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by SHKarlson Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 12:22:04 PM EST

Never mind the recession, the fiscal unsustainability of the social democracies, or rehabilitation of a broken arm.  Summer is a good season to ride trains (the other good seasons are autumn, winter, and spring) which for this summer meant a swing around the western United States on Amtrak's Empire Builder, Chicago to Vancouver, Washington in late June; the Cascades Talgo and Coast Starlight, Vancouver to Sacramento; the Capitol Corridor (perhaps the best example of relatively inexpensive yet successful regional rail in North America) Sacramento to Santa Clara; and the Capitol Corridor and California Zephyr, Santa Clara to Chicago, over the Independence Day weekend.

Links to detailed, illustrated reports of sections of the journey below the fold.

Amtrak Empire Builder, Chicago to Vancouver, Washington, 25 - 27 June 2010:

Chicago to Winona, Minnesota, 25 June;
Detroit Lakes, Minnesota to Shelby, Montana, 26 June;
Sandpoint, Idaho to Vancouver, Washington, 27 June.

Amtrak Cascades, Vancouver to Portland, Oregon, and Coast Starlight, Portland to Sacramento, 29 - 30 June, includes additional photographs of Cascades and Portland's well-cared for Union Station.

Amtrak California's Capitol Corridor, 30 June,includes a behind-the-scenes look at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.

Capitol Corridor, Santa Clara to Emeryville and California Zephyr, Emeryville to Chicago, 3 - 5 July 2010:
Santa Clara to Elko, Nevada, 3 July
Helper, Utah to Fort Morgan, Colorado, 4 July
Council Bluffs, Iowa to Chicago, 5 July.

What? "the fiscal unsustainability of the social democracies?"

I thought that Sweden, as one example, has been a social democracy since the 1930s. Just how did the Swedes sustain themselves through that long period?

Has all of Europe bought into the Thatcher-Reagan greed-is-good ethic or as it should be called, the revenge of wealthy European artistocrats?

by shergald on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 12:34:42 PM EST
Hmm, log on this morning, extensive coverage of the French pensioners' protesting, read elsewhere of the UK cutting 500k government employees, pondering why Illinois has to pay a higher interest rate on bonds than Mexico despite recently raising the age of eligibility for a state pension to 67, gotta wonder if Sweden is an outlier.

Say what you want about Ronald Reagan, his government turned a profit privatizing Conrail.

Stephen Karlson ATTITUDE is a nine letter word. BOATSPEED.

by SHKarlson (shkarlson at frontier dot com) on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 04:21:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Despite the strikes, my 300km/hour train from paris to brussels was only delayed by 2 hours.  Or more precisely, there was another train 2 hours later.  You can keep your once a day zephyr schedules, delayed by every freight train that passes, average speed worse than car services and reaganomics.  I'm going to have another croissant.

Have you ever spent real time in a social democracy out of curiosity?  I've done my time in the US for sure.

by njh on Sun Oct 24th, 2010 at 02:44:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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