More on high speed rail

The Syracuse Post-Standard, in their editorial this morning, backs the high speed rail project saying “half-a-century ago, federal funds built an interstate highway system that helped to eclipse railroads. Today, the future of rail service is emerging around the world. Why not in Upstate New York?”

Some more interesting tidbits that I learned from Taras Grescoe, author of “Straphanger.”

Why is passenger rail so bad in North America? “In contrast to Europe, where the vast majority of cargo is moved by truck, North America’s rail infrastructure is owned by seven major freight companies, and almost all of them consider the Amtrak and Via passenger trains that run on their rails an unmitigated nuisance.”

The best train system in the world is in Japan. Why? “If commuters here are now the world’s most pampered, it’s because Japan is densely populated enough to make running trains profitable, which in turn allows rail companies to plow profits back into constantly improving service… Of course, if Tokyo is as dense as it is today, it’s because its twentieth-century growth was almost entirely driven by electric traction rather than the internal combustion engine.”



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