After wonderful experiences taking trains all over Japan, I thought about all the benefits we would derive from a good rail system and wondered why no one was talking about it. Each time I mentioned it the responses were something about being in love with our automobiles, or how awful Amtrak was. I took the train, once, from Pittsburgh to New York. The trip was so nasty I returned by bus–cleaner and faster. A high-speed rail system, like they have in Japan, would get me to New York in two and a half hours; Chicago in three hours. One of my recent flights from New York took seven hours. I could have driven in that time.
David Bear, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, had an article, last Sunday, about the situation; first time I’ve seen anything about it. He goes into all the statistics and concludes with some hope for improvement, but not much. I followed the link in the article and found there is some interest in US rail travel. With some Googling I found articles that had been broadcast on NPR and also found that the Japanese rail system is both private and publicly owned and makes a PROFIT. So, now I have this fantasy that Bill Gates will look at the situation, decide he could make money this way, and build high-speed rail service throughout the country, or at least from Pittsburgh to New York and Chicago.