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AMTRAK Train Wreck

If only someone local and knowledgeable about this train line had predicted the possibility of an accident and spoke up. Like this guy maybe.

It was a replacement route for an existing run. The ridership should have been established by now.

He was talking about grade crossings, which he wanted eliminated. There are lots of freight trains crossing towns at grade; this new line was an opportunity to get some crossings moved off grade.

This was a new routing for the Amtrak trains, previously the train went along the water and around Point Defiance with many more turns and tunnels involved, also freight trains had the priority on the old route so part of the idea was to move the passenger service to a more direct line that is only shared with the Sounder trains

Possibly moving the train away from the waterfront hurt sales a little bit. Looked into buying a ticket in early november and on the date i wanted the morning northbound trains were both sold out.

The Cascades service has been running between Portland and Seattle (primarily) since 1971, part of a partnership between Washington,Oregon, and British Columbia.

One day, when gas prices soar over $5 a gallon, a lot more people will be looking at trains as a viable alternative to car travel. We Americans love our cars and, with cheap gas, can afford to ignore trains. One day that will change. Trains work well for passengers in Europe due to high fuel costs, road taxes, and road congestion.

If commute time improvements were supposed to be significant, then the expected number of riders would increase a lot. IMO, most of the new riders would wait to see how much the commute time actually improved before spending money on the train. Ten trips a week for about 48 weeks a year is a lot of money.

My prejudice is that the oil and car companies did it.

Things are different in the rest of the world.

Some pictures of China’s railroads.


No 150 year-old technology. No wooden ties. The only place wood is used is where standard ties cannot be used - wye where a line splits off. They take very good care of the lines. In the picture below a cracked tie is marked for replacement.


Electric rail everywhere - much of it high speed (200 mph).

Beautiful, large, clean stations.

Oil and cars companies? What nonsense! Doing 80 in a 30 zone is the obvious cause. As for China, they’ve poured billions into trains, all their excess money comes in handy. We don’t have that luxury.

My best wishes on your relocation to China.


China has railroads, America has highways. I kind of like the independence of highways myself.
200+ mph long distance travel is why airplanes were invented.

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China also has total control over the distribution of its population. They can design rails systems with “nodes”. And they spend billions on their railways while leaving the bulk of their population staving.
Personally, I prefer freedom. And food for my children. As well as the freedom of highways.

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