Sunday, May 29, 2011

Trains: A Love Story

planes trains

2 hour wait to get on

immediate bording

partial undressing necessary - shoes, jackets, belts, etc

nobody expects me to take any of my clothes off

groped or x-rayed by random people

no one cares

16" of legroom, 24" of seat

24" of legroom, 36" of seat

the perils of assigned seating - annoying people, middle seats, drink cart elbow smashing, etc

choosing your own seat (adventure?)

bag check fees, bag weight limits, carry-on limits

no fees, plenty of storage, no fighting for overhead compartment space

few permissible times to leave your seat

you can always leave your seat

no where to stand even when you do leave your seat

a whole car dedicated to dining; standing room at the end of each car

tray tables

actual tables

one outlet, if you're lucky

one outlet PER seat

overly airconditioned, pressurized, germy ice cubes

the ability to go stand between cars and get fresh air

crying babies, snoring passengers

the quiet car

6" porthole windows

gigantic windows

the view from 36,000 feet

the view of parts of america you may never have seen, up close

annoying, controlling flight attendants

cheery conductors who make themselves scarce



All we have to do is make them faster and they'd be a clear winner. As it is, I still think they're a clear winner, it's just that sometimes scheduling necessitates a quicker method of transport, unfortunately. I am waiting for the train renaissance, man. People are going to have to realize one of these days what a worthwhile investment it is. Think of the jobs rennovating and expanding that kind of infrastructure could create! I own stock in several railroad companies - Norfolk Southern, CSX, etc. I really believe trains are the superior mode of transport, and I'm hoping, someday our country will come back around to that perspective.

Till then - CHOO CHOO!


Alan M said...

I agree with your analysis. My only disagreement would be a government subsidy of this superior choice. I too favor the view, the extra room, the tables, the ability to really stand up and move around. I'll pay for a ticket and allow some of it to go to capital investment in faster delivery. I won't be happy to have my tax dollars given to those who can't make it in a free enterprise system.

SongInHerSky said...

You know, Dad, it doesn't actually say anywhere in my post that it's the government that should spend money on train infrastructure... just pointing that out! :) But thanks for the comment nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

The aviation industry was one of the most heavily subsidized by the government throughout the twentieth century. So to say they "made it" in a "free enterprise system" is nonsense.