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(Salon)   Amtrak, the Prius of long-distance travel   (salon.com) divider line 220
    More: Cool, Prius, Amtrak, ejector seats, Metra, Swiss Army  
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8054 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Feb 2014 at 11:31 AM (27 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



220 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-02-19 09:45:11 AM
Where did she get a train ticket that was 1/3 the cost of a plane.  I've always found the train to cost almost as much if not more than a plane ride for anything that wasn't so short a train wouldn't have been more effective anyway.
 
2014-02-19 09:53:57 AM
I live in a New York City apartment with tinier-than-normal energy-efficient appliances, I bike or take public transportation most places, I compost, the bulk of our food comes from the local farmer's market, I live walking distance to work, I fly only rarely. However, when I needed to go to the Ragdale Artists Colony in Lake Forest, Ill. (an hour outside of Chicago) to finish my novel, I took a look at the University of California, Berkeley's carbon calculator to see how much the short-ish flight would set the planet back.

the pretentiousness... it burns!
 
2014-02-19 09:54:59 AM
Why not just buy a carbon offset? You can purchase 2.4 tons of carbon offset from carbonfund.org for about 25 bucks. Or spend the extra I dunno 12 hours you'd save off the plane planting trees somewhere.

Sure OK you're saving money but time is money. And being on a train for 19 hours sucks balls. And like the previous poster said I've never seen a round trip train ticket 1/3 the cost of airfare.
 
2014-02-19 09:57:17 AM
Wow the smug was huge with that article, plus Amtrak from Atlanta to DC costs the same as a flight from Atlanta to DC.  She is spot on about security and baggage though, I used to have to transport large trade show displays from Atlanta to DC and when I did I always took Amtrak.
 
2014-02-19 10:01:25 AM

Tom_Slick: She is spot on about security and baggage though, I used to have to transport large trade show displays from Atlanta to DC and when I did I always took Amtrak.


Is it still pretty much no1curr about bags?  Haven't been on a train in awhile, but the Amtrak stop closest to here resembles a bus stop with a little kiosk.  The train pulls up, you get on, you go.

Amtrak:  Travel with your weed!  We don't give a shiat.
 
2014-02-19 10:07:03 AM

nekom: Tom_Slick: She is spot on about security and baggage though, I used to have to transport large trade show displays from Atlanta to DC and when I did I always took Amtrak.

Is it still pretty much no1curr about bags?  Haven't been on a train in awhile, but the Amtrak stop closest to here resembles a bus stop with a little kiosk.  The train pulls up, you get on, you go.

Amtrak:  Travel with your weed!  We don't give a shiat.


Pretty much, except for long distance trains with baggage cars for oversized items these are handled by Amtrak personnel so in theory you should keep contraband out of that .  Your personal stuff you are taking to your seats is not checked, although now that all trains are completely non-smoking don't toke up on board.
 
2014-02-19 10:21:55 AM

bdub77: Sure OK you're saving money but time is money. And being on a train for 19 hours sucks balls


I guess it depends on which route you're taking. Up the East Coast, it's easier and less harrowing than driving and the time is comparable to flying.

If you're crossing the Appalachians, though, it sucks balls. The only real advantage is for places like DC or NYC, it plops you down in the middle of the City with quick access to public transit. Of course, the scenery is nice, but it would be nice to see it at 55, 65 or 100 mph, instead of 25.
 
2014-02-19 10:25:11 AM
Tom_Slick:
Pretty much, except for long distance trains with baggage cars for oversized items these are handled by Amtrak personnel so in theory you should keep contraband out of that .  Your personal stuff you are taking to your seats is not checked, although now that all trains are completely non-smoking don't toke up on board.

Last time I took at train, probably 98 or so there was only one car you could smoke in, they had a little lounge in the bottom of one car.  Glad I gave up cigarettes, can't really smoke anywhere these days.
 
2014-02-19 10:28:56 AM
I took the Texas Eagle from Dallas to Chicago and back in 2011. The sole reason for the trip was to catch a Flaming Lips show at the Aragon. A few close Farkers decided to come up as well to make a weekend of it.

The trip to Chicago was one of the WORST travel experiences of my life. It started with a freight derailment between Dallas and Longview which caused us to be loaded onto buses that took us to Longveiw. We had a roomette sleeper and found the accommodations to be quite comfortable. The cabin attendant was a very nice guy and told us newbies to relax and enjoy the rest of the trip. Supper that night was delicious and we met some really great people. Back to the cabin for bed which was fairly comfortable and I slept quite well until 4am when I heard "buses"...I woke up and looked outside and were in Little Rock. Turns out there was another freight derailment and we had been sitting still for who knows how long. The buses finally got moving around 7:30 for a two+ hour ride to Bugtussle (Walnut Ridge) Arkansas....as we were pulling in to Bugtussle, I noticed buses just leaving heading south. As it turns out the southbound train had just arrived and they had to get things turned around and rehabbed as best they could before we could board and continue.  Away we go...and we were told that we were going to take an alternate route to try to make up time...however there was a lot of freight traffic getting rerouted as well so we spent a lot of time sitting still. By the time we got to Chicago 11 hours late, coach was like a third world country, the sleeper was not as up to standard as the first train, the food was dwindling, the crew was tired  and to top it all off we missed the Lips show. On a side note we met a man who had just retired and he present to himself was to take every overland route that Amtrak offered and he "had been on the rail for the last 30 days and this was the first bad experience that (he) had." It made no difference to us...the first impression had been made.

We made the most of the rest of the weekend (LOVED Chicago!) but were very apprehensive about the return trip...we almost punted and flew home but we had "packed for train and not for plane" so we toughed it out.

The return trip was one of the BEST travel experiences of my life. Left on time, the only stops were scheduled and we pulled into Dallas within 15 minutes of scheduled arrival. Food was great, crew friendly and attentive and the train clean and comfortable. When we told the cabin attendant that we were kind of snake bit he knew that we had been on the Eagle that was so delayed and told us that he would do everything he could to make the return trip as comfortable as possible and followed through.

Would I do it again? Hell yes! (mamarita notsomuch) Planning on it this summer. BUT, if I'm going with the intent of being at my destination for  a scheduled event, I will book with a day's lead in mind...and I'll pack more booze.

/csb
 
2014-02-19 10:33:00 AM

Tom_Slick: Pretty much, except for long distance trains with baggage cars for oversized items these are handled by Amtrak personnel so in theory you should keep contraband out of that . Your personal stuff you are taking to your seats is not checked, although now that all trains are completely non-smoking don't toke up on board.


They frown on drinking at your seat too. Now on the other hand, if you have a berth, feel free to get hammered.
 
2014-02-19 10:34:16 AM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Tom_Slick: Pretty much, except for long distance trains with baggage cars for oversized items these are handled by Amtrak personnel so in theory you should keep contraband out of that . Your personal stuff you are taking to your seats is not checked, although now that all trains are completely non-smoking don't toke up on board.

They frown on drinking at your seat too. Now on the other hand, if you have a berth, feel free to get hammered.


The bar car from Atlanta to DC is usually wonderfully empty.
 
2014-02-19 10:34:20 AM

FlashHarry: I live in a New York City apartment with tinier-than-normal energy-efficient appliances, I bike or take public transportation most places, I compost, the bulk of our food comes from the local farmer's market, I live walking distance to work, I fly only rarely. However, when I needed to go to the Ragdale Artists Colony in Lake Forest, Ill. (an hour outside of Chicago) to finish my novel, I took a look at the University of California, Berkeley's carbon calculator to see how much the short-ish flight would set the planet back.

the pretentiousness... it burns!


The best part will come when someone informs her that the flight she decided not to take still took off without her aboard.
 
2014-02-19 10:37:57 AM

Tom_Slick: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Tom_Slick: Pretty much, except for long distance trains with baggage cars for oversized items these are handled by Amtrak personnel so in theory you should keep contraband out of that . Your personal stuff you are taking to your seats is not checked, although now that all trains are completely non-smoking don't toke up on board.

They frown on drinking at your seat too. Now on the other hand, if you have a berth, feel free to get hammered.

The bar car from Atlanta to DC is usually wonderfully empty.


Too many Baptists worried that someone will recognize them?
 
2014-02-19 10:46:45 AM
I've got a nephew going to Kansas from New York on a train today, as it so happens. Ticket is $150 and takes something like 17 hours. He could get there in just a few hours by plane for $180. He says he is going by train because "his friends are going by train", but does not have a good reason for why they are traveling that way. I'm pretty sure I figured it out in about 12 seconds: no TSA means he can bring as much weed and whatever else he is using these days with him. Which, if that is the reason, seems like a much better reason than not liking the results dialed up on Berkley's carbon calculator.
 
2014-02-19 10:47:01 AM
So, Amtrak can't drive for sh*t, either?
 
2014-02-19 10:48:48 AM

Three Crooked Squirrels: I've got a nephew going to Kansas from New York on a train today, as it so happens. Ticket is $150 and takes something like 17 hours. He could get there in just a few hours by plane for $180. He says he is going by train because "his friends are going by train", but does not have a good reason for why they are traveling that way. I'm pretty sure I figured it out in about 12 seconds: no TSA means he can bring as much weed and whatever else he is using these days with him. Which, if that is the reason, seems like a much better reason than not liking the results dialed up on Berkley's carbon calculator.


There is one more pretty good reason:  It's a thing in itself.  You miss a lot at 35,000 feet.  Riding Amtrak is an experience.
 
2014-02-19 11:10:39 AM

nekom: Three Crooked Squirrels: I've got a nephew going to Kansas from New York on a train today, as it so happens. Ticket is $150 and takes something like 17 hours. He could get there in just a few hours by plane for $180. He says he is going by train because "his friends are going by train", but does not have a good reason for why they are traveling that way. I'm pretty sure I figured it out in about 12 seconds: no TSA means he can bring as much weed and whatever else he is using these days with him. Which, if that is the reason, seems like a much better reason than not liking the results dialed up on Berkley's carbon calculator.

There is one more pretty good reason:  It's a thing in itself.  You miss a lot at 35,000 feet.  Riding Amtrak is an experience.


If that was his reason, I'm pretty sure when he was asked why he was going by train, he would have said something like: "Well, I've never seen that part of the country." But he has not offered any real reason. So, no, I'm pretty sure it's the drugs.
 
2014-02-19 11:15:56 AM
Train to visit my parents: $500-600 and 20+ hours
Plane to visit my parents: $200-300 and 2 hours
 
2014-02-19 11:23:31 AM

nekom: Three Crooked Squirrels: I've got a nephew going to Kansas from New York on a train today, as it so happens. Ticket is $150 and takes something like 17 hours. He could get there in just a few hours by plane for $180. He says he is going by train because "his friends are going by train", but does not have a good reason for why they are traveling that way. I'm pretty sure I figured it out in about 12 seconds: no TSA means he can bring as much weed and whatever else he is using these days with him. Which, if that is the reason, seems like a much better reason than not liking the results dialed up on Berkley's carbon calculator.

There is one more pretty good reason:  It's a thing in itself.  You miss a lot at 35,000 feet.  Riding Amtrak is an experience.


Also, it's a biatch to get into Manhattan from the airports or (Lord help you!) by car. Amtrak lets you off in Penn Station.
 
2014-02-19 11:38:44 AM
What a bunch of AGW-apologist suckers... Hahahaahahaah

You all know that you are talking about "Carbon credits" because Maggie Thatcher wanted to bust the coal miner's union, right?

Why not go swimming in all of that extra ocean (lower sea level) that's allegedly hiding in Australia?
 
2014-02-19 11:39:51 AM
i live on the georgia and south carolina border. if i want to go south towards florida or west i have to go via washington dc and it is more expensive and slower then the bus. f-u amtrak.
 
2014-02-19 11:40:11 AM
is it as dorky looking as the Prius?

/DNRTFA
 
2014-02-19 11:41:05 AM
A few years ago I priced a trip from Illinois to Texas for the wife and I see see her parents. The train was comparable in value to the plane and both were less expensive than driving with an overnight in a hotel. However, the train still took as long as the car ride because Amtrak moves over on the siding to allow freight trains to go by. There is no incentive to taking the train if you don't live on the coasts.
 
2014-02-19 11:41:13 AM

devildog123: Where did she get a train ticket that was 1/3 the cost of a plane.  I've always found the train to cost almost as much if not more than a plane ride for anything that wasn't so short a train wouldn't have been more effective anyway.


This has been my disappointing experience. Like Charlie Brown with the football, I keep looking for train trips.
 
2014-02-19 11:41:45 AM
I checked out Amtrak for a family trip (My spouse, 2 spawn and myself). The tickets would cost as much as taking a plane (plus food and beverages) and would take as long as driving. The only benefits over driving would have been that I could sleep during the trip and the kids could move around a bit. Of course, then I would need to rent a car at the destination.

I am anxiously awaiting any real competitive alternative to airlines. I really hate air travel at this point.
 
2014-02-19 11:42:36 AM
I enjoy riding Amtrak but the cost isnt great.

I do love that the MBTA extended my line all the way down to where I grew up.  Train travel is convenient and affordable for me.
 
2014-02-19 11:43:14 AM

bdub77: And being on a train for 19 hours sucks balls.


Depends on the train.  If you're going to a con, I heartily recommend taking the train.  I've been to PAX twice, and taken Amtrak both times.  38 hours each way, surrounded by fellow nerds and their favorite games... tons of fun.
 
2014-02-19 11:43:26 AM
Douchebuggies.

/obscure?
 
2014-02-19 11:43:52 AM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: bdub77: Sure OK you're saving money but time is money. And being on a train for 19 hours sucks balls

I guess it depends on which route you're taking. Up the East Coast, it's easier and less harrowing than driving and the time is comparable to flying.

If you're crossing the Appalachians, though, it sucks balls. The only real advantage is for places like DC or NYC, it plops you down in the middle of the City with quick access to public transit. Of course, the scenery is nice, but it would be nice to see it at 55, 65 or 100 mph, instead of 25.


I tried for some years to find a reasonable amtrak route from Memphis to WV. 11 hours, a trip to chicago first, and i think it only got as far as bowling green kentucky, and then I'd have to drive the remaining 3 hours.
 
2014-02-19 11:44:11 AM
FTA:

"What if, instead of the automatic move to buy a plane ticket for mid-distance travel, I took public transportation to get there?"

So are we pretending now that airlines, which are highly subsidized by the government, aren't "public transportation?" I mean...its not like you are getting the plane all to yourself.  You have to sit in there with other people...which means its public, right?
 
2014-02-19 11:44:43 AM
Ridden the Amtrak to Chicago a few times. Wouldn't be so bad except it's late getting there to pick you up, and freight traffic is priority so you get to sit around wishing you'd driven. The rural scenery is nice but is sort of ruined by riding past many buildings whose backyards are choked with scrap and junk.

Nowadays since we got the service it's Megabus all the way. Faster, with wifi on board. No driving. Whee!
 
2014-02-19 11:44:54 AM
I traveled from Seattle to Saint Louis years ago by train due to an injury that prohibted me from flying for a while.  The trip was really long but the cab with the beds allowed some privacy and a place to sleep in peace.  The author is spot on though talking about the social aspect.  On the long ride people chat, play cards, and eat together and it is generally a more relaxed atmosphere.  I have traveled by plane a lot and planes, especially those filled with people travelling for work, are filled with angry, upset people who are in to much of a hurry for my tastes.
 
2014-02-19 11:45:10 AM
Skipping the airport, saving the planet: My 19-hour carbon-saving jaunt across America


i.imgur.com

Damn hippies
 
2014-02-19 11:46:40 AM

FlashHarry: I live in a New York City apartment with tinier-than-normal energy-efficient appliances, I bike or take public transportation most places, I compost, the bulk of our food comes from the local farmer's market, I live walking distance to work, I fly only rarely. However, when I needed to go to the Ragdale Artists Colony in Lake Forest, Ill. (an hour outside of Chicago) to finish my novel, I took a look at the University of California, Berkeley's carbon calculator to see how much the short-ish flight would set the planet back.

the pretentiousness... it burns!


Yep, I'm fine with the train trip, but why do they feel they need to be bragging pretentious assholes when they do it?

/Praying that one day there will be a cure for these pretentious assholes
//make sure to tell your doctor if you suffer from Hyper Involuntary Panic Stress Tension Elevation Response or HIPSTER in short
 
2014-02-19 11:47:52 AM
I'll take the train whenever it makes any sense at all, it is just a much better experience than flying or driving a longer distance.

It only really makes sense when heading to cities in the 8-12 hour driving distance though, unless I want a two day train trip to be part of the fun (for example a train through through the mountains is really nice).

At those distances, flying and the train cost about the same price.  Driving over 8 hours is a waste of a day, because I'll always get there exhausted.   Flying those distances takes 4 - 6 hours  (thanks to security and delays), while the train will usually take longer than I can drive the distance.  However the extra time on the train is worth the extra comfort of being able to stretch out, walk around, or sleep without interruption.
 
2014-02-19 11:49:10 AM
I want to like Amtrak but man those seats are uncomfortable, the train I was on had those seats that end at your shoulder so there's no headrest.
 
2014-02-19 11:49:12 AM
When I was in school I took Amtrak from Boston to Albany.  The trip took 8 hours versus 4 by car or 6 by bus and then it dumped me in Rensselaer where i need a car to get into the city.

Just this morning I was planning a backpacking trip to the Lake Placid area.  Amtrak proudly states they have a station in Lake placid.  It has no building, no ticket serves and most importantly no train service.  Only after reading print schedules was I able to find that a stop on the NYC to Montreal train that connects with bus service.  When I put in my local station to this stop I go an error, seems I have to book New Haven to NYC, NYC to Westport and the bus each separately.  Their booking system wouldn't do connections.

/Prius is latin for drives like a-hole in left lane
 
2014-02-19 11:49:14 AM
Los Angeles to San Antonio:

Air fare, round trip, coach, about $375 for a 3hr flight (2h45m W-E, 3h15m E-W), non-stop.

Amtrak, round trip, coach: About $1200 for about 37 hours each way, three trains with extensive layovers between each.

Maybe if I was doing something far shorter and single-leg it may pan out closer, but not for a 1400-1500 mile trip.
 
2014-02-19 11:49:17 AM

FlashHarry: I live in a New York City apartment with tinier-than-normal energy-efficient appliances, I bike or take public transportation most places, I compost, the bulk of our food comes from the local farmer's market, I live walking distance to work, I fly only rarely. However, when I needed to go to the Ragdale Artists Colony in Lake Forest, Ill. (an hour outside of Chicago) to finish my novel, I took a look at the University of California, Berkeley's carbon calculator to see how much the short-ish flight would set the planet back.

the pretentiousness... it burns!


Logged in just to post the same thing.  That has got to be the most pretentious sentence I've ever read.
 
2014-02-19 11:50:30 AM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Also, it's a biatch to get into Manhattan from the airports or (Lord help you!) by car. Amtrak lets you off in Penn Station.


Meh, theres viable public transportation to all three of the major airports.. wouldn't qualify it as a "biatch".  If you have a shiat ton of luggage you might have to suck it up and take a car, but then a shiatton of luggage is also a "biatch" to throw on a subway and lug into penn station too.
 
2014-02-19 11:51:39 AM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: bdub77: Sure OK you're saving money but time is money. And being on a train for 19 hours sucks balls

I guess it depends on which route you're taking. Up the East Coast, it's easier and less harrowing than driving and the time is comparable to flying.

If you're crossing the Appalachians, though, it sucks balls. The only real advantage is for places like DC or NYC, it plops you down in the middle of the City with quick access to public transit. Of course, the scenery is nice, but it would be nice to see it at 55, 65 or 100 mph, instead of 25.


I understand what you're trying to say, but being plopped down at Penn Station is not an advantage.
 
2014-02-19 11:52:05 AM
Also, I flying was cheaper and more convenient than trains when I ilved in Europe - and their train system is more developed than ours... I think I'll stick with quick travel.
 
2014-02-19 11:52:16 AM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Tom_Slick: Pretty much, except for long distance trains with baggage cars for oversized items these are handled by Amtrak personnel so in theory you should keep contraband out of that . Your personal stuff you are taking to your seats is not checked, although now that all trains are completely non-smoking don't toke up on board.

They frown on drinking at your seat too. Now on the other hand, if you have a berth, feel free to get hammered.


I've taken the train back and forth between Albany and Buffalo many times, and that's never been my experience.  They frown on getting shiathoused and rowdy in your seat, not necessarily the drinking.  I've brought a six-pack with me on several occasions and never had a problem.
 
2014-02-19 11:52:22 AM
Amtrack is the Prius? Meaning riders of Amtrack saves more money on condom purchase than on gas purchase?
 
2014-02-19 11:52:50 AM

nekom: Is it still pretty much no1curr about bags? Haven't been on a train in awhile, but the Amtrak stop closest to here resembles a bus stop with a little kiosk. The train pulls up, you get on, you go.

Amtrak: Travel with your weed! We don't give a shiat.


Sure is.  Last time I carried on a backpack, a rolly bag, a bag full of con swag, and a grocery bag full of snacks.  Nobody gave me a second glance, despite that you're technically only allowed 2 carry-ons; hell, one of the porters helped me with them.  And this was at a full-fledged station (Seattle), so yeah.
 
2014-02-19 11:53:14 AM
if you want a REAL experience travel like i do and hop in an empty box car.
 
2014-02-19 11:53:49 AM
I once took the train from Oakland, CA to DC, because I had the time and just wanted to.  I was by myself, but booked a family sleeper room (had its own bathroom and shower), and it was an amazing trip.  I'd like to do it again some day.  The accommodations were comfortable, the food (included in the price of the sleeper ticket) was decent, and the people were friendly.

I brought two books, a bottle of 21 year-old Lagavulin, and didn't finish any of them during my four day trip.  Sitting on the equivalent of a sofa behind a large picture window and watching the country go by was profoundly soothing.
 
2014-02-19 11:54:03 AM

Draskuul: Los Angeles to San Antonio:

Air fare, round trip, coach, about $375 for a 3hr flight (2h45m W-E, 3h15m E-W), non-stop.

Amtrak, round trip, coach: About $1200 for about 37 hours each way, three trains with extensive layovers between each.

Maybe if I was doing something far shorter and single-leg it may pan out closer, but not for a 1400-1500 mile trip.


Thing I hate is that it isn't all Amtrak's fault, for the long trips they use commercial lines and the commercial shipping trains get priority. Unfortunately we don't have the money, nor the political willingness to make a high speed nationwide rail system that could effectively compete with airlines.
 
2014-02-19 11:54:04 AM
Not having to go through security-molestation theater ALONE is worth the cost and time of taking Amtrak.
 
2014-02-19 11:54:06 AM

devildog123: Where did she get a train ticket that was 1/3 the cost of a plane.  I've always found the train to cost almost as much if not more than a plane ride for anything that wasn't so short a train wouldn't have been more effective anyway.


That's been my experience as well.  A couple of years ago I was traveling from NYC to Rochester NY.  Both Amtrak and Greyhound cost many times more than the plane.  So I flew.
 
2014-02-19 11:54:42 AM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: nekom: Three Crooked Squirrels: I've got a nephew going to Kansas from New York on a train today, as it so happens. Ticket is $150 and takes something like 17 hours. He could get there in just a few hours by plane for $180. He says he is going by train because "his friends are going by train", but does not have a good reason for why they are traveling that way. I'm pretty sure I figured it out in about 12 seconds: no TSA means he can bring as much weed and whatever else he is using these days with him. Which, if that is the reason, seems like a much better reason than not liking the results dialed up on Berkley's carbon calculator.

There is one more pretty good reason:  It's a thing in itself.  You miss a lot at 35,000 feet.  Riding Amtrak is an experience.

Also, it's a biatch to get into Manhattan from the airports or (Lord help you!) by car. Amtrak lets you off in Penn Station.


Fly into EWR and take the NJ Transit train; it drops you right off at Penn Station. Later this year I think they're supposed to add direct train service to Grand Central and lower Manhattan.
 
2014-02-19 11:54:55 AM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Also, it's a biatch to get into Manhattan from the airports or (Lord help you!) by car. Amtrak lets you off in Penn Station.


I suppose you're not familiar with Kennedy Airport. You can take the train from there to Penn Station. It costs five bucks.
 
2014-02-19 11:55:56 AM
As a Canadian, I am mega-jealous of the cheapness of Amtrak. I did a round trip from Port Huron to Chicago, about 8 hours each way for $57. $57!! The comparable Toronto-Montreal or Toronto-Ottawa ticket, not on sale, would be about $160 on Via. Blarg.
 
2014-02-19 11:58:18 AM
I've taken a few longer train rides: DC to Boston, Chicago to Seattle, and the Coast Starlight from Seattle to Los Angeles.

I've looked into taking a vacation via train, but as others have said, it's often as if not more expensive to take the train as to fly, and it take a lot longer.  Like, LA to SF is about 12 hours by train (driving, it's 5.5) and costs about double what a Southwest shuttle costs.  I would have no problem with the time, generally, but it's hard to justify slower+more expensive.  I was looking into doing just that this winter - I'd rather ride a train to the mountains than deal with chains and snowy roads - but I couldn't justify it financially.

Now, getting to San Diego from LA is easier by train and, if we go by federal mileage rates, cheaper: the expensive seats are like $60 and it takes less than 2 hours, whereas driving is 150ish miles and a couple of hours (or more during rush hour).  I may be doing that in the middle of next month for a convention.

I have to say, though, that some of the scenery is awesome.  On the ride down from Seattle, the train went through the middle of a forest fire at about 1 in the morning.  I woke up to us crawling at about 5 mph with the glowing flames outside, so I headed to the all-glass observation car and just sat and watched for an hour or so as we passed through (stopping occasionally - for emergency traffic or dangerous conditions, I assumed).  It was totally surreal.
 
2014-02-19 11:59:14 AM

FlashHarry: I live in a New York City apartment with tinier-than-normal energy-efficient appliances, I bike or take public transportation most places, I compost, the bulk of our food comes from the local farmer's market, I live walking distance to work, I fly only rarely. However, when I needed to go to the Ragdale Artists Colony in Lake Forest, Ill. (an hour outside of Chicago) to finish my novel, I took a look at the University of California, Berkeley's carbon calculator to see how much the short-ish flight would set the planet back.

the pretentiousness... it burns!


This makes me want to go burn a pile of tires, just because.
 
2014-02-19 12:02:13 PM
It's a toss-up.... It is longer to travel by train, but it IS an experience... It's beautiful, you actually have the chance to meet people. you can move around, etc... TFA has a point about a lot of things. IN a plane, you have the choice to stare at the back of the seat in front of you, or the view on the way to the bathroom. You might be able to look out the window, too, but comparing a plane window to a train window is like comparing a dirty porthole to a holodeck, especially when you add in the observation car. As for meeting people, on a plane, you're condemned to whomever you are sitting next to, on the train, you have the chance of who ever happens to wander into the observation car, or might sit next to you, or into the dining car, or the bar car, etc...

The problem is time... I'm thinking about visiting my friends in Sacramento, but it's an 18 hour train trip, that means that 3 days is taken up by the trip itself. Then again, I get to ride up and over the San Francisco Peaks and past Lake Tahoe, so I can't complain too much. Also, when you factor in getting to the airport, parking, navigating the airport, going through security, getting there early, sitting through a layover, etc., the train isn't always all that much longer.

And it is a much calmer experience to me. Airports give me a panic attack.
 
2014-02-19 12:02:13 PM
We took Amtrak from Atlanta to New York last summer.  Was $1200 for four people, round-trip, a little less than the plane tickets at the time.

We enjoyed the trip.  It was around 14 hours, which was twice as long as I'd expect the entire airplane security theater/transit time/luggage pickup/get cab into New York to cost, and Penn Station was literally across the street from our Hotel (Hotel Pennsylvania).

It was much more comfortable than flying, it was much more laid back, we brought a cooler full of drinks and a bag full of food, we didn't have to take our shoes off or even walk through a metal detector.

I'd take the train over the plane next time I travel, if time permits.
 
2014-02-19 12:02:22 PM
They're moving a shiat-ton of oil via rail right now, so Amtrak has to stop and get out of the way quite a bit.
The Railroad Barons are alive and well.
 
2014-02-19 12:03:24 PM
"While the sleek airplane has a futuristic capsule quality, on the train, I was reminded of Proust"

In the tens of thousands of miles I've traveled by train in the US, I can safely say I have never been reminded of Proust, ever.   Faust, occasionally.

It really is a nice way to travel, if you have the time and a rewards card to get you a room.
 
2014-02-19 12:03:25 PM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: nekom: Three Crooked Squirrels: I've got a nephew going to Kansas from New York on a train today, as it so happens. Ticket is $150 and takes something like 17 hours. He could get there in just a few hours by plane for $180. He says he is going by train because "his friends are going by train", but does not have a good reason for why they are traveling that way. I'm pretty sure I figured it out in about 12 seconds: no TSA means he can bring as much weed and whatever else he is using these days with him. Which, if that is the reason, seems like a much better reason than not liking the results dialed up on Berkley's carbon calculator.

There is one more pretty good reason:  It's a thing in itself.  You miss a lot at 35,000 feet.  Riding Amtrak is an experience.

Also, it's a biatch to get into Manhattan from the airports or (Lord help you!) by car. Amtrak lets you off in Penn Station.


So spend 14 more hours on a train to save an hour at the end of the trip by not having to take public transit from Newark or LaGuardia. That makes sense.
 
2014-02-19 12:03:42 PM
The oddity of the pricing being out of whack usually destroys me taking the train. I can get a roundtrip flight for the same price it costs me to go one-way on Amtrak from DC to Boston.

That said, I *far* prefer to take the Train. I like being able to get up, walk around and the seats are better than those on the flight. I also like not being x-rayed or otherwise TSA'd up my arse.

Thirdly, and I can't believe nobody else has mentioned this, the might and wonder of the Quiet Car. Hooooly fark, what a great invention. Nothing like seeing chatty idiots getting escorted out because they thought they were above everyone else.

Blissful, delicious, enforced quiet.
 
2014-02-19 12:05:59 PM
I love Amtrak this summer I did

Philly - Seattle
Seattle - LA
LA - Philly

All by Amtrak.. Pay up for a roomette, bring your own booze..  Best time of my life.
 
2014-02-19 12:06:23 PM

SigmaAlgebra: So spend 14 more hours on a train to save an hour at the end of the trip by not having to take public transit from Newark or LaGuardia. That makes sense.


14 hours on a train or a NYC cab ride, hmmm....  It's a toss-up.
 
2014-02-19 12:06:54 PM
Let us see what the greenies who do real research say about transportation and carbon.  Huh.   Over 1000 miles, the train is actually worse than the aeroplane.  Who knew?
 
2014-02-19 12:07:24 PM
I hate flying (actually, I hate airports), so I'd really like to travel by train.  Every time I've investigated it, though, Amtrak would have cost a fortune, taken days, and involved long lay-overs.  It's just not a feasible option.
 
2014-02-19 12:08:55 PM

Tom_Slick: nekom: Tom_Slick: She is spot on about security and baggage though, I used to have to transport large trade show displays from Atlanta to DC and when I did I always took Amtrak.

Is it still pretty much no1curr about bags?  Haven't been on a train in awhile, but the Amtrak stop closest to here resembles a bus stop with a little kiosk.  The train pulls up, you get on, you go.

Amtrak:  Travel with your weed!  We don't give a shiat.

Pretty much, except for long distance trains with baggage cars for oversized items these are handled by Amtrak personnel so in theory you should keep contraband out of that .  Your personal stuff you are taking to your seats is not checked, although now that all trains are completely non-smoking don't toke up on board.


I remember a drum-guitar circle with weed and stuff on the open floor where wheelchairs could park in an otherwise vacant 1/3rd of a cafe car.  This was the Night Owl from Boston to Philly in the 1980s.

The car was supposed to be closed until morning, but the conductor came in, looked at us, and decided that we were better off in there than bugging the people trying to sleep in coach.

Good times.
 
2014-02-19 12:09:20 PM
I'd love to take the train if I could go direct, it would get us there overnight, and the price was reasonable.

But I just priced out Amtrak for our September vacation. Flying will get us there in 2.5-4 hours (depending on direct or connecting flights) and cost around $700 (round trip) for two people and another $150-250 for a rental car. Driving takes at least a full day (it's about 12-14 hours actual drive time) and costs $300ish in fuel, with another $100 for a hotel room if we don't want to one-hop it. No rental needed.

Amtrak was a bit over $700 and would take TWO DAMN DAYS to get there... as in leave on Monday, arrive on Wednesday. Two train changes would be required, as would a rental at our destination. I know the folks on the eastern seaboard can use the Auto Train, which would be neat, but that still takes 17 hours or so to get there.

I've just yet to see any way Amtrak beats driving unless you want to work as you travel, and even then flying is much faster.
 
2014-02-19 12:09:35 PM

noneyourbase: FlashHarry: I live in a New York City apartment with tinier-than-normal energy-efficient appliances, I bike or take public transportation most places, I compost, the bulk of our food comes from the local farmer's market, I live walking distance to work, I fly only rarely. However, when I needed to go to the Ragdale Artists Colony in Lake Forest, Ill. (an hour outside of Chicago) to finish my novel, I took a look at the University of California, Berkeley's carbon calculator to see how much the short-ish flight would set the planet back.

the pretentiousness... it burns!

Logged in just to post the same thing.  That has got to be the most pretentious sentence I've ever read.


There was a sentence in there with the phrase "Proustian soothe." That has to be close.

PleaseHamletDon'tHurtEm: Ridden the Amtrak to Chicago a few times. Wouldn't be so bad except it's late getting there to pick you up, and freight traffic is priority so you get to sit around wishing you'd driven. The rural scenery is nice but is sort of ruined by riding past many buildings whose backyards are choked with scrap and junk.

Nowadays since we got the service it's Megabus all the way. Faster, with wifi on board. No driving. Whee!


Amtrak has slow, once a day service to Indianapolis. I'd take it in a heartbeat if it were high speed or had more than one train a day. Other options are train to Champaign and transfer to bus or just another bus. I made the mistake of taking Greyhound once. Megabus has gotten my money every single time. It doesn't hurt that I can book a random time of day a month in advance for 1/3 the normal price either. I'd prefer a train but Megabus is plenty good enough for me.
 
2014-02-19 12:10:10 PM
This poor, selfless, put upon woman.  Saving us all for nothing more than a paltry paycheck and a byline in some pseudo journal.
 
2014-02-19 12:10:19 PM
The recurring problem that comes up is that Amtrack is obscenely expensive.  I mean, if it's so much cheaper than jet fuel and pilots, air maintenance, whatnot, where is the price coming from?
 
2014-02-19 12:12:28 PM

bdub77: Why not just buy a carbon offset? You can purchase 2.4 tons of carbon offset from carbonfund.org for about 25 bucks. Or spend the extra I dunno 12 hours you'd save off the plane planting trees somewhere.

Sure OK you're saving money but time is money. And being on a train for 19 hours sucks balls. And like the previous poster said I've never seen a round trip train ticket 1/3 the cost of airfare.


With all the pretentious bullshiat in this article...can the rest of us purchase smug offsets?!?!?

theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com
/thanks fartbongo
 
2014-02-19 12:13:35 PM
I took a trip last year via Amtrak from Kansas City to Chicago. My wife hates flying (due to discomfort, not fear of dying), and also tends to get a little stressed during longer road trips. I decided to take a train for a long weekend in Chicago and she loved it. I forked out about $100 more for these train tickets than it would have taken to fly and it took 8 hours vice 2, but i was able to get a cheap "roomette" (small room with chairs that can fold to beds) and chatted with her the entire way there. She loved it.

The people on the train were much more laid back than anything I had experienced at the airport. There was even a time that someone had left a larger piece of baggage just sitting next to a line of people and walked off, but they just made an announcement to come get their bag and did not freak out about a potential bomb. The meals are also pretty cool as, due to limited space, they sit you at tables with people that you generally wouldn't get a chance to talk with and hear some interesting stories. I could see how it could be awkward if you are nervous around strangers, though.

The downside of the trip was that I had planned on coming back by transferring through St. Louis and just riding coach that way, but since i had arrived at the station less than 5 minutes before the train left (3 minutes to spare according to the ticket because I had accidentally initially went to the subway station instead of the Amtrak station), they refused to let me board the train. When i pointed out that i still had 3 minutes to spare, they just cussed at me in what i got to know during my time there as the typical Chicago fashion and told me to get a ticket for the next train departing the next day, they were not going to let me in, and if i kept on protesting about it, they were going to call over security. I ended up just getting another roomette and a direct train to Kansas City that arrived at about midnight. The train ride itself was still relaxing and my wife enjoyed it.

Moral of the story: Amtrak has its advantages and disadvantages, but if they would just model and advertise themselves as a way to travel in relaxation and luxury, they would likely be able to attract more customers.
 
2014-02-19 12:14:02 PM

The My Little Pony Killer: Not having to go through security-molestation theater ALONE is worth the cost and time of taking Amtrak.


This.  Moreover, being packed into an airplane shoulder-to-shoulder is not travel - it's human transport.   Also, no one ever fell 40,000ft from a dining car.

Everything the writer saw as the downside to travel by rail is exactly what gives it its humanity - something utterly lacking in air travel.
 
2014-02-19 12:14:43 PM
I don't get it.  The fuel tank in a 737 can only have 20 tons of carbon in it, and that's in the long-range model.  You probably don't load (or burn) all 6800 gallons just to go 3000 miles.

Are they saying there was only 8 people on the plane, and a headwind?  How else do you get 2.4 tons of carbon per passenger?  Any bigger plane would have many more people on it or it wouldn't be flying.  Any smaller plane would burn less fuel.

It's impossible to emit 2.4 tons of carbon per passenger on a commercial transcontinental flight.
 
2014-02-19 12:15:50 PM
FTFA: But, as the sun set, I smugly pulled out a half-bottle of wine as well as the Swiss army knife needed to open it.

And before that you smugly worked on your novel on the train, smugly ate an apple, smugly boarded a train, and smugly announced to anyone that would listen that you're saving the planet by taking the train.

I'm all for doing things that save the environment but can we just list practicalities without waxing poetic about olden times?  Yes, the train is less damaging emissions-wise than planes and yes, taking them should be encouraged for that reason.

/I'm looking into a trip from SC to Boston in March by Amtrak.
//EVERBODY LOOK AT ME!!
///I'M GOING TO TAKE A TRAIN TO SAVE YOU ALL!!!
//also to have sex on a train.
 
2014-02-19 12:16:00 PM

nekom: Three Crooked Squirrels: I've got a nephew going to Kansas from New York on a train today, as it so happens. Ticket is $150 and takes something like 17 hours. He could get there in just a few hours by plane for $180. He says he is going by train because "his friends are going by train", but does not have a good reason for why they are traveling that way. I'm pretty sure I figured it out in about 12 seconds: no TSA means he can bring as much weed and whatever else he is using these days with him. Which, if that is the reason, seems like a much better reason than not liking the results dialed up on Berkley's carbon calculator.

There is one more pretty good reason:  It's a thing in itself.  You miss a lot at 35,000 feet.  Riding Amtrak is an experience.


That sounds really inexpensive for Amtrak. I've seen them regularly charge more than that for a non-acela ride from NY to Boston. That's one of the reasons I dislike them- such arbitrary pricing, and they always raise the price as departure time arrives, even if the train has plenty of unsold seats. Seems like a gouge to me and I dislike them for it. I only take the train here and there now. I'd do it a lot more often if they had consistent and reasonable pricing.
 
2014-02-19 12:16:35 PM

ikanreed: The recurring problem that comes up is that Amtrack is obscenely expensive.  I mean, if it's so much cheaper than jet fuel and pilots, air maintenance, whatnot, where is the price coming from?


Government subsidies of air travel, in the form of air traffic control, airports, etc.
 
2014-02-19 12:16:48 PM

Angela Lansbury's Merkin: Train to visit my parents: $500-600 and 20+ hours
Plane to visit my parents: $200-300 and 2 hours


BS. You spend more than 2 hours checking bags, going through security, checking in for boarding, and waiting for bags when you get off.
 
2014-02-19 12:16:52 PM
I wonder if Miss Pretentious would feel as smug after traveling all the way to the west coast by train, say San Francisco. After 19+ hours to Chicago she would have up to four hours to make her connection, or need a hotel in Chicago before another 52 hours to the Bay Area.

I love taking occasional trips on Amtrak. In the near future I have trips from LA to Seattle and Chicago to New Orleans planned. But cross country trips are way too long even for Miss Smug 2014.
 
2014-02-19 12:17:02 PM

Iszael: I don't get it.  The fuel tank in a 737 can only have 20 tons of carbon in it, and that's in the long-range model.  You probably don't load (or burn) all 6800 gallons just to go 3000 miles.

Are they saying there was only 8 people on the plane, and a headwind?  How else do you get 2.4 tons of carbon per passenger?  Any bigger plane would have many more people on it or it wouldn't be flying.  Any smaller plane would burn less fuel.

It's impossible to emit 2.4 tons of carbon per passenger on a commercial transcontinental flight.


Amortized cost of production and maintenance?
 
2014-02-19 12:17:36 PM

Mikey1969: It's a toss-up.... It is longer to travel by train, but it IS an experience... It's beautiful, you actually have the chance to meet people. you can move around, etc... TFA has a point about a lot of things. IN a plane, you have the choice to stare at the back of the seat in front of you, or the view on the way to the bathroom. You might be able to look out the window, too, but comparing a plane window to a train window is like comparing a dirty porthole to a holodeck, especially when you add in the observation car. As for meeting people, on a plane, you're condemned to whomever you are sitting next to, on the train, you have the chance of who ever happens to wander into the observation car, or might sit next to you, or into the dining car, or the bar car, etc...

The problem is time... I'm thinking about visiting my friends in Sacramento, but it's an 18 hour train trip, that means that 3 days is taken up by the trip itself. Then again, I get to ride up and over the San Francisco Peaks and past Lake Tahoe, so I can't complain too much. Also, when you factor in getting to the airport, parking, navigating the airport, going through security, getting there early, sitting through a layover, etc., the train isn't always all that much longer.

And it is a much calmer experience to me. Airports give me a panic attack.


Anything more than a 6 hour drive or train ride is going to be tilted in favor of flying in my experience as long as you're not either coming from or going to a place more than an hour away. That obviously shrinks if you have to rent the car for the duration of the vacation. I priced out a drive to Nashville in a rental car from Chicago vs a flight + cab to downtown. Flying won out. It was cheaper, and no one wants my girlfriend driving places she hasn't been to before (least of all me) and not at night. I can drive for 8 hours straight but why would I want to when I can fly there in 2 hours and we can actually enjoy a three day weekend versus driving overnight?
 
2014-02-19 12:18:55 PM

Iszael: I don't get it.  The fuel tank in a 737 can only have 20 tons of carbon in it, and that's in the long-range model.  You probably don't load (or burn) all 6800 gallons just to go 3000 miles.

Are they saying there was only 8 people on the plane, and a headwind?  How else do you get 2.4 tons of carbon per passenger?  Any bigger plane would have many more people on it or it wouldn't be flying.  Any smaller plane would burn less fuel.

It's impossible to emit 2.4 tons of carbon per passenger on a commercial transcontinental flight.


1 ton of jet fuel once combusted can create just over 3 tons of C02 (I want to say 3.17, but don't quote me) , when mixed with the O in the air.  It's not a closed system.
 
2014-02-19 12:19:08 PM
Seattle to Vancouver BC-
Pure bliss. Relaxing, roomy, quiet and a decent food area.
Good scenery.

This was my only ride on Amtrak.I'm afraid to burst the bubble and try again elsewhere.
Anyone ever do Colorado to San Fran?
 
2014-02-19 12:19:23 PM

derpy: ikanreed: The recurring problem that comes up is that Amtrack is obscenely expensive.  I mean, if it's so much cheaper than jet fuel and pilots, air maintenance, whatnot, where is the price coming from?

Government subsidies of air travel, in the form of air traffic control, airports, etc.


Wait, here's more on that thought:

Where government supports rail well and in an equivalent sort of way as its support of air and highways, Amtrak does awesome.  Look at the Philly-Harrisburg corridor and the convenient schedules and such.  That's because the state of PA pays for that.  Beyond Harrisburg, to Pittsburgh, there is one train a day, because Amtrak has to pull itself up by its bootstraps there.
 
2014-02-19 12:19:29 PM

Iszael: I don't get it.  The fuel tank in a 737 can only have 20 tons of carbon in it, and that's in the long-range model.  You probably don't load (or burn) all 6800 gallons just to go 3000 miles.

Are they saying there was only 8 people on the plane, and a headwind?  How else do you get 2.4 tons of carbon per passenger?  Any bigger plane would have many more people on it or it wouldn't be flying.  Any smaller plane would burn less fuel.

It's impossible to emit 2.4 tons of carbon per passenger on a commercial transcontinental flight.


It's probably 2.4 tons of CO2 - each 6 grams of carbon from the fuel results in 22 grams of CO2 exhaust.
 
2014-02-19 12:21:15 PM
I'm in Minneapolis, and if I'm going to Chicago, or the Pacific NW, it's Amtrak all the way.  Why?  Four words: "glass-roofed bar car."  Most trips I've taken have turned into moving parties.
 
2014-02-19 12:21:49 PM

jonnya: That sounds really inexpensive for Amtrak. I've seen them regularly charge more than that for a non-acela ride from NY to Boston. That's one of the reasons I dislike them- such arbitrary pricing, and they always raise the price as departure time arrives, even if the train has plenty of unsold seats. Seems like a gouge to me and I dislike them for it. I only take the train here and there now. I'd do it a lot more often if they had consistent and reasonable pricing.


All modes of transportation do that, because it encourages you to book early, which helps them plan things further in advance, which is cheaper for them.
 
2014-02-19 12:22:20 PM

udhq: I'm in Minneapolis, and if I'm going to Chicago, or the Pacific NW, it's Amtrak all the way.  Why?  Four words: "glass-roofed bar car."  Most trips I've taken have turned into moving parties.


also, this
 
2014-02-19 12:22:28 PM
I frequently take the train, especially in the northeast corridor when I'm up visiting family. It usually costs about the same as a flight would, but I *hate* the airport, and if you're going to/from NYC, just skipping the cab ride and the airport alone saves you 2 hours and 50 bucks. With a lot of airports, they take you to someplace kind of near the city... in Denver, DIA is like an hour out of town... when I'm going to a city... I want to go to that city, not to some stupid suburbs a while a way. Also, I just hate airports... the security is ridiculous, the lines are retardedly long, people do all kinds of stupid crap (I didn't think the laptop rule applied to *me*). Aside from all that, the train ride can be beautiful... if you ever get the chance to ride west from Denver to SLC... it is probably one of the prettiest train rides you'll ever take.
 
2014-02-19 12:22:42 PM

Enigmamf: Angela Lansbury's Merkin: Train to visit my parents: $500-600 and 20+ hours
Plane to visit my parents: $200-300 and 2 hours

BS. You spend more than 2 hours checking bags, going through security, checking in for boarding, and waiting for bags when you get off.


If you have a family or *have* to check a bag it might. If I'm alone or traveling with my GF for less than a five day vacation, usually get there about 90 minutes before takeoff and spend far more time waiting for the plane than other stuff.
 
2014-02-19 12:24:22 PM

Three Crooked Squirrels: I've got a nephew going to Kansas from New York on a train today, as it so happens. Ticket is $150 and takes something like 17 hours. He could get there in just a few hours by plane for $180. He says he is going by train because "his friends are going by train", but does not have a good reason for why they are traveling that way. I'm pretty sure I figured it out in about 12 seconds: no TSA means he can bring as much weed and whatever else he is using these days with him. Which, if that is the reason, seems like a much better reason than not liking the results dialed up on Berkley's carbon calculator.


Or, it could actually be because his friends are also going by train, and it gives him an excuse to hang out with them, relax, and shoot the shiat for a while.  Sometimes the journey is half the fun.
 
2014-02-19 12:25:14 PM
I like taking a train sometimes. You get to see more than you can from a plane. But you have to be willing to sometimes pay more than airfare and be in no hurry to get to your destination.
 
2014-02-19 12:25:35 PM
The laws of phisics would say that it would take the same expenditure of energy to get you from point A to point B no matter how you do it. The same amount of fuel would be used weather or not your on a plane or train.
 
2014-02-19 12:25:55 PM

redmid17: Anything more than a 6 hour drive or train ride is going to be tilted in favor of flying in my experience as long as you're not either coming from or going to a place more than an hour away. That obviously shrinks if you have to rent the car for the duration of the vacation. I priced out a drive to Nashville in a rental car from Chicago vs a flight + cab to downtown. Flying won out. It was cheaper, and no one wants my girlfriend driving places she hasn't been to before (least of all me) and not at night. I can drive for 8 hours straight but why would I want to when I can fly there in 2 hours and we can actually enjoy a three day weekend versus driving overnight?


Yeah, we have to drive for our Az trip every year because we can't afford to fly 5 people down and back, but I sure as hell don't want to burn half my trip with a drive if I can avoid it, at least the train provides a scenic trip everyone can enjoy, but I agree that you still lose a lot of your time travelling. Flying is quicker, but sure is a great way to miss large swatches of America.Nothing is truly a win-win, I guess...
 
2014-02-19 12:26:20 PM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: bdub77: Sure OK you're saving money but time is money. And being on a train for 19 hours sucks balls

I guess it depends on which route you're taking. Up the East Coast, it's easier and less harrowing than driving and the time is comparable to flying.

If you're crossing the Appalachians, though, it sucks balls. The only real advantage is for places like DC or NYC, it plops you down in the middle of the City with quick access to public transit. Of course, the scenery is nice, but it would be nice to see it at 55, 65 or 100 mph, instead of 25.


The scenery between DC and NYC is mostly hideous. I haven't seen that much poverty since Cairo.
 
2014-02-19 12:27:35 PM

FlashHarry: I live in a New York City apartment with tinier-than-normal energy-efficient appliances, I bike or take public transportation most places, I compost, the bulk of our food comes from the local farmer's market, I live walking distance to work, I fly only rarely. However, when I needed to go to the Ragdale Artists Colony in Lake Forest, Ill. (an hour outside of Chicago) to finish my novel, I took a look at the University of California, Berkeley's carbon calculator to see how much the short-ish flight would set the planet back.

the pretentiousness... it burns!


This. Holy CHRISTMAS is she impressed with herself!
 
2014-02-19 12:31:46 PM

trippdogg: Also, no one ever fell 40,000ft from a dining car.


http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/12/01/bronx-train-der ai lment/3795231/

And planes never get derailed.

Enigmamf: BS. You spend more than 2 hours checking bags, going through security, checking in for boarding, and waiting for bags when you get off.


I rarely check bags and pre-checkin online.  Security doesn't take that long.  I get there an hour before a flight and have yet to miss one. (maybe 15 minutes more if I have to check in, or longer if its a holiday or something).
 
2014-02-19 12:32:56 PM

Fish in a Barrel: I hate flying (actually, I hate airports)


THIS.

So much this. Everyone biatches about TSA, but that's not it, it's the locked-in aspect, the 'We can charge you anything we want' aspect, the worrying about any gesture I make being misinterpreted as "suspicious" aspect, the nothing to do aspect, etc... I get panic attacks in airports, and my wife didn't realize this until we got stuck on a 7 hour layover...
 
2014-02-19 12:33:10 PM

Enigmamf: Isz


Enigmamf: Iszael: I don't get it.  The fuel tank in a 737 can only have 20 tons of carbon in it, and that's in the long-range model.  You probably don't load (or burn) all 6800 gallons just to go 3000 miles.

Are they saying there was only 8 people on the plane, and a headwind?  How else do you get 2.4 tons of carbon per passenger?  Any bigger plane would have many more people on it or it wouldn't be flying.  Any smaller plane would burn less fuel.

It's impossible to emit 2.4 tons of carbon per passenger on a commercial transcontinental flight.

It's probably 2.4 tons of CO2 - each 6 grams of carbon from the fuel results in 22 grams of CO2 exhaust.


No, the math still doesn't work out.  Typical transcon flights are full, that's 110 to 140 people per 737, even 60 tons of CO2 divided by that many people is less than half a ton per person.

Also, did Amtrak get a whole hell of a lot faster than it used to run?  I didn't know they could average 160 MPH.  Kind of cool, I guess, but I'll take 500 MPH in a plane instead since the "carbon footprint" isn't anywhere near as bad as they say.
 
2014-02-19 12:35:36 PM
She must've been absolutely horrified to see all of the SUVs and V8s roaming around Lake Forest as they pedal stomped their way to pick up groceries.

/I want to take a nice, scenic train ride
//haven't taken one in a looooong time
///did a massive roadtrip out to Seattle for PAX Prime though :)
 
2014-02-19 12:37:41 PM

Mikey1969: redmid17: Anything more than a 6 hour drive or train ride is going to be tilted in favor of flying in my experience as long as you're not either coming from or going to a place more than an hour away. That obviously shrinks if you have to rent the car for the duration of the vacation. I priced out a drive to Nashville in a rental car from Chicago vs a flight + cab to downtown. Flying won out. It was cheaper, and no one wants my girlfriend driving places she hasn't been to before (least of all me) and not at night. I can drive for 8 hours straight but why would I want to when I can fly there in 2 hours and we can actually enjoy a three day weekend versus driving overnight?

Yeah, we have to drive for our Az trip every year because we can't afford to fly 5 people down and back, but I sure as hell don't want to burn half my trip with a drive if I can avoid it, at least the train provides a scenic trip everyone can enjoy, but I agree that you still lose a lot of your time travelling. Flying is quicker, but sure is a great way to miss large swatches of America.Nothing is truly a win-win, I guess...


Haha high-speed rail would be close, and obviously if you're taking 5 people, those plane tickets rack up quickly.  Train would be OK by me in that case if you can get the tickets cheaper. I'd be glad to take a train if I had a decent schedule. I've taken the train to Milwaukee a few times for work. It was easy and I even worked/dozed off as appropriate, but I doubt I'd have done that if my client weren't downtown. MY GF and I drove down to Indy a few weeks before Christmas to see my parents, go to an IU game (at conseco), and just show her around. Amtrak would have been perfect. We were staying downtown a few blocks from the station and it's only about 3:30 hours, but the schedule was horrible and we rented a car. Lucky that we did though. We drove down to Bloomington one day to see my grandpa and show her around the ole alma mater.
 
2014-02-19 12:41:15 PM
Why do you need to go somewhere to write?
 
2014-02-19 12:42:29 PM

Fish in a Barrel: I hate flying (actually, I hate airports), so I'd really like to travel by train.  Every time I've investigated it, though, Amtrak would have cost a fortune, taken days, and involved long lay-overs.  It's just not a feasible option.


That's me too. I generally enjoy the thrill of riding in a plane (my inner 3 year old is kicking your seat!), but I detest airports.
 
2014-02-19 12:43:07 PM

jrkeenan65: The laws of phisics would say that it would take the same expenditure of energy to get you from point A to point B no matter how you do it. The same amount of fuel would be used weather or not your on a plane or train.


In a frictionless vacuum, maybe(and even then, only if you were transporting identical mass).
 
2014-02-19 12:44:12 PM

Iszael: Enigmamf: Isz

Enigmamf: Iszael: I don't get it.  The fuel tank in a 737 can only have 20 tons of carbon in it, and that's in the long-range model.  You probably don't load (or burn) all 6800 gallons just to go 3000 miles.

Are they saying there was only 8 people on the plane, and a headwind?  How else do you get 2.4 tons of carbon per passenger?  Any bigger plane would have many more people on it or it wouldn't be flying.  Any smaller plane would burn less fuel.

It's impossible to emit 2.4 tons of carbon per passenger on a commercial transcontinental flight.

It's probably 2.4 tons of CO2 - each 6 grams of carbon from the fuel results in 22 grams of CO2 exhaust.

No, the math still doesn't work out.  Typical transcon flights are full, that's 110 to 140 people per 737, even 60 tons of CO2 divided by that many people is less than half a ton per person.

Also, did Amtrak get a whole hell of a lot faster than it used to run?  I didn't know they could average 160 MPH.  Kind of cool, I guess, but I'll take 500 MPH in a plane instead since the "carbon footprint" isn't anywhere near as bad as they say.


I don't think it's per person. I think the 2.4 tons is just for the flight itself. The author doesn't say anything to indicate that she's referring to a per person figure. Although, I tried plugging a single 733 mile flight into the carbon calculator the author linked to and it said 0.3 tons, so something fishy is going on.
 
2014-02-19 12:49:02 PM

redmid17: Train would be OK by me in that case if you can get the tickets cheaper. I'd be glad to take a train if I had a decent schedule.


Then there is another issue... Sadly, trains only go where the tracks are... In this part of the country, it's east-west, I can't go form Salt lake to Phoenix, or I would in a heartbeat. Hell, Amtrak won't even let me fark around and plan one where I go through somewhere like Sacramento first, I have to make it 2 separate trips, which increases the cost. It's a self-perpetuating loop, trains cost money, nobody wants to put money into rail systems unless they see a profit, they can't make a profit if they don't have an infrastructure, etc....
 
2014-02-19 12:51:14 PM

ikanreed: jrkeenan65: The laws of phisics would say that it would take the same expenditure of energy to get you from point A to point B no matter how you do it. The same amount of fuel would be used weather or not your on a plane or train.

In a frictionless vacuum, maybe(and even then, only if you were transporting identical mass).


Even if we ignore friction, it also depends upon how you accelerate.  1N of force for 10 seconds to start, then the same to stop is less energy than 100N for 20 seconds to start/stop.  The second case will get you there faster, though.
 
2014-02-19 12:51:17 PM

SigmaAlgebra: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: nekom: Three Crooked Squirrels: I've got a nephew going to Kansas from New York on a train today, as it so happens. Ticket is $150 and takes something like 17 hours. He could get there in just a few hours by plane for $180. He says he is going by train because "his friends are going by train", but does not have a good reason for why they are traveling that way. I'm pretty sure I figured it out in about 12 seconds: no TSA means he can bring as much weed and whatever else he is using these days with him. Which, if that is the reason, seems like a much better reason than not liking the results dialed up on Berkley's carbon calculator.

There is one more pretty good reason:  It's a thing in itself.  You miss a lot at 35,000 feet.  Riding Amtrak is an experience.

Also, it's a biatch to get into Manhattan from the airports or (Lord help you!) by car. Amtrak lets you off in Penn Station.

So spend 14 more hours on a train to save an hour at the end of the trip by not having to take public transit from Newark or LaGuardia. That makes sense.


Yeah, but I also don't have to be probed by TSA, crammed next to a crying baby, strapped into a seat, etc. etc.

The tradeoff here is usually between the train and driving: whether I want to do 10 hours on the train and rest or 6 hours in the car and actively drive. The flight to NYC from PIT is like an hour (and leave more frequently), so if I have to get to NYC in a hurry I'm obviously going to fly. If I can take my time, I'm going to take the train or drive.
 
2014-02-19 12:51:55 PM

Enigmamf: jonnya: That sounds really inexpensive for Amtrak. I've seen them regularly charge more than that for a non-acela ride from NY to Boston. That's one of the reasons I dislike them- such arbitrary pricing, and they always raise the price as departure time arrives, even if the train has plenty of unsold seats. Seems like a gouge to me and I dislike them for it. I only take the train here and there now. I'd do it a lot more often if they had consistent and reasonable pricing.

All modes of transportation do that, because it encourages you to book early, which helps them plan things further in advance, which is cheaper for them.


I know airlines do that, but flying is a much bigger deal as far as prep, TSA bullshiat, and airline compliancy. But Amtraks are trains that are en route anyway with a fair amount of empty seats. How much more prep time do they need to punch my ticket at the gate and tell me to enjoy my ride? Wouldn't they make more profit if they sold those empty seats as opposed to pricing ridership out? I guess not, but as a casual rider I resent the policy. I won't even get into my own personal experience where I had a pre-paid ticket, but I missed Train A and they wanted to charge me nearly double for train B, which was just a few hours later. They treated it like I was walking up to the ticket booth with no prior ticket/reservation.

I'd like it to be more like a bus, subway, or commuter rail in that regard. They have fixed fares/rates. Doubling pricing at departure time would be unacceptable.
 
2014-02-19 12:57:19 PM

Enigmamf: Angela Lansbury's Merkin: Train to visit my parents: $500-600 and 20+ hours
Plane to visit my parents: $200-300 and 2 hours

BS. You spend more than 2 hours checking bags, going through security, checking in for boarding, and waiting for bags when you get off.


Fine, let's add a whopping 3 more hours for the trip (Although I rarely get to the airport more than 1 hour before my flight, and rarely check bags).  We are now looking at 5 hours vs 20+ hours on the train, and at 1/2 to 1/3 the cost.
 
2014-02-19 12:57:50 PM
Several years back, my now-ex-wife tried taking Amtrak from Orlando to New Orleans and back. On the way there, the trip took about four or five hours longer than it would have to drive (you can drive it in about 10 hours).

On the way back, the train got so far behind schedule that they actually forced everyone off the train before they got to Orlando and put them on buses because the train had to start going back the other way.

So, thank you, but no. I'll drive. And if I don't want to drive, I'll fly.
 
2014-02-19 01:00:43 PM

mike_d85: FTFA: But, as the sun set, I smugly pulled out a half-bottle of wine as well as the Swiss army knife needed to open it.

And before that you smugly worked on your novel on the train, smugly ate an apple, smugly boarded a train, and smugly announced to anyone that would listen that you're saving the planet by taking the train.

I'm all for doing things that save the environment but can we just list practicalities without waxing poetic about olden times?  Yes, the train is less damaging emissions-wise than planes and yes, taking them should be encouraged for that reason.

/I'm looking into a trip from SC to Boston in March by Amtrak.
//EVERBODY LOOK AT ME!!
///I'M GOING TO TAKE A TRAIN TO SAVE YOU ALL!!!
//also to have sex on a train.


Yeah, I checked the prices.  It's a toss up.  $100 more and the trip takes A night and a day (11PM to 7PM) or $100 less and the trip takes a full day (8AM to 4PM).
 
2014-02-19 01:02:31 PM

Fish in a Barrel: ikanreed: jrkeenan65: The laws of phisics would say that it would take the same expenditure of energy to get you from point A to point B no matter how you do it. The same amount of fuel would be used weather or not your on a plane or train.

In a frictionless vacuum, maybe(and even then, only if you were transporting identical mass).

Even if we ignore friction, it also depends upon how you accelerate.  1N of force for 10 seconds to start, then the same to stop is less energy than 100N for 20 seconds to start/stop.  The second case will get you there faster, though.


Er, I suppose, yeah.  I forgot that piece.  I was treating it like an orbital problem, which is, of course, silly.  So basically, "the laws of physics" say nothing of the sort.
 
2014-02-19 01:03:50 PM
When I'm in Europe I take the train everywhere. It's awesomesauce in every way, absolutely fantastic.

When I'm in the US it's drive or fly. Trains rarely make any sense.
 
2014-02-19 01:04:38 PM

Headso: I want to like Amtrak but man those seats are uncomfortable, the train I was on had those seats that end at your shoulder so there's no headrest.


Compared to the matchboxes that airline bean counters call seats these days, an Amtrak seat is downright luxurious.
 
2014-02-19 01:06:25 PM

Lee Jackson Beauregard: Headso: I want to like Amtrak but man those seats are uncomfortable, the train I was on had those seats that end at your shoulder so there's no headrest.

Compared to the matchboxes that airline bean counters call seats these days, an Amtrak seat is downright luxurious.


Tell me about it.  I'm a fairly big dude, but not morbidly obese, and coach plane seats are hell on me; my knees go right up against the seat in front of me, and I really have to squeeze into the seat.  Amtrak, on the other hand, is nice and comfy.
 
2014-02-19 01:09:22 PM

Jument: When I'm in Europe I take the train everywhere. It's awesomesauce in every way, absolutely fantastic.

When I'm in the US it's drive or fly. Trains rarely make any sense.


Trains in Europe are not particularly awesome either, and are generally not any cheaper than flying.
 
2014-02-19 01:12:03 PM

derpy: udhq: I'm in Minneapolis, and if I'm going to Chicago, or the Pacific NW, it's Amtrak all the way.  Why?  Four words: "glass-roofed bar car."  Most trips I've taken have turned into moving parties.

also, this


Totally.  When I told my grandparents that I took the metra every day they lit up and told me how much they enjoyed it when commuting to the city every. They said they would hang out in the smoking car and play euchre to and from work with essentially the same group of people every day.  I don't get to enjoy it, but I imagine that random socialization is alive and well on amtrak trips.
 
2014-02-19 01:14:03 PM
I did a double-take: the single NYC-Chicago leg alone would add 2.4 tons of carbon to the atmosphere

I believe the plane still flew and 2.5 tons of carbon was added to the atmosphere (someone flushed the toilet in First Class).
 
2014-02-19 01:15:20 PM
I'm traveling from Philly to Pittsburgh in a couple of weeks to begin a long business trip.
Cheapest airfare, $158 - through Dulles taking about 6 hours including showing up early for check in.
Cheapest Amtrak, $55 Direct. 7 hours. No baggage fee, practically no baggage limit, no security, more legroom, more comfortable seats, free internet, and I can get up and walk around without having to squeeze past people in the aisle.

I find this to be the case quite a lot.

No contest.
 
2014-02-19 01:19:47 PM

andersoncouncil42: I'm traveling from Philly to Pittsburgh in a couple of weeks to begin a long business trip.
Cheapest airfare, $158 - through Dulles taking about 6 hours including showing up early for check in.
Cheapest Amtrak, $55 Direct. 7 hours. No baggage fee, practically no baggage limit, no security, more legroom, more comfortable seats, free internet, and I can get up and walk around without having to squeeze past people in the aisle.

I find this to be the case quite a lot.

No contest.


Flying from Philly to Pittsburgh is just a bad idea anyway. It's what a 4-4.5 hour drive?
 
2014-02-19 01:22:21 PM

ikanreed: jrkeenan65: The laws of phisics physics would say that it would take the same expenditure of energy to get you from point A to point B no matter how you do it. The same amount of fuel would be used weather or not your on a plane or train.

In a frictionless vacuum, maybe(and even then, only if you were transporting identical mass).


The train would probably weigh more, but don't forget to calculate in how much fuel is burned in a plane just to provide lift and also to accelerate to cruising speed. The train doesn't have to account so much for gravity, but the friction produced by all the moving mechanical parts needs to be overcome, including the wheels against the rails.

/The CO2 figures are very questionable, for both the train and the plane.
 
2014-02-19 01:23:54 PM
Last year I priced out a round trip from San Jose to San Antonio.  Amtrak would have been more expensive, particularly if I wanted a place to sleep that wasn't a coach seat, but might have been worth the convenience of having an actual room to myself.

The deal-breaker was that the "Texas Eagle" trains that serve San Antonio (endpoints are Los Angeles and Chicago) only run three days a week, and they all arrive in San Antonio at about 3am.

jonnya: Enigmamf: jonnya: That sounds really inexpensive for Amtrak. I've seen them regularly charge more than that for a non-acela ride from NY to Boston. That's one of the reasons I dislike them- such arbitrary pricing, and they always raise the price as departure time arrives, even if the train has plenty of unsold seats. Seems like a gouge to me and I dislike them for it. I only take the train here and there now. I'd do it a lot more often if they had consistent and reasonable pricing.

All modes of transportation do that, because it encourages you to book early, which helps them plan things further in advance, which is cheaper for them.

I know airlines do that, but flying is a much bigger deal as far as prep, TSA bullshiat, and airline compliancy. But Amtraks are trains that are en route anyway with a fair amount of empty seats. How much more prep time do they need to punch my ticket at the gate and tell me to enjoy my ride? Wouldn't they make more profit if they sold those empty seats as opposed to pricing ridership out? I guess not, but as a casual rider I resent the policy. I won't even get into my own personal experience where I had a pre-paid ticket, but I missed Train A and they wanted to charge me nearly double for train B, which was just a few hours later. They treated it like I was walking up to the ticket booth with no prior ticket/reservation.

I'd like it to be more like a bus, subway, or commuter rail in that regard. They have fixed fares/rates. Doubling pricing at departure time would be unacceptable.


Another solution there would be for Amtrak to offer last-minute deals, just like airlines and hotels do.  If there are any unbooked seats or rooms, and there are only a few days before departure, offer a steep discount so that the seat or room isn't a total loss for that trip.
 
2014-02-19 01:24:07 PM

lilplatinum: Jument: When I'm in Europe I take the train everywhere. It's awesomesauce in every way, absolutely fantastic.

When I'm in the US it's drive or fly. Trains rarely make any sense.

Trains in Europe are not particularly awesome either, and are generally not any cheaper than flying.


Depends on the circumstances. The high speed trains were much nicer than the slower ones. IIRC you lived in Germany. The ICE trains were night and day compared to the IC trains, which I would equate to the local METRA stuff here in Chicago. I traveled a bunch in Germany, so I plumped for a DB 50 card. It pretty much paid for itself on one trip to Munich. Most travel I did was via Easyjet or Ryanair. I went to a few places in France on the train, but it was because they were close enough I'd still have been in the air by the time I'd have arrived by train.

I'd not want to travel around by train in Europe if I didn't have to.
 
2014-02-19 01:29:22 PM

redmid17: The ICE trains were night and day compared to the IC trains, which I would equate to the local METRA stuff here in Chicago. I traveled a bunch in Germany, so I plumped for a DB 50 card. It pretty much paid for itself on one trip to Munich. Most travel I did was via Easyjet or Ryanair. I went to a few places in France on the train, but it was because they were close enough I'd still have been in the air by the time I'd have arrived by train.


Yeah, Hamburg to Berlin was fine on the ICE because it was quick as shiat and you could just get bombed in the bar car.  Hamburg to Munich is 9-10 hours on the ICE and was pricier than a shiatty germanwings flight.

Similiarly, train to Amsterdam was 6 hours and not much cheaper than a sleazyjet or pikeyair ticket.

Easyjet and Ryanair suck, but you aren't going to have to be on them long enough for it to matter.
 
2014-02-19 01:32:07 PM
I used to be a regular on the lake shore limited between Syracuse and Cleveland back in my college days... needless to say, as soon as I was able to have a car at school, I just drove the 6 or so hours back and forth.  It seemed like the train was delayed an hour or more on 75% or more of my trips.  Often times 3 to 4 hours late either arriving to pick me up or arriving at my destination.  I think the worst was about 9 hours.  Just had to take the lake shore again from Chicago to Syracuse during one of the snowstorms after my flight was cancelled.  It was actually a really pleasant experience until we hit a malfunctioning switch signal with about 1.5 hours to Syracuse.  Spent 2 hours slowly chugging at 25 MPH next to the thruway while people sped by at 75 MPH, aggravating to say the least.  Ended up arriving 2.5 hours behind schedule.

I'm all for rail, but holy shiat, you've got to be able to predict with reasonable accuracy/confidence when you're going to arrive.  I understand freight has the right of way, but have no idea how we can fund high speed rail/dedicated passenger lines.  Amtrack isn't winning any customers or getting a high speed rail movement started by getting people to their destinations several hours behind schedule.  Re-branding themselves to be more about the experience might work, but I don't really know that many people that would want to burn vacation days sitting on a train... to each their own I guess.
 
2014-02-19 01:40:54 PM

redmid17: andersoncouncil42: I'm traveling from Philly to Pittsburgh in a couple of weeks to begin a long business trip.
Cheapest airfare, $158 - through Dulles taking about 6 hours including showing up early for check in.
Cheapest Amtrak, $55 Direct. 7 hours. No baggage fee, practically no baggage limit, no security, more legroom, more comfortable seats, free internet, and I can get up and walk around without having to squeeze past people in the aisle.

I find this to be the case quite a lot.

No contest.

Flying from Philly to Pittsburgh is just a bad idea anyway. It's what a 4-4.5 hour drive?


My transport is taken care of on the trip for the next few weeks. I can't leave my car in Pittsburgh.
 
2014-02-19 01:41:59 PM

redmid17: lilplatinum: Jument: When I'm in Europe I take the train everywhere. It's awesomesauce in every way, absolutely fantastic.

When I'm in the US it's drive or fly. Trains rarely make any sense.

Trains in Europe are not particularly awesome either, and are generally not any cheaper than flying.

Depends on the circumstances. The high speed trains were much nicer than the slower ones. IIRC you lived in Germany. The ICE trains were night and day compared to the IC trains, which I would equate to the local METRA stuff here in Chicago. I traveled a bunch in Germany, so I plumped for a DB 50 card. It pretty much paid for itself on one trip to Munich. Most travel I did was via Easyjet or Ryanair. I went to a few places in France on the train, but it was because they were close enough I'd still have been in the air by the time I'd have arrived by train.

I'd not want to travel around by train in Europe if I didn't have to.


Seriously, I don't know what you guys are talking about. Perhaps as a tourist it makes more sense to travel by train. I've done extensive train travel on 4-5 Europe trips and it has been amazing. Walk up to the train station, get on the next train. No muss, no fuss. Many routes are fast, trains are usually quite spacious, etc. Even if flying is the same price, how do you plan to get to the airport, what about the extra time for security, etc? And why bother when the train station is probably in the center of town and your hotel is walkable from it?

I will grant you that flying probably makes sense for long distance travel, but since Europe isn't all that big most trips are short hope.

FWIW I'm talking about western Europe. That's where all of my trips have been. Mostly UK, France, Italy, some travel in Germany, Netherlands, etc.
 
2014-02-19 01:49:05 PM
The cost difference between rail and air really depends on your proximity to a decent sized airport. For example, I live in Connecticut, so a trip to, say, Boston by air would have to include the costs and time of travel to LGA (by limo, which is the only reasonable way), plus the trip from Logan to downtown Boston.
Yes, I could travel via HPN, but this usually increases the cost of the air fare.
 
2014-02-19 01:52:57 PM

ikanreed: I was treating it like an orbital problem, which is, of course, silly.  So basically, "the laws of physics" say nothing of the sort.


Trying to get a train into orbit is going to involve all kinds of issues that make a 737's carbon footprint look like a fart in a hurricane. :)
 
2014-02-19 01:54:18 PM

Jument: redmid17: lilplatinum: Jument: When I'm in Europe I take the train everywhere. It's awesomesauce in every way, absolutely fantastic.

When I'm in the US it's drive or fly. Trains rarely make any sense.

Trains in Europe are not particularly awesome either, and are generally not any cheaper than flying.

Depends on the circumstances. The high speed trains were much nicer than the slower ones. IIRC you lived in Germany. The ICE trains were night and day compared to the IC trains, which I would equate to the local METRA stuff here in Chicago. I traveled a bunch in Germany, so I plumped for a DB 50 card. It pretty much paid for itself on one trip to Munich. Most travel I did was via Easyjet or Ryanair. I went to a few places in France on the train, but it was because they were close enough I'd still have been in the air by the time I'd have arrived by train.

I'd not want to travel around by train in Europe if I didn't have to.

Seriously, I don't know what you guys are talking about. Perhaps as a tourist it makes more sense to travel by train. I've done extensive train travel on 4-5 Europe trips and it has been amazing. Walk up to the train station, get on the next train. No muss, no fuss. Many routes are fast, trains are usually quite spacious, etc. Even if flying is the same price, how do you plan to get to the airport, what about the extra time for security, etc? And why bother when the train station is probably in the center of town and your hotel is walkable from it?

I will grant you that flying probably makes sense for long distance travel, but since Europe isn't all that big most trips are short hope.

FWIW I'm talking about western Europe. That's where all of my trips have been. Mostly UK, France, Italy, some travel in Germany, Netherlands, etc.


I lived in Germany twice. The trains aren't bad but they are still slow as fark unless you plump for high speed, and those are just as expensive as a plane flight, usually more. Train is fine for short trips or trips where the airport is an hour away. I flew to Prague, Milan, Dublin (obviously), Budapest, and a few other places. The train would have taken a very long time to get there. Shorter trips to Lyon, Munich, Epernay, Basel, Zurich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt were all done by train. Most of those trips weren't much different than my drive from Chicago to Indy for the holidays. The other ones were more equivalent to going to the East coast from Chicago.

If you're a tourist not traveling from a fixed location, the trains make a lot of sense. You hop on in Berlin travel to Munich then Vienna then Budapest and on. If you're taking the train directly from Berlin to, say, Paris, you're doing it wrong. It takes over 8 hours and costs ~200 Euro for one way. To do the same thing from minor Berlin airport (even with checked bags), it probably going to cost half the price and take half the time.
 
2014-02-19 01:57:27 PM
I looked into Amtrak for a trip to San Diego. About the same cost as flying and 41 hours including transfers. That's 26 mph!
 
2014-02-19 01:58:27 PM
Angry Drunk Bureaucrat:

They frown on drinking at your seat too. Now on the other hand, if you have a berth, feel free to get hammered.

I've been able to drink at my seat on all my recent trips in NY State and on the NorthEast Corridor.  As recently as a month ago.  Purchase at the cafe car and carry back.  Where did you get this information?
 
2014-02-19 02:02:18 PM

redmid17: andersoncouncil42: I'm traveling from Philly to Pittsburgh in a couple of weeks to begin a long business trip.
Cheapest airfare, $158 - through Dulles taking about 6 hours including showing up early for check in.
Cheapest Amtrak, $55 Direct. 7 hours. No baggage fee, practically no baggage limit, no security, more legroom, more comfortable seats, free internet, and I can get up and walk around without having to squeeze past people in the aisle.

I find this to be the case quite a lot.

No contest.

Flying from Philly to Pittsburgh is just a bad idea anyway. It's what a 4-4.5 hour drive?


11hr drive..
 
2014-02-19 02:02:30 PM
The problem with Amtrak is that it uses essentially the same infrastructure that it did in 1890.  It still takes days to get cross-country for a wide variety of legacy reasons. It only makes $$$ sense if you're doing short hops between DC and Boston.

And don't believe any of the Acela hype.  As fast as they say the train goes, it only goes about 20 miles an hour faster than the regular train and only for a fraction of the trip.  You save like an hour if there are no interruptions, but they charge you a premium.  Save that for when your company is picking up the tab.

I'd love to see a properly engineered system that made flights between say Chicago and New York redundant.  Or like Atlanta and DC.  If DOT could do that, that would be money well-spent.  Instead the money is spent on maintaining jobs at small stations in the middle of the prairie and failing routes that are mostly tourist curiosities.
 
2014-02-19 02:03:04 PM

Mikey1969: redmid17: Train would be OK by me in that case if you can get the tickets cheaper. I'd be glad to take a train if I had a decent schedule.

Then there is another issue... Sadly, trains only go where the tracks are... In this part of the country, it's east-west, I can't go form Salt lake to Phoenix, or I would in a heartbeat. Hell, Amtrak won't even let me fark around and plan one where I go through somewhere like Sacramento first, I have to make it 2 separate trips, which increases the cost. It's a self-perpetuating loop, trains cost money, nobody wants to put money into rail systems unless they see a profit, they can't make a profit if they don't have an infrastructure, etc....


The basic problem is that airplanes have a MUCH higher startup cost (because you have to build the multi-billion dollar airport.), while trains have a much higher per-MILE cost because you have to build tracks everywhere.

So if you're in Europe, and you have that nice central population corridor only a few hundred miles across with towns every couple of day's ride on horseback, yes, go nuts with trains.

cache.eupedia.com

Whereas if you have the entire Mountain West time zone with less people in the entire time zone than NYC, AND the stupid thing is covered in mountains (and all your major cities are a couple hours drive apart at minimum once you leave the East Coast, and they're much more spread out cities to boot, which makes city center to city center mass transit less useful*), which are apparently their own special class of pain...  That's not to say that rail in America is useless, just that outside of few corridors, it makes a lot LESS sense than it would in say Europe.

www.mapofusa.net

i.imgur.com


*Seriously, did a cross-country drive from Detroit to SF via OKC.  When the biggest city you pass through on the third day is Flagstaff, your country is empty.
 
2014-02-19 02:06:18 PM

styckx: redmid17: andersoncouncil42: I'm traveling from Philly to Pittsburgh in a couple of weeks to begin a long business trip.
Cheapest airfare, $158 - through Dulles taking about 6 hours including showing up early for check in.
Cheapest Amtrak, $55 Direct. 7 hours. No baggage fee, practically no baggage limit, no security, more legroom, more comfortable seats, free internet, and I can get up and walk around without having to squeeze past people in the aisle.

I find this to be the case quite a lot.

No contest.

Flying from Philly to Pittsburgh is just a bad idea anyway. It's what a 4-4.5 hour drive?

11hr drive..


Are you driving to DC and then going to Pittsburgh? It's taken me just over 5 hours to drive across the state on my last two round trips, and I was going within 5 miles of the speed limit. PA state troopers do not fark around.
 
2014-02-19 02:12:20 PM

FlashHarry: I live in a New York City apartment

the pretentiousness... it burns!


What's pretentious about living in a NYC apartment?

I live in a NYC apartment.  It has tiny appliances because it is a tiny apartment.  I normally bike to work, but since I broke my knee back in july, I've been taking public transportation until I'm fully healed.  Have't owned a car since the mid 1990's, and my drivers' license expired in 1998.  I work for an international environmental organization, and in my free time, I do volunteer work with local environmental groups.  But when it comes to traveling, I take the plane since it saves me time and money.  And after doing a trip from NYC to Durham by bus once, I vowed to never travel by bus in the US ever again!  Except for short trips.  Then the bus is fine.
 
2014-02-19 02:14:30 PM
redmid17:
Are you driving to DC and then going to Pittsburgh? It's taken me just over 5 hours to drive across the state on my last two round trips, and I was going within 5 miles of the speed limit. PA state troopers do not fark around.

No they do not, especially on the turnpike.  Having a CB radio helps more than you might think.  Even a handheld or a radio scanner that can pick up ch19 (27.185MHz) is enough to listen in.
 
2014-02-19 02:15:52 PM

meyerkev: Whereas if you have the entire Mountain West time zone with less people in the entire time zone than NYC, AND the stupid thing is covered in mountains (and all your major cities are a couple hours drive apart at minimum once you leave the East Coast, and they're much more spread out cities to boot, which makes city center to city center mass transit less useful*), which are apparently their own special class of pain... That's not to say that rail in America is useless, just that outside of few corridors, it makes a lot LESS sense than it would in say Europe.


This.  A friend visited from Cambridge.  We drove the Pacific Coast Highway for most of the length of California, and it wasn't until the second day - when we got to SF - that it really hit him how large the US is.  California is almost exactly the same size (physically) as the UK.  He was thinking that LA-SF was like London to Oxford, when it's more like London to Glasgow.
 
2014-02-19 02:16:22 PM
Yeah, I made it as far as "to finish my novel" before I rage-closed that article.
 
2014-02-19 02:22:45 PM

meyerkev: So if you're in Europe, and you have that nice central population corridor only a few hundred miles across with towns every couple of day's ride on horseback, yes, go nuts with trains.

That's not to say that rail in America is useless, just that outside of few corridors, it makes a lot LESS sense than it would in say Europe.


Thank you. I've been saying similar things for years, every time I hear somebody lament (yet again) that we don't have the highly-developed passenger rail infrastructure that you find in Europe or Japan. Many people don't seem to realize that France (the largest country in Europe by area) is smaller than Texas. Germany is smaller than California or Montana.

Relatively small areas, with relatively high population densities, are very conducive to effective rail transit. This is why rail is actually somewhat effective in the Northeast Corridor. It is also why subways work in cities.

Vast swaths of empty land, on the other hand, are NOT conducive to rail when there are other options.
 
2014-02-19 02:24:13 PM
Amtrak like a Prius?  That means that either Toyota is taking over Amtrak, or a Prius has achieved
an on-time record of .000 - either way, it's bugler blow taps.
 
2014-02-19 02:24:54 PM

meyerkev: Mikey1969: redmid17: Train would be OK by me in that case if you can get the tickets cheaper. I'd be glad to take a train if I had a decent schedule.

Then there is another issue... Sadly, trains only go where the tracks are... In this part of the country, it's east-west, I can't go form Salt lake to Phoenix, or I would in a heartbeat. Hell, Amtrak won't even let me fark around and plan one where I go through somewhere like Sacramento first, I have to make it 2 separate trips, which increases the cost. It's a self-perpetuating loop, trains cost money, nobody wants to put money into rail systems unless they see a profit, they can't make a profit if they don't have an infrastructure, etc....

The basic problem is that airplanes have a MUCH higher startup cost (because you have to build the multi-billion dollar airport.), while trains have a much higher per-MILE cost because you have to build tracks everywhere.

So if you're in Europe, and you have that nice central population corridor only a few hundred miles across with towns every couple of day's ride on horseback, yes, go nuts with trains.

[cache.eupedia.com image 643x643]

Whereas if you have the entire Mountain West time zone with less people in the entire time zone than NYC, AND the stupid thing is covered in mountains (and all your major cities are a couple hours drive apart at minimum once you leave the East Coast, and they're much more spread out cities to boot, which makes city center to city center mass transit less useful*), which are apparently their own special class of pain...  That's not to say that rail in America is useless, just that outside of few corridors, it makes a lot LESS sense than it would in say Europe.

[www.mapofusa.net image 608x346]

[i.imgur.com image 850x619]


*Seriously, did a cross-country drive from Detroit to SF via OKC.  When the biggest city you pass through on the third day is Flagstaff, your country is empty.


Yeah, I know... It's funny... To us, a 6 hour trip is nothing. Everyone I talk to from anywhere in the Midwest or the East, and they freak out over something like a 6 hour drive. I think it's because to them, 6 hours is like 3 or 4 states, and out here, 6 hours gets me just barely to the border of the state. I like it, but there's a reason that I carry my gun when travelling that I also don't think some people understand, when you're out there, you're REALLY out there. I once did the drive on Route 50 through Nevada without even realizing how desolate the area was until later. When you can stop to take a leak and you don't even have to pull the car over, you're definitely in the back-of-beyond.
 
2014-02-19 02:26:29 PM

Mikey1969: meyerkev: Mikey1969: redmid17: Train would be OK by me in that case if you can get the tickets cheaper. I'd be glad to take a train if I had a decent schedule.

Then there is another issue... Sadly, trains only go where the tracks are... In this part of the country, it's east-west, I can't go form Salt lake to Phoenix, or I would in a heartbeat. Hell, Amtrak won't even let me fark around and plan one where I go through somewhere like Sacramento first, I have to make it 2 separate trips, which increases the cost. It's a self-perpetuating loop, trains cost money, nobody wants to put money into rail systems unless they see a profit, they can't make a profit if they don't have an infrastructure, etc....

The basic problem is that airplanes have a MUCH higher startup cost (because you have to build the multi-billion dollar airport.), while trains have a much higher per-MILE cost because you have to build tracks everywhere.

So if you're in Europe, and you have that nice central population corridor only a few hundred miles across with towns every couple of day's ride on horseback, yes, go nuts with trains.

[cache.eupedia.com image 643x643]

Whereas if you have the entire Mountain West time zone with less people in the entire time zone than NYC, AND the stupid thing is covered in mountains (and all your major cities are a couple hours drive apart at minimum once you leave the East Coast, and they're much more spread out cities to boot, which makes city center to city center mass transit less useful*), which are apparently their own special class of pain...  That's not to say that rail in America is useless, just that outside of few corridors, it makes a lot LESS sense than it would in say Europe.

[www.mapofusa.net image 608x346]

[i.imgur.com image 850x619]


*Seriously, did a cross-country drive from Detroit to SF via OKC.  When the biggest city you pass through on the third day is Flagstaff, your country is empty.

Yeah, I know... It's funny... To us, a 6 hour trip is ...


I have yet to meet someone from the midwest who'd freak out over a 6 hour drive.
 
2014-02-19 02:26:31 PM

lilplatinum: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Also, it's a biatch to get into Manhattan from the airports or (Lord help you!) by car. Amtrak lets you off in Penn Station.

Meh, theres viable public transportation to all three of the major airports.. wouldn't qualify it as a "biatch".  If you have a shiat ton of luggage you might have to suck it up and take a car, but then a shiatton of luggage is also a "biatch" to throw on a subway and lug into penn station too.


Public transportation to LGA sucks donkey balls. And to JFK it's not much better I believe.

Amtrak to Boston has been much better, in my experience, than flying.
 
2014-02-19 02:27:00 PM

Jument: Seriously, I don't know what you guys are talking about. Perhaps as a tourist it makes more sense to travel by train. I've done extensive train travel on 4-5 Europe trips and it has been amazing. Walk up to the train station, get on the next train. No muss, no fuss. Many routes are fast, trains are usually quite spacious, etc. Even if flying is the same price, how do you plan to get to the airport, what about the extra time for security, etc? And why bother when the train station is probably in the center of town and your hotel is walkable from it?


Well I lived there for 5 years and travelled quite a bit, and found that trains are slower (often significantly), pricier, and generally more of a hastle.   Most cities have public transportation between a train and a hotel, or they have these cars that take you somewhere for a fare.

Trains can work if you happen to want to go from point A to point B that are conveniently connected by a high speed train (or if you are some backpacking kid on your "find yourself in western europe tour" and are the type willing to sleep in bedbug infested hostels).    Once you try to find some less convenient routes or are on any sort of schedule, they break down quickly..

Hamburg to Paris

Car-  8 hours
Train - 11.5 hours
Plane - 1.5 hours

Hmm, tough choice.
 
2014-02-19 02:29:40 PM

Debeo Summa Credo: Public transportation to LGA sucks donkey balls. And to JFK it's not much better I believe.


LGA has an express bus thats $12 to Port Authority, Grand Central, or Penn Station - hardly that much of a hastle.

JFK you get on the subway.

What do you want, a helicopter ride?
 
2014-02-19 02:38:57 PM

Mikey1969: meyerkev: Mikey1969: redmid17: Train would be OK by me in that case if you can get the tickets cheaper. I'd be glad to take a train if I had a decent schedule.

Then there is another issue... Sadly, trains only go where the tracks are... In this part of the country, it's east-west, I can't go form Salt lake to Phoenix, or I would in a heartbeat. Hell, Amtrak won't even let me fark around and plan one where I go through somewhere like Sacramento first, I have to make it 2 separate trips, which increases the cost. It's a self-perpetuating loop, trains cost money, nobody wants to put money into rail systems unless they see a profit, they can't make a profit if they don't have an infrastructure, etc....

The basic problem is that airplanes have a MUCH higher startup cost (because you have to build the multi-billion dollar airport.), while trains have a much higher per-MILE cost because you have to build tracks everywhere.

So if you're in Europe, and you have that nice central population corridor only a few hundred miles across with towns every couple of day's ride on horseback, yes, go nuts with trains.

[cache.eupedia.com image 643x643]

Whereas if you have the entire Mountain West time zone with less people in the entire time zone than NYC, AND the stupid thing is covered in mountains (and all your major cities are a couple hours drive apart at minimum once you leave the East Coast, and they're much more spread out cities to boot, which makes city center to city center mass transit less useful*), which are apparently their own special class of pain...  That's not to say that rail in America is useless, just that outside of few corridors, it makes a lot LESS sense than it would in say Europe.

[www.mapofusa.net image 608x346]

[i.imgur.com image 850x619]


*Seriously, did a cross-country drive from Detroit to SF via OKC.  When the biggest city you pass through on the third day is Flagstaff, your country is empty.

Yeah, I know... It's funny... To us, a 6 hour trip is ...


When I was 6, my mother drive me, my little brother (who was 4), my crazy aunt (mom's sister) and three cousins (oldest a 14-yr-old-boy) from Louisiana to British Columbia, Canada for summer vacation. It was...interesting. I still remember how empty so much of the country was and when we saw a thunderstorm on the plains many, many miles away.
 
2014-02-19 02:41:40 PM
meyerkev:
So if you're in Europe, and you have that nice central population corridor only a few hundred miles across with towns every couple of day's ride on horseback, yes, go nuts with trains.

Whereas if you have the entire Mountain West time zone with less people in the entire time zone than NYC, AND the stupid thing is covered in mountains (and all your major cities are a couple hours drive apart at minimum once you leave the East Coast, and they're much more spread out cities to boot, which makes city center to city center mass transit less useful*), which are apparently their own special class of pain...  That's not to say that rail in America is useless, just that outside of few corridors, it makes a lot LESS sense than it would in say Europe.


Yup. And this is one thing that Europeans forget when they laugh at the US and our love affair with the automobile. Population density is far lower here in the US and we have way more ground to cover when we go places. The standard American road trip vacation will often be the equivalent of a European going three nations over... and the American is only one time zone away from home and still driving.

When translated into rail travel, there's just so much more that can go wrong when you have to traverse that much track. An airplane can go point to point and just fly around weather issues. A train has to stay on the rails and if there's another train that broke down, a weather problem, or some other issue, it all gets backed up. As much as I'd like rail travel to be worthwhile in the US, outside of very specific cases (northeast corridor, maybe southern California) it just isn't that practical.
 
2014-02-19 02:42:04 PM

PleaseHamletDon'tHurtEm: Ridden the Amtrak to Chicago a few times. Wouldn't be so bad except it's late getting there to pick you up, and freight traffic is priority so you get to sit around wishing you'd driven. The rural scenery is nice but is sort of ruined by riding past many buildings whose backyards are choked with scrap and junk.

Nowadays since we got the service it's Megabus all the way. Faster, with wifi on board. No driving. Whee!


Where are you guys getting that "freight has priority"? I work for a railroad and can tell you, you couldn't be more wrong.
 
2014-02-19 02:42:21 PM

Tom_Slick: Pretty much, except for long distance trains with baggage cars for oversized items these are handled by Amtrak personnel so in theory you should keep contraband out of that . Your personal stuff you are taking to your seats is not checked, although now that all trains are completely non-smoking don't toke up on board.


The TSA has been known to search everyone getting off of a train when they feel like it.

Where could you hijack a train to?  Where could you hijack a train to once you get off?
 
2014-02-19 02:42:30 PM

Mikey1969: meyerkev: Mikey1969: redmid17: Train would be OK by me in that case if you can get the tickets cheaper. I'd be glad to take a train if I had a decent schedule.

Then there is another issue... Sadly, trains only go where the tracks are... In this part of the country, it's east-west, I can't go form Salt lake to Phoenix, or I would in a heartbeat. Hell, Amtrak won't even let me fark around and plan one where I go through somewhere like Sacramento first, I have to make it 2 separate trips, which increases the cost. It's a self-perpetuating loop, trains cost money, nobody wants to put money into rail systems unless they see a profit, they can't make a profit if they don't have an infrastructure, etc....

The basic problem is that airplanes have a MUCH higher startup cost (because you have to build the multi-billion dollar airport.), while trains have a much higher per-MILE cost because you have to build tracks everywhere.

So if you're in Europe, and you have that nice central population corridor only a few hundred miles across with towns every couple of day's ride on horseback, yes, go nuts with trains.

[cache.eupedia.com image 643x643]

Whereas if you have the entire Mountain West time zone with less people in the entire time zone than NYC, AND the stupid thing is covered in mountains (and all your major cities are a couple hours drive apart at minimum once you leave the East Coast, and they're much more spread out cities to boot, which makes city center to city center mass transit less useful*), which are apparently their own special class of pain...  That's not to say that rail in America is useless, just that outside of few corridors, it makes a lot LESS sense than it would in say Europe.

[www.mapofusa.net image 608x346]

[i.imgur.com image 850x619]


*Seriously, did a cross-country drive from Detroit to SF via OKC.  When the biggest city you pass through on the third day is Flagstaff, your country is empty.

Yeah, I know... It's funny... To us, a 6 hour trip is ...


A six hour tip has the potential to be an 8 hour trip and that is why people hate it.  Two hours of gridlock is not fun.

I am from RI where most lots of people dont go to the beach because it is in the southern part of the state (30 minutes away).

Long trips dont bother me though.
 
2014-02-19 02:43:19 PM
cdn2.business2community.com
 
2014-02-19 02:44:13 PM

Zavulon: I don't think it's per person. I think the 2.4 tons is just for the flight itself. The author doesn't say anything to indicate that she's referring to a per person figure. Although, I tried plugging a single 733 mile flight into the carbon calculator the author linked to and it said 0.3 tons, so something fishy is going on.


If the figure isn't per-person then the entire article is bullshiat.  Who would even consider the entire carbon footprint of the airplane due to just themselves?  What kind of f'n idiot is this author?

Well, Al Gore, sure, but he flies alone in a private jet.  But no one else should be that stupid.

And if the trip is 733 miles, then 19 hours on Amtrak seems more reasonable.  They don't go really fast, and that's < 40 MPH average.

But an airplane only burns up to 2 gallons per mile, call it < 10 tons of CO2.  I guess it was just the author and the crew on the airplane.  Der.
 
2014-02-19 02:49:01 PM

redmid17: I have yet to meet someone from the midwest who'd freak out over a 6 hour drive.


Originally from the Midwest.

I don't know if I'd freak out, but I'd certainly ask what we were doing and why we were doing it.

Because 6 hours from my old place gets you to the Soo heading North, Chicago traffic heading west, somewhere past Pittsburgh heading east, and somewhere in KY heading south.  LOTS to do there.

Whereas in WA, I drove 7 hours to Idaho and back because those were the nearest roller coasters (and then honestly had more fun driving the Eastern approach to Snoqualmie than riding the coasters.  Mountain Passes FTW).  And then I drove 2 hours each way out of my way to go see Mt. St. Helens.  And Tahoe's 4-6 hours to my Northwest where I am now, and I've done that once or twice.

/Did a 9 hour drive from Madison back to home once.  My god, that was boring.
//Out west is more scenic.
 
2014-02-19 02:55:39 PM
We really need to upgrade Amtrak to magnetic bullet trains, and then add stations all across the US... Then trains would actually be a more cost effective and more time efficient way to travel - more people would want to take them...

It takes money to make money, and upgrading our trains would generate a lot of public interest.

Personally, I hate flying... These seem to be a much more enjoyable way to travel, and they obviously would be better for the environment!

assets.inhabitat.com
 
2014-02-19 02:57:52 PM

Iszael: Zavulon: I don't think it's per person. I think the 2.4 tons is just for the flight itself. The author doesn't say anything to indicate that she's referring to a per person figure. Although, I tried plugging a single 733 mile flight into the carbon calculator the author linked to and it said 0.3 tons, so something fishy is going on.

If the figure isn't per-person then the entire article is bullshiat.  Who would even consider the entire carbon footprint of the airplane due to just themselves?  What kind of f'n idiot is this author?

Well, Al Gore, sure, but he flies alone in a private jet.  But no one else should be that stupid.

And if the trip is 733 miles, then 19 hours on Amtrak seems more reasonable.  They don't go really fast, and that's < 40 MPH average.

But an airplane only burns up to 2 gallons per mile, call it < 10 tons of CO2.  I guess it was just the author and the crew on the airplane.  Der.


Google says the shortest air link between NYC and Chicago is 733 miles. Rail is probably a bit longer.

Since I can't figure out how the author arrived at the 2.4 ton figure using the calculator that she herself cited, I'm going with "article is bullshiat".
 
2014-02-19 03:02:57 PM
Gentoolive:
Where are you guys getting that "freight has priority"? I work for a railroad and can tell you, you couldn't be more wrong.

I had heard this before as well, always wondered if it was true.  Outside of the NE corridor, I believe Amtrak is only using trackage rights, no idea what that means as far as priority goes or what the arrangement is.
 
2014-02-19 03:04:25 PM
I've taken a few trips on the Amtrak, and I've enjoyed them all. However, you have to be a pretty patient person. A couple trips east to Minneapolis (starting from Montana) took 20+ hours due to various delays like unruly passengers, cows on tracks, etc. I joked that Amtrak should change their slogan to "Amtrak: We'll Get You There. ... Eventually. Some Day." But I had either good company, a good book or two, and the scenic car is always good for passing the time. Also, the slow bobbing of the train cars is like Lunesta for me.

Also, the Amtrak folks seem generally nice. I hadn't slept in a few days when I stumbled onto the platform in Minnesota and I asked which car my seat was in and the Amtrak worker gestured to a line of ten different cars, so I climbed into the first one, found an open seat, and went to sleep. I woke up a few hours later to the ticket man asking me, "Where's ya ticket? Where's ya ticket?" I handed him mine and he frowned and told me I wasn't supposed to be there. I said sorry, stood up and promptly almost fell over. He let out an exasperated sigh and told me, "That's fine. Just stay here. Stay right here." I sat down and fell back asleep.

If you have the time, I'd say hop on the Amtrak for a bit. Bring a bag of food, though. Train food is super expensive. I just packed like I was going hiking for a couple days, basically.
 
2014-02-19 03:06:31 PM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: We really need to upgrade Amtrak to magnetic bullet trains, and then add stations all across the US... Then trains would actually be a more cost effective and more time efficient way to travel - more people would want to take them...

It takes money to make money, and upgrading our trains would generate a lot of public interest.

Personally, I hate flying... These seem to be a much more enjoyable way to travel, and they obviously would be better for the environment!

[assets.inhabitat.com image 728x386]


Not that I disagree that train travel is far more enjoyable, the scalability of the solution is somewhat suspect. On top of the fairly impressive startup costs it would take to implement it, it would take pretty massive subsidies to make it break even. After that, you have to factor in that a cross country trip will still take half a day versus 4-5 hours on a plane.
 
2014-02-19 03:16:00 PM
You know what's a cheap way to get from A to B?  Common carrier.

I deadheaded from Iowa to Boston once in the passenger seat of a semi.  Cost: 0, it was going that way anyway.  I don't think my weight added significantly to the 40 ton truck.  And it took less than 19 hours, that was back when the truckers could work until they got tired, then sleep, then work some more.

Really, as much wasted space as there is in the cabs of trucks, you'd figure someone would have "an app for that" and let people chip in a couple bucks or a meal to get wherever they needed.  I think you'd be pretty safe, most drivers just want to get where they're going.  If you got on a particular truck through a public database, it'd be pretty obvious who did what to whom if there was any trouble.

And you have someone to talk to.  Truckers are funny guys...
 
2014-02-19 03:16:52 PM

redmid17: OOBE Juan Kenobi: We really need to upgrade Amtrak to magnetic bullet trains, and then add stations all across the US... Then trains would actually be a more cost effective and more time efficient way to travel - more people would want to take them...

It takes money to make money, and upgrading our trains would generate a lot of public interest.

Personally, I hate flying... These seem to be a much more enjoyable way to travel, and they obviously would be better for the environment!

[assets.inhabitat.com image 728x386]

Not that I disagree that train travel is far more enjoyable, the scalability of the solution is somewhat suspect. On top of the fairly impressive startup costs it would take to implement it, it would take pretty massive subsidies to make it break even. After that, you have to factor in that a cross country trip will still take half a day versus 4-5 hours on a plane.


In all fairness, we subsidize the crap out of air travel... between the law enforcement, airports themselves, subsidies to manufacturers, and subsidies for airlines themselves (including both capital and non-capital subsidies), taxpayers contribute billions of dollars a year to making air travel work.
 
2014-02-19 03:30:20 PM

firefly212: redmid17: OOBE Juan Kenobi: We really need to upgrade Amtrak to magnetic bullet trains, and then add stations all across the US... Then trains would actually be a more cost effective and more time efficient way to travel - more people would want to take them...

It takes money to make money, and upgrading our trains would generate a lot of public interest.

Personally, I hate flying... These seem to be a much more enjoyable way to travel, and they obviously would be better for the environment!

[assets.inhabitat.com image 728x386]

Not that I disagree that train travel is far more enjoyable, the scalability of the solution is somewhat suspect. On top of the fairly impressive startup costs it would take to implement it, it would take pretty massive subsidies to make it break even. After that, you have to factor in that a cross country trip will still take half a day versus 4-5 hours on a plane.

In all fairness, we subsidize the crap out of air travel... between the law enforcement, airports themselves, subsidies to manufacturers, and subsidies for airlines themselves (including both capital and non-capital subsidies), taxpayers contribute billions of dollars a year to making air travel work.


Also very true. However I think you'd get a better argument for the utility of air travel versus train travel over long distances (short ones not withstanding). Much of the reason people utilize air travel is because their reason to travel, be it business or pleasure, is time sensitive in nature. If I have 5 days of vacation scheduled for a trip to Miami, I am not going to take the train as it removes 2 days from my 5 day vacation and one leg takes 2x long as a roundtrip flight.
 
2014-02-19 03:32:58 PM

HeartBurnKid: bdub77: And being on a train for 19 hours sucks balls.

Depends on the train.  If you're going to a con, I heartily recommend taking the train.  I've been to PAX twice, and taken Amtrak both times.  38 hours each way, surrounded by fellow nerds and their favorite games... tons of fun.


img2-3.timeinc.net
 
2014-02-19 03:35:52 PM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: We really need to upgrade Amtrak to magnetic bullet trains, and then add stations all across the US... Then trains would actually be a more cost effective and more time efficient way to travel - more people would want to take them...

It takes money to make money, and upgrading our trains would generate a lot of public interest.

Personally, I hate flying... These seem to be a much more enjoyable way to travel, and they obviously would be better for the environment!

[assets.inhabitat.com image 728x386]


Yeah, but you still hit all of the other problems.

Namely, you're LITERALLY on rails.

A car is convenient.  Goes door to door, lets you stop off at the World's Biggest Spoon, and is capable of going anywhere there's a dirt track at any time of day* (while having a trunk) which has the nice advantage of cutting the corner so my 75 MPH car at least ties your 200 MPH train.  It's SLOW, but for all those (sort of) local trips, nothing beats it.  I mean, there's a reason why people still drive in NYC, despite having a nearly world-class transit system.  And if NYC is driving, Detroit's going to laugh at your fat ass.  Toledo to South Haven by car is about 4 hours, Toledo to Ann Arbor train to Kalamazoo drive to South Haven is about 5 IF you get the timing right.  Which you don't because there's like 3 trains a day,

A plane is fast.  Once you get over the "Fark the TSA" section, you're out maybe 2 hours, and another half hour picking up your baggage at the other end.  And then you get to go 500 MPH, so any flight more than about 2 hours long is STILL faster.  And you're automagically connected to every OTHER station in the world, which lets you cut the corner.

Mind you, density CAN overcome these problems, BUT.

Look, let's look at Ann Arbor to Chicago.  I've done all 3 of these, and I'll even give the train a boost by going from station to station.

Ann Arbor to Chicago is about a 4-5 hour train ride.  The buffer is if nothing goes wrong in Gary (which is for geographical and historical reasons THE bottleneck in America's rail system).  Both ways, something went wrong and it was actually about 6.

Ann Arbor to Chicago takes a little under 4 hours driving if nothing goes wrong.  It's probably more like 5 because traffic sucks ass in Chicago.  You also have the minor issue of figuring out what to do with the car because it's a major downtown and yeah (I only did it because I had to be in Madison, WI later that night and the bus timings didn't line up and then I had to be BACK in Ann Arbor the night after that which was difficult).

Ann Arbor to Chicago takes about 5 hours by air.  30 minute drive/taxi, 2 hours of airport tomfoolery,  a 45 minute flight, 30 more minutes of airport tomfoolery, and a 45 minute transit ride into downtown.

So they're all sort of tied, and your Bullet train is honestly the fastest.

Ok, now change Chicago to South Bend.  Now your bullet train sucks (though flights also suck).  I mean it's a 3 hour drive, but EITHER WAY, I'm looking at an hour drive to Toledo and hoping that my schedule lines up with the 3-4 trains/day that run through there.  So car is slower, but WAY more convenient.  Heck, Michigan to anything is inherently slow with our current rail network because you're staging through Chicago (which is fine if you're headed to St. Louis, but sucks if you're headed to Cleveland or the East Coast, which has mountains in the way, so your 200 MPH bullet train wouldn't be running 1/5th that fast anyways).

And keep in mind that that's a 250 MPH trip.  I'm headed out to the West Coast on a 2000 MPH trip.  Hey, your 200 MPH bullet train doesn't do mountains because it's a train.  And then it STILL takes me a day, probably with a transfer in Chicago.  Door to Door from home (Mt. View) to Mom (Bay Village, OH) on a plane is 10 hours (with a transfer in Chicago.  Doing it straight's an extra $100 and cuts 2 hours off).  And 2 of THAT is dealing with the farked up mass transit in the Bay Area.  Driving to the airport and parking (for $20/day, which is why I don't do it) cuts an hour off that time.  So a direct flight with minimal stupidity is 7 hours.  Can YOU do burb to burb in 7 hours?

TLDR: Your bullet train would cost trillions and be inherently limited in ways that only get resolved by density that the USA doesn't have.

*And while I'm not an engineer, the impression I get is that shoving roads through mountains is easier than shoving rails through mountains because of the grading issues.  (Rail gets maybe 2%, roads get like 9% if needed).
 
2014-02-19 03:51:50 PM

meyerkev: Your bullet train would cost trillions


I don't think you know how much money a trillion dollars is.
 
2014-02-19 03:54:31 PM

ikanreed: meyerkev: Your bullet train would cost trillions

I don't think you know how much money a trillion dollars is.


Freeways cost $425 Billion in today's money.

/So half a trillion.
//Seriously, if we can't do 1 LINE up CA for under $100 Billion, your plan will cost trillions.
 
2014-02-19 03:56:30 PM

meyerkev: ikanreed: meyerkev: Your bullet train would cost trillions

I don't think you know how much money a trillion dollars is.

Freeways cost $425 Billion in today's money.

/So half a trillion.
//Seriously, if we can't do 1 LINE up CA for under $100 Billion, your OOBE Juan Kenobi's plan will cost trillions.


FTFM
 
2014-02-19 03:57:04 PM

Iszael: You know what's a cheap way to get from A to B?  Common carrier.

I deadheaded from Iowa to Boston once in the passenger seat of a semi.  Cost: 0, it was going that way anyway.  I don't think my weight added significantly to the 40 ton truck.  And it took less than 19 hours, that was back when the truckers could work until they got tired, then sleep, then work some more.

Really, as much wasted space as there is in the cabs of trucks, you'd figure someone would have "an app for that" and let people chip in a couple bucks or a meal to get wherever they needed.  I think you'd be pretty safe, most drivers just want to get where they're going.  If you got on a particular truck through a public database, it'd be pretty obvious who did what to whom if there was any trouble.

And you have someone to talk to.  Truckers are funny guys...


Only hard part is stuff you have to do to "pay" for the ride.

i1.ytimg.com
 
2014-02-19 04:04:24 PM

MaudlinMutantMollusk: So, Amtrak can't drive for sh*t, either?


Gets in that one lane and hogs it all the way across the damn country!
 
2014-02-19 04:24:50 PM
I ride Amtrak all the time these days... if your trip is between two 'hubs' I think its great, and much cheaper than flying. I bring some food, my own booze and some books. I like the interaction with passengers, and crew...plus everybody is drunk half way through the trip. It is a little slow, but that is part of the appeal for me, I just make sure to have a day or so to get where I'm going. I travel out of NYC to Cincinnati or New Orleans, they are both direct routes, no transfers and you are let off in mostly downtown so no need to take a bus (maybe a city bus or subway). I would be really supportive of increasing our rail travel in this country.
 
2014-02-19 04:33:27 PM
"Hello, airplanes?  It's blimps Amtrak, you win."
 
2014-02-19 04:35:13 PM

dogawful: I ride Amtrak all the time these days... if your trip is between two 'hubs' I think its great, and much cheaper than flying. I bring some food, my own booze and some books. I like the interaction with passengers, and crew...plus everybody is drunk half way through the trip. It is a little slow, but that is part of the appeal for me, I just make sure to have a day or so to get where I'm going. I travel out of NYC to Cincinnati or New Orleans, they are both direct routes, no transfers and you are let off in mostly downtown so no need to take a bus (maybe a city bus or subway). I would be really supportive of increasing our rail travel in this country.


Much cheaper?   I did an amtrak search for NYC to NOLA a couple months in advance - round trip is $416 for a total of 19 hours each way.

Expedia has the same flight dates at $390 for a 2 layover 7 hour trip to NOLA or $421 for a 1 layover 5 hour trip..

Is there a way to make Amtrak even cheaper?   Because $5 cheaper isn't worth 14 more hours..
 
2014-02-19 04:55:58 PM

lilplatinum: dogawful: I ride Amtrak all the time these days... if your trip is between two 'hubs' I think its great, and much cheaper than flying. I bring some food, my own booze and some books. I like the interaction with passengers, and crew...plus everybody is drunk half way through the trip. It is a little slow, but that is part of the appeal for me, I just make sure to have a day or so to get where I'm going. I travel out of NYC to Cincinnati or New Orleans, they are both direct routes, no transfers and you are let off in mostly downtown so no need to take a bus (maybe a city bus or subway). I would be really supportive of increasing our rail travel in this country.

Much cheaper?   I did an amtrak search for NYC to NOLA a couple months in advance - round trip is $416 for a total of 19 hours each way.

Expedia has the same flight dates at $390 for a 2 layover 7 hour trip to NOLA or $421 for a 1 layover 5 hour trip..

Is there a way to make Amtrak even cheaper?   Because $5 cheaper isn't worth 14 more hours..


Hmmm... maybe they like me better... plus, I like trains...

http://youtu.be/1hlNXtMUYCw
 
2014-02-19 05:04:22 PM

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Tom_Slick: Pretty much, except for long distance trains with baggage cars for oversized items these are handled by Amtrak personnel so in theory you should keep contraband out of that . Your personal stuff you are taking to your seats is not checked, although now that all trains are completely non-smoking don't toke up on board.

They frown on drinking at your seat too. Now on the other hand, if you have a berth, feel free to get hammered.


Huh?  The few times I've been on the train, usually Washington to NYC or Philly, I've gone up to the café car, gotten a drink, and headed back to my seat.  Or in one case I had half a fifth of Tullamore Dew in my tote bag and kept refreshing with that.  I'm also a quiet drinker and not annoying to other people.

This was on the Northeast Regional though - may be different for the trans-continental trains.
 
2014-02-19 05:05:59 PM

dogawful: Hmmm... maybe they like me better... plus, I like trains...

http://youtu.be/1hlNXtMUYCw


Can you get cheaper than that round trip to NOLA ever on Amtrak?   Not sure if there are ways to get discounts or wahtever - I wouldn't be morally opposed to getting belligerantly drunk on the way to NOLA to get more belligerantly drunk..
 
2014-02-19 05:06:27 PM

GameSprocket: I checked out Amtrak for a family trip (My spouse, 2 spawn and myself). The tickets would cost as much as taking a plane (plus food and beverages) and would take as long as driving. The only benefits over driving would have been that I could sleep during the trip and the kids could move around a bit. Of course, then I would need to rent a car at the destination.

I am anxiously awaiting any real competitive alternative to airlines. I really hate air travel at this point.


So, you live where I do.  We took the kids to Chicago via the Empire Builder last year.  We went into it knowing the schedule was a crap shoot.  It was awesome.  The kids can move around a lot within reason (Lounge car ftw!) and there is as much room in coach on the train as most first class areas on a plane.  We had three checked bags and the wife and I each had a backpack with a couple of small pillows, coloring books and a tablet each with videos, games and most importantly headphones.  And plug ins were not a issue. My son sat with this mom, my daughter with me.  It was glorious.  No trying to herd them past the jack booted idiots TSA, no fighting in the back seat.  They could look out the window, take naps, go to the lounge.  They thought eating in the dining car was the greatest thing on Earth. "Dad, our restaurant is going over a river!".  One of them begs to go again about once a month.

Earlier this year I took the train from here to San Antonio.  Again I knew the schedule was a bit of a wash but I planned for that.  The biggest change was that I was on the Texas Eagle for what was supposed to be 32 hours so I went for Sleeper which is == first class.  It was ~$380 which the sleeper (hotel room) and 5 meals.  We ended up ~2 hours late because I happened to do this when the tornado's were doing their thing in Illinois this spring.  Again, it was glorious.

We could have first class rail service that would rival airlines in almost every way if they were better funded.  The FAA alone got $19 Billion which I am not complaining about.  But you are fooling yourself if you think that is all that is subsidized in air travel.  It is however a nice concrete dollar amount if not remotely close to the total.  It would be nice if Amtrak got 5% of that.  For 2012 Amtrak got $466 million.  To compete and be a real offering they need to have a level playing field. Don't like the poor way Amtrak runs, talk to your congress critter.

/Amtrak looks wistfully at the NASA ($17 billion)  budget which is farking sad.
 
2014-02-19 05:09:13 PM

China White Tea: "Hello, airplanes?  It's blimps Amtrak, you win."


img.fark.net
 
2014-02-19 05:24:04 PM

fst_creeper: We could have first class rail service that would rival airlines in almost every way if they were better funded.  The FAA alone got $19 Billion which I am not complaining about.  But you are fooling yourself if you think that is all that is subsidized in air travel.  It is however a nice concrete dollar amount if not remotely close to the total.  It would be nice if Amtrak got 5% of that.  For 2012 Amtrak got $466 million.  To compete and be a real offering they need to have a level playing field. Don't like the poor way Amtrak runs, talk to your congress critter.


We aren't going to invest in rail because the time frame is not realistic for enough travellers to make it economical.  If you are on a business trip, your company doesn't want you wasting that much time on the clock travelling.

Meanwhile, most Americans get comically low allotment of vacation days a year, and most are not going to sacrifice their pittance on extending travel that long.
 
2014-02-19 05:48:08 PM

The My Little Pony Killer: Not having to go through security-molestation theater ALONE is worth the cost and time of taking Amtrak.


maybe

but I took an Amtrak from Minneapolis, MN to Portland, Oregon & even with a bottle of rum I still wanted to jump the fark off the train at full speed to end the misery.
 
2014-02-19 06:04:09 PM
How does it save carbon if the train is almost empty?
 
2014-02-19 07:36:37 PM

lilplatinum: We aren't going to invest in rail because the time frame is not realistic for enough travellers to make it economical.  If you are on a business trip, your company doesn't want you wasting that much time on the clock travelling.

Meanwhile, most Americans get comically low allotment of vacation days a year, and most are not going to sacrifice their pittance on extending travel that long.


It depends on the endpoints.  Granted, high-speed rail will never compete with air travel for e.g. trips between Los Angeles and New York, but for shorter distances such as Los Angeles to San Jose (which several of my coworkers frequently travel), a high-speed train without any TSA stupidity would actually save time over flying.
 
2014-02-19 08:16:12 PM
I'm a huge (HUGE) supporter of rail, but Amtrak is kinda hopeless. I took them down the CA coast once, as an alternative to a drive I had made many, many times, and it took twice as long (and cost twice as much). I actually left the train early and had someone pick me up.

The one train trip I took that was totally worth it was Sacramento to Reno - you pass through parts of the Sierras you can't see from the highway. One day I want to try the same from Grand Junction to Denver.

Even in Europe, where rail travel is so much better, I really didn't enjoy an overnight train in a sleeper compartment. I won't likely do it again, and can't imagine 3 days going cross-country.
 
2014-02-19 08:26:42 PM
the california zephyr should roll by my office window in...oh....4 hours unless she's running late

over the past 6 or 7 years that train has grown from just a couple of cars to a whole bunch. no, it's not a mile long coal train but folks are riding it.
 
2014-02-19 09:00:14 PM
I love taking the train. Even the long distance trips. But I have family that lives in Vegas and there is no route from the east that goes directly there. You have to disembark in Kingman, AZ and continue by bus from there. Considering that Amtrak owns outright almost no rail right-of-way and runs on leased rail from the various Big 4 railroads, and that there is a UP mainline that runs -directly- through the middle of Las Vegas parallel to the Strip, you'd think that some arrangement could be made to connect both Chicago [where almost all East Coast traffic routes through] and LA to Las Vegas. Might take a little burden off McCarran as well. Hard to beat less than seven hours door-to-door instead of closer to thirty-six, and I certainly would not do it for every single trip, but if you've got the time there's nothing like looking at the world from the window of a train.
 
2014-02-19 09:10:27 PM

Top Geezer: I love taking the train. Even the long distance trips. But I have family that lives in Vegas and there is no route from the east that goes directly there. You have to disembark in Kingman, AZ and continue by bus from there. Considering that Amtrak owns outright almost no rail right-of-way and runs on leased rail from the various Big 4 railroads, and that there is a UP mainline that runs -directly- through the middle of Las Vegas parallel to the Strip, you'd think that some arrangement could be made to connect both Chicago [where almost all East Coast traffic routes through] and LA to Las Vegas. Might take a little burden off McCarran as well. Hard to beat less than seven hours door-to-door instead of closer to thirty-six, and I certainly would not do it for every single trip, but if you've got the time there's nothing like looking at the world from the window of a train.


or the view of vegas after you exited the UP passenger depot

farm9.staticflickr.com
 
2014-02-19 09:19:35 PM
meyerkev:

 OOBE Juan Kenobi's plan will cost trillions.

FTFM


utownblog.files.wordpress.com


--------------------------------------------------------------------- - ---------------------------------------------
In all seriousness and fairness, it's time human beings thought out things and planned ahead just a little more... We can't rely on fossil fuels forever... The money saved just from abstaining from FF long term would pay dividends in the future - not just in terms of economics, but also in terms of environment...

And who is to say that the traveling aspect of vacations cannot be part of the actual vacation? Trains are a lovely way to travel... Maybe it's time we actually slowed down a bit anyway... You can't take all of this STUFF with you when you die.

I would hope in the future human beings would have figured out more ways to live joyfully, while still being productive. Computers and other technology make this possible. Working and being productive is all fine and dandy - but happiness and joy hardly ever translates to always being busy. That comes with balance.
 
2014-02-19 09:27:30 PM
If you have time to write an article about taking a 19 hour train trip instead of a 2-hour flight, your time isn't that valuable.  Or maybe you sucker Salon into paying you for it.  And, as she accurately pointed out, it was 24 hours door-to-door, which was still better than average service for that route.

The Lake Shore Limited has a 36.2% on time rating.  For the last 12 months.  At that point it's not a delay, it's your expected time of travel, except they don't publicize how long it actually takes.  What Amtrak also doesn't tell you is how much they missed the arrival time by - anything over 30 minutes is just considered "delayed."  So back when I was taking Amtrak in its best performing corridor - the Northeast corridor - when a coal train derailed and there was an 8 hour delay for a two hour train ride - that's just recorded as a "delay."  Bonus?  They can't let you off the train until you're at a station, so you're there for the duration, even if you can call someone to get you, because someone could walk to the train in the time it took them to get it back to a goddamn station.

You can go over the byzantine reasons that passenger rail travel is farked up in this country, but at the same time it's idiotic to push it as some green solution unless your need to be somewhere at a given point in time is worth absolutely nothing.  That might work for a freelance author or even a computer programmer if you can live without a high speed internet connection, but there are severe tradeoffs she's blithely ignoring because, I assume, she had all the time in the world to get to Chicago.  Wait until she misses a funeral because her train was a whopping 24 hours late.

I love the idea of rail travel, and I've dragged plenty of family members to a trip on this, but the point is the trip itself.  As a realistic means of long distance transportation in the US right now, Amtrak isn't it.  Without building out an entirely new rail network, there's no point.  We tore out the old lines (probably not a bad thing - they wouldn't support passenger trains today) and didn't build new ones.  Freight companies took what was left and built it out to support extra freight, but Amtrak has to share those lines.

Also, since she doesn't strike me as the kind of person who is good at math, I doubt her carbon calculations included or even assumed a train that starts, stops, idles, and accelerates on a normal route, much less the low speed idling the train does while waiting for a freight train to pass by.
 
2014-02-19 09:41:20 PM

Gentoolive: Where are you guys getting that "freight has priority"? I work for a railroad and can tell you, you couldn't be more wrong.


Really?  You want to tell Amtrak, the Amtrak VP I used to ride with, or the porters that?  Amtrak has a few select routes they control, everything else is leased from the freight lines.

Their on-time tables even reference delays due to freight lines.
 
2014-02-19 10:09:42 PM
However, when I needed to go to the Ragdale Artists Colony in Lake Forest, Ill. (an hour outside of Chicago) to finish my novel,

I'm pretty sure that nobody in human history ever needed to do this.
 
2014-02-19 10:14:48 PM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: meyerkev:

 OOBE Juan Kenobi's plan will cost trillions.

FTFM




--------------------------------------------------------------------- - ---------------------------------------------
In all seriousness and fairness, it's time human beings thought out things and planned ahead just a little more... We can't rely on fossil fuels forever... The money saved just from abstaining from FF long term would pay dividends in the future - not just in terms of economics, but also in terms of environment...

And who is to say that the traveling aspect of vacations cannot be part of the actual vacation? Trains are a lovely way to travel... Maybe it's time we actually slowed down a bit anyway... You can't take all of this STUFF with you when you die.

I would hope in the future human beings would have figured out more ways to live joyfully, while still being productive. Computers and other technology make this possible. Working and being productive is all fine and dandy - but happiness and joy hardly ever translates to always being busy. That comes with balance.


Nothing wrong with travel being but of tthe vacation, but trains are going to cost as much time as the vacation unless you're going somewhere close or going someone for over a week, which most people can't or don't swing.
 
2014-02-19 10:15:36 PM
Nothing wrong with travel being but of tthe vacation, but trains are going to cost as much time as the vacation unless you're going somewhere close or going someone for over a week, which most people can't or don't swing.
 
2014-02-19 10:27:36 PM

flondrix: Tom_Slick: Pretty much, except for long distance trains with baggage cars for oversized items these are handled by Amtrak personnel so in theory you should keep contraband out of that . Your personal stuff you are taking to your seats is not checked, although now that all trains are completely non-smoking don't toke up on board.

The TSA has been known to search everyone getting off of a train when they feel like it.

Where could you hijack a train to?  Where could you hijack a train to once you get off?


Team VIPER knows but can't tell you because it's a secret. Now open your bag!
 
2014-02-19 11:08:31 PM

redmid17: Nothing wrong with travel being but of tthe vacation, but trains are going to cost as much time as the vacation unless you're going somewhere close or going someone for over a week, which most people can't or don't swing.


It only takes 4 days driving from coast to coast in a car, going 70 - 80 MPR average... A maglev goes 3X as fast...

History of maglev speed records:
1971 - West Germany - Prinzipfahrzeug - 90 km/h (56 mph)
1971 - West Germany - http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=TR-02&action=edit&redlink=1"
1972 - Japan - ML100 - 60 km/h (37 mph) - (manned)
1973 - West Germany - TR04 - 250 km/h (160 mph) (manned)
1974 - West Germany - EET-01 - 230 km/h (140 mph) (unmanned)
1975 - West Germany - Komet - 401 km/h (249 mph) (by steam rocket propulsion, unmanned)
1978 - Japan -
1978 - Japan - HSST-02 - 110 km/h (68 mph) (manned)
1979-12-12 - Japan-ML-500R - 504 km/h (313 mph) (unmanned) It succeeds in operation over 500 km/h for the first time in the world.
1979-12-21 - Japan-ML-500R - 517 km/h (321 mph) (unmanned)
1987 - West Germany - TR-06 - 406 km/h (252 mph) (manned)
1987 - Japan - MLU001 - 401 km/h (249 mph) (manned)
1988 - West Germany - TR-06 - 413 km/h (257 mph) (manned)
1989 - West Germany - TR-07 - 436 km/h (271 mph) (manned)
1993 - Germany - TR-07 - 450 km/h (280 mph) (manned)
1994 - Japan - MLU002N - 431 km/h (268 mph) (unmanned)
1997 - Japan - MLX01 - 531 km/h (330 mph) (manned)
1997 - Japan - MLX01 - 550 km/h (340 mph) (unmanned)
1999 - Japan - MLX01 - 552 km/h (343 mph) (manned/five-car formation).
2003 - China - Transrapid SMT (built in Germany) - 501 km/h (311 mph) (manned/three formation)
2003 - China - Transrapid SMT 476 km/h (296 mph) (unmanned)
2003 - Japan - MLX01 - 581 km/h (361 mph) (manned/three formation). Guinness authorization.[60]
 
2014-02-19 11:10:56 PM
 
2014-02-19 11:13:27 PM
"Maglev trains float on a cushion of air, eliminating friction. This lack of friction and the trains' aerodynamic designs allow these trains to reach unprecedented ground transportation speeds of more than 310 mph (500 kph), or twice as fast as Amtrak's fastest commuter train. In comparison, a Boeing-777 reach a top speed of about 562 mph (905 kph).
 
2014-02-19 11:13:29 PM

jrkeenan65: The laws of phisics would say that it would take the same expenditure of energy to get you from point A to point B no matter how you do it. The same amount of fuel would be used weather or not your on a plane or train.


Not really. Drag increases as the square of velocity, so that counts drastically against a plane. Also, you're forgetting that a train isn't lifting you, everything you brought, and itself 40,000 feet in the air. That all takes energy.
 
2014-02-19 11:14:11 PM
"
 
2014-02-19 11:19:27 PM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: redmid17: Nothing wrong with travel being but of tthe vacation, but trains are going to cost as much time as the vacation unless you're going somewhere close or going someone for over a week, which most people can't or don't swing.

It only takes 4 days driving from coast to coast in a car, going 70 - 80 MPR average... A maglev goes 3X as fast...

History of maglev speed records:
1971 - West Germany - Prinzipfahrzeug - 90 km/h (56 mph)
1971 - West Germany - http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=TR-02&action=edit&redlink=1"
1972 - Japan - ML100 - 60 km/h (37 mph) - (manned)
1973 - West Germany - TR04 - 250 km/h (160 mph) (manned)
1974 - West Germany - EET-01 - 230 km/h (140 mph) (unmanned)
1975 - West Germany - Komet - 401 km/h (249 mph) (by steam rocket propulsion, unmanned)
1978 - Japan -
1978 - Japan - HSST-02 - 110 km/h (68 mph) (manned)
1979-12-12 - Japan-ML-500R - 504 km/h (313 mph) (unmanned) It succeeds in operation over 500 km/h for the first time in the world.
1979-12-21 - Japan-ML-500R - 517 km/h (321 mph) (unmanned)
1987 - West Germany - TR-06 - 406 km/h (252 mph) (manned)
1987 - Japan - MLU001 - 401 km/h (249 mph) (manned)
1988 - West Germany - TR-06 - 413 km/h (257 mph) (manned)
1989 - West Germany - TR-07 - 436 km/h (271 mph) (manned)
1993 - Germany - TR-07 - 450 km/h (280 mph) (manned)
1994 - Japan - MLU002N - 431 km/h (268 mph) (unmanned)
1997 - Japan - MLX01 - 531 km/h (330 mph) (manned)
1997 - Japan - MLX01 - 550 km/h (340 mph) (unmanned)
1999 - Japan - MLX01 - 552 km/h (343 mph) (manned/five-car formation).
2003 - China - Transrapid SMT (built in Germany) - 501 km/h (311 mph) (manned/three formation)
2003 - China - Transrapid SMT 476 km/h (296 mph) (unmanned)
2003 - Japan - MLX01 - 581 km/h (361 mph) (manned/three formation). Guinness authorization.[60]


Great now if we can actually get a decent maglev proposal going outside of DC to NYC, then we can start talking about cross country. The ones you listed are also relatively short runs. Nothing wrong with that. Gotta start somewhere but when we're talking about 2500-3000 miles here.
 
2014-02-19 11:30:21 PM
I have to admit - I have a hidden agenda... I think it's been since 2000 that I've been getting recurring dreams of plane crashes... I get really anxious when I fly now.... Plus, I always loved trains as a kid. Japan and Europe are on the 'right track' as far as I'm concerned... lol

I love taking Amtrak, but it really does suck, and it really needs an upgrade at this point. The stops and schedules are very inconsistent (unless traveling up the coasts), it's too expensive, and it takes too long. We definitely are lagging here...

Planes aren't the way to go long term, unless we can find a way to power them without FF. Might as well nip it in the bud now...
 
2014-02-19 11:49:11 PM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: I have to admit - I have a hidden agenda... I think it's been since 2000 that I've been getting recurring dreams of plane crashes... I get really anxious when I fly now.... Plus, I always loved trains as a kid. Japan and Europe are on the 'right track' as far as I'm concerned... lol

I love taking Amtrak, but it really does suck, and it really needs an upgrade at this point. The stops and schedules are very inconsistent (unless traveling up the coasts), it's too expensive, and it takes too long. We definitely are lagging here...

Planes aren't the way to go long term, unless we can find a way to power them without FF. Might as well nip it in the bud now...


That sucks.   It's not worth spending $2 Trillion* on, but that sucks.

So planes will exist for as long as it's a better value for most people.  And if this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algae_fuel ever gets any good, that'll be for a VERY long time.  And even then, none of the plans I've ever heard (except the completely unworkable hyperloop) get me across the country in less than a full day. Even the 300 MPH maglev isn't going 300 MPH most of the time because mountains and stops.  So they'll raise the price of flights or figure out a way to do it cheaper than oil (super-dense batteries that don't exist yet?  That's the real awesomeness of fuel.  Energy/volume and quick-charging), and I'll grudgingly figure out a way to pay for it.

*If one LINE for CA is $100 Billion, it'll be at least $2 Trillion.

/Besides, where's THAT power going to come from?  Coal, oil, and gas.  Solar and Wind are ONLY peak load and can't be counted on, hydro's tapped out, and nuclear is political suicide.  (And I haven't heard of anything else that's able to provide significant percentages of the ~Terawatt America needs).
//Hell, Germany's consdering strip-mining because they went green and now they're using more coal.   http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/19/world/europe/germanys-effort-at-cle a n-energy-proves-complex.html http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/19/world /europe/german-village-resists- plans-to-strip-it-away-for-the-coal-underneath.html?_r=1
 
2014-02-20 12:11:56 AM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: It only takes 4 days driving from coast to coast in a car, going 70 - 80 MPR average... A maglev goes 3X as fast...


Which would be nice if the USA had maglev.  Instead, we have Amtrak, which takes longer than driving.
 
2014-02-20 01:24:40 AM
I love trains.  Getting a superliner roomette and taking a long trip is a lot of fun.
 
2014-02-20 01:27:24 AM

meyerkev: OOBE Juan Kenobi: I have to admit - I have a hidden agenda... I think it's been since 2000 that I've been getting recurring dreams of plane crashes... I get really anxious when I fly now.... Plus, I always loved trains as a kid. Japan and Europe are on the 'right track' as far as I'm concerned... lol

I love taking Amtrak, but it really does suck, and it really needs an upgrade at this point. The stops and schedules are very inconsistent (unless traveling up the coasts), it's too expensive, and it takes too long. We definitely are lagging here...

Planes aren't the way to go long term, unless we can find a way to power them without FF. Might as well nip it in the bud now...

That sucks.   It's not worth spending $2 Trillion* on, but that sucks.

So planes will exist for as long as it's a better value for most people.  And if this:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algae_fuel ever gets any good, that'll be for a VERY long time.  And even then, none of the plans I've ever heard (except the completely unworkable hyperloop) get me across the country in less than a full day. Even the 300 MPH maglev isn't going 300 MPH most of the time because mountains and stops.  So they'll raise the price of flights or figure out a way to do it cheaper than oil (super-dense batteries that don't exist yet?  That's the real awesomeness of fuel.  Energy/volume and quick-charging), and I'll grudgingly figure out a way to pay for it.

*If one LINE for CA is $100 Billion, it'll be at least $2 Trillion.

/Besides, where's THAT power going to come from?  Coal, oil, and gas.  Solar and Wind are ONLY peak load and can't be counted on, hydro's tapped out, and nuclear is political suicide.  (And I haven't heard of anything else that's able to provide significant percentages of the ~Terawatt America needs).
//Hell, Germany's consdering strip-mining because they went green and now they're using more coal.   http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/19/world/europe/germanys-effort-at-cle a n-energy-proves-complex.ht ...


The hyperloop is an awesome idea.

I've never suggested that trains replace planes completely. If we upgrade the system, it makes it more viable and attractive to the populace as an alternative to air travel.

As far as mountains go - the only serious range we have in the states are in the West, and some near the East coast. The MidWest is mostly flat.

Algae energy may be a good idea - never heard of it before. Batteries, although good in the short-term, are bad for the environment long-term. Solar is viable if we expand our thinking a bit... It would be best to figure out zero point energy, but then that would put most energy companies in jeopardy... There is nowhere that energy doesn't exist, so there's got to be a way to tap into it. Maybe it involves exploring anti-matter more in depth... I'm sure if human beings can evolve out of greed, we can actually start using our minds more effectively in the future.

The Cali train is a step in the right direction, but they should have went for the maglev, rather than half-assing it...
 
2014-02-20 01:28:49 AM

DarkSoulNoHope: Iszael: You know what's a cheap way to get from A to B?  Common carrier.

I deadheaded from Iowa to Boston once in the passenger seat of a semi.  Cost: 0, it was going that way anyway.  I don't think my weight added significantly to the 40 ton truck.  And it took less than 19 hours, that was back when the truckers could work until they got tired, then sleep, then work some more.

Really, as much wasted space as there is in the cabs of trucks, you'd figure someone would have "an app for that" and let people chip in a couple bucks or a meal to get wherever they needed.  I think you'd be pretty safe, most drivers just want to get where they're going.  If you got on a particular truck through a public database, it'd be pretty obvious who did what to whom if there was any trouble.

And you have someone to talk to.  Truckers are funny guys...

Only hard part is stuff you have to do to "pay" for the ride.

[i1.ytimg.com image 850x478]


Sweet Jesus that movie sucked.
 
2014-02-20 01:47:20 AM
If we can split atoms in a particle accelerator, there's no reason why we can't find a way to harvest energy from the naturally occurring electromagnetic fields that exist everywhere. If there are beings visiting our planet from other stars, then there is obviously some way to do this. I know saying 'aliens' may sound like a far stretch now, but believe it or not, there are some highly educated individuals that acknowledge the reality of what we are facing (some have been off our planet, taught at Harvard, and have even walked on the moon). Even artifacts (cave drawings and works of art) suggest that our species has been exposed to something incredible for quite some time...

Thinking outside of the box means that we consider all options and possibilities... To be idealists and to think of what is possible, rather than to only think in terms of what we have to work with now (knowledge and resources). A sure sign of intelligence is admitting that we know very little of the Universe and what we are capable of doing as a species. Admitting we know very little opens doorways to more questions, answers, and information.

You might be wondering how I got from trains to aliens, but it's really quite simple: everything that we do on our planet is a reflection of how we see ourselves and our state of conscious awareness. If we continue to do things that harm the planet and US, it reflects very much on how intelligent we are. Eventually we've got to step out of greed and materialism, and start helping each other out (and therefore ourselves).

Step one is to just have an open mind.
Step two is to believe in ourselves.

If we can just do these 2 things, we can all reach higher levels of clarity and awareness.
 
2014-02-20 10:04:32 AM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: If we can split atoms in a particle accelerator, there's no reason why we can't find a way to harvest energy from the naturally occurring electromagnetic fields that exist everywhere. If there are beings visiting our planet from other stars, then there is obviously some way to do this. I know saying 'aliens' may sound like a far stretch now, but believe it or not, there are some highly educated individuals that acknowledge the reality of what we are facing (some have been off our planet, taught at Harvard, and have even walked on the moon). Even artifacts (cave drawings and works of art) suggest that our species has been exposed to something incredible for quite some time...

Thinking outside of the box means that we consider all options and possibilities... To be idealists and to think of what is possible, rather than to only think in terms of what we have to work with now (knowledge and resources). A sure sign of intelligence is admitting that we know very little of the Universe and what we are capable of doing as a species. Admitting we know very little opens doorways to more questions, answers, and information.

You might be wondering how I got from trains to aliens, but it's really quite simple: everything that we do on our planet is a reflection of how we see ourselves and our state of conscious awareness. If we continue to do things that harm the planet and US, it reflects very much on how intelligent we are. Eventually we've got to step out of greed and materialism, and start helping each other out (and therefore ourselves).

Step one is to just have an open mind.
Step two is to believe in ourselves.

If we can just do these 2 things, we can all reach higher levels of clarity and awareness.


WOOP WOOP WOOP pseudoscience alert.
 
2014-02-20 11:20:24 AM

ikanreed: OOBE Juan Kenobi: If we can split atoms in a particle accelerator, there's no reason why we can't find a way to harvest energy from the naturally occurring electromagnetic fields that exist everywhere. If there are beings visiting our planet from other stars, then there is obviously some way to do this. I know saying 'aliens' may sound like a far stretch now, but believe it or not, there are some highly educated individuals that acknowledge the reality of what we are facing (some have been off our planet, taught at Harvard, and have even walked on the moon). Even artifacts (cave drawings and works of art) suggest that our species has been exposed to something incredible for quite some time...

Thinking outside of the box means that we consider all options and possibilities... To be idealists and to think of what is possible, rather than to only think in terms of what we have to work with now (knowledge and resources). A sure sign of intelligence is admitting that we know very little of the Universe and what we are capable of doing as a species. Admitting we know very little opens doorways to more questions, answers, and information.

You might be wondering how I got from trains to aliens, but it's really quite simple: everything that we do on our planet is a reflection of how we see ourselves and our state of conscious awareness. If we continue to do things that harm the planet and US, it reflects very much on how intelligent we are. Eventually we've got to step out of greed and materialism, and start helping each other out (and therefore ourselves).

Step one is to just have an open mind.
Step two is to believe in ourselves.

If we can just do these 2 things, we can all reach higher levels of clarity and awareness.

WOOP WOOP WOOP pseudoscience alert.


Really? Do you know anything about physics?

I'm sure the idea of airplanes, or many of Tesla's inventions, where considered to be impossible by people that thought just as you do now.
 
2014-02-20 11:21:47 AM
When you break apart atoms it releases energy. When you combine matter with anti-matter it releases energy. Please tell me where the 'pseudo' is in this science.
 
2014-02-20 11:48:18 AM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: Really? Do you know anything about physics?


Yes.  Yes, I do.  Are we talking about the fudnamentals about what you have wrong, or the practical reasons you're wrong?  Because they're actually quite different here.
 
2014-02-20 11:54:19 AM

ikanreed: OOBE Juan Kenobi: Really? Do you know anything about physics?

Yes.  Yes, I do.  Are we talking about the fudnamentals about what you have wrong, or the practical reasons you're wrong?  Because they're actually quite different here.


Idealists have imaginations that are more developed. Imagination is key to human evolution. To evolve we need to train our minds to imagine.

Putting particle accelerators on trains may not be practical, but then again, it's not very wise or practical (long-term) to only think in ways of doing things that are only possible NOW.
 
2014-02-20 12:00:47 PM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: Idealists have imaginations that are more developed.


Understatement of the year.
 
2014-02-20 12:02:30 PM

OOBE Juan Kenobi: Imagination is key to human evolution.


Let's start here, Mr. Ill-informed transhumanist:
Human evolution, like every other species on the planet, is primarily driven by mutation and natural selection.  Evolution doesn't mean entirely positive changes.  Caging your philosophy in scientific terms just misuses the terms, it doesn't add credibility to your philosophy.


OOBE Juan Kenobi: Idealists have imaginations that are more developed.


I'm an idealist, but my ideals aren't quite so dipshiatty, so thanks.

OOBE Juan Kenobi: To evolve we need to train our minds to imagine.


Yeah, no. Per point #1.

OOBE Juan Kenobi: Putting particle accelerators on trains may not be practical, but then again,


Putting particle accelerators on trains is stupid.  That's your mistake.   I can "capture" a magnetic field with a small coil of copper wire.  That's how radios work.  The energy density of that field is way way way way way too low to drive a train literally filled with copper coils.  A particle accelerator would take gigawatts of extra energy on top of what it takes to drive the train to achieve... nothing in particular.

OOBE Juan Kenobi: it's not very wise or practical (long-term) to only think in ways of doing things that are only possible NOW.


It is wise and practical in the long term to understand the laws of physics as they actually exist.
 
2014-02-20 12:09:30 PM

Bucky Katt: DarkSoulNoHope: Iszael: You know what's a cheap way to get from A to B?  Common carrier.

I deadheaded from Iowa to Boston once in the passenger seat of a semi.  Cost: 0, it was going that way anyway.  I don't think my weight added significantly to the 40 ton truck.  And it took less than 19 hours, that was back when the truckers could work until they got tired, then sleep, then work some more.

Really, as much wasted space as there is in the cabs of trucks, you'd figure someone would have "an app for that" and let people chip in a couple bucks or a meal to get wherever they needed.  I think you'd be pretty safe, most drivers just want to get where they're going.  If you got on a particular truck through a public database, it'd be pretty obvious who did what to whom if there was any trouble.

And you have someone to talk to.  Truckers are funny guys...

Only hard part is stuff you have to do to "pay" for the ride.

[i1.ytimg.com image 850x478]

Sweet Jesus that movie sucked.


Yeah, probably it's after Dogma that Kevin Smith's movies started going down the hill (though probably started with Dogma, while still a pretty interesting film, went into "Airplane" silliness comedy territory with having G-d running around portrayed by Alanis Morissette) when he started doing "fantasy comedy" (probably why Mallrats didn't do as well either and Chasing Amy did, though it was still enjoyable in some ways).

He went totally over the hill with J&SBSB, but toned it down a little for Clerks 2 though still not enough (Donkey Show in a restaurant would be enough to get the manager and the rest of them fired, as well as prosecuted instead of released) and apparently the moral of that movie is to follow your dream to stay a Clerk... as long as you have two wealthy stoner friends (who got their money by making sure their legal likeness rights fees are paid to them, by traveling cross country with jewel thieves and a monkey) who will lend you money to buy the stores you worked at with the sole stipulation that they can continue to hang out in front of that store with no threat of removal.
 
2014-02-20 02:57:07 PM

redmid17: styckx: redmid17: andersoncouncil42: I'm traveling from Philly to Pittsburgh in a couple of weeks to begin a long business trip.
Cheapest airfare, $158 - through Dulles taking about 6 hours including showing up early for check in.
Cheapest Amtrak, $55 Direct. 7 hours. No baggage fee, practically no baggage limit, no security, more legroom, more comfortable seats, free internet, and I can get up and walk around without having to squeeze past people in the aisle.

I find this to be the case quite a lot.

No contest.

Flying from Philly to Pittsburgh is just a bad idea anyway. It's what a 4-4.5 hour drive?

11hr drive..

Are you driving to DC and then going to Pittsburgh? It's taken me just over 5 hours to drive across the state on my last two round trips, and I was going within 5 miles of the speed limit. PA state troopers do not fark around.


I'm not going to DC. If I flew, I'd have to go through DC, thus making the Amtrak trip more attractive in comparison.

I can't drive. It's a one way trip. I continue on to many cities afterward and I'm not leaving my car in Pitt for 2 months until my trip is over.
 
2014-02-20 03:14:06 PM

andersoncouncil42: redmid17: styckx: redmid17: andersoncouncil42: I'm traveling from Philly to Pittsburgh in a couple of weeks to begin a long business trip.
Cheapest airfare, $158 - through Dulles taking about 6 hours including showing up early for check in.
Cheapest Amtrak, $55 Direct. 7 hours. No baggage fee, practically no baggage limit, no security, more legroom, more comfortable seats, free internet, and I can get up and walk around without having to squeeze past people in the aisle.

I find this to be the case quite a lot.

No contest.

Flying from Philly to Pittsburgh is just a bad idea anyway. It's what a 4-4.5 hour drive?

11hr drive..

Are you driving to DC and then going to Pittsburgh? It's taken me just over 5 hours to drive across the state on my last two round trips, and I was going within 5 miles of the speed limit. PA state troopers do not fark around.

I'm not going to DC. If I flew, I'd have to go through DC, thus making the Amtrak trip more attractive in comparison.

I can't drive. It's a one way trip. I continue on to many cities afterward and I'm not leaving my car in Pitt for 2 months until my trip is over.


You weren't the one saying it was an 11 hr drive. Styckx was. It's only an 11 hr drive if you double back to DC or drive 25 miles an hour.
 
2014-02-20 03:37:58 PM

ikanreed: OOBE Juan Kenobi: Really? Do you know anything about physics?

Yes.  Yes, I do.  Are we talking about the fudnamentals about what you have wrong, or the practical reasons you're wrong?  Because they're actually quite different here.


I think he's saying you have to keep an open mind to help make new scientific discoveries.
 
2014-02-20 03:41:55 PM

Joe USer: I think he's saying you have to keep an open mind to help make new scientific discoveries.


There's a line between "particle accelerators are actually magic that fix all problems" and "There can be scientific improvements" can be seen from the moon with the naked eye.
 
2014-02-20 03:51:01 PM

ikanreed: Joe USer: I think he's saying you have to keep an open mind to help make new scientific discoveries.

There's a line between "particle accelerators are actually magic that fix all problems" and "There can be scientific improvements" can be seen from the moon with the naked eye.


Well, I didn't say he was doing a good job at it.
 
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