Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service
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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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - dandelionsmith - LibraryThing
This is a very enjoyable and eye-opening book. I enjoyed imagining the picture McCommons painted of fellow passengers, government and industry leaders, and landscapes in the land of the free and the ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - ktho64152 - LibraryThing
This book really lays out the entire passenger rail system in the US, how it came to be, what's wrong with it, who the passenger rail advocates are and what is possible if we all pull together. I read this book and wanted to ride the trains and plan to do so this year. Read full review