system by train but not passenger. Freight travels to distribution depots and human transport has been tending away from that (plane systems in the EU tend towards point to point discount carriers rather than the old main carrier hub system for example). The old private, huge, train infrastructure was a capital bubble like the dot com boom and crash. It wasn’t a rational sustainable thing.

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long-haul commuter rail just doesn’t make sense most places in the U.S.

First, remember that when you compare the U.S. to Europe, they’re about equal in area, but the U.S. has half the population. There are huge areas that are much more sparsely populate, which basically offer no incentive to attract a rail, within which no one really has a desire to commute to a large city.

Where there are large cities, they’re surrounded by sprawl. You wouldn’t need a line, but a web of rail lines to deliver commuters to their destination, which means you’d be trying to spend more money to lay more rail to pull in fewer people. L.A. is even worse, because it borders on a centerless sprawl: a ton of people spread over a wide area with lots of commuters, but those commuters aren’t all necessarily going “downtown”. Rail in these cases is just not worth doing.

In fact, rail is really worth doing when you have one long line of large cities, such that you can just lay down one long route between them. That’s basically the topology of, say, cities Japan. The only places that happens in the U.S. is the interstate commutes into Washington D.C. an New York, places that consume so many workers to support employers who can’t or won’t move that those workers can’t possibly live close. You can think of the entire northeast coast as one big commuter fill for these two labor sinks.

Add to all this that there’s just no expectation that you’ll travel between reasonably large cities for work. No one works in Houston and lives in Dallas, or expects to, or would probably want to if it were an option.

It just doesn’t solve the problem the U.S. has.

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Late Stage Capitalism.

Yup, still works.

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The old U.S. train infrastructure wasn’t really a bubble. it was a necessary step. Towns lived and died by the rail. But that’s because the invention of the rail let us expand westward by essentially skipping over all the the stuff in the middle. We got a bout a third of the way out, then immediately invested in a few major rail lines to get to the west coast, then started filling in the middle from both sides.

The rapid westward expansion would have been impossible without trains, and those new settlements would have been unsustainable without them. But now that people can drive or fly, all that’s left is freight.

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Re; “Full Video”

I like that that’s a thing, even tho I don’t have the patience to watch them - even so, I think it’s one of the great little gem’s that this InterTubes thing has produced, IMHO.

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More like “can’t go where people want to go”. Amtrak owns no track and is really at the mercy of the railroads. Like it or not, the root of America’s rail woes lies in that rail lines are private property.

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I still infinitely prefer my train journeys to any airline travel.

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I recall reading somewhere that passenger trains have to give the right of way to freight trains, meaning your passenger rail journey is frequently interrupted by having to pull over to let a freight train go by.

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TL;DR!

Also is that a single trip? at 2:31 they are clearly in the dead of winter, by 4:49 it’s fall.

I haven’t ridden it myself but work with quite a few people who love the commuter rail that serves Nashville and nearby towns. So it doesn’t suck.

http://www.musiccitystar.org/

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I live in Korea. I’ve lived in Japan and Taiwan. My decision on the transportation here compared to back home: Trains rule, cars drool.

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IIRC, and I’m on a dying tablet so I’m not checking, these long form train journey videos were actually initially broadcast on Scandinavian TV (along with live knitting marathons!) before Yout’Tube allowed 8hr videos uploaded. No g happening TV certainly was a thing independent of the inter web.

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I’m afraid I didn’t watch it. I have left some shorter winter journeys on in the background in the past but I just did a search for an Oslo journey and linked. Sorry.

Firstly I don’t think the imperial expansion AKA “manifest destiny” was in fact necessary, but I am considerably more anti colonialism/imperialism than is the norm here…

I must admit to not being all that clear about the capitalisation of the US railroad and was extrapolating from the European experiences (which vary obviously from country to country) in which the massive expansion of railroads and railway construction was very definitely a speculative bubble in the classic sense.

Excuse serial replies but: tablet, awkward.

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Ugh. DC Metro. Ugh. Yes, yes, they’re working on it…and at least they’ve got something to work on (*cough Baltimore *cough). But the Guv seems to think more roads will do Just The Trick.

The regional transit is acceptable (MARC and AMTRAK), although surprisingly susceptible to environmental conditions (rails too hot/cold, rain/snow, etc.). I’m still confused why I haven’t heard about automated track repair 'bots moving up and down the system, doing what repairs they can. Certainly we’ve got that part of the tech down?

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Trump will make them run on time again.

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Any day of the week.

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In the old days (when passenger traffic was a lot higher, early part of the 20th century), it was the other way around. I don’t know when it switched.

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