Confession is good for the soul, and confession about passenger trains is good for the soul of Mistertrains.
After watching my family come and go via Amtrak, we stepped back and studied our own use of Passenger Rail in the recent past. There is one word: Pathetic!
The last time we rode Amtrak ourselves was in February 2001. The last time on any commuter rail was that same year when we did a little riding of Metra while visiting near Chicago. Recreational? Non-existent! We visited the Cumbres & Toltec the winter before last while it was shut down. We have done a little train station photography in Las Cruces and Phoenix, and we have watched the New Mexico Rail Runner commuter train go by without riding. Pathetic!
Why? We suppose it is the same problem that most people have in today's world. Not enough time or not enough money. And to get enough money we have to spend way too much time.
The cost of transportation, in general, is out of proportion to the wages earned by a normal individual when compared with the golden age of passenger rail. If you care to argue with that without citing Government Statistics, be our guest. We don't believe the Labor Department, because if the Labor Department Statistics were true, we would be earning $500K per year, and we are not. Nobody we know is. Nowhere near.
So to get enough money to ride, we have to work harder. This is whether that ride is in a car, plane, bus or train. And work harder we do. Getting close to the end of five decades on this planet, we can't remember when we have worked so hard to stay afloat, and when we have spent so much of a percentage of every day doing it.
Makes us wonder if any form of transportation will be affordable in the next decade, or whether we will all have to live in a company town across the street from the call center where we will all be employed 18 hours a day (with no vacations or "self-financed" ones) because all manufacturing jobs will be overseas. Who needs passenger rail then?
© 2006 - C. A. Turek - firstname.lastname@example.org