Monday, December 8, 2008

News About Train Travel from Here and There

I have set up a number of Google Alerts, so when a story appears in the media in which “Amtrak” or “VIA Rail” or “train travel” is featured, I’m notified by email. What an amazing service!

At any rate, it's a great way to keep up with what's going on with train travel around the world. For instance …

* The price of gasoline may be down, but Amtrak ridership is still increasing as people continue to opt for rail travel. In other words: Try it, you’ll like it!

* By taking Eurostar under the English Channel to Paris and continuing on high-speed ski-trains from there, British skiers are getting to winter resorts in the French Alps in almost the same time as they can by flying. Plus there are no weather delays or diversions, and they’re saving money because of the charges the airlines now levy for transporting all those bulky skis and gear.

* Thanks largely to efforts by this country’s railroads, the number of grade crossing accidents has been significantly reduced over the past 20 years. But I still come across stories about one of these tragic incidents almost every day.

* Over the past year or so, there has been a significant decrease in complaints about Amtrak’s on time performance. It has, in fact, improved dramatically. The reason seems to be that finally – finally! – the nations freight railroads have seen the wisdom of joining with Amtrak and the commuter railroads to seek federal dollars for improving the entire system. And why not, since everyone uses most of the same infrastructure!

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