5.10.15

THE NEGLECTED ACTOR.

The Daily Beast tells the saga of The Crash of Trump Air.  Not that there's any surprise to the transport cognoscenti.  Mr Trump is another in a long line of hopefuls who made a small fortune in aviation by starting with a large fortune.  Somebody with aviation experience even warned him.  But nowhere in the story, which is about the developer's adventures with the former Eastern Air Shuttle (anybody remember "The Wings of Man?") beginning with his acquisition of the route and some clapped-out 727s (the Constellations and Electras long gone to the desert) is there any mention of what really made life difficult for the shuttles in the Official Region.  The article claims "business travel was slowing in the Northeast."

Not at all.  Here's what the winner looked like in March, 1988.


That's the time-honored ritual of the engine change at New Haven, Connecticut.  Motor 938 at right has brought a Northeast Regional train in from Washington, D.C., and F40 216 (which, if it's still around, is cabbage car 90216) is about to take over for Boston.  The motors are allowed speeds of up to 125 mph south of Newark, and the diesels can cruise at 105 or 110 on some stretches of track in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Electrification onward to Boston and the Acela Expresses hitting 150 to the north and airport security going from annoying to aggravating are more than a decade away.  And yet the incremental improvements to Amtrak service commencing on the Northeast Corridor in the late 1970s were enough to change the economics of air transportation, deregulation or not.

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