Saturday, August 04, 2007

Future, present, passed

The glory days are yet to come

A recent thread on the ObsCar list raised the question of whether the"glory days" of railroading have already occurred, of if they are yet to come. Here is my response:

In the distant future, will large portions of the US rail network look like this? Elizabeth, New Jersey - September 2002.

I wish I could be around in 50 or 100 or 200 years to see! I believe that as oil becomes increasingly scarce and expensive, and as freeway congestion continues to threaten our productivity (and sanity), the United States will be dragged -- kicking and screaming -- into finally getting off its ass and doing something to meet the growing need for mass transit rail infrastructure. That era will arrive much too late to do any of us any good, and life will be really unpleasant during the decades it takes to put this long-overdue infrastructure in place. But future generations will enjoy convenience and ease of rail transit unknown anywhere before in the western hemisphere.
Imagine a Northeast Corridor-style setup along the entire length of both coasts, and along other major corridors like from the Twin Cities to Milwaukee - Chicago - Cleveland - Pittsburgh - Philly / New York, and from KC to Oklahoma City to Dallas - Austin - San Antonio / Houston. The market for long distance, intercity surface travel will be fulfilled by a new, properly funded, national entity offering no less than two daily trips each direction, with intermediate stops, along most of today's existing Amtrak routes on the freight lines. By then, the long-distance freight routes will be electrified and powered by coal, nuclear, or renewable energy. They will actually have enough capacity(two, three, sometimes four main tracks) to handle passenger traffic in addition to the freight traffic. States will fund their own operations of trains on shorter hauls (KC - St Louis; Cheyenne - Denver - C.Springs - Pueblo; LA - Vegas; Phoenix - Tucson; KC - Des Moines). Cities throughout the nation will have constructed efficient light rail transit systems to augment and replace the congested freeways. And 23rd-century Americans will regard the current era as the "dark ages". Not gonna happen? Anyone who's still around in the year 2207 can tell me I was smokin' crack.

In the "Say what you mean" department...

Photographed during Saturday's bike ride on Bond Ranch Road in northern Tarrant County. Do they mean the trees are huge, or the sale? Neither the trees nor the sale looked very "huge" to me.
R.I.P. Bill Walsh

I've never been much of a 49ers fan, but I sure enjoyed seeing Bill Walsh in those Coors Light commercials during the past two football seasons. Coors pieced together clips from old interviews... aw, hell, just watch the clips below -- you'll figure it out.

1 -

2 -

3 -

Rest in peace, Coach... If I ever have occasion to drink a Coors Light (not likely), I'll raise a toast to ya.


np: Buck Owens - "Open up your heart"
nr: Ayn Rand - The Fountainhead

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Blogger Bayou said...

I hope you got to hear Michael Irvin's HOF induction speech last night. It was not what I thought "The Playmaker" would say during his moment in the sun.

10:54 AM  

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