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November 17, 2020


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A major contribution to the demise of rail traffic was made by "Little Jimmy Hoffa" and the Teamsters Union.

I took Amtrak from Flagstaff to Dodge City and back several years ago (to visit the relatives of my ex). The trains were clean, comfortable, spacious, and the service and food were good. The landscape we passed through was beautiful. However, we experienced lengthy stand-still delays on both legs of the trip, and we (and the entire train) were searched by law enforcement agents and drug-sniffing dogs when the train stopped in Albuquerque.

I've traveled by train in Canada and South Korea, and the trains ran on time, and I wasn't assumed to be a drug smuggler for riding them.

It would be great to renew Amtrak service to Phoenix. However, if the trains don't stay on schedule and the passengers feel like they are in an episode of COPS, I don't see how it can be successful in the long run.

In the early 2000s, there was a private luxury train called the American Orient Express. It operated much like a cruise ship where the train would reposition during nighttime hours, then the passengers would see some attraction sights during the day. I served as an onboard lecturer approximately four times a year for about 10 years. Near the end of my run with the train, the National Parks itinerary (Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Yellowstone and Grand Teton) used Phoenix Union Station as with the front end of embarkation or the back end of debarkation. Seeing the station fenced off with cheap fencing was a not a good sight to the passengers. However, as a huge fan of all things Arizona, I was so pleased to learn about the station. Ahhh. But for different priorities and more sensible policies.

If train travel could be anything close to what the experience is like in most of Europe, I don't believe I'd ever fly domestically again.

It is so civilized compared to the depressing experience of the whole airport, cattle call, TSA, check in scenario. I would have a beer and a menu in my hand before the train even got up to full speed, while watching foreground scenery. Ahhh...

2035, cal will be 115 years old.

And the asphalt on Phoenix streets will bubble and run like a river.

“Survival is the ability to swim in strange water.”
bene-gesserit, proverb
― Frank Herbert, Dune

DG, in 2017 I rode the new Frecciarossa (Red Arrow) high-speed train from Bologna to Milan and for long stretches we were consistently going 185 miles per hour. Beautiful cars, and quiet and vibration free, too, due not only to the rolling stock but also to the well-engineered, grade-separated roadbed. Bravo Italia!

Phoenix to San Diego = about 350 miles. Do the math.

Hydrogen already powers some large transport such as trains in countries such as Germany and the UK, but getting clean, green hydrogen is still a challenge


Wonder what Frank Herbert would think?

Will camels go extinct?

Ohio was considering a 3C (Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati) rail corridor but then governor kasich shot it down.
I remember in the mud 70's, having to work the day after Thanksgiving. We had enjoyed Thanksgiving with many family members from out of town at my grandmother's in northeast ohio. I took a train from cleveland's terminal tower to columbus' union station. 670, the inner belt, runs through where the old yard and station did then. The train was a couple of coaches and an old F unit - black with the 'dollar general, el cheapo' Penn Central still on her. She was a smokey, tired old beast.
Seems America had rail right of ways established through every little town.
I think the dirty politicians (ALL OF THEM, BOTH 'PARTIES'!!) ALL had their hands in the oil and steel markets, and strangled the railroads on purpose.

The trains were a great way to see these United States. Now there are running by ex airline heads, just looking to cut everything. The long distance trains use to be 5 or 7 days a week now there 3 days a week, food is like Airport food in a box no taste to it. They cut the employees down to nothing. My wife has work for amtrak for over 14 years as a LSA now with the new look she's a cook a food specialist and a waitress and hosts.

Trumps train ride cant get out the woods.

Ten years ago, my twin brother, who lives in West Seattle, was hit by an 18-wheeler as he was jogging to his job in the city. My parents live in Bellingham and called me as soon as they learned what happened to him. I flew to Seattle to see my brother in the ICU at Harborview. As the doctors and nurses tended to him that night, I went back to Bellingham with my parents. I stayed in Washington a few days and visited my brother several more times. He ended up making a full recovery. When it was time for me to head back home to Denver, my mom offered me a ride to Seattle. I thought about it and then asked her when the train left Bellingham station for Seattle. Conveniently, a train left the next morning with stops along the way, including downtown Seattle. I declined my mom's offer and bought a one-way pass on the Cascades route. It was easily one of the most enjoyable trips I have taken, and this includes plane, auto, and bus. The tracks hugged the coastline, and in some places, it seemed I could jump out the window into the ocean. The scenery was beautiful. There was wi-fi, a bar car, and plenty of room to spread out. I remember thinking how perfect the trip was, and wondering why people are so hostile to traveling by train.

The TSA is useless. Their personal are inept and vindictive. TSA does VERY little to secure the skies, is a waste of money that doesn't save lives and might actually cost them. The latest proposal the TSA is considering proves that theory. Now they want to ruin rail travel.

Railroads face December deadline for plans to meet new TSA rules

Regulations require increased training, identify some train-watching and rail photography as possible security threat

By Dan Zukowski | October 15, 2020

Some train-watching and rail photography could be considered security threats under new Transportation Security Administration regulations. Railroads must submit plans for meeting the new rules by Dec. 21.

WASHINGTON — A late 2020 deadline is approaching for railroads and transit systems to submit plans on how they plan to comply with new Transportation Security Administration rules on security training.

The new regulations require freight railroads, passenger railroads and designated “higher risk” transit systems to submit plans on how they will comply by Dec. 21, 2020.

The new rules build on existing regulations. All Class I railroads and any freight railroad that acts as a host railroad for a Class I carrier or passenger operator are subject to this regulation, as well as hazardous materials shippers and those operating within a designated “high threat urban area.” The TSA lists 46 such areas in 28 states and the District of Columbia.

Amtrak, Caltrain, Metrolink, Metra, and Virginia Railway Express are among the passenger railroads that must comply, as well as 46 specific transit systems including Bay Area Rapid Transit, LA Metro, Washington Metro, New York MTA, Chicago Transit Authority, New Jersey Transit, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

The TSA estimates the total cost to the freight railroad industry at $35.2 million over a 10-year period. For all affected passenger rail and transit operators, the total is estimated at $23.8 million over the same period.

“The regulation isn’t as onerous as it may appear,” said Harry Schultz, section chief at the TSA.

Each railroad or transit agency must have a security coordinator and at least one alternate security coordinator, and they must be accessible to the TSA 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Significant security violations must be reported to the TSA within 24 hours.

Yep your right Les. The creation of TSA and HLS was the hyper space jump to the Orwellian surveillance state. But the US is light years behind China on keeping an eye on everyone.
Currently i hear in addition to your fingerprints, your body heat and face profile, HLS wants to photograph your eyeballs.
Heck of a train ride we are on.
Just a matter of time before it derails.
But i heard from ee cummings there's a hell of a planet next door.

Off topic:

Trains and the desert


Geologists estimate that the Sonoran Desert has been accumulating for about two billion years. Today it occupies approximately 100,000 square miles — an area larger than Britain — that stretch from the Colorado Plateau in the north down through Sonora, Mexico, in the south, and from Southern California in the west to just east of Tucson. In the desert’s Pinacates Volcanic Field, as little as an inch of rain falls in a year. NASA used to train Apollo astronauts there — it was the closest thing to a moonscape they could find.

The Border Patrol’s Tucson sector — with over 3,600 agents — is one of the most heavily staffed.

Train to the desert
The Beast:

Getting off the train to go on foot:

Trains and the TSA
Maybe Biden will get a passenger train to go from Nogales to Phoenix.

I took a train out of Phoenix in January 1966.Had plenty of time to write the term paper and train was clean and on time. Whenever I travel in Europe it’s on a train with plenty of room and and very relaxing..I know why more people don’t like trains;they have never ridden one.

I’ll never forget riding the Super Chief from Ashfork to Chicago in 1954 (continuing on to the NYC and NYNH&H) to Berlin, CT.
As a travel agent in the 1990s, the biggest objection to AMTRAK service was arrival and/or departure times (nobody wants to arrive or depart Flagstaff at 5am).
I loved the trains when I lived in Europe.
Time to “get over it” and take the train !!

Unless you are the filthy American rich, you are not allowed to have nice things. Get back to work.

I just heard on the news about the Amtrak shooting in Tucson today. It reminded me of my own Amtrak experience that I described in this Comments section on November 17, 2020. Sadly, today's law enforcement "sweep" of the train ended in tragedy.

It seems that, for at least 18 years (since I took that trip to Kansas), law enforcement agencies have perceived Amtrak to be a major vehicle for the illegal transport of drugs and weapons.

I wonder if this is a common problem on the long-distance rail systems of other leading nations. I've only been ordered off a train, sniffed by dogs, and had my backpack searched while traveling by train in the USA; not in Canada or South Korea.

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