Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service (Google eBook)

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Chelsea Green Publishing, Nov 6, 2009 - Travel - 304 pages
22 Reviews

During the tumultuous year of 2008--when gas prices reached $4 a gallon, Amtrak set ridership records, and a commuter train collided with a freight train in California--journalist James McCommons spent a year on America's trains, talking to the people who ride and work the rails throughout much of the Amtrak system. Organized around these rail journeys, Waiting on a Train is equal parts travel narrative, personal memoir, and investigative journalism.

Readers meet the historians, railroad executives, transportation officials, politicians, government regulators, railroad lobbyists, and passenger-rail advocates who are rallying around a simple question: Why has the greatest railroad nation in the world turned its back on the very form of transportation that made modern life and mobility possible?

Distrust of railroads in the nineteenth century, overregulation in the twentieth, and heavy government subsidies for airports and roads have left the country with a skeletal intercity passenger-rail system. Amtrak has endured for decades, and yet failed to prosper owing to a lack of political and financial support and an uneasy relationship with the big, remaining railroads.

While riding the rails, McCommons explores how the country may move passenger rail forward in America--and what role government should play in creating and funding mass-transportation systems. Against the backdrop of the nation's stimulus program, he explores what it will take to build high-speed trains and transportation networks, and when the promise of rail will be realized in America.



  

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Review: Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service--A Year Spent Riding across America

User Review  - Rich Saskal - Goodreads

Writers have been hopping on trains and mining their experiences probably since well before Paul Theroux caught the Patagonian Express. At first glance, that's what I thought we had here, but ... Read full review

Review: Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service--A Year Spent Riding across America

User Review  - Spencer - Goodreads

One could look at the Amtrak service map to try to get a sense of the system's breadth and function, but this book provides a more complete presentation of the system's real usage. The stories ... Read full review

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Copyright

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About the author (2009)

James McCommons has been a journalist for more than twenty five years and published hundreds of articles in magazines and major newspapers. A former senior editor at Organic Gardening magazine, he specializes in ecology and travel writing. He grew up in a railroad family and has spent thirty five years riding trains in America. He currently teaches journalism and nature writing at Northern Michigan University and lives in Marquette, Michigan.

Bibliographic information