Trains, Difference Between Europe and The US

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As the railroads grew, so did the U.S.A. Then around 1970 the decision was made to switch to trucking to move goods and only use railroads for long distance transportation.
IMO that slowed growth in the U.S.A. Local spurs have been mostly eliminated and in some cases main lines through cities.
People were complaining about trains through towns/cities blocking traffic. Thing is, the railroads were there first, then towns sprang up along them for the convenience factor.
The most efficient method of moving goods is by water, which has obvious limitations, #2 is by rail, by truck is a very distant #3, then airplanes is a distant #4 and the most expensive.
One of the RR trestles in Indiana is the longest and tallest in the U.S.A.
 
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The Chunnel ( rail tunnel under the channel to France) has rail cars you drive into and you stay in your car for the short journey to/from Calais

I'm told there is a line in the US (East coast) Where car and people share the train (not like the Chunnel far as I know) I'd like to see that for cross country.. I could for example Drive to Detroit. Or Toledo. either park my car on a rail car or hand my key to porter and get off in or near Wyoming to visit my grandkids. I'd have my car. with my radios and no need for a rental or loss of coms.
 
As the railroads grew, so did the U.S.A. Then around 1970 the decision was made to switch to trucking to move goods and only use railroads for long distance transportation.
IMO that slowed growth in the U.S.A. Local spurs have been mostly eliminated and in some cases main lines through cities.
People were complaining about trains through towns/cities blocking traffic. Thing is, the railroads were there first, then towns sprang up along them for the convenience factor.
The most efficient method of moving goods is by water, which has obvious limitations, #2 is by rail, by truck is a very distant #3, then airplanes is a distant #4 and the most expensive.
One of the RR trestles in Indiana is the longest and tallest in the U.S.A.
Economics made the decision. We're now in a tertiary or service economy (1. Agrarian 2. Industrial 3. Service (consumer)). There's no chance railroads could deliver the volume of goods required to keep this juggernaut functioning. The highways are the conduits which enable the "on time" inventory system to work. Gone are the days when you asked " can you check in the back and see if you have any of x". Their store rooms and warehouses are traveling down the road at 70 mph. What you see on the shelf is largely what's in stock, if it wasn't stocked overnight, it's because there wasn't any. That's also why diesel fuel went from being $.10 a gallon and cheaper than gas in the 60's to what it is today, "demand".
 
I'm told there is a line in the US (East coast) Where car and people share the train (not like the Chunnel far as I know) I'd like to see that for cross country.. I could for example Drive to Detroit. Or Toledo. either park my car on a rail car or hand my key to porter and get off in or near Wyoming to visit my grandkids. I'd have my car. with my radios and no need for a rental or loss of coms.
yup.

The idea isn't a bad one, but it is not inexpensive, and there is only one route. And the embarkation-Debarkation is a bit more time consuming that seems practical. It's not really practical for a short term run, but
I know some snowbirds who use it each year, and love it.
Making a East-West cross country route would be interesting.
 
As the railroads grew, so did the U.S.A. Then around 1970 the decision was made to switch to trucking to move goods and only use railroads for long distance transportation.
Trains, trucks, ships & plane all work together in a highly complex system of product delivery and distribution. Other than the long distance factor you mentioned, trains will never be replaced when it comes to moving materials such as coal, iron ore, fertilizers, sugar, grain etc.
 
My limited experience (living in Germany three years... during Regan) is that Europe, or at least Germany is you can get around OK without a car, but not so much in the US. Some things may have changed since then... I took a train from near Trier to Frankfort; learned real quick the train does not stop long, and you have to move your own luggage. The guy I was traveling with and I; well we figured out real quick that one of us tosses luggage and the other one catches. I regret not utilizing the trans in Europe more but I had a car and being an American, well... oh, if the German train is not on time, change the time your watch, because your watch is wrong.

Four days later I boarded AmTrac from Charleston SC to Fayetteville NC; completely different experience. You check your luggage like an airline. The German trains were like catching a bus. Another down side of American trains, you get to see a side of America you really don't want to know it there. There is a reason for the old saying; "the other side of the tracks".

A few years later while living in Texas, I decided to investigate taking a train from Dallas back to Fayetteville NC as an alternative to air or car. The route would take us from Texas to Chicago to some where else NOT Raleigh, and I lost track after that. Total time was about two days and not a lot of savings over air. Seems like there was a lot of lay over too. (My understanding is passenger travel uses the time in between freight but not sure how accurate that is.) Believe we ended up driving...
 
The only time I can remember taking a train for commuting was as a kid in SoCal when we'd take the train from Fullerton to San Clemente to see my grandparents. "Moon the Amtrak" was in fashion then. Quite a thrill. Nowdays the only time folks take the train is for cross country scenic trips (don't miss the buffet in the dining car!) and East Coasters on commutes in/out of the City. Here in Dallas most DART is very sparsely ridden to/from the 'burbs into Dallas proper and certainly not past 6 or so at night.
 
In 1960 my Mom, my two brothers and me traveled by train from Spokane, Washington to Marianna, Florida ( the closest train station to Panama City, FL.). Slept in the berths with the curtains and ate in the dining car.
 
yup.

The idea isn't a bad one, but it is not inexpensive, and there is only one route. And the embarkation-Debarkation is a bit more time consuming that seems practical. It's not really practical for a short term run, but
I know some snowbirds who use it each year, and love it.
Making a East-West cross country route would be interesting.

Thanks for the link and yes I'm hoping for an east/west run some day Will need to compare train to highway travel costs Looks like DC to Orlando for around 200.. that's not really that bad.
Train or plane same price for the person and car about the same as Gas.... No rental at the other end.. I'd say it's a good deal. If only it went west .
 
In the 70's in Germany we'd load the M-60 tanks and M-113 APC's on rail cars for long trips cross country ( Graf., Baumholder, Wildflicken, etc). We'd ride upfront in non air conditioned passenger cars with seats like something out of the old west. I've been told waking up to a rocking, lurching, 95° rail car after a night of bacchanalia will make one take up religion.
 
If we go to NYC we drive to Princeton Junction and take the train to either Grand Central Station or Madison Gardens. I do not want to drive or park in NYC. When we lived in Illinois we would take the train to the St Louis airport. We could catch the train at Scott AFB where we parked our car on base and the train pulled into the terminal at the airport. I think it cost $2.
 
My limited experience (living in Germany three years... during Regan) is that Europe, or at least Germany is you can get around OK without a car, but not so much in the US. Some things may have changed since then..

Much of The England. France. Germany and other countries "over there" are crisscrossed with railroads and trains run frequently.. Alas the US many rail lines are no longer there and mostly freight on a lot of them That said I've traveled by train a number of times.. Starting in elementary school (School trip) then later to an event and even on a few STEAM (Historic exclusion trains) (Two different engines 3 trips) One was a Mighty-Mike (Mikado) made for Japan just prior to WW II but for obvious reasons never delivered. This one has the ring of bolts on the font like the engine in the movie Murder on the Orient Express The other engine was 1218 A freight engine.

There is a somewhat tragic story about how I came to ride that one... I'm a ham radio operator and we put an operator in each car so if things were needed we could radio to wherever they were. Well one of the radio operators was a certified medic but not on the train. There as an accident where some teens tried to beat the train across the crossing (Fatal mistake). He tried to be all EMT.. They told him he was no longer wanted and I was his replacement... After something happened I talked to the official paid EMT and told him "Now I know what to in this situtation" And he got that 'Oh no" look.. I continued with "Pick up this mic and call for you" He relaxed and said "Exactly".
 
The year was 1976. I road a train from Zurich, Switzerland to Manheim, Germany. It was the smoothest ride on any machine I ever had, before and after.

I ridden several trains in the USA (including Subway trains). I think they beat the passengers up. No train I've ever ridden in the USA has EVER compared to the absolute, unbelievable, smoothness of that one I rode in Europe.

Yes, the USA has a lot to catch up on.
 
my first experience riding a train was back in 1958. brother and I walked down to the rr tracks and there was a train stopped and we climbed up the ladders to see what was inside the coal hopper. got to the top and the train took off. luckily it only went about a mile before it stopped again. getting killed by the train was less worry than what my parents would have done if they found out.
 
Much of The England. France. Germany and other countries "over there" are crisscrossed with railroads and trains run frequently.. Alas the US many rail lines are no longer there and mostly freight on a lot of them That said I've traveled by train a number of times.. Starting in elementary school (School trip) then later to an event and even on a few STEAM (Historic exclusion trains) (Two different engines 3 trips) One was a Mighty-Mike (Mikado) made for Japan just prior to WW II but for obvious reasons never delivered. This one has the ring of bolts on the font like the engine in the movie Murder on the Orient Express The other engine was 1218 A freight engine.

There is a somewhat tragic story about how I came to ride that one... I'm a ham radio operator and we put an operator in each car so if things were needed we could radio to wherever they were. Well one of the radio operators was a certified medic but not on the train. There as an accident where some teens tried to beat the train across the crossing (Fatal mistake). He tried to be all EMT.. They told him he was no longer wanted and I was his replacement... After something happened I talked to the official paid EMT and told him "Now I know what to in this situtation" And he got that 'Oh no" look.. I continued with "Pick up this mic and call for you" He relaxed and said "Exactly".
Yea, I regret not getting a Eurorail pass when I was there but in my defense I got caught up in a RIF and discharged before completing my term. I had 30 days leave and a couple grand saved up to tour around Europe... and was close to finding a "traveling companion". (We started dating just before Regan dropped the bomb on me and a few thousand others airmen.)
 
my first experience riding a train was back in 1958. brother and I walked down to the rr tracks and there was a train stopped and we climbed up the ladders to see what was inside the coal hopper. got to the top and the train took off. luckily it only went about a mile before it stopped again. getting killed by the train was less worry than what my parents would have done if they found out.
I and a friend outran a train once when we were about 12. We were out with our BB guns and there was a loonngg trestle (3/8 of a mile) crossing over a slough and flood plain. Looking north you could see for several miles as the rails ran straight as an arrow but to the south they disappeared around a bend less than 1/2 mile away. About halfway across I dropped some BB's and knelt down to pick them up. While I was down there I happened to put my hand on the rail and it was vibrating. I looked north - nothing. I turned around and looked south just as a freight train rounded the corner doing about 40 MPH. "Train!"

We took off sprinting north, and at one point it entered my mind to just bail over the side onto one of the truss supports but if I missed it was about a 50-foot drop to the ground so I kept running. The entire time I could hear the brakes screeching behind us and the engineer hit the horn a couple times (like that's going to make us run faster).

We finally got to a point where the ground sloped up so we jumped over the side and fell about 10-feet to the gravel just as the train screeched by. It finally came to a stop with the engine about 8 car-lengths up the track. The engineer walked back and gave us hell for several minutes, then he left and the train got back on schedule.

Prior to that, I always thought that feeling the train rail vibrating only happened in the movies. Good times...
 

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