The Good: Amtrak is considering the restoration of the Pioneer from Denver to the pacific northwest (see article), and the idea of adding more of the Front Range cities that have some population density is a Good Idea. Amtrak routes need population centers at the ends of routes in order to assure proper utilization of resources throughout the entire route. But it would be damn silly not to add smaller population centers where possible. It’s the no-density towns and marginal cities that need not be served by terminal routes.
The Bad: Congressman Harry of NM wants the Rail Runner, already suffering from marginal density in its Belen terminal, to go to El Paso. (See article.) The reasoning is, and get this, the rest of New Mexico wants commuter options, too. This shows that Mr. Teague has no concept of how to use rail resources and recover revenue. Yes, like my example under “The Good,” El Paso would be a high-density city population, also with potential Mexican passengers (and concomitant border crossing problems like Amtrak’s international trains), but running a train because the other 2/3 of New Mexico has one isn’t a good reason. And the northern end of the route is a marginal terminal (Santa Fe), that even the old namesake railroad didn’t go to.
The Ugly: Not today.
©2009 – C. A. Turek – firstname.lastname@example.org