Monday, February 05, 2018

Amtrak sucks

Amtrak: 3 fatal crashes in a 49-day period.

As someone who once lived in Europe and traveled all over Western Europe by train, I can say with assurance that the Europeans know their trains and (with the possible exception of the forever-tardy Italians) do their trains right. European trains are generally comfortable and reliable. Amtrak, on the other hand, has had a long and embarrassing history of mishaps, mostly involving crashes of one sort or another.

It's no exaggeration to say that Amtrak has experienced a couple dozen derailments per year since 1976 (source). About 94% of US transportation-related fatalities involve cars, but I'm not sure how reassuring this statistic is for Amtrak users.

The above-linked article (first line) contains an embedded video that talks about how Japan manages to run its railways so safely. Perhaps our country could learn a thing or two.


John Mac said...

Another example of government incompetence. American railroads figured out long ago that running passenger trains was a losing proposition. That said, I reckon money could be made in select markets like the DC to NYC corridor.

Uncle Sam has the Midas touch in reverse--everything he touches turns to shit.

SJHoneywell said...

I've traveled by train from Chicago to Las Vegas and back.

It was fucking miserable.

Kevin Kim said...


In France, the SNCF (Société nationale des chemins de fer français, i.e., the National Society of French Railways) is a state institution. This doesn't mean you're wrong about US government incompetence, but there might be an implication, here, that the French government does some things better than the US government does those same things.


My sympathies. I'd love to hear/read that story.

Charles said...

The truth is that long-distance travelers in the US have very limited options if they don't want to leave the ground (and even flying is becoming more and more annoying). Trains suck, but buses are no joy ride, either. I'm pretty sure "Greyhound" is a name for one of the circles of Hell.