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What you've just proven is that modern railroads are well-suited for double-deck passenger cars!

This past week I rode the double-decker California Zephyr between Denver and Chicago and back. It was great! Clean coach cars, a club car with good views, and two dining cars and sleepers.

Distance: about 1000 miles each way.
Fare: $288 round trip.

by asdf on Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 11:24:58 PM EST
I'm envious!

BTW, you may have missed Part One (I missed you), where I covered US double-deck and high-level cars -- maybe you would have comments or corrections for what I wrote?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 04:44:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did see part one of the double-decker diaries, and your summary of the situation in the U.S. is accurate as far as I'm aware. The basic problem here is that we have reasonably good mid-1970s-ish railroad technology, but the demand is so low (except for the Northeast corridor) that needed political support is not available.

Incidently, I was surprized at how many level crossings there are. The main job of the engineer is to blow the horn all the time.

by asdf on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 07:27:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My best buddy is an engineer, he says its really hard to blow the horn that much.  Mentioned that he has a few other duties too.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 06:48:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How does that compare to door-to-door air travel costs - ignoring the time factor?

I find it easy and relaxing to work on trains - I am never able to focus on anything in planes.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 10:09:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm taking the train home for Christmas.  The train is $70 roundtrip (that's including a business class upgrade, it's $42 coach) whereas the cheapest flight I found was for $182.

It is slower, of course, but I can also get a lot done on a train.  And the station is about a block from my family's home whereas the airport, with holiday congestion, is about a 45 min drive.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 10:36:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds good!

I just enjoy being on a train or bus - I still have some of that schoolboyish enthusiasm for it. I've never got used to planes or cars - you can't relax. I can even daydream on a train, inspired by what I see out of the windows.

Of course a car drive is also sometimes a good way to solve an impossible conceptual problem that's been going around in your mind. Focusing on driving seems to bring a different kind of thinking into play - ie not thinking consciously.

But I still couldn't tell you exact model of Fiat I have apart from the name, nor the licence number. I just don't care.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 10:59:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know your question wasn't directed at me, but I just bought the tickets last night and am still in shock about the price difference.  I think it means the trains are desperate for business.  Kinda sad.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 11:19:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe they also compete with Greyhound?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 11:39:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How long is the trip?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 11:23:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Check AMTRAK's schedule. Apparently, scheduled for 18 hours 40 minutes over 1038 miles.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 11:50:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, I thought you are asking asdf, about the Denver-Chicago trip...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 02:34:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
4.5 hours, compared to a 45 min flight!  LOL.  But the difference is really diminished when you factor in the commute to and from the airport, the fact that you are supposed to get to the airport 2 hours early and of course, the holiday crowds that exacerbate everthing.  Door to door it is about 4 hours to take the plane home, and a little over 5 hours to take the train.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 11:55:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly. Flight times are grossly misleading.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 11:56:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And when you allow for the much more useful time expenditure on a train you're way ahead ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 12:04:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I lived in Boston it was cheaper to fly to NYC than to take the train, even the non-Accela train. Tickets were about 200 for the non-Accela train round trip. What I usually did was drive half way to New Haven, CT (10 bucks for gas) and take the commuter rail into town (20 bucks one way) for a total cost of 60 bucks.

In other news, we should have a bullet train running from Portland, ME to Washington DC. It is ridiculous to not have better rail service on the east coast. It won't happen as long as we keep on subsidizing our failing airlines.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 01:24:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is it that subsidizing rail is evil but subsidizing airlines is necessary?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 01:26:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The automobile completely destroyed the passenger rail industry in the US. Had the rail industry survived in any serviceable form we would likely be subsidizing them to the same degree as the airlines today, as the rail industry would have had lobbyists with long, deep ties to various politicians of the sort that the airline, auto, and telecom industries have.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 01:35:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ironically, US rail's fall from favour was partly due to heir earlier strong meddling in politics, they didn't got the subsidies in the first half of the 20th century because that was then how politicians demonstrated that they aren't corrupt.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 29th, 2006 at 02:38:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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