A New Vision of Passenger Trains?
I took the Amtrak from Michigan to Chicago last month to catch a flight. The train started out 3 hours late. So Amtrak put everyone on a bus. Amtrak didn't have a train.
It seems as though Amtrak won't much longer be substituting busses for trains that it can't find.
Amtrak is plummeting into chaos. Too bad it can't find a leader brave and bold enough to lead it out of the tunnel, making noise the whole way when badness rears up to stop it. I'm all in favor of expanding public services, but if an agency loses its way and won't get back on track to serve that public: cut it off. Can a train service get any worse than not having trains?
But maybe there's a way that the people of the land can find a way to take trains here and there.
While Amtrak is unraveling, freight trains are multiplying. Not everything is bad in trainland.
Right now there's a movement by rich people to buy passenger cars and keep them on empty sidings. They then buy space in a freight system and get their cars hooked in with freight cars and hauled wherever they like for really low rates. Did you know that trains are second only to boats as the cheapest, most efficient way to haul anything?
I wouldn't be surprised if secondhand cars couldn't be bought very cheaply as well.
So what's the problem?
Probably private stock buffs buy either freight or old passenger cars to convert into their rail-line travel trailers. So, instead of taking out all the seats, what would happen if private citizens and companies bought cars and sold tickets?
I suppose, like everything in our society, that it's insurance and liability that say a passenger train has to be a separate entity from a freight train. But the new trend of private stock travel disagrees. If someone is willing to take the risk of rolling with freight, maybe they could travel as cheaply and reliably as freight!
I wonder what the risk differences are, anyway.
Of course I'm speculating wildly with all this. I have heard these several definite things: freight is up; freight is cheap; Amtrak is down; private stock is booming. I suspect that the general public could somehow be served based on a mix of these factors. An online network could be created, announcing where train-cars are going and seat availability.