Re: High speed travel

1

With air travel there's also the latent fear of a terrible death at 35k feet.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:11 AM
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But I am also pretty comfortable picturing lethal highway or railway catastrophes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:17 AM
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What's with the greyed-out lines between e.g. Minneapolis/St. Paul and Seattle?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:17 AM
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A high speed train line from Boston to Cleveland not going through New York is madness.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:18 AM
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Also, once again I am bemused by the faith exhibited in the petition process. Surely the official response will be something like "Nice map. We'll put our best man on it.".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:18 AM
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4: I see two routes from Boston to Cleveland, one of which goes through New York.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:19 AM
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It's the scenery, coupled with the deep and abiding pleasure that your selected mode of travel drives the wingnuts into apoplectic fits.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:19 AM
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One method of transporation I find oddly stressful is routes where the bus/subway shows up every 15 minutes, rather than at scheduled times. I start feeling like, at T minus [whatever], I should be doing every last little thing faster and faster, so that I can maybe make an earlier bus. Don't walk down the block to the bus stop, run! What if it's about to turn the corner! Etc.

There've been periods of my life where that's been part of my daily routine, and I never got into a habit of self-soothing myself that SHUT UP, IT'S 15 MINUTES, HEEBIE. I think I might have more perspective if it were part of my routine now.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:20 AM
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6: Right, one is a good idea, and one is madness.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:21 AM
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the deep and abiding pleasure that your selected mode of travel drives the wingnuts into apoplectic fits.

True. Except the times I've been on a train semi-recently, they've been completely booked full and it's not exactly the SWPL-arugula crowd doing so to be more artisanal.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:22 AM
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Which is neither here nor there. I just mean, I'm suspicious that some of those train riders might vote Republican.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:23 AM
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Are there any high speed train lines anywhere in the world going through anything remotely like Sacramento to Portland? It's just not sensible.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:25 AM
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6: Right, one is a good idea, and one is madness.

Because no one would want to go from Boston to any of the places on the mad line without stopping in in Manhattan first?

routes where the bus/subway shows up every 15 minutes, rather than at scheduled times.

How is that not having scheduled times?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:28 AM
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On the other hand Chicago to NYC but not to DC. Somebody who understands this better than me tell me how that makes sense.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:30 AM
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Like, it's not published that the bus will sit at my stop until 1:07, then I can't plan my day to arrive at exactly 1:05 and be fine.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:36 AM
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A train from Chicago to Memphis which doesn't stop in St. Louis, and a separate train line to St. Louis? Someone must have made a map like this that isn't stupid at some point.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:38 AM
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I'm not exactly sure why flying feels so stressful compared to a train.

For me, it's mostly the air. I always get ridiculously dehydrated no matter how much water I drink, and I usually end up with a sinus infection, and I often seem to pick up some other germy illness as well. Air in airplanes is gross.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:40 AM
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I'm not exactly sure why flying feels so stressful compared to a train.

The extra space is a pretty big factor, people naturally get wound up when packed into a small space. And trains aren't subject to the whims of weather like planes are. You're not getting that feeling of doom as the blizzard worsens when you're riding a train.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:42 AM
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8: NextBus really makes a world of difference in terms of making bus travel way less stressful. I'd much rather have trains/buses come half as often but be able to locate them by GPS. This drove me crazy in New York.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:43 AM
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Although eyeballing that legend, it looks like it would still take 20 hours to go from San Antonio to Chicago.

I believe there may be something wrong with your eyeballs, madam. Not more than 10.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:44 AM
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I'm not exactly sure why flying feels so stressful compared to a train.

Airports. More stressful than railway stations by several orders of magnitude.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:46 AM
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Our experience traveling by train versus airplane with kids were hardly even comparable. Space, freedom of movement, and freedom of movement. Did I mention the freedom of movement?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:49 AM
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I'm not exactly sure why flying feels so stressful compared to a train.

For me, it's the pace, and the limited space on a plane: you know you're in for a regimented routine, hup-hup-hup-hup, bump that luggage through the narrow aisle on the plane, heave it up into the overhead compartments pronto, fit in in there, come on, people are waiting behind you, get a move on. Similarly with debarking. A train, on the other hand, can begin to move without everyone being all settled and strapped in yet. Mellow.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:52 AM
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Relevant, although the headline writer got it wrong. The times displayed on Grand Central's departure boards are wrong -- by a full minute. This is permanent. It is also purposeful.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:53 AM
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I hate flying because,

- I'm tall enough that if I don't get an emergency exit seat, it is really uncomfortable,

- I frequently get sick afterwards,

- there is no way to escape screaming babies,

- I'm probably irrational here, but the fake security really, truly pisses me off,

- there is something more soothing about trains, so when it isn't a rush work thing, I'd rather take the train and actually make it through a non-fluff book. The trip itself becomes something more than an unpleasant means to an end.


Posted by: Grumbles | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:54 AM
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By comparison, here's the old Obama plan. It still has some pretty questionable routes, but it doesn't have the same batshit craziness as this map.

I'd love to see what this artist would do with a map of Europe.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:55 AM
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Also 220mph is really really fast. In Europe it appears that only Barcelona to Madrid and Paris to Strasbourg run that fast. The idea that we're going to put in a faster train between Sacramento and Portland than exists between Amsterdam and Paris is really nutty.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:03 PM
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Yes, I much prefer the map in 26 as a vision of what routes to invest in now. Past a certain distance, high-speed rail isn't competitive with air travel, stressful though the latter is. (The HSR Strategic Plan sees it as most practical in corridors 100-600 miles.) Even in Japan, if someone is traveling the full length of the archipelago, they're more likely to take a plane.

Maybe this would change with a carbon tax, I'm not sure. But metro-corridor HSR would be best if the goal is to displace car travel in the short-to-medium term.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:03 PM
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The map in 26 makes it possible for me to imagine that there's only one stop between SF and Chicago, which is nice.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:08 PM
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Although the map doesn't show the mountain ranges, nonetheless they exist and they explain many of the route choices.

The map follows current antrak lines for the most part. The Boston/Albany/Rochester/buffalo route to Chicago is basically flat from Albany forward, while the route through nyc and Philadelphia winds through the mountains of pennsylvania, so it takes much longer from boston. Also the Northern route goes through a high population area with totally shitty weather, so train service is really useful.

Similarly the route from dc to Chicago is mountainous through west virginia to Cincinnatti, and not practical for high speed service.


Posted by: Unimaginative | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:10 PM
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How many overnight high speed rail routes are there? It seems like the European ones are all same-day trips.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:12 PM
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28. Yes, In Europe or Japan high speed rail can sensibly cover most of the continent/country because they're so densely populated the metro cities are only a few hundred miles apart. The logic for the US is completely different.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:13 PM
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While I find air travel generally to be more stressful than train (largely because of the rigamarole before you actually get on the plane, not the flight itself), I am always incredibly anxious that I am going to miss my stop on the train. My train trip from Gatwick to my hometown a few months ago was disrupted because of a suicide, to harken back to the last train thread. Completely exhausted, I got onto my fourth train of the night, without even being sure that it was the *right* train, and then spent the next hour worrying that I was going to end up in Manchester. But I even get nervous that I'm somehow going to miss my stop on the Tube or BART because I can't understand the conductor (which is silly for many reasons). That's not really possible with flying, or at least not any of the flights I've ever taken.

I loved my cross-country solo train trip that I took when I was 13. It was fantastic.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:14 PM
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34

Boston to Chicago via Montreal? Where do I sign?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:16 PM
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Hrm, you're right, I'd forgotten that to go from NYC to Chicago by train quickly (e.g. before plane travel existed) you go through up state New York. So that's not as crazy as I'd thought.

I wish there was some indication that many of these lines are not going to run at 220mph. The reason that you'd want the upstate New York line is because it can run faster. But the map is presented under the delusion that they're running 220mph everywhere.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:22 PM
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30.2: Yes, basically you have the two main routes from New York City west, the New York Central's "Water Level Route" which merged with the main route west from Boston in Albany, and the Pennsylvania Route which winds along rivers between the ridges and goes over the Alleghenies at the Horseshoe Curve.

The route from Chicago to Memphis is the northern half of the famous Illinois Central from New Orleans to Chicago which did not go to St. Louis. Agree that it is not a great candidate for high-speed.

Alternatively, however, on the Obama map, if you put high-speed from the East to Buffalo and Pittsburgh, don't know why you don't do the relatively short extensions to Cleveland to connect into the Midwestern system.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:22 PM
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I think the Beijing-Guangzhou high speed line is probably the longest (about 1,200 miles I think) with some pretty long stretches between major cities.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:26 PM
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How do the Buffalo to Chicago via Cleveland or Canada routes compare? Hamilton/Toronto seems like an actually sensible place for high speed rail.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:28 PM
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A fast train that gets into that swaying, rocking motion? Always, always makes me think about sex.

Air travel not so much.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:30 PM
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I'm not exactly sure why flying feels so stressful compared to a train.

It's the uncertainty that really gets to me about flying. Thanks to the airlines' policy of never telling the passengers anything, you just have no idea when you'll actually reach your destination until you get there.

If the information board says that a train will be 5 minutes late, chances are very good that it will, in fact, arrive five minutes late. If the board says that the flight is delayed by 15 minutes, you have no idea whether that really means 15 minutes or whether this is the first of a long series of delays that will end up being 5 hours.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:37 PM
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The fact that Canada also doesn't have high speed rail makes me think the constraints really are more geographic than political.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:40 PM
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38: They way they show it going up to Toroto does not make sense, but you might hook up at Hamilton (although the more direct Buffalo-Detroit line stays more along the northern Lake Erie shore). It is about the same distance as going via Cleveland south of the lake. I do think it was one option during the heyday of passenger rail (might have been the Grand Trunk Railway).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:42 PM
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Canada has like a hundred and thirty people in it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:43 PM
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Sifu beat me to it. Canada has less people than California.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:45 PM
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There aren't many people, but half of them live on a single line!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:46 PM
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Sure, but trains cost a lot. France has more than double their population.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:48 PM
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Wikipedia says the Quebec/Windsor corridor has comparable population density to the the Rhone river valley TGV line.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:49 PM
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At any rate, I'm not saying that high speed rail in Canada makes sense, but it certainly makes more sense than all but a handful of routes in the US


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:51 PM
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Figuring out the air/train travel stress thing is interesting. I think past a certain point, so long as you're concerned with getting somehwere reasonably quickly, sheer length of traveling alone is stressful -- ie even a fast train route over long distances sucks if its like 10 hours in and you're still not at your destination. But if you really have nothing better to do and aren't immediately worried about getting somewhere train beats plane every time.

I think genuinely long distance cross country train travel in the US has no future or purpose other than as a kind of tourist attraction for enthusiasts. But figuring out the longest reasonable distance in a world constrained by higher jet fuel prices is interesting. I'd say NY to Chicago is still too far even at 220 mph unless jet fuel pricing gets completely prohibitive.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:51 PM
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Certainly Montreal-Toronto should have high speed rail before Albany-Buffalo.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:51 PM
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I mean, obviously at genuinely an average of 220 mph for the whole route it would be fine. But max speed of 220 mph is not that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 12:53 PM
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Are there any high speed train lines anywhere in the world going through anything remotely like Sacramento to Portland? It's just not sensible.

I'm not sure I know what specifically you're referring to with "high speed train lines", but the ICE in Germany stops in towns like Göttingen. I think you've got a weird idea about how large European cities are.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:00 PM
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Back in the day, the 20th Century Limited (NYC Chicago express via the Water Level) was 16 hours overnight (6 PM -> 9 AM going west, you "lost" 2 more hours when going eastbound). Sort of a longish red eye. At *best* you would cut it by 2/3rds to say 6 hours, and not even that if you had to rely on aggregating passengers in Albany/Buffalo/Philly/Cleveland (depending on route) rather than going straight through. So I think you only capture a fraction of that traffic.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:00 PM
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52: I assumed he meant the distance between them (~600 mi) without all that much population in between.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:01 PM
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53: I mean, how long would Manhattan to the loop via LGA and Midway be? Not that much quicker.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:02 PM
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52: Ah, that makes much more sense.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:03 PM
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Are there any high speed train lines anywhere in the world going through anything remotely like Sacramento to Portland?

Avignon (pop


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:06 PM
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It's also often more stressful to get to an airport than to a train station, given that airports are generally on the outskirts of cities and train stations more centrally located.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:06 PM
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55: Maybe a traveling cube farm with breakout rooms. The Work Train.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:07 PM
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Uh oh, chris y popped.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:07 PM
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Fucking HTML. Avignon (pop. c. 95K) has a direct high speed connection to London in summer.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:09 PM
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As it turns out, I've recently taken the ICE to Göttingen.

First I think you're underestimating how few people there are between Sacramento and Eugene. Second, I'm not saying trains shouldn't stop at small cities that happen to be between large cities. You want some train running from Frankfurt to Hamburg, and they way they set it up in Germany is pretty reasonable. It might very well make sense for a fast train on a Chicago/Indy/Cincy line to stop at Lafayette, but that's quite different thing from a Sacto/Eugene trip.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:10 PM
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58: In some places (*cough* Pittsburgh *cough*) offset by the lack of good transfer capabilities to other modes of transportation. Urban core to urban core with good urban transit on both ends does make the most sense, and potentially extends the viable distance per Tweety's 55. In my biz, unfortunately, a lot of travel is to/from suburban office parks.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:11 PM
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I like that plan. It would really make the common trips that everybody takes (like Pittsburgh to Omaha) easy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:16 PM
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Seriously people, Avignon just happens to be one stop before the second largest city in France.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:17 PM
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Seriously people, TGV from Marseille to Paris stops at Avignon, not at Lyon. Why? God alone knows. Makes no sense, but there it is.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:21 PM
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Beijing to Guangzhou is a good idea, but it turns out those cities in between are weirdly big.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:25 PM
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To head off the obvious objection, certainly if you're going to have a high speed train between SF and Seattle, then it should stop in Sacramento and Portland. But that doesn't actually mean anyone's going to take that train.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:26 PM
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Which is to say, I'm sure there's another route that goes through Lyon, but the one that goes via Avignon doesn't. The Eurostar however terminates at Avignon. Logic would dictate terminating at Lyon or going through to Marseille; it does neither.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:27 PM
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I think the fact that this map has (so far) not been making the rounds of my planning friends on FB speaks to how unrealistic it is.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:38 PM
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Is the planning community deeply concerned about how there is no direct Pittsburgh to Omaha connection?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:43 PM
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Not that I know of, but I don't have a whole lot of connections in those two cities.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:46 PM
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Isn't part of the problem that at the distances that genuinely make sense for high-speed rail -- things like Chicago to Detroit or LA to SF -- douchey governors who hate trains can foul things up? And Congress seems weirdly attached to things like the Texas Eagle and the Sunset Limited, where nobody in their right mind would ever want to take a train.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:48 PM
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I can add nothing to comment 1.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 1:53 PM
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Interesting article on Canada's situation here. Apparently they have some of the same problems with not-straight-enough tracks that the US does, though presumably that is itself a symptom of lower public willingness-to-pay.

A study on the subject. Something like a 300 km/h route from Montreal to Toronto seems to have the greatest NPV. (Interestingly, the biggest benefits other than revenue they calculated were public safety and consumer surplus, with only a little benefit in reduced atmospheric emissions.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 2:05 PM
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Ok I can add a little something, having read some comments and having spent a gazillion hours on a train, which is that as much as I like it (and not only because it saves me from imaginary horrible death), rail travel has some complete maddening stressors of its own. Overnight trips really are somewhat uncomfortable if you're in coach, and coach is the only affordable option on most routes. Um, and sometimes you're twelve hours late, not only because trains are one way to kill yourself, but also because freight lines (did we already talk about this?) own the rails and universally have right of way over passenger trains. And they never, ever tell you anything about why you are delayed or how long it is likely to last.

My worst train trips ever were:
1) the one where the outlets weren't working and everyone was huddled around the bathrooms which did have working outlets, charging their phones, and a flood made the rails impassable in Bumblefuck, Arkansas so we were put on buses after enormous delays.
2) the one where we were enormously delayed due to tornadic weather and trees across the track in the middle of the night and then hit a person trying to cross the track in Missouri and waited hours and I got home a day late
3) Yesterday, parts of which were fine and parts of which neart made me force my way off the train and spend my vacation at my parents' place in DC

Runner up: oh actually this may have been #1 again but anyway whichever trip I had the poor sense to ask the question "so what is it that makes you want to live off the grid?" Never ask anyone that. An hour later I simply walked away because he wouldn't pause long enough for me to say "I have to go stick my finger in one of those lovely working bathroom sockets now."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 2:07 PM
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And Congress seems weirdly attached to things like the Texas Eagle and the Sunset Limited, where nobody in their right mind would ever want to take a train.

Yeah, I've never understood that. Maybe related to all the rural congressional districts the long routes pass through?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 2:07 PM
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On the question of a high-speed Sacramento to Portland route, here's a detailed examination (from a few years back) of the challenges by a smart German amateur.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 2:17 PM
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53: the Twentieth Century is the most romantic of all American train routes! The very best cocktail is named after it, as is a charming Howard Hawks film with Carole Lombard and a musical based thereon that is possibly the very best musical. (Its original cast featured John Cullum and Madeline Kahn, both musically and comically perfect.) The train itself, now the Lakeshore Limited, tends to be more or less on time, though it's now twenty hours. (Lyrics to opening number of musical notwithstanding. "New York in sixteen hours!") In both directions you pass the dreary stops, the ones where Dawn Powell's protagonists come from--Elyria, Sandusky--overnight and get to see the Hudson and, depending on the time of year, the Eerie Canal, by daylight.

Best train.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 2:18 PM
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80

It's also the train in North by Northwest, right?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 2:22 PM
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The Twentieth Century, aka the Rusty Nail.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 2:24 PM
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I believe you mean the Twentieth "Brooklyn" Century.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 2:25 PM
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The best part of that train was traveling by sidecar.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 2:32 PM
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80 is always how I remember that was an overnight train.

So lets have some bullshitty back of the envelope calculation. NY to Chicago is what, about 800 miles? I think the Acela's average speed is about 80 mph, at best. Say you did way better on the route* and got up to 110 mph average, you're still looking at a 7.5 hour train ride instead of a 1 1/2 hour flight.

*not that I actually know anything about this, but I also recall from somewhere that passenger train travel into Chicago runs slowly because it's still a gigantic freight rail hub.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 2:41 PM
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I think flights from NYC to Chicago are more like 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Add in 45 minutes to an hour to get out to the airport, and the hour+ early you have to get there before your flight, and it's no longer a 6-hour difference. Now sure, no one's going to take the train from NYC for a meeting in Chicago that day and train it back that same night (or from Boston, as my mother-in-law semi-regularly does). But if more of your travel time is actually usable (sitting in your relatively comfortable train seat, with wi-fi, instead of going through security, lining up at the gate, etc), it might even end up making sense for some travelers.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 2:53 PM
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84.2: So lets have some bullshitty back of the envelope calculation

Or you could read comment 53 and Tweety's followup. But perish that thought.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 2:54 PM
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I don't see a Sacramento to Portland route on that map that's not part of a longer route. If you want high speed rail continuously between California and Washington, you'll have something like a Sacramento to Portland section. Talking about it as if there's just a Sacramento to Portland route seems kind of dumb. Running high speed rail from LA to Seattle also seems dumb, so it probably doesn't matter much.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 2:56 PM
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I have now been asked by one lady and one gentleman to show my dick for beads. I did not enter into this informal contract, but was pleased to be asked.
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Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 2:57 PM
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89

68 to 87


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 2:57 PM
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The web says its between a 90 and 110 minute flight, which is consistent with my memory.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 3:02 PM
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Also, when I've worked in NY with lawyers from Chicago, they often did it as a day trip -- leaving from Chicago to get in for a 10 am meeting, leaving to go home to Chicago at 6. They'd presumably be the core audience for a high speed rail trip (busy people going from one downtown to another) but I don't think you could possibly arrange high speed rail travel to maintain the Chicago to NY business day trip. Maybe that's wrong.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 3:24 PM
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88: The snowstorm brings out the strangest things in New Yorkers.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 3:25 PM
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92: Their dicks are their strangest things?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 3:27 PM
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There's also lots of talk about an LA to Vegas high speed train, which is a good idea in theory but current plans have it starting in California in Victorville (aka the desert) which seems like ... an incredibly bad idea. Also it will be the party train in one direction and the crushing hangover/venereal disease train in the other.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 3:42 PM
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So, wait, how did we get off on this idea that business day travel is terribly important to the case for high speed rail? The Acela to NYC from Boston is probably too long for business day travel (and not even all that fast) but it's pretty solidly booked pretty much constantly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 3:47 PM
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... and it siphons off plenty of business travel, at that, just people who stay a night.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 3:48 PM
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94: and it's past the biggest traffic chokepoint. That is very stupid indeed. Is there some last mile plan where people will rent burros to take them over the mountains into LA proper or something?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 3:52 PM
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the Eerie Canal, by daylight

... mist rising from the weirs, the shades of the laborers congregating in industrial ghost towns ...


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 3:55 PM
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I know people who take the Acela to NYC for business day trips.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:01 PM
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This riding the train essay just popped up in my Twitter feed this afternoon.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:01 PM
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It's also often more stressful to get to an airport than to a train station,

is very true. Also I love the extra room on a train, and being able to get up and walk around without feeling like I'm getting in other people's way.

On the other hand, I'm not afraid of flying, but I am slightly afraid of high speed rail. Moving at >150mph at ground level just *looks* dangerous.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:04 PM
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Well, for a NY to Chicago high speed train to make sense, you have to have some reason why people would take it over flying, and downtown-to-downtown business people convenience (since business people are generally the ones who are (a) downtown and (b) doing a lot of inter-city travel). If a train route is substantially slower and also doesn't provide a basic convenience to those travelers, and also isn't cheaper, it's going to be basically just a tourist attraction for enthusiasts (as most long distance rail in the US is now). The question is whether NY to Chicago is at a distance where high speed rail could be competitive in anything like the current environment, and the answer seems to be probably not. Also whatever but you're wrong about the NY/Boston day trip (it's about a 3 hour 45 minute trip, which is just long enough for a day trip and one people fairly regularly do). The difference between a 4.5 hour NY-Chicago total (1.5 hour travel time, 1 hour waiting at the airport, 1 hour trip to the airport, 1 hour trip from the airport) and a 8.5 hour trip (7.5 hour travel time, 30 minutes to and from train station including waiting time) is pretty severe.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:04 PM
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102: not all business trips are day trips. Not only business travelers want to go to city centers (in NYC?? In Chicago??). Tell me what the advantage of the NY/Boston Acela route (flight takes about 45 minutes, I think?) has over flying, by your calculation? Flying is definitely faster, and is no more expensive.

P.S. your travel time I think does not account for traveling at rush hour? Or is assuming O'Hare on one side, Kennedy and easy access to a cab, maybe? I don't buy it at busy travel times, is what I'm saying.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:11 PM
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Also, a fast train that starts swaying and rocking? Makes me think of death, not sex.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:11 PM
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20: I was thinking that all the stops would keep the legend from functioning properly, and also that it'd end up being bendier. But 10 hours from San Antonio to Chicago? Yes please.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:12 PM
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Honestly I tend to agree that routes over six hours or so are not going to get a huge amount of business, just because six hours seems like sort of a psychological barrier as far as the amount of demostic travel time that people think of as reasonable (since you can get cross country in an airplane). N.B. I definitely have facts in mind here and am not just making this up no honest.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:13 PM
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The thing is, and I know this point was made upthread, that we leave for the airport three hours before our flight, and we live 45 min away from the airport. (Granted, we're not the business travellers/our dollars don't matter.) On the destination side, we'll never arrive sooner than 1-1.5 hours after our flight lands. Everywhere we go requires a connection. So door-to-door, we're always looking at 10+ hours.

I know, we're not representative of squat.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:21 PM
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I like 'demostic travel'.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:26 PM
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Demostimestimostical.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:26 PM
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108: I was in the middle of constructing a clever antiquity-based joke alluding to it plausibly being a mix of 'demotic' and 'gnostic' and then masterfully linking it to Tweety's declaration of "facts". But now it's ruint.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:32 PM
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No, please do share your Folk Joke.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:35 PM
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I am interested in this joke, JP, even though I know you'll disappoint me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:43 PM
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With support like that how can I refuse?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:44 PM
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Answer: Very easily.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:45 PM
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I would have gone with "roont" over "ruint" but that's just me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:45 PM
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114 gives the manner of your refusal, but I'm more interested in the "how" asking after your method.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:46 PM
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Answer: like Teo. Be persistent, nosflow.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:47 PM
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What does winning look like in this encounter? Must try to think.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:50 PM
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You win by coming over and baby-sitting for the night. We love Unca Stormcwow.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:51 PM
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118: demostic.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:52 PM
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That's why God created playpens, but I think they put you in jail if you use one now. Maybe just in Prospect Heights.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:53 PM
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120: Deeply spiritual, yet redemptively common.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:54 PM
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I let myself out of time-out to cook dinner but I'm still heavily dependent on the Dora-sedation.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:55 PM
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122 is *not* the joke. It was much, much better.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:56 PM
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Porn tumblr comment spam for the win: I have read a few just right stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much attempt you set to make the sort of wonderful informative website.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 4:57 PM
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Also, a fast train that starts swaying and rocking? Makes me think of death, not sex.

Assuming a rational level of swaying and rocking, I end up asleep, and there's no thinking involved - that's automatic.

That can be helpful if I can plan for it, but normally it's not - I'd prefer a stimulative effect.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:02 PM
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126.1 should have been italicized - that's YK, responding to jackmormon.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:02 PM
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... and 127 was me correcting myself, not an anonymous nudnik.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:05 PM
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Although Anonymous Nudnik would be a good pseud.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:28 PM
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||

Good god, I hate myself. I'm being so short-tempered and overreacting and not a good parent at all. This may be the worst single day of parenting behavior I've ever performed.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:36 PM
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How old are they?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:38 PM
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130 Just explain to them that Mommy is feeling a little cranky because she's really tired. Of all people, they should understand tired and cranky.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:43 PM
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||
HTML tag lossage writ large (literally).
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:44 PM
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130: Don't worry. You'll have worse days.

133 is great.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:46 PM
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Also, be gentle with yourself. One evening of short-tempered does not make you history's greatest monster.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:47 PM
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133: AIEEE I'M GOING INTO THE COMPUTER TRON WAS RIGHT


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:49 PM
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The web says its between a 90 and 110 minute flight, which is consistent with my memory.

Are you just subtracting departure from arrival time? Because you cross a time zone there. 2h 37 min is the shortest nonstop JFK-ORD that Expedia will find you.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:53 PM
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Today I was short tempered with adults whom I don't know who cut me off intently. I would have followed except the family was in the car.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:54 PM
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107: Three hours before! You're spending too much time in airports.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:58 PM
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Possibly, I was inordinately irate because of negative associations with BMWs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:58 PM
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131: two and three.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 5:58 PM
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||
And I think this shows that heebie was right about fashion. Or maybe not. But for some reason I find it kind of mesmerizing.
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:00 PM
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139: I dunno. With parking, sometimes a shuttle ride, always checking luggage, security, diaper/potty/snacks, and not wanting to feel stressed, we end up having maybe 20 minutes at the gate before they start boarding, which is admittedly 30 minutes before scheduled take-off.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:01 PM
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I'm about certain I'm going to take Amtrak up and back for the DC shindig. At $50 bucks each way, it's cheaper than gas+parking.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:02 PM
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142: the guy on the far left is something special.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:02 PM
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143: My childless brother used to give me pointless travel advice also.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:07 PM
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135: "one evening" s/b "all week" but your larger point stands.

(not quite true. I was tired during the week but not taking it out on the kids until today.)


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:07 PM
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Belatedly, 62.1 As it turns out, I've recently taken the ICE to Göttingen. kind of cracks me up for some reason.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:10 PM
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141: Just trying to see what I might have in my neglectful parent bag of tricks that would be age appropriate. That is kind of a useless age. A little young to ignore them while you play absorbing online computer games. Going out in the car, for sure. Wendy's! Lie on the floor like a lump and let them crawl on you unless that is uncomfortable at this stage. Videos are probably best (I guess they call them "discs" these days), however. Movies, so you don't have to change them very often. I think we had them hooked on Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and Peter Pan at that age. Maybe those stupid dinosaurs, too.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:13 PM
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148: I saw Gauss's tomb!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:15 PM
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AIEEE I'M GOING INTO THE COMPUTER TRON WAS RIGHT

At least you have instructions about what to do in case the thread breaks.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:17 PM
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He's probably buried in it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:17 PM
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Lie on the floor like a lump and let them crawl on you unless that is uncomfortable at this stage.

That was my go-to when I just couldn't cope with amusing them. Just sit or lie on the floor in a room with toys out, and let them do whatever they were going to do. Didn't happen all that much, but there are definitely times when nothing you can actively do makes much of a difference, they just want you there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:19 PM
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Rory has so much experience with tired/cranky Mom that anytime I try to yell at her, she just says sweetly, "You seem tired. Do you need a hug?"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:20 PM
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I guess Halford has been straightened out by now but yeah, 4.5 hour downtown NY to downtown Chicago by plane is just nonsense, for any of the NY airports and either of the Chicago airports. The flight is 2.5 hours, as Blume said. Even arriving 45 minutes before, to cut it a bit close (but could be okay if you're not checking a bag), that leaves only about an hour of ground transportation time for the two ends of the trip together. If you're fast and/or lucky with ground transportation, I could imagine it being marginally doable in 5.5 hours.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:21 PM
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Despite it being a fast train, the trip was kind of a pain because unless you're coming/going to Frankfurt or Hannover you have to go way out of your way and also transfer. One direction the transfer was screwed up. Driving would have been faster, if I'd had a car.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:23 PM
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155: Who said theoretical physics isn't useful?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:24 PM
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Tomorrow shouldn't be as lethal. I've got an all day playdate at a friend's house, and then the baby-sitter is coming so that I can go to an interview candidate's dinner. I asked the baby-sitter to come a little early, too, so I could go to the library and play online grade papers.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:34 PM
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But yeah, lying on the ground and being climbed on sounds totally awful at the moment.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:35 PM
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137: you're right. That said, I'm not sure why Halford's wrong -- I think maybe he's thinking of time in the air? maybe? Regardless, I've done that flight more times than I care to remember, and not just because I try not to think about flying at all, and it's 2+ hours.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:35 PM
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Going out in the car, for sure. Wendy's!

But also, there is something so great about fast food places, similar to Disney vacations: they're just designed to make your parenting super, super easy. We're lucky because we have the most awesome fast food chain ever, Taco Cabana's, but even a McDonald's with a playscape is sometimes a lifesaver.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:37 PM
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And of course I'm pwned. I probably should have kept reading. Anyway, essear is also right in 155. Even assuming LGA to MDW, it's still 5+ hours of travel time if everything goes perfectly, which it never does on that route.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:38 PM
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Anyway, the little stinkers are in bed for the night. Bust out the desserts!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:38 PM
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Glad you have a break coming up. And there's no shame in extending the time with the babysitter so you can go eat ice cream.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:39 PM
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This place has a potentially more feasible phased approach (at least the early stages might be more feasible). But I just don't really know how well it work between the "car cities". Don;t think you get enough pure downtown to downtown traffic, so you need parking and rentals.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:40 PM
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I have to fly a week from tomorrow, then a week after that, and then three days after that. I've already begun not sleeping in honor of the upcoming occasion. Irrational fears are so fucking annoying.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:42 PM
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I don't agree with this six hour cut-off business, either, because the "easily drivable" cut-off in the midwest is much longer than six hours.

Nobody would fly to New Orleans, for example, and that's an eight hour drive. Plenty of people go skiing in New Mexico because they can drive there, and I've never been but I'm guessing the drive is in the 12 hour range. Etc.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:47 PM
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I'm glad that my irrational fear -- that spiders rain down from the sky -- is impossible.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:48 PM
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Why would no one fly to NO?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:48 PM
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167: fair enough. People drive to Mammoth from LA all the time and that's a good seven hours at least, so what the hell am I talking about anyhow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:49 PM
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169: you can drive there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:49 PM
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Plenty of people go skiing in New Mexico because they can drive there, and I've never been but I'm guessing the drive is in the 12 hour range.

Albuquerque to Houston is 18 hours (and we used to drive it regularly when I was a kid), so 12 hours sounds reasonable for Austin to Santa Fe. Google Maps estimates about 11.5 using the most direct route.

In general, yeah, we used to do seven- or eight-hour drives all the time. In the West you sort of have to because so many places are far from major airports.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:51 PM
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I hate Upworthy (the site where the map in the original post is hosted). They always have a pop-up to try to get you to sign some petition or other, and it's phrased in the most annoying language possible. "Puppies should be petted instead of kicked -- I agree/I disagree". I always disagree so I don't have to see a petition, so the Upworthy version of me is a moral monster.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:52 PM
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Have some fun,
On Highway 61.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:53 PM
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174 -> 171.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:53 PM
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Wait, Google Maps gives 14 hours for ABQ-Houston using the route we would take. I think I must have been misremembering. Anyway, it generally took two days.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:54 PM
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Texans, the scourge of the southern Rockies.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:56 PM
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Austin to Gainesville and Ann Arbor to Gainesville are the exact same distance drives, about 17 hours. That always seemed weird to me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:56 PM
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I'm pretty sure that if I lived in Chicago (which is in the midwest), and I wanted to get to New Orleans, I would fly, even if, unlike the last time I lived in Chicago, I owned a car.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:57 PM
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Texans, the scourge of the southern Rockies.

Jammies spent about ten years in New Mexico saying he'd never live in Texas, because Texans are so goddamn obnoxious when they're there.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:57 PM
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Or maybe I was just factoring in stops for meals and stuff.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:58 PM
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179: I'm going to let you stew over the enigma of the implied qualifier in 167.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:58 PM
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It's only fourteen hours, you fool.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:59 PM
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Expand on stuff.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:59 PM
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Jammies spent about ten years in New Mexico saying he'd never live in Texas, because Texans are so goddamn obnoxious when they're there.

A common sentiment in the state.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 6:59 PM
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I've been driven from Nebraska to Gainesville and back. I think we took three days, but we stopped at attractions and the like.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:00 PM
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182: Neb doesn't understand demostic travel much, does he?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:01 PM
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Not like he used to.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:01 PM
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184 -> 181.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:01 PM
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186: Tour of towns known primarily for their football teams?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:02 PM
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In fact, the part of NM where Jammies lived is particularly overrun with particularly obnoxious Texans.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:02 PM
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When he was in Chicago.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:02 PM
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Despite not owning a car then.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:02 PM
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He went to high school there. He went to college down in Las Cruces.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:03 PM
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179: I'm going to let you stew over the enigma of the implied qualifier in 167.

What, actually, is the implied qualifier? "Little bitches excepted"? It seems as if you're talking about the midwest and travel to New Orleans.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:03 PM
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In fact these detached masculine pronouns are going to confuse the hell out of him I fear.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:04 PM
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194: I guess I must have known that at one point. I'm not as familiar with Cruces, but I expect it also has a lot of Texans. They're probably not quite as obnoxious, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:04 PM
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Do you want me to explain "let you stew"?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:04 PM
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190: Visiting an uncle with seven of us in a van.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:04 PM
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Oh, I guess there's a transition wherein you are talking about only places in the midwest that are eight hours or fewer from New Orleans.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:04 PM
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Do you want me to explain "let you stew"?

I want you to be happy, heebs.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:05 PM
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Hours are indivisible?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:05 PM
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You may have to use your pre-existing knowledge of me as a non-precise writer to navigate these waters, young Neb.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:05 PM
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I want you to be happy, heebs.

You're hitting on me, right?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:06 PM
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202 is just. "Eight hours or less", or "eight or fewer hours", but never "eight hours or fewer". Good catch, JP. Strong work.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:06 PM
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If my hitting on you will make you happy, then I'll hit on you.

But I won't like it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:07 PM
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I'd much rather have you babysit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:08 PM
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That's low.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:09 PM
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From each according to his ability, to each according to her need.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:12 PM
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He low stew babyfew cruces, hit. Ability non-precise uncle van! Chicago overrun demostic attraction sentiment? Scourge!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:23 PM
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145: the guy on the far left is something special

Coo, ducks, I didn't know you cared!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:55 PM
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||

Seriously, a terrible superhero.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 7:58 PM
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My math ed friend just outlined a current thing going on somewhere - maybe NJ? - which struck me as interesting. The company that puts out the AP test apparently made a statement or something that they do not want any de facto rules keeping any students from being able to take AP classes.

Apparently high schools each make up their own rules about who takes AP classes, and some of them get extremely rigid: you can't take this class unless you've gotten all As in the subject, or gotten at least X on the PSAT, et.

The AP company doesn't like this because they make money off of students taking the test, so they want to be as inclusive as possible. The schools don't like that because their rankings are (at least partly) based on the ratio of students getting 4s and 5s out of the total number of students attempting the tests. And if their rankings fall, home values/taxes/less prestige/etc cascade could be set in motion.

So everybody is an money-motivated asshole! WHEE!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 8:04 PM
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Clearly the solution is just to eliminate under-performing students. WIN-WIN!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 8:05 PM
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I had this momentary surge of excitement when I thought 212 would lead to a story of Cory Booker, engaged in some absurd rescue attempt, accidentally stabbing a group of senior citizens to death with a single icicle.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 8:05 PM
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215: You might like this one.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 8:09 PM
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She just tacked on a funny coda via text. Some of the principals cite protecting the students' self-esteem as a reason to exclude students who are expected to score a 3 or lower. How thoughtful of them.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 8:09 PM
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I've done the same-day out-and-back thing from 91 in reverse a bunch of times. I used to do it regularly in under 5 hours when there was a flight from LGA's tiny and line-free Marine Air Terminal to Midway. Unfortunately now you can't fly nonstop from NYC to Midway at all, and O'Hare is of course a time-sucking nightmare (both at and to/from).

The same-day thing sucks, though. When I can, I get a nice dinner in Chicago and a hotel room, but then I still have to deal with an airport in the morning. I would totally get a nice dinner and an overnight train instead were that an alternative.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 8:14 PM
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You can get a nice dinner on the train!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 8:15 PM
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You can do your homework on the boat!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 8:19 PM
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You can catch a fish with a car!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 8:21 PM
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You can call me Al!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 8:24 PM
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You can fool some of the people all the time!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 8:25 PM
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And all of the people fewer the time!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 8:26 PM
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Please. People or fewer, the time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 8:27 PM
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Things that I like better about trains:

1. Better air. Way, way better.

2. Space. Freedom of movement. Freedom to repeatedly change seats with others in my party (especially nice if there are small children around). Freedom to move away from loud/annoying/troublesome/creepy people.

3. I can read/work the entire time. No worrying about lights. No being told to shut my computer down. No interruptions for water/pretzels/etc. etc.

4. A bathroom that it is humanly possible to get a small child and an adult human being in at the same time.

5. Guaranteed no turbulance.

6. Effortless connection to other forms of transportation (and highly convenient to my home/office).

7. I can bring scissors, hand lotion, water, food, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, my Swiss Army knife, and other implements of destruction in any quantities I like.

8. No chance ever that I will be unwillingly bumped.

9. Total freedom to refund/exchange my ticket at any time. Predictable discounts for advance purchases. Plus, if I show up at the station early and get an earlier train, I can exchange my ticket and get an immediate refund (!!) for the price difference if the new ticket is lower cost.

10. Can book tickets for other people without knowing their birthdates.

11. No danger that I will have to put my luggage far away from me because the overhead compartment is jamemd with other people's luggage.

12. No danger that the conductor will force me to "gate check" my bag at the last minute, even though I have packed the most minimal amount possible, because other people have overpacked and filled up the plane.

Downsides of trains:
1. Sometimes you have to stand up. Not often, though.
2. Sometimes they are delayed (though not nearly as often as airlines, IME).
3. They take longer (most of the time).
4. They don't go as many places.

There's no contest. You might as well ask "Internet or television?"


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 8:41 PM
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219: I figured it would be "nice dinner and" or "dinner on", but sure, high-speed train service between NYC and Chicago and fine dining on the trains and a pony.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:10 PM
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A pony would take fucking forever to get from Chicago to New York dinner or no dinner.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:22 PM
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Another upside of trains over planes, is that you can bring your own good booze rather than paying too much for crappy stuff on a plane.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:23 PM
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I don't think much of dining on trains, but that may be overly influenced by trips my wife and I have (separately) taken when they mostly or completely ran out of food. The one time when there was nothing left in the cafe car but Sam Adams and oatmeal cookies wasn't so bad, though.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:27 PM
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A pony would take fucking forever to get from Chicago to New York dinner or no dinner.

It's about half the distance between St. Joseph and Sacramento, which the Pony Express covered in 10 days. So probably 5 days by pony.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:30 PM
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230: Amtrak dining sucks. I have had sandwiches made with some pretty good ingredients on trains in Italy and Spain, though.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:33 PM
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231: I thought they used regular-sized horses, despite the name.

230: the Surfliner in California is generally stocked with 22s of some kind of Stone beer, which is hard to argue with.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:36 PM
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Don't argue with beers. Let beers argue for you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:37 PM
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I thought they used regular-sized horses, despite the name.

Yeah, probably. I don't actually know much about the Pony Express.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:37 PM
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Or contrariwise maybe they found particularly tiny riders.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:40 PM
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Of course you answered this one, internet. Of course you did.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:42 PM
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Everybody lies about ponies.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:43 PM
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Everybody.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:44 PM
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238: It's just idiom.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:46 PM
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It's not like they couldn't use ponies.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:47 PM
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236: That's The Night of the Hunter


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:48 PM
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I... just don't even know what to think about this.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:48 PM
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243 explains everything.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:49 PM
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And it's all real.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:52 PM
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Or contrariwise maybe they found particularly tiny riders.

Yup.

WANTED. YOUNG, SKINNY, WIRY FELLOWS. NOT OVER 18. MUST BE EXPERT RIDERS. WILLING TO RISK DEATH DAILY. ORPHANS PREFERRED." -California newspaper help wanted ad, 1860.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:53 PM
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Why yes, I am procrastinating on a grant proposal, now that you ask.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:53 PM
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That site really captures the sensation of trying to read while somebody's hitting you in the face with a barber pole.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:55 PM
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(Btw, for those of you who didn't click through, the ad is a hoax.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:56 PM
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But that said, I am happy to now imagine the Pony Express as essentially Rodeo Newsies.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:57 PM
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Can you smoke on amtrak? Like between the cars or something?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 9:58 PM
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Wikipedia's tooltips are not willing to just accept the ad as a hoax just like that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 10:01 PM
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251: you can just stick your head in those toilets they have.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 10:01 PM
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You know the kind.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 10:03 PM
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Choose your toilet wisely.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 10:14 PM
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Apparently you can only smoke on Amtrak if you bring your car.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 10:20 PM
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And even then not weed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 10:23 PM
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How do I keep messing my links up?

Not weed!!!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 10:24 PM
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If the site in 243 isn't weird enough for you, try this one (NSFW).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 10:34 PM
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I should have known that was bronies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 10:37 PM
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I traveled a lot by Amtrak in grad school, but never further west than Pittsburgh. I liked that it was much less expensive than flying, that I didn't have to get there two hours before the train departed in order to depart, that I could move around on the train, that there was space and that I could get work done, that I could pack my bags how I liked and no one took them away and lost them for days, and that it went all up and down the Eastern seaboard and connected nicely in the center of cities where all the stuff is, including light rail lines to go to other places.

And one time a gay couple shared some vodka with me because I had some orange juice to share, which made Altoona-Pittsburgh go much faster.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 10:40 PM
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Ponies, weird, and NSFW. Those were pretty big clues.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 10:40 PM
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I have to travel to Philadelphia for business in April. Amtrak isn't even being presented as an option.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 10:53 PM
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The only points-bearing credit card I have is Amtrak-based; trains are a clear winner for me. The oddest relevant fact is that the local station isn't consistently conveniently accessible by municipal bus - despite being operated by the transit authority that runs the bus system, whose HQ is in the train station.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 10:56 PM
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232: It depends on the train.

The snack bar on the NE Regional is pretty bad, but I enjoyed the dining car on the lakeshore limited. (An overnight roomette for 2 cost about as much as 2 plane tickets, so we decided to end our vacation on a high note. The one time I rode Acela first class (I think I bought an upgrade voucher on eBay), the food was pretty nice, and the unlimited free drinks were nice too.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:14 PM
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You can only smoke at longer stops on Amtrak. There used to be smoking rooms that looked horrific.

The dining situation is baddish. On the other hand they will make you a whiskey and soda for $7, a bargain by NYC standards and, as noted above, you can also sneak liquor on. I did it this week!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 02- 9-13 11:29 PM
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5. Guaranteed no turbulance.

I think it was going through Iowa at night where I had to take my wallet out of my back pocket because the train shook so much it was causing me actual pain. Some time later I remember hearing that Iowa (or whatever state) didn't do as much track maintenance as neighboring states and indeed the state we went into next had a much smoother ride.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 1:29 AM
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Well, in the long long ago Amtrak used to have entire smoking passenger cars, which were the same as the other passenger cars, except you could smoke in them. Then they moved to the dedicated smoking room on the lower level of the scenery car, which made absolutely no sense to me since of course the smoke seeped up and the scenery car ended up being pretty smoky too if you're sensitive at all. Also there always seemed to be creepy guys camped out in them waiting for temporarily captive female audiences to appear. Now Amtrak is indeed completely non-smoking, and the last time I checked (which is at least four years ago) they would not tell you in advance which stops were long enough for you to get off the car for a smoke, you just had to wait and see which ones were announced as smoking stops.

Quitting smoking makes travel much, much more pleasant. It turns out I hate air travel almost as much without as with nic fits though.


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 5:42 AM
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Quitting smoking makes travel much, much more pleasant.

Very true.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 6:13 AM
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Is joyslinger new? Has anyone sent a fruit basket?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 6:56 AM
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Newish, but at least months.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 7:03 AM
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Delurked in the Boston meet up thread last month. LB can send the fruit basket, since she's here.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 7:16 AM
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The original fruit basket is now a 404 error.

Joyslinger, enjoy your fruit basket.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 7:22 AM
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I had an awesome time riding the Empire Builder from NYC to Portland, OR in 1993. I hung out in the smoking car with a stripper and a gay couple who invited us back to their compartment to get hammered on cheap whiskey (or maybe it was vodka). Sadly (or maybe not) the stripper was on a quest to win back her ex-boyfriend so was not available, which is too bad since we got along famously and flirted the whole trip.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 7:57 AM
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Has anybody used Megabus? I was only vaguely aware of them, but they have multiple daily routes between Durham and DC that would be cheaper and faster than the train.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 8:32 AM
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275: Yes. They are a very good alternative in my view. Discussed here several times in the recent past (and specifically with regard to the meetup). Book early and get one of the super-low teaser fares (or 2 or 3 of them, although ethics questionable).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 8:37 AM
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Mostly agree with 276, but the bus has some disadvantages:

1. Much less comfortable than Amtrak
2. Almost always late, especially to and from New York. NC to DC might be better.
3. Megabus often boards on the street, so that you have no shelter from rain or heat. Not sure if Durham and DC have real bus stations.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 8:55 AM
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Some of Megabus's routes are actually just "code shares" with Coach USA, in which case there's no difference from what they were before. I like megabus, because the double-decker is nice and the plugs and wifi are great when they work (the latter maybe two thirds of the time), and their loading-unloading systems are better than BoltBus.

277: Does Megabus still load on the street in New York? As of a year ago, they'd moved to a different spot that I thought had coverings for at least the front half of lines. So you get shelter from rain, if not heat/cold. But they may have moved again since then.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 9:17 AM
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Yes, the bus I took last month in NYC boarded on the street.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 9:19 AM
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Oh yeah, it is firmly in the "you get what you pay for camp" (unless you get one of the teasers). And I am viewing it mostly through the eyes of my kids and their friends for whom it has been a godsend.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 9:24 AM
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In Boston they all load at the station.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 9:27 AM
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FWIW, I've found Megabus more comfortable than Greyhound, mainly because the double-decker means you're more likely to get two seats to yourself if you're traveling alone. Also, the clientele isn't quite as dire, presumably because you must book online in advance, which at least eliminates individuals who just escaped from prison.


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 10:00 AM
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I like Bolt Bus a lot more than MegaBus. Bolt seems to have more professional and competent drivers.

It's a poor second to the train, IMO. You can't count on arriving on time and you can't count on a smooth enough ride to be able to actually enjoy the wireless. I've gotten very carsick trying to work on my laptop.

Where I am, they all load on the street. No shelter at all.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 11:11 AM
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Discussed here several times in the recent past

Indeed.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 11:22 AM
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Now I have two fruit baskets - truly, this is the high life!


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 12:49 PM
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(The trip home from the Mead-up, via a friend's place in Queens, was the last time I was on intercity transit. That was 100% Greyhound, since it runs more frequently and I'm never buying early enough to get actual discounts from the discount lines.)


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 12:57 PM
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Way up thread -- I guess I was remembering and looking up wheels up to wheels down.

I think we can all agree that if we had wifi and teleconferencing equipped private rail cars that were decked out like a motherfucking nineteenth century robber baron's with a Michelin five star chef on board and that could travel at speeds far faster than those obtainable on any US high speed system, then train travel would be preferable to air travel -- mostly.

I'd guess Paris-Berlin is probably the closest NY-Chicago high speed rail analogue (though they are about 100 miles closer than NY-Chicago). Apparently from a quick Google search it's about an 8-9 hour travel time. I wonder how much business travel that route picks up.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 1:02 PM
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What we really need is a Top Gear episode where each of the three tries to get from NY to Chicago by plane, train, and Pagani Huayra, respectively.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 1:07 PM
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And pony!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 1:07 PM
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288: I was sure a friend at Facebook had posted about something real on those lines, but it turned out to be restricted to Manhattan and alluded strictly to an episode of How I Met Your Mother. Not what I wanted!


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 1:15 PM
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BTW, the Pennsy equivalent of the 20th Century Limited was the Broadway Limited which also was a 16 hour run (but am pretty sure it did stop in Philly). When we first started using its Amtrack equivalent it had a real dining car that was quite good.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 1:15 PM
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Amtrak dining sucks.

referring to it as 'dining' seems misguided.

Those double-decker buses scare me...they wobble alarmingly at highway speeds. And the drivers are always borderline speeding, because they're always late.

Latest nickname for the LA cop killer: 'Rambro'.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 1:24 PM
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London-Barcelona might be another comparable pair.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 1:41 PM
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Oh, there's Beijing-Shanghai at 819 miles and just under 5 hours.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 1:45 PM
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I had a pretty awful experience, back in December waiting, an hour and a half in the bitter cold on the streets of NYC for the Megabus to arrive (with, yes, no shelter from the elements). But as others have said, this may be specific to NYC.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 1:47 PM
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But all of those have genuinely major stops in between. There's nothing between New York and Chicago comparable to the Rhein-Ruhr metro region.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 1:48 PM
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Fucking commas, how do they work?


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 1:54 PM
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The problem with the Amtrak long distance trains is the tracks suck. We've taken the train to Atlanta. The cost of a sleeper for two is comparable to air fare. The timing is good: you board a bit before dinner and alight a bit after breakfast. And a thunderstorm doesn't mean you'll be diverted to Birmingham. But it isn't easy to sleep. When Mr. Claytor was running the Southern Railway, the tracks were maintained to a passenger comfort standard. Norfolk Southern doesn't have the same attitude. Two things are worse on an Amtrak sleeper. One of them is sleep. Jackmormon said the swaying made her think of sex. But the bunks are very narrow: sex is more a matter of avoiding falling out as the train sways.


Posted by: Jim | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 2:05 PM
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I had a nice meal while fleeing Eyjafjallajökull on a train from, I think, Hamburg to Köln. Much better than a tuna salad sandwich or whatever it is that constitutes the pinnacle of Acela cuisine.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 2:39 PM
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I am taking megabus tomorrow. I am really really really hoping it is not one of those megabi with non-working outlets because for reasons I don't understand, I can't read a book on a bus but I can do stuff like the crossword and reading blogs on my phone. Also, today I ate turtles.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 2:42 PM
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300: How did the turtles taste?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 3:05 PM
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The turtle soup is people!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 3:15 PM
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302: Right, it's people all the way down.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 3:35 PM
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I've taken trains to Edinburgh from London (about 4.5 hours), and London to Paris (2.5 hours) in preference to flying. It's a no brainer. If I had to travel anywhere for work that was in mainland UK and on a mainline rail route, or in Europe and it was a Eurostar terminus, I'd get the train if I possibly could.

None of the interminable security shit, or the need to be at the airport an hour or even two before you fly. You can get up and walk about, the seat is more comfortable, you can look at the scenery out the window.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-10-13 4:28 PM
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I hold out hope still for the vactrain.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 02-11-13 6:16 AM
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You're not getting that feeling of doom as the blizzard worsens when you're riding a train.

Er.... I've been held up on the Coast Starlight and, I think, the Empire Builder by snow and associated slides in the mountains. That's the downside of going through hundreds of miles of steep mountains with no other human works visible.

I am on the 'peaceful, sexy, Tantric' Team Rocking, so feel pretty cheerful and affectionate towards trains. If the Dwarf Lord and I can spare the money and time, a sleeper to & from family over the holidays is gloriously relaxing. (The CS stops in Portland almost, but not quite, long enough to sweep through Powell's. Now THAT would be PERFECT.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-12-13 12:03 PM
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