Maybe the U.K. should just contract out the whole thing to the Swiss. Their train service is nothing short of spectacular!
[Ah-nold, preparing to bury an axe in Dr Beeching’s skull]
Axe-ta la vista, baby!
[Rainier Wolfcastle, standing nearby for some reason]
Now tha-at’s what I call burying the hatchet.
[/Rainier Wolfcastle, SNFSR]
Because we Brits invented railways/railroads. For other examples of the curse, see Football (soccer), Cricket, Rugby, Lawn Tennis, etc. Invent the damn things, then bollix 'em up
(OK, there are exceptions.)
There are a few regions of the USA where Amtrak works well.
By far the most important is the Northeast Corridor (Boston-New York-Washington DC, including Providence, Philadelpha and Baltimore). This 457-mile route, with New York almost exactly in the middle, is within a few miles of a sizeable chunk of the US poulation, and is distributed in such a way as to make rail travel highly competitive with the airlines (this was true even before September 11, 2001 and the increased time required for air travel due to heightened security). The NE Corridor also sports the Acela trains on some runs, these being the only ones in North America remotely resembling European high-speed service. The major cities on the route have pretty good local transit networks, removing DDGs problem of being stranded at the depot, and several local commuter networks run more tightly-knit service from the respective Amtrak stations.
California, the Mecca of the automobile-worshipping culture, actually has a couple of Amtrak routes where the double-digit-trip-per-day train schedules make a significant dent in the traffic congestion: the Capitols between the San Francisco Bay Area (including San Jose / Silicon Valley) and Sacramento, and the Surfliners between San Diego and Los Angeles (some go through to Santa Barbara). These trains run with all-new coaches, and are generally on time.
The above would fit in quite well on most European rail networks, unlike Amtrak trains in most of the rest of the US – and a lot of the US is a loooong way from the nearest railroad passenger depot.
The only good rail systems are the subsidised ones. In the UK the system started falling apart when Thatcher decided it wasn’t a service needed for the nation, but a business to make money from.Thats why even the French have better trains than we have.
This is like owning a car & expecting someone else to pay for it.
This is a major problem with trains (planes too). My modest proposal is a ticket that includes hire of a vehicle (the cheap option being an electric vehicle with a 50 mile radius) at the other end.
Yeah, but most of America isn’t populated enough (thank God) to justify a passenger route.
Not to mention the distances are so HUGE. However, if y’all got those hi-speed TGV, shinkansen, or intercity 125s, it might make a transcontinental journey a lot more pleasurable and safer than driving.