Ridership is up on Amtrak, and the Wall Street Journal suggests that the sorry state of commercial air transportation is a likely cause. That makes sense, and the anecdotal evidence seems to bear it out. But I think that Amtrak needs a lot of help before it becomes much of a solution to anything.
Almost anywhere in Europe, and in many other parts of the world, you’ll find better rail transportation than we have in the United States. Our automobile culture nearly wiped it out decades ago, and Amtrak in particular has been faltering ever since.
According to the Journal story, even some airline executives now see the wisdom of better, high-speed trains to relieve the air transport system of all those short-haul flights clogging the runways. That’s great, though I wish they’d seen it sooner, before our rail system had deteriorated so much.
I guess it’s no use jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. We probably need to have some sensible plan to fix the train system and the plane system.