8.2.13

THE CASE FOR FREQUENCY, CONNECTIVITY, AND SPEED.

A colleague provides a link to an instructive post illustrating how skimpy the Amtrak network is.
Texas, for example, has three of America's ten largest cities: Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. But the inexplicable lack of a direct rail connection between Houston and Dallas makes the state look, on [the national] map, emptier than Missouri. In fact, the nation's second-largest state had only 465,000 riders in 2012. Missouri, meanwhile, had 739,000.
There's this baseball city on the west bank of the Mississippi River that has two trains a day to Sedalia and Kansas City, four trains a day to Springfield and Chicago, and an overnight train to Little Rock and Texas points.  That's a lot of travel potential for Missourians, even with weak connections among the routes at St. Louis, or onward at Kansas City or Chicago.

There's a map showing the southeastern states, including the Carolinas, which benefit from something resembling an emerging corridor, including extensions of the Northeast Corridor to Savannah and Charlotte, and some of the medium-sized cities of the Old Confederacy have more boardings than some of the larger cities of Texas.  The national map shows substantially more boardings at Detroit and Kalamazoo than at any of the big cities in Texas.  There's a business-friendly (when it's on time) schedule between Longview and St. Louis, but to get anywhere from Longview, you're renting a car or catching a bus.

The good news is, Passenger Rail advocates are catching on.
Unlike airplanes or buses which must make detours to drop off passengers at intermediate points, trains glide into and out of stations with little delay, pausing for under a minute to unload passengers from multiple doors. Trains can, have, and continue to effectively serve small towns and suburbs, whereas bus service increasingly bypasses them.
Ten years of Cold Spring Shops commentary on the value of intermediate stops and dependable service, all in one article. Go, read, and understand.

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