Sunday, June 07, 2009

Chicago to Iowa City - I'd Ride It

If I still lived in the Chicago area.

Getting out to Iowa City used to be one of my favorites. It's a beautiful city with a thriving university campus and sites of historical interest. I used to do it for an overnight or two. Out - overnight - and back.

That's probably how Amtrak service would go. But with a five-hour schedule (one way) it would be possible to spend a 15-hour day and five of those could be for business or shopping in one city or the other.

I'm speaking from the big-city perspective, however. The train would be of even more benefit for Iowans, as they would pick up the brunt of the subsidy, but could look forward to visiting downtown Chicago more often with less headache than driving. If the train is scheduled correctly.

I fear that with a lot of these new proposed startup Amtrak routes, the freight railroads will prevail and the schedules will be adjusted (or crimped by bad or felonious dispatching) into what the host rail wants or needs to get its freight over the road. There will be less incentive as freight traffic (unsubsidized as of today, but bailouts happen) takes it in the shorts from the lousy economy. But if both the economy and the new Amtrak routes come on line at the same time, you know absolutely which will bite the bullet. And it won't be the new route.

But making an overnight isn't so bad in Iowa City or in Chicago - though more expensive in the latter. I'd ride it anyway.

©2009 - C. A. Turek -
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