Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

“Trains Make Sense for America”: Reuters UK Interviews James McCommons

Sure, passenger rail in the US is in a sorry state, says James McCommons (Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service). But there’s hope for the future thanks to the $8 billion in stimulus funds set aside for rail travel (not to mention the recurring billion dollars a year) and a resurgence from the general public in rail travel. We’re a long way from high-speed rail networks connecting major urban hubs, but such a system could be on the horizon.

From Reuters UK:

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – Anyone who wants to travel by train from the United States’ third-biggest city, Chicago, to Houston must board a bus for part of the journey.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail operator, no longer directly serves Houston, the country’s fourth largest city from the north; a bus connects from Longview, Texas.

Such is the sorry state of passenger rail travel in the United States, says James McCommons in “Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service.”

McCommons, a journalism professor at Northern Michigan University, spent a year riding Amtrak trains, logging 26,000 miles. He interviewed rail advocates, freight executives, politicians and train crews and passengers about how to improve rail travel, relieve highway congestion and cut energy use.

McCommons spoke with Reuters about rail politics, his favorite trains, and obsessive rail fans called “foamers.”

Q: You call the U.S. a third-world country when it comes to passenger rail. How did it get this way?

A: “We had a private system versus the public system like other countries have. We let it go to seed. After World War Two it was easier to replace trolley systems with buses. Amtrak is a quasi-public entity created to take money-losing passenger operations away from freight railroads. The idea was Amtrak would somehow become profitable, but it had mandates from Congress that were in conflict, to maintain a nationwide system and create efficiencies to make money. Amtrak’s never done that. There’s also been animosity with the freight railroads.”

Read the whole article here.

 

Related Articles:


Three Principles to Survive the Future

What guiding principles will you need to not just survive the future, but imagine a better one? Surviving the Future is a story drawn from the fertile ground of the late David Fleming’s extraordinary Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It. That hardback consists of four hundred and four interlinked dictionary entries, […] Read More

Sow Seeds: Stop Walking Around Doing Nothing

“In the last one hundred years, 94 percent of seed varieties available at the turn of the century in America and considered a part of the human commons have been lost.”That’s one of the key takeaways in award-winning author and activist Janisse Ray’s book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food. In her book, Ray […] Read More

True or false? Figs contain dead wasps

They are trees of life and trees of knowledge. They are wish-fulfillers … rainforest royalty … more precious than gold. They are the fig trees, and they have affected humanity in profound but little-known ways. Gods, Wasps and Stranglers tells their amazing story.Fig trees fed our pre-human ancestors, influenced diverse cultures and played key roles […] Read More

Eight Seed-Saving Myths

You don’t have to move to Svalbard, Norway in order to have access to a seed bank.Author and plant breeder Carol Deppe believes that every gardener should have her own seed bank. Even if you aren’t a seed saver, you should have your own seed bank. Even if you never experience any disaster beyond the […] Read More

Solar Dollars: Promote Renewable Energy & Support Local Economies

How can you use the sun as a way to not only generate renewable energy, but support the local economy and provide interest-free financing for utility companies?Author Thomas Greco (The End of Money and the Future of Civilization) has the answer: Solar Dollars!In a recent post on this blog (Beyond Money), Greco makes the case […] Read More
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com