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Re: [evworld] Re: Amtrak

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  • murdoch
    I have taken trains for some European destinations, but it s been awhile. I don t think I took the TGV or something from Nice to Paris, I think it was more
    Message 1 of 6 , May 1 9:23 AM
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      I have taken trains for some European destinations, but it's been
      awhile. I don't think I took the TGV or something from Nice to Paris,
      I think it was more sort of a normal train. In any case, they were
      good traveling.

      When I grew up we took the Amtrak from Albany, NY to New York City
      several times a year. It was a fine trip and it was only years later
      that I read in an Almanac that this is one of the faster routes in
      North America. So I guess we got used to 70-80+ mph.

      I did take an Amtrak from San Diego to LA some years ago and found
      that the station in LA is so out of the way that some folks either
      don't know where it is or have to take nearly an hour to get there.
      It's a good looking old-school station.

      Generally, my experience with Amtrak in the U.S. has been better than
      yours, and if you can find a route where things add up to take it (the
      speed, etc.), I'd look into it, and if not then so be it. We have a
      lot of choices here. But I don't like to see them needlessly fail to
      push those points where they have a lot to offer and if one of them
      could be a solid deal for Americans to travel around on these
      vacation-style-go-many-places trips, then it would be nice to see them
      *wake up* to that sort of ticket, rather than needlessly blowing off
      dozens of millions of dollars in business every year. As I said,
      maybe there's something I don't understand as to why they don't seem
      to be able to offer this type of deal to Americans.

      On another point, I think I'll suggest to Bill Moore that it would be
      nice to have an article or two in Evworld.com as to Amtrak, perhaps
      what technologies they're exploring, or the experience of riding it,
      etc. I do think they've been in the webzine before though.


      On Wed, 30 Apr 2003 16:25:20 -0700, you wrote:

      > Last Fall we were in Europe. Flew to Amsterdam, got a rental car, then
      >took "the train" to Provence, got another rental car, train back to Paris,
      >didn't want to attempt driving in Paris, then flew back.
      >
      > Our experience on the train was generally wonderful. :-) I don't
      >remember seeing any train tracks and roadways cross at the same level. The
      >grades were always split. Views of the countryside were very nice.
      >
      > I've taken Amtrak up the coast (Union Station in LA to San Jose) and
      >back. Once. I'm not certain I want to repeat the experience. This trip
      >was the length of the Paris / Provence trip, but took *LONGER* than the
      >entire Amsterdam -> Provence trip. Oh sure, once you get to the coast the
      >view is nice, but if I want to look at the coast I'll go stay there.
      >
      > European trip:
      >
      > At Shipol airport (Amsterdam), the train station is *UNDER* the main
      >terminal. So we just returned the rental car to the airport and were right
      >there at the train station. We managed to miss the fast Thalys that we
      >wanted to catch (unanticipated morning drive traffic), so instead we took a
      >standard inter-city train to Brussels.
      >
      > In general even that was moving faster than the traffic on the roadways
      >we paralleled. (My guess was that it was doing up to 150 kmh / 95 mph.)
      >Only took a couple of hours. Since I hadn't boarded a fast train yet, I was
      >impressed and thought it was pretty quick.
      >
      > In Brussels we managed to get our reservations straightened out, only
      >had to wait an hour to pick up a Thalys to Paris (the Dutch equivalent of
      >the TGV). OMG!!!! That train was *FAST*. 300 kmh (180 mph) is fun. :-)
      >We even got a nice meal (they even had a *GOOD* vegetarian meal on board
      >without us preparing them ahead of time.)
      >
      > In Paris we had to change train stations. We took a taxi from Gar
      >d'Nord to Gar d'Lion (*LATER* in the trip we discovered the Paris metro
      >system... but the experience confirmed my desire to *not* drive in Paris!)
      >and then we boarded a TGV for Provence. 2 hours later we stepped off the
      >train in Provence. Total travel time ~ 8 hours.
      >
      > The trip back from Provence to Paris was also on time, quick, and fun.
      >
      > Amtrak:
      >
      > We actually started in Claremont, not LA. It's a 45 minute drive in to
      >Union Station, but we wanted to take the train for the entire trip. 3 hours
      >after we left Claremont we left Union station up the coast... (1 hour trip,
      >2 hour waiting.) On Amtrak on the Coast Starlight from Union Station in LA
      >to San Jose it's *10 HOURS*!!! I don't remember passing any cars, except if
      >they were stopped waiting for the train to go by.
      >
      > All I can say is: No wonder Americans don't take the train. On the LA
      >-> San Jose leg the train averaged 35 mph. I seem to remember somebody
      >doing the trip faster on a bicycle!
      >
      >-- Chris Yoder Smog, Just say NO!
      > Director of Information Services Drive electric today.
      > for Institute Relations
      > chris_yoder@... http://www.its.caltech.edu/~rcy/
      >
      >"Power corrupts, but we need the electricity" - Unknown
      >
      >
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    • Eric Penne
      I think this is a wonderful idea. He s been getting some good interviews lately with some very interesting people. I m sure the engineers (not driving) are
      Message 2 of 6 , May 1 9:24 AM
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        I think this is a wonderful idea. He's been getting some good interviews
        lately with some very interesting people. I'm sure the engineers (not
        driving) are working on some new stuff for Amtrak. Another good place to
        find info is at GE ElectroMotive division. There has to be some engineers
        there that are working with some power silicon for their drive systems.

        > On another point, I think I'll suggest to Bill Moore that it would be
        > nice to have an article or two in Evworld.com as to Amtrak, perhaps what
        > technologies they're exploring, or the experience of riding it, etc. I
        > do think they've been in the webzine before though.
        >
        > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      • Yoder, Chris
        ... Sorry about that... ... The Eurorail pass that you are describing, like the one that we got last Fall, are only available to those traveling *to* Europe
        Message 3 of 6 , May 2 4:47 PM
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          > This isn't the same issue. I was trying to raise the issue of a
          > Eurail-style go-anywhere pass,

          Sorry about that...

          > But the go-anywhere thing, so prominent in my plans on one or two
          > trips to Europe in my youth, is apparently something that we Americans
          > are good enough to fund (such as through our subsidies to Amtrak) but
          > not good enough to buy or use.

          The Eurorail pass that you are describing, like the one that we got
          last Fall, are only available to those traveling *to* Europe and you have to
          purchase them before you go. Seems like the same thing that Amtrak does...

          Basically they only want tourists to use them. Business / repeat
          travelers would have to get something else.

          -- Chris Yoder Smog, Just say NO!
          Director of Information Services Drive electric today.
          for Institute Relations
          chris_yoder@... http://www.its.caltech.edu/~rcy/

          "Power corrupts, but we need the electricity" - Unknown
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