Sunday, October 17, 2010


It's amazing how a single development - make that a singular development - can change a lot of things and undo a lot of damage.  The feature article in the October 2010 issue of Trains, is about how the Staggers Act - deregulation - transformed railroading.  It is inspiring to know that, no matter how much damage an intrusive government has already done to a free enterpries, that the simple act of freeing that enterprise to compete in a free marketplace can turn almost certain disaster into good news.  Those among you who follow politics know what I'm talking about.

What does this have to do with Passenger Rail?  A sidebar to the article speculates on what railroading would be like if regulation had never been lifted.  Long before deregulation, government got into both passenger and freight rail where it deemed either or both too important to fail.  (See "bailout.")  Other than guaranteeing that there would still be private railroads with some reasonably good track on which to run Amtrak trains, deregulation didn't help Passenger Rail much.  There are still laws that limit what freight railroads can do, among which are the Amtrak reauthorizations that still require them to carry Amtrak trains.

Government will never get out of the railroad business completely.  As I have noted before in this blog, government has always had a stake, no matter how indirect.  But what would happen if government pulled out of Passenger Rail today?

Your first reaction is:  There would be no passenger trains!  But are you sure?  Are we so bereft of innovation and revolution in this country today that we couldn't figure out some way to make the trains stay, or even get better?  I have repeatedly said that Passenger Rail will never make a profit.  But I'm not so sure that this isn't just feeding on a defeatist attitude that permeates lots of our thinking today.

So I'd like you to think about it.  And comment please, or send me an email.  Let's see if we can come up with some ideas to sent to some private capitalists who may think differently, too.

©2010 - C. A. Turek -

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Shameless Self-Promotion

What good is a blog if you can’t do a bit of shameless self-promotion.  And, in that vein, I would like to announce that I have published my second novel as an Ebook.

A Tunnel Too Far is not about railroads or railroading per se.  Its setting, however, is Chicago of the early Depression Era, and the famous and sometimes infamous tunnel system that underlies the central part of the great city.  The story has plenty of tunnel train action, and railroad, streetcar, and Chicago ‘L’ background. 

The title above and the Important Link at right link to a web page for the book.  Or you can go directly to the Amazon Kindle Store, to download it to your Kindle eReader.

I also have the Ebook formatted for other eReaders, such as Nook (Barnes & Noble), Sony, and Microsoft Reader, but I have yet to set up a store for those versions.  If any reader of this blog is interested in getting a copy in a format other than Kindle, please email me (a comment also works) with your return email address and I will correspond with you about getting you a copy.

As an amateur historian and collector of railroad books, I can’t see that eReaders will ever supplant the printed and bound page.  But I really can see the attraction, and Ebooks are taking off like lightning in the bookselling marketplace.  In addition, I know that Kindle, Nook and MS Reader have versions that run on desktop or laptop computers.

Here’s the link to Passenger Rail:  If you ride a train or commute, you may be tired of standing in line to buy a newspaper on the way every day, or of carrying a book to read that weighs more than the sandwich in the pocket of your overcoat.  If so, an eReader is just right for you!  It’s the “ride home” entertainment of the 21st century.

And if you read my book and enjoy it, please recommend it to others.

Thank you to my readers and followers.

©2010 – C. A. Turek –