There’s recently been a great deal of talk about the addition of high-speed rail to several major United States travel corridors, most notably those on the East and West coasts. But how does the US stack up against the rest of world when it comes to rail travel? Are we in the same league or are we playing catch-up? Is it the best transportation option available to travelers or do aircraft and cars offer better choices?
The United States
While it’s true that numerous people get onto trains for travel purposes in the United States each year, they mostly use the service for commuter needs as Boston Limo Car Service opposed to recreational ones. Vice President Joe Biden famously rode the train from his home in Delaware to Washington DC on a daily basis while he served in the US Senate. Numerous workers along the Eastern Seaboard of the US use rail service to commute from the suburbs and other outlying areas to reach the larger cities where they work such as Boston, DC, New York, and Philadelphia.
Likewise, on the West Coast travelers use rail service to get to and from work in cities like Seattle, Portland, Oakland, and San Francisco. But what about travelers looking to move about for recreational purposes? What options are available to them if they don’t want to drive or take an airplane?
Amtrak offers numerous routes both to and from major tourist and vacation spots. While they don’t have the direct, non-stop trips that airlines can offer, they are still easier than cars while not requiring you to be behind the wheel of a car for thousands of miles. In addition, the impact of the rail service on the environment is far less than that of most vehicles and certainly better than the airline industry can claim.
In many parts of the world rail travel is the most efficient, and in some cases only, mode of transport available. India, Japan, Australia, and nearly all of Europe all have extensive passenger rail lines that allow for easy, affordable travel between locations, both as part of traveling for business and as a means of travel for vacation and recreation.