You have to be patient.
Science fiction author Charles Stross is shocked at how slow and inefficient travel by train is in the United States.
Railroad operators are pressing for advantage over their main competitor, long-haul trucking, which has struggled with rising fuel prices, driver shortages and highway congestion. Railroads say a load can be moved by rail using about a third as much fuel as it takes to haul it by truck. And rail transport is becoming more efficient still, they say, as operators speed their lines and logistics companies build huge warehouse areas along routes.
Demand for rail service increased sharply when the U.S. economy and Asian imports surged starting in 2003. Tight capacity on major routes enabled railroads to raise prices. The growth in freight volume has slowed along with economic growth, but shippers say they’re still planning to increase their use of rail transport because of the cost.
“The railroad industry is finally making some money,” says Charles “Wick” Moorman IV, chief executive officer of Norfolk Southern Corp., based in Norfolk, Va. “And we’re pumping that money into our infrastructure.”
Containers are, as so often these days, at the heart of the story.
Gingerbread train station by Wendy McClure
Why don’t you see a gingerbread el train? Because I wanted to make this as much like a real el station as possible.
Sign on New Jersey Transit
Riding NJ Transit is a bit of a dream - warm, comfy, on time, and reasonably priced. The conductors wear proper train conductor hats with little brims and railroad buttons all over them. Passengers, in general, do not talk, which was an unexpected bonus. Indeed, a woman sitting two seats away from me had to make a call on her cell phone about a UPS delivery, and actually got up and moved in order to do so. “I don’t want to distract you from your book,” she said. When I protested that it was fine, she said, “No, it’s not fine.” This is probably less of a New Jersey Transit thing and more of a rare person with manners thing, but it was rather refreshing.
Free newspapers distributed to subway commuters are a major cause of subway track flooding, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority investigative task force has found.
Leftover stacks of papers such as AM New York and Metro that blew onto the tracks and clogged drains were partially responsible for the crippling subway flood of September 8, 2004, which affected 15 subway lines, according to the task force’s findings.