Amtrak torture

November 10, 2018 by Joshua
in Nature

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I took Amtrak to California instead of flying.

But I’m concluding that one of the worst tortures humans could inflict on each other might be to force a Japanese train engineer or conductor to work for Amtrak. I can only imagine his or her suffering.

Late

Today, Amtrak canceled two trains without warning. On the way west from New York, we arrived in Chicago two or three hours late. I understand that Japanese passengers start looking uncomfortable if their trains are a few minutes late. Here’s a Japan Today post on Japan’s shinkansen best in world at safety, punctuality.

Americans regard our nation as the best on many things. Not trains. I lost count of how many people referred to our rail system as third world. Who could argue with them?

Look at the difference between the trains.

amtrak train

An Amtrak Train

japanese train

Japanese train

Slow

Amtrak’s top speed is probably a quarter of the Japanese train, which are not as fast as European bullet trains. I don’t think they call fast trains bullet trains any more. Why would you when 160 miles per hour is normal just because American trains top out at under half that. They’re just trains.

I don’t know what to call America’s trains. What’s the opposite of a bullet? A slug? Maybe we should call our trains slug trains.

Culture

I don’t blame Amtrak, though. American has a large segment that believes, contrary to evidence, that government support undermines people supporting themselves. While it may in some areas, infrastructure helps society, not just individuals.

This idea since Reagan that government is something to get off our backs instead of something to use when useful is holding this nation back.

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