ScrewYouTube burped up this piece of offal onto my "recommended" list, which is Reason #2,074 on the list of Why They Suck. But it's time for an Andy Rooney essay.
Hitherto Unnoticed Schlub loves trains? Yippee for him. Whatever.
In fact, I like trains. Sometimes. Lots of people take it farther. Build them. Ride them. Obsessively photograph them and totally geek out on them. Okay, great. Walt Disney was that guy. Which is one of the few reasons I like trains: you can get from New Orleans Square to Tomorrowland without walking through the human car wash of too many people, all blocking every square foot of real estate to watch the ninth parade of the day.
But ArmChair TrainTard thinks train transit is great everywhere.
Counterargument #1 - I don't have to share a ride with these guys:
Not that I'd mind the shooting practice, but doing it every day, both ways?? Hard pass.
Think that's a new problem? An urban problem? Think again:
Second problem TrainTard "forgot" to mention:
Nice that he was caught, but it doesn't do the woman on the tracks any good; she's paté.
One dumbass anywhere on the route, and you're delayed, maybe injured. The "Sorry, boss; stupid people" excuse works once. The second time, they tell you to either get a car, or update your resumé. The third time, your stuff is in a box at the lobby security desk, and there's a new guy at your desk. Game over.
"Just let government do the driving." Sh'yeah, right, when monkeys fly outta my butt. The speed of the DMV, the efficiency of the Post Office, the customer service ethic of the TSA, and the health and safety of the VA, all rolled into one.
|Gold stars optional.|
TrainTard yakks about how nifty trains are in Europe. Well, yes. In countries where the streets were made for horses and itty-bitty wagons one way, a thousand years ago, where the entire "downtown" is a village slightly smaller than the mall I grew up visiting in the 1960s, FFS, and where you can cross five countries in a couple of hours, without trying very hard, on a bicycle. If all the states were MAssholia, Connecticut, and Rhode island, they'd be nifty here too. But there's Tennessee, from end to end. Montana. Califrutopia from north to south. And by God Texas, from halfway here to halfway there, a full day even if you're driving at speeding ticket speeds. I've seen me do it, and it was a full day. El Paso to Texarkana, and the same thing going the other way back from Loosiana to New Mexico. Trapped on a train for that? O Hell No!
Passenger trains were nice. In 1870. Compared to pack mule trains.
They went broke for the same reasons stagecoaches and steamships did: better ways of doing things.
If Califrutopia, for one example, wanted to seriously build a fastrail line that would work, it would be one from Frisco* to San Diego, with maybe four-five in-between stops: San Jose, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and OC. And go right up the coast. Not make fifty stops in every boondoggle one stoplight cowtown in the Central Valley, to payoff every demoCommunist crony construction contractor from Chico to the Imperial Valley.
The other line would go L.A.-Vegas, non-stop, at 200+MPH, on a best-course virtual beeline across the desert, and to hell with the desert protection NIMBY horsesh*t. And it would cost twice as much to go to Vegas as to leave it, both to keep the riff-raff off, and because people coming back are already broke. It would also save time over even airline flights, because of all the security hokum you'd eliminate at both ends.
So feel free to build those lines.
But anywhere else, just in this state?
Americans do understand trains.
They're slow, they stop in sh*thole neighborhoods, break down in slums, carry the worst of the lumpenproletariat at garlic-and-stinky-cheese-Frenchman-breath-and-b.o range, and you're trapped, for hours, in Hell's Waiting Room, with the lot. Hoping the engineer isn't stoned, or texting, and that no @$$hole walks or drives onto the tracks ahead, and that the tracks and trestles are where they're supposed to be since the last time they fixed them.
A car means you can stop when you want, where you want, in heat- or air-conditioned comfort, listening to only your music, and kids, or not, without toting your luggage three miles, dining wherever and whenever you like, stopping when you need to, making any side trip(s) that tickle your fancy, and overall, twice as fast as any train, to anywhere, once you factor in slow sections, stops, layovers, etc.
This is why we built Route 66, freeways, and the Defense Interstate Highway System: because personal choice and individual liberty, bitchez.
And we don't all want to live in postage-stamp sized Hootervilles. Some of us - most, in fact - would far rather live with this outside our front door:
Or a reasonable facsimile.
With the nearest neighbor at a distance measured in miles, and the nearest train horn at a distance measured in leagues.
Given the choice between hearing my neighbor's yappy dogs, and coyotes or wolves, and tiptoeing over Mrs. Idiot's Fluffy-made landmines, or bear scat and cougar kills, I'll take the wild version, eleven times out of ten, thankyewverymuch.
The problem isn't that America doesn't understand trains.
It's that TrainTard doesn't understand Americans.
He should enjoy his fetish, and fly his freak flag, in private. But don't try and flip your malfunction into a problem on the part of 330M other people. Narcissism and paraphilia is a bad combination.
You want to ride a train?
This is the pinnacle of that experience: