Tuesday, December 03, 2013

PTC Redux - Or When The Knee Jerks

Don't you just love it when the establishment news media get their hands on a railroad story they know nothing about?  Grinding my fingernails down a chalkboard (a magical graphic device used in old-school classrooms, for  those of you in perpetual puberty) would be both more pleasant and more productive.

Four fatalities on a commuter train in New York, and many injuries, are certainly tragedies that apparently could have been avoided by the magic of Positive Train Control.  At least that's what NBC News decided when presenting this story early Monday morning on Today.  And, guess what, there is this technology called PTC that's established fact.  I can't quote the story directly right now, because I can't find a transcript on the Net, but it went something like, "There is technology that could have prevented the accident."  Really?!!!

So the railroads that have spent upwards of 9 figures, if not 10, trying to implement this "existing technology" are just throwing away their money trying to design and build systems that they could have gone to NBC and purchased "out of the box" to comply with Congress' arbitrary deadline?  Apparently, railroads are so stodgy and unfeeling toward the victims of such tragedies that they would lie a thousandfold just to keep from having to implement something so simple and so extant that it should have been done yesterday.  If only those railroads would stop concentrating on being the most fuel efficient from of transportation on the face of the planet, pound for pound and passenger for passenger, and start concentrating on what's really important!

Fact is this:  If Congress had de-regulated the implementation of PTC in a similar way that they de-regulated the railroads thirty years ago--that is, remove all government regulations as far as placement and testing, bandwidth, radio frequencies, environment, etc.-- then PTC "would" be working today!

Fact is this:  PTC only existed as a concept on the engineering drawing boards when Congress got involved, functional only in test situations on very short segments of track.

Fact is this:  There IS technology that dates back to the first half of the 20th century called Automatic Train Stop.  Lots of railroads have it, but its based on switches and relays and brute force mechanical systems that Congress doesn't understand.  Oh, wait!  They don't understand what it is taking to implement PTC, either.  Furthermore, it's not fun for Congress to mandate something that already exists.

My guess:  This latest tragedy can be blamed on technology--but probably not on the lack of it.  Check your text messages while running a train, anyone?

©2013 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Does the Left Hand Know?

As I write this, several things are going on with railroads that can be lumped under the tentative heading: Government Intervention.  Two of these things will affect Passenger Rail.  One has grown out of what I believe to have been a sincere desire on the part of some in government to improve Passenger Rail safety.

Let's talk about that one first.  Just days after the 2008 collision of a Metrolink commuter train with a Union Pacific freight near Chatsworth, California, the government mandated that PTC be in place on something like 60 thousand miles of railroad by 2015.  PTC is Positive Train Control, a collision avoidance system that, on the surface and to Congressmen, appears like a simple concept.  So not only did they mandate this system and set a somewhat arbitrary deadline, but they told the railroads that they'd have to pay for it.  No federal budget item for PTC!

As an aside, let me note that Congress is seldom anything but superficial when it comes to passing laws, especially if those laws mandate an end result that will require anything of a highly technical nature to get to the result.  This bunch knows what they want and when they want it, and you, by cracky, had better get it done! (See Affordable Healthcare Act)

Getting back to my point, some "parts" of government are starting to understand that PTC isn't going to happen; at least not without some more hefty Government Intervention.  The price tag is already on the fancy side of the tracks of $5 billion--with a B.  If you stop and use your head, you're going to realize that this is nothing like an aircraft collision avoidance system.  For one thing, with the mass of railroad trains being in the neighborhood of millions--with an M--of tons, radar just can't stop a moving train by the time it's close enough on the ground to be seen on radar.  This has to be a digital radio--wireless--system that depends on computers on the ground, in centralized locations, and on board every train, as well as the global positioning system, communicating at all times and in all locations.  ON THE GROUND!  (What if those satellites get too old?  Stay tuned.)  And it has to be overlaid on existing signal systems, at least to begin with, or the costs triple or more.

So now the railroads want to build radio towers for all these wireless signals along their rights of way.  But wait . . . doesn't the FCC have to approve them?  U-betcha!  Not that the FCC can't ramp up, but they're getting into the game way late; they just realized it.  So no towers are going up.  Then there's . . . I bet you think I'm going to rag on the Environmentalists . . . you'd be wrong.  Something called the National Historic Preservation act gives the Indian nations the right to inspect every site for possible Indian artifacts.  So call out the brigades of Native American inspectors, you say?  At current estimates and rates of inspection by qualified tribal personnel, this is going to take 50 years--with a Y.  Thank Congress for thinking things through!  (Not to be crude, but here goes:  Most of Congress thinks a global position is something ENTIRELY different.)

Then there's the clamoring in Congress for somebody to re-regulate freight rates for those shippers who feel overcharged or under served.  Congress, in it's infinite inability to think things through, will probably do it, forgetting that before deregulation of the railroads there was the distinct possibility that 2013 would not SEE any private railroads running in America.  Perhaps that's the goal.  In any case, imposing higher cost or lower profitability on freight railroads will make it harder for passenger systems to negotiate track use and dispatching, and possibly cause the freight railroads to cross their legs and refuse any and all intercourse with passenger systems.  Between this and the PTC fiasco, on which the bigger railroads have already spent a wad of cash, the butt cheeks of the railroads are tight enough to hold up those transmitter poles all by themselves.

© 2013 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Are The Steaks Really Worth It?

After marketing my new novel with a railroad fan's slant - The Steam Locomotive Murders - I have to get back to blogging about real Passenger Rail issues.

This article discusses gourmet food on Amtrak:
http://arbutus.patch.com/articles/steaks-on-a-train-amtrak-ups-its-culinary-game-78e29ea9

I've been thinking about it awhile, so it is now time for me to put in my 2 cents.  This may be both figuratively and literally, because that's about all I'd give you for so-called gourmet food on Amtrak.  At least not until Amtrak learns to get other things right.

First of all, it's not real gourmet food.  It's trendy food served as gourmet.  These days, any kind of food that has an unusual name and is gluten free is touted as gourmet food.  Second, it's going to increase food service costs, or the quality is going to be soooo bad that it'll ruin ridership.  Third, it's only a matter of time before Congress decides to cut food service altogether.  (The last time was a disaster!)  So why bother upping the cost of what we're going to cut?

As I see it, the majority of us want two things when it comes to food on a train.  First, we want a dining car, not a snack wagon or a corner of the basement in the lounge car.  Second, we want good American cuisine at reasonable prices:  Steaks and chops, salads with fresh vegetables, good coffee (without the hoity or the toity), and a desert selection that would make Dr. Oz cringe.  I don't see why it would be so hard for Amtrak management to visit successful mom & pop restaurants in each train's geographic area and emulate the menus.  Don't hire chefs!  Hire people who can cook.  And absolutely don't let the pop media govern what you serve!  (Did I say management should do something?  Horrors.  They're too busy pleasing Congress.)

So there's my brief rant about food on Amtrak.  It'll be interesting to see what happens in the next few months.

© 2013 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Be The First


The Steam Locomotive Murders
Just Released 9/18/13
OVER 61,000 have seen our promotions, and OVER 300 have put us on TO-READ LIST or DOWNLOADED a copy of the book.
WHAT RU WAITING FOR?
Be the first of your friends to read The Steam Locomotive Murders.  In paperback or eBook.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Steam Locomotive Murders Now Available


Go to author's website
Go to Story Cartel

The Steam Locomotive Murders launched yesterday.

You can get a free download in return for your honest review--and enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card--by clicking the Story Cartel logo.  (Please be patient, Story Cartel is sometimes very busy and may be unavailable.)

Clicking the book cover will take you to my home page.


© 2013 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Steam Locomotive Book This Week

Those of you who read this blog (ir)regularly know that I am also an author of fiction novels.

My latest, The Steam Locomotive Murders, officially launches this week, 9/18/13.  This is the second in the Charlie Komensky detective crime fiction series.  In addition to being a fictional detective, Charlie is also a railroad fan.  This book features settings that include the narrow gauge of northern New Mexico, the Milwaukee Road and Santa Fe northern type steam locomotives, and "in and around" Chicago Union Station., as well as having the detective spend hours on Amtrak.

The first book of the series, The Flat Tire Murders, included visits to the CRANDIC and Mason City in Iowa, as well as other railroad settings and references.

Both are available through Amazon and CreateSpace.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Any Future At All?

I've started many posts to this blog with something like:  "It got me thinking."  I guess that's what's supposed to happen in the blogosphere.

Today, I read an article published by Railway Age and written by Frank Wilner.  The topic of the article is two very new pieces of tech that could make the railroads obsolete in 10 years.  You may link to the article [here].  Prognosticators are more often wrong than right--it's the old 50-50 chance with a little thrown in on the "against" side because of the inherent risk in trying to predict an unpredictable future.

Nonetheless, I agree with the basic thesis, and that is this:  You've got to stay ahead of technology if you want to stay in business.  There was a time when railroads, and Passenger Rail railroads in particular, were always ahead of that curve.  In fact, they were the cutting edge of technology in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Not so today.

I've often marveled at how the basic concept of wheels with flanges running on gauged track has not changed since the 1850s.  Science has certainly developed better materials for the wheel-rail interaction, and maybe that's what has kept the basic engineering viable a century and a half later.  In all fairness, monorail (in the 1940s - 1960s) and maglev (more recently and continuing) have promised the same thing that Musk's "hyperloop"--as mentioned in the article--promises for Passenger Rail.  Basically, it's higher speeds, greater safety, and greater comfort.  Neither mono- nor mag-rail has panned out.

The other tech mentioned in the article, the 3-D printer, has the greater probability of putting pressure on railroads through the lowering of demand to ship parts, particularly small, light parts.  But this is for freight rail to worry about.

Passenger Rail is in dire need of a high-tech innovation that is incremental, rather than all-or-nothing.  (The 3-D printer is an example of incremental--a logical and progressive extension through generations of engineering refinement starting with the line-printer and up through dot-matrix to now.  The hyperloop is all-or-nothing, requiring a radical change in almost everything engineered around transportation needs today.)  People like change, but they don't like radical change.  The general Public may ride a bullet-train-like high-speed railroad today, but I'd bet the farm they won't allow themselves to be shot through the ground in tubes yet.

It took eleven years after the Wright brothers for air travel to be come a commercial enterprise, but it took another 35 years for it to become a competing form of passenger transport.  It was advanced, cutting edge tech, but it was too "out there" for the average passenger.  I still believe it was largely because of WWII and the number of military personnel who were exposed to flight during that period that airlines of the 1950s took off as they did--pun intended.  "If we could do it during wartime, then it's a piece of cake with nobody shooting at us!"

I keep hoping that those incremental changes I talked about will keep people riding Passenger Rail for the short term, so it won't die out as a transport mode before something realistic in the way of high tech comes along.

©2013 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com

Friday, August 02, 2013

No Worse and No Better

[This link] is to a Fox News article that reports the horrible time recently had by some Amtrak passengers on a disabled train.  The reason I'm blogging it is that I've had similar experiences.  What makes this remarkable to me is not that I had the bad experience, but that I had it so long ago, and nothing has changed.  I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that a lack of power and of light on board a mid-winter train is just as horrifying as on board one in the middle of a summer heat wave.

This happened to me well over a decade ago, and I can't say that I was uncomfortable as this Fox article depicts, but I've known the media to exaggerate - Tell me it isn't so! - and I think Fox would have described it in similar terms.  What I can't understand it that the organization that supposedly provides the most energy-efficient form of transportation to our nation hasn't gotten it right yet.  Yes, attitudes and habits in the railroad industry are hard to change, but the freight railroads have generally, over the past decade, been successful in changing them.  What (pick a place) has Amtrak's head been in all these years.  People want to ride the train!  Please, oh, please don't give them a reason not to!

Then I think about a train trip I took in the early 1960s.  The Baltimore & Ohio still ran passenger trains back then, although they probably didn't want to.  They did everything short of substitute cattle cars - What are those, Geezer? - to discourage ridership so that the feds would let them abandon passenger trains.  My trip was in early spring: cold cars, failed water systems, leaky windows, etc. ad infinitum.  The whole attitude of the crew was, "So what?" and at that time was only a few years short of causing Amtrak to happen.  (Some congressman laid an egg and the sun hatched it.)

What I'm getting at is this:  Is there a real or hidden agenda in Amtrak that just wants people to stay away so the feds can put it out of its misery?  I sincerely hope not, but that's not what it looks like from here.

© 2013 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Recently Posted on Trains Forums re: Megantic Oil Tanker Derailment

The idea of posting a security guard at the location of the stopped train was the first thing that came to mind when I heard about this runaway.  But there are just so many different versions coming out right now, that it is hard to understand exactly what happened.  Bottom line:  The railroad is the source of the disaster, if not the cause, and will get blamed for any damage done to life and property.
Even with the "fire on the locomotive" scenario that seems to be emerging, it appears that somebody had to have uncoupled the tank cars from the locomotives. If so, and at that point, an appropriate number of cars' handbrakes should have been set.

And . . . YES . . . on my railroad, the crew would have had to be sure the entire train was secure from ALL hazards before packing it in for the night.

mistertrains@gmail.com

While this has mostly nothing to do with Passenger Rail, it kinda sorta does when you think about how many routes today that are hosting passengers are also hosting oil tank trains.  With the uptick in this kind of business, safety must be at the top of everyone's list.

General content ©2013 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com

Friday, June 21, 2013

Trainsforming America

Despite the appearance of, ugh, politicians in the trailer, this may be a worthwhile film.



You may also want to visit the website.

 Or read this article.

Look for my future posts.

Any commentary © 2013 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com.  No copyright is claimed or intended for content to which this blog post is linked.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Fighting Dogs and Cats

I've read with interest and not a little horror about Amtrak possibly allowing passengers to travel with their pets.  Congress would have to authorize this, and there is apparently a move afoot for Amtrak to designate at least one car in each train where passengers could travel with their pets.

First, let me note that I am extremely allergic to cats and some dogs.  I mean life and death allergic.  I have never been around other mammalia that much that I have learned of, or developed an allergy to, any others.  So perhaps I would also be allergic to hamsters.  So you know that I am coming from the position of having a deep love for passenger rail travel on the one hand and an urgent need not to be embalmed on the other.

I find so many societal things wrong with pets in certain places, including supermarkets, restaurants and, yes, public transportation, that I will not list them all.  Just let me say that, from a societal standpoint, I believe that the need to take pets everywhere evidences a narcissism that borders on neurosis and a degradation, if not a total rift, in the social fabric.  (I exclude from this criticism all people who need service animals, though even that definition suffers from the pressures of a liberal interpretation for almost everything.  Service chicken?  Come on!)

But the biggest thing wrong with pets on Amtrak is cost to the American taxpayer.  Knowing railroad operations as I do, I guarantee increased costs to Amtrak (which is cost to us) as; (a) maintaining a pool of designated pet cars in the proper place, time and order, (b) cleaning and deodorizing cars, (c) policing the situation such that riders obey the "pet rules," and (d) paying for alternate transportation in case of breakdown and emergency for passengers, like me, who absolutely cannot ride in the same air supply as dog or cat dander.

As far as the cars are concerned - and I've seen this in hotels - they won't ever be exclusively used for no-dogs-allowed.  In a pinch, a car used yesterday for pet friendly service will be shunted onto a train that needs a car for just regular non-pet passengers.  Once a pet has slept on a bed, I guarantee you that it's dander will remain in the bedding until the bedding is sterilized or burned!

And given the sorry state of society today, are you going to arm conductors to enforce a pet moving from car to car or settling down in the galley waiting for food scraps?  You may have to!

Until or unless Amtrak has such a large pool of cars that it can afford to pick another "clean of pets" car from the unused stock of cars to account for emergencies or just increased ridership, this whole pets on Amtrak thing is a bad, bad, BAD, idea!  (ALLERGISTS PLEASE COMMENT!)

©2013 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why Are We All Excited?

Those of us who would see Passenger Rail grow and prosper in America have been burned before.

I can understand mainstream media getting excited.  There is too much news media and not enough content, so every gurgle that issues from the mind or mouth of a politician gets reported.  In the fashion of the "new journalism," the enthusiasm of the journalist, or the disdain, shows through on the page, or in the TV news article.

But I think those reporting in such specialized areas as Passenger Rail should learn to hold their water.  Let's face it.  Bigger Amtrak budgets don't always result in better Passenger Rail service.  When and if they do is the time to get excited.  I would much rather hear about the successes resulting from the use of funding than about projected funding that may or may not materialize.

If all of the excited speculation of the past decade had resulted in solid passenger rail service, we would be riding HSR trains on dedicated rights of way from Chicago to Detroit and from Los Angeles to San Francisco, we would have Amtrak service that made money, and we would be light-rail commuting in a dozen small cities that are barely able to keep bus service solvent.

So let's not get too excited!

For another view on what is and is not possible and probable in passenger rail, please see RailwayAge guest blog [here].

©2013 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com 

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Letter to Republican Elites from a Conservative Rail Enthusiast

Dear Republican Elites:

Passenger trains are not archaic dinosaurs that eat up public money that can be better used to cut the debt.  They are public conveniences, nay even necessities, that eat up public money in order to make the economy and our lives better.  Stop treating them as something to be cut from budgets or sold off to whatever idiot wants to buy them from Amtrak.  They are the most fuel efficient mode of mass transportation of human beings on the planet.  They are part of a comprehensive transportation policy that includes highways, buses, air and waterways.

Limited and constitutional government envisioned by conservatives does not automatically mean the curtailment of all public subsidy for transportation modes.  If it did, we would all be going back to horses, wagons, and private toll roads on private lands.  Limited and economical government does mean that public funds should not be used by the government to favor one mode of transportation to the exclusion of another, except for the purposes of national defense.

The Obama regime appears to have gotten passenger rail and high-speed rail right for all the wrong reasons. When stimulus money was rolled out, it didn't go to transportation as part of a comprehensive plan.  The regime wanted money to go to an industry that it perceived did or would employ labor union members who would vote Democratic.  The right reasons?  America needs more than one mode of transportation for people and their belongings that can meet the need to travel long distances in short times.  Airlines have met this need for years, but are becoming more inconvenient due to their vulnerability to attack, hijack, and conversion (to flying weapons) by any person or group of nefarious bent.  In fact, a comprehensive transportation plan for the rest of this century should envision a third mode, possibly high-speed commercial highways that are independent of rail and air travel.  I hate to say it, but with the advent of computerization, rail doesn't have to be the only so-called self-guiding mode out there.

Sequestration has made it clear that the Washington Elites, whether on the left or right, are only going to cut those things that will hurt the general public the most.  So it would not surprise me if Amtrak and commuter rail funding dries up.  It doesn't have to be that way.  Though the DOT is one of the leanest in Washington, it is still a bureaucracy.  If it's a government-run entity, there is still plenty of fat to be trimmed before we really need to curtail trains and transport, or let highway bridges crumble into rivers.

Lets wake up and get a clue.  Despite what liberals might profess, conservative does not have to equate with 'stupid.'

© 2013 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com



Monday, February 18, 2013

Contingency Plans

The recent near disaster on board the cruise ship Carnival Triumph got me thinking about transportation policy.  (The cruise was neither a Triumph nor a Carnival.)  In previous posts, I've discussed transportation policy as a government function.  For many, many years, federal and state governments have decided what transportation projects get the nod and what ones don't.  However, every major transportation company (Southwest Airlines or Union Pacific, for two examples) should have its own transportation policy.  I'm sure that most actually do.  What the near disaster makes me ask about policy is, "What are your disaster contingencies?"

Nowadays, disasters come in all shapes and sizes, and are mostly defined by the media.  A good definition seems to be anything that puts a great number of lives, or a great dollar amount of property at risk.  For the purposes of this discussion, I would like to suggest that a good definition of disaster is a major disruption in the scheduling, forwarding, and delivering of freight and passengers.

I'll get back to the Carnival Triumph in a minute, though only tangentially.  This is, after all, a railroad-focused blog.  But I would like to take these transportation policy risks from the bottom (of the river) up and demonstrate how our neglect of redundancy in transportation policy puts America at risk.

A river barge hits a bridge.  It may be a highway bridge, a railroad bridge, or (call the environmentalists) a pipeline bridge.  It could be a bridge that carries all three.  River traffic is disrupted for days, maybe weeks, while spilled fuel is cleaned up.  Do we have alternate waterways?  You know we do not.  The likelihood that there is any other mode of transportation capable of moving the barge commodities safely during the outage is small.  Probably the railroad can reroute trains, truckers and travelers can drive another highway, and there may even be a redundant pipeline.

An Amtrak train is wrecked.  I mean thoroughly wrecked.  God forbid it results in loss of life, but in any case there is major loss of passenger equipment.  Amtrak schedules have to be fixed, equipment has to be borrowed from other routes.  A general degradation of the entire system occurs.  There's just not enough passenger equipment, inspected for safety and in good repair, that Amtrak can just field another trainset.  No redundancy.

A giant cruise ship is crippled.  There apparently aren't enough other cruise ships not already on their schedules to send one to offload passengers from the crippled ship from an environment that will become sheer hell for most of them before the crippled ship gets towed to port.  Or maybe there's no mechanism to get them onto another ship.  I don't know.  It seems like there should be.  We have enough engineering students in America to make this happen.

Airlines are grounded due to a terrorist threat.  Or, alternately, the air traffic control system suffers a major glitch and has to be shut down.  Do we have a contingency plan?  Can all those thousands of passengers count on the railroads to put on more trains?  No.  Can they all take a bus?  I think not.  How about driving?  Major traffic jams in major metro areas.

For passenger rail, there should be long-term plans for new tracks, trains, and modern signaling systems to make it all work.  Years ago, these plans should have been implemented so that, today, we would be on our way to true HSR and true independence of passenger rail from the freight system.  Nobody foresaw that Amtrak would be having record years, nor did they see that at the same time as there is record demand for passenger rail there would be record freight delivery by rail.  I don't know why not.  Rail has for as long as I can remember been the most efficient and energy friendly way to move freight and passengers in terms of energy used per passenger-mile or per ton-mile.  Yet it is still thought of as a dinosaur.  That's because government has become the curator of a museum instead of the owner of a modern transportation system.

Privatize Amtrak?  Now may be the time.  Build more rail right of way?  Yes.  Let the NIMBYs be damned!  Plan for the future?  Definitely.  Stop making risk a dirty word?  Most important of all.  And let's stop building things with projected useful life, and start building things to last!  We could surely better handle "disaster" if we did.

Rant over.

© 2013 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com





Sunday, January 27, 2013

US Transportation Policy is No Policy At All

Those of you who have followed this blog or visit often enough to get my political drift know that I am a strong believer in a comprehensive United States transportation policy that includes passenger rail.  I'm going to link to two recent reports that are - or will be - interesting reading, because they both address how our "no policy" approach has put the US behind much of the rest of the world when it comes to transportation.

The [first report] is from a bipartisan organization called Building America's Future.  Before you get into the report and read the statistics that should scare the pants off any user of transportation (freight or passenger), consider its source and understand that the chair-persons for this organization are on the liberal side.  So take some of it with a grain of salt in that there may be a tendency to slant in the direction of higher subsidies for all modes, not just for high-speed rail and freight rail.  In my opinion, the report is on the money in its criticism of how we handle transportation policy and where this will lead us in the not-too-distant future.  Frankly, if we can't move goods and people around fast, in high volume, and in an energy-efficient manner, the United States will continue to fall behind other countries.  Additionally, the solution, I think, is not just in subsidy or government money, but in general tax and business policies, and an easing of regulations, that will help private enterprise get this accomplished.  Even though the report's slant may be liberal, mine is definitely conservative.

The [second report] hasn't really come out yet.  The link is to an article on the Amercian Society of Civil Engineers site that describes the expected March 19 report in generalities.  Nevertheless, the conclusion is the same:  The United States needs a comprehensive transportation policy that includes all modes, and needs to spend a lot more money on infrastructure for all modes.  Again, the slant is probably liberal, as one would expect from a highly commercialized academic society, but the need can be met by applying conservative political principles.

Bottom line:  It would be an extremely bad idea to continue treating rail, and passenger rail in particular, as an anachronism or as a second cousin to so-called "modern" modes like air and highway.  My opinion is that it would also be an extremely bad idea to demand that government fund all of the needed improvements, as liberal political influences would have it.  It would also be an extremely bad idea for government to dump modes that it currently subsidizes - Amtrak, for example - with no backup plan, as conservatives would have it.  Limit taxes on transportation modes and their profits, dump unnecessary regulation, and promote general business prosperity, and the rest of the plan will take care of itself.  AS LONG AS WE HAVE A PLAN!

© 2013 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Amtrak Advertising

I just couldn't live with myself if I didn't share this one with everybody.  Click [here] to see it.