n this article I will discuss why trains in America, suck. After reading this, you will understand why America doesn't have good, cheap, and faster railway systems here.
America is Sparsely Populated Except in Texas, California, and in the metropolitan area, cities are just not close enough to make train travel cheaper or faster than plane travel. Closer Cities When cities are 300 to 200 miles apart from each other. It is faster to take a train from downtown to downtown than driving to an airport, checking in, going through security, flying, then driving downtown.
There are definitely cities this close to each other. So why do train still not exist in those areas? The US has the geography to make railways. Yet, a train from DC to New York cost at least $49 and it takes 3 hours and 29 minutes. only half and hour less that driving. And gas for a car clearly doesn't cost $49 for that short of a drive.
Other Countries (France) France on the other hand, a train from Rennes to Paris, a close distance, only costs $30, and it takes 2 hours and 4 minutes. That's cheaper and faster.
America has one high speed train, the Acela Express, but a trip from DC to New York cost $120 and it still takes 2 hours and 50 minutes. Still slower that France's.
Turkey, Poland, and Uzbekistan have high speed railways all faster than the US's fastest train.
Background Knowledge Back when rail roads first appeared in America, they were amazing. America first built its first in 1826. It had a trans continental line starting in 1869. Only 19 years after California became a state!
Railroads back then traveled everywhere. Most historians agreed that without railroads, we couldn't be a industrialized as we are now.
Cargo services on trains was were the money was really being made. Most rail companies ran passenger trains to advertise their cargo rail lines.
As cars became more popular in the 30s and planes became popular in the 50s, there was no reason to set up passenger services.
This is why we don't have many railways anymore.
Amtrak Amtrak came along. It is the federally funded railway company. It was supposed to make trains great again. But it didn't.
One issue with Amtrak is the unreliability. only 72% of the trains arrive on time. That means that out of the 300 trips a day, 84 of them are going to arrive late.
The California Zephyer route from Chicago to San Francisco arrived on time 31% of the time. The delays are because of the cargo trains.
You see, Amtrak only owns 730 miles of the 21,300 miles of track it uses. On the Zephyr route, Union Pacific owns half of the track and BNSF owns the other half.
The BNSF will tend to prioritize their trains on their track instead of Amtrak's. So, Amtrak's trains are told to wait. The same with Union Pacific's tracks.
In other European countries, they don't have this problem. Take France for example, the national rain company, the SNCF, own all the track, so they can give passenger trains the priority.
This is why America will probably never have a good, fast, and cheap railway system.