Together they perfectly encapsulate what I call the Ideal of Train Travel. The first being the current ideal - the idea of clean, comfortable, punctual, stress-free travel - using existing technology and layouts and the second being the future ideal when all practical obstacles are removed.
But it’s a chimera. Probably. Especially, the future ideal. I don’t know about the economics but I’d guess the chances that you could run track to everyone’s front door are probably rather low. There’s the expense, the inconvenience, the difficulty in getting carriages to marry up with one another. My guess is that if someone hasn’t already come up with it there are probably good reasons why they haven’t.
I am not even particularly optimistic about the current ideal. To create that much on-board space would require either much higher fares or much higher taxes. And all the business to do with punctuality and cleanliness requires culture - something that you (especially if that “you” happens to be the government) can’t create over night. And that’s not to mention crime, vandalism and graffiti which are to a large extent outside the railway’s control.
Frankly, when all things are considered, the family car is a damn sight closer to the ideal than trains are or are ever likely to be.
Next post: Why railways are doomed.