I don’t know why every conversation about Amtrak turns into a bunch of pontificating about getting rid of it. I’ve heard the same arguments for years. It’s never anything new. As for alternating schedules, and “tri-weakly” schedules – they’ve been there, done that, and it was a mess.
Look, I hate to drive. I do it for work all week, and it sucks, especially in Seattle, where the drivers are idiots. That doesn’t mean I’m anti-car. I just don’t want to be around one when I’m on vacation.
And I hate to fly. I did it for years for work, and it gets more degrading every year.
But I like the train. I like the ease of it, the leisurely pace of it, and the congeniality of it. I’m also old enough to remember the private railroads, and no matter what the foamers may tell you, they weren’t much diferent than Amtrak – at least in the last ten years of operation. I was on a Union Pacific “local” in 1967 that would rival the worst story you’ve ever heard about Amtrak.
I’m a taxpayer, just like you. Me on the train means no me clogging up your highway, or snoring in the seat next to you on the plane. We really can all just get along, you know. I’ll gladly pay for your runways and extra lanes, if you’ll allow me my train ride. :-)
I’m of mixed minds about the ND track rebuild: The detour up to Grand Forks seems inefficient, but unless they are willing to put the money in to the mainline, the Builder will constantly be stuck in a very highly trafficked, and under-capitalized part of the Hi-Line. Maybe this is the way to go.
As for the statewide service: I don’t know why Amtrak doesn’t run stub trains between Seattle and Whitefish (or at least Spokane) during times where the mid-section of the route might be impassable. After all, they run a stub train between the twin cities and Chicago when the regular Empire Builder is out of service.
The Seattle management needs to realize that this isn’t 1970, and that there’s such a thing as adapting to fit new travel patterns and expectations – and that should include a lounge car between Seattle and Spokane.
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