Friday, February 15, 2019


She ran out through the back door
Screamin' in the night
She said I was the devil
I didn't treat her right
The man down at the station
Said "That was her for sure"

Now that train don't stop here anymore

-- Los Lobos

Especially true when the devil is in the details, as Joel Kotkin explains about AOC's high-speed rail fantasies in City Journal:
In her bid to kill the internal-combustion engine, Ocasio-Cortez apparently seeks to eliminate both cars and planes. Her favored solution for cross-continental travel: a massive network of high-speed trains.

Some of this must seem fanciful even to the democratic-socialist heartthrob from the Bronx. In contrast with Western Europe, where several high-speed rail lines operate, the United States has huge distances between cities; its average population density is between three and ten times less compact than that of the European continent. Even on the California coast, a 450-mile high-speed rail trip from  Los Angeles to San Francisco would have taken nearly four hours, compared with a one-hour plane ride. Imagine taking high-speed rail from Los Angeles to Chicago: a three-hour trip by plane becomes a 15-hour or longer trek across vast, empty spaces. During that time, the traveler would cover more high-speed rail mileage than the current length of the entire French system. 
How valuable is your time? If you want, or need, to go a long distance, it's expensive, but most people can afford a flight if they have to. We're in one of the best times of the year to travel; as I write this today, you can get an economy round-trip ticket from Chicago to Los Angeles for under $110. High-speed intercity rail doesn't work even in the places it's purported to work, unless you tax the snot out of the alternatives:
Of the many high-speed rail lines built in the developed world, only two (Tokyo-Osaka and Paris-Lyon) have ever been profitable, and in each case highway tolls for the same routes exceed $80 one-way, making high-speed rail in those cases an economical consumer choice. California, the green heart of the resistance, has met fiscal reality; reality won.  
Reality isn't what AOC is all about, but that ain't stopping her. Mitch McConnell will, though, at least for the moment.


R.A. Crankbait said...

Europe and the UK have a great network of trains. Too bad they're too expensive for family travel. We looked at train travel on a family vacation a while back, and tickets for four were at least double the cost of renting a car, even with buying the very expensive petrol over there. Plus you had to deal with schlepping your luggage with you everywhere on the train, even as you were sight-seeing because, because the stations no longer have baggage check areas thanks to the threat of terrorism. It also wasn't uncommon to find airplane fares to be lower than the train fare between certain cities.

One does wonder, though, how Nancy Pelosi would like giving up her first class plane trips from D.C. back to her district, in favor of the taking the train. She's old, she doesn't have time for that.

Gino said...

my daughter used to take the train into Frankfurt for work on many occassions. about 30 miles. it actually costed more than the price of the gas to drive herself, about $20 per trip.
the trains in germany are expensive. people use them because the price of gas is so damned high.

my son in law, a cop, rides the train for free if he is in uniform. that also obliges him to be 'on duty', so to speak, before he is actually on duty.
he's had to subdue and arrest people who were being violent, while on his way to work...

Bike Bubba said...

You've got to love it when liberals propose the least fuel efficient form of transportation out there as the solution to our environmental problems. Keeping the carriage on the rails requires 2-5x the weight/person being carried that is typical for a car or bus. Even airplanes beat rail, ironically. (there are advantages to only 0.2 atmospheres of air at 35k feet)