Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New poll: do you support passenger rail?

Yes, there is railroad real estate connecting Santa Fe with Rapid City: a set of rusty, barely-active tracks in the historic rail bed owned by the State of South Dakota now operated by Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad, terminates on BNSF's holdings at Dakota Junction, Nebraska.

The speed limit on Nebraska 71 is 60 miles per hour on the 75 miles of bone-dry high prairie grassland between Crawford and Scottsbluff: it's potentially deadly during a blizzard.

US18/US85 between Hot Springs and Lusk, Wyoming is no better; besides, I-25, especially through the Denver metro, sucks at biblical proportions: so does flying through DIA with its likelihood of a strip search.

Construction on the estimated half-billion dollar Heartland Expressway connecting Rapid City with I-80 in Nebraska or Wyoming (nobody knows) is glacial if not completely stalled while traffic between the Black Hills and Denver continues to increase as does the volume between Denver and Santa Fe. Amtrak goes over (sometimes under) Raton Pass. The New Mexico RailRunner connects Santa Fe with ABQ and the Southwest Chief.

There is an abandoned right of way that used to connect Sioux Falls and Rapid City with passenger service: it mostly parallels I-90, one of the largest carbon-based fuel black holes in the cosmos.

Minnesota Public Radio has been following fast-tracking development of light rail. Amtrak is reporting 300% ridership increases in some markets.

Senator Jon Tester would like to restore passenger rail in southern Montana.

Should there be passenger rail service between Albuquerque and Colorado Springs?


Anonymous said...

I'm all for long distance passenger rail travel here in the US. I'd rather take the train then fly any day rather than be charged for everything including the bathroom the way it's going with fees. Our family took Amtrak years ago and it worked great being able to walk around, enjoy the scenery and the food was delicious and very reasonable for prices. Too bad we don't have rail service like Europe or Japan. It's a step in the right direction though. Lynn G.

larry kurtz said...

Exactly, Lynn: bringing the love of the land back to flyover states is the best way to teach the importance of preserving habitats. Wildlife crossings need to be integrated into improved rail service.

Thanks for your input here.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention the obvious. The scenery is absolutely incredible from a train that you don't see by car and it's very relaxing, affordable and you can hang out in the lounge car or whatever and meet other passengers if you wish. It's green also! :)

larry kurtz said...

Curious why the Postal Service and Amtrak have not formed a strategic partnership.

larry kurtz said...

Poll results: 12 people voted, 9 said they would support passenger rail between ABQ and Colorado Springs, 3 voted no.