Why Take the Train?
There are a lot of reasons! Let's look at them:
- Most passenger trains arrive and depart from the center of the city, not an airport far from anyone.
- Trains provide service in many small communities with no air service -- and often with no good highways either.
- While on board a long-distance train, there is no need to worry about finding a hotel for the night or the next restroom.
- There's no need to arrive so early for your travels.
Many long-distance trains provide two on-board dining options: a dining car with sit-down dining similar to a nice restaurant, and a lounge car with cheaper fast food fare.
- You can choose a sleeping car for your trip, which provides you with a private room that can accommodate up to 2 or 4 people. Some rooms include a private shower and restroom facility as well. You can sleep like in a hotel, while the train continues to make progress on your journey.
- Cheaper coach accommodations feature seats with far more room that even first class on an airplane and recline.
Speed: Faster Than Air?
In the rest of the country, travel by rail is generally slower than travel by air, but is usually still faster than travel by car. Trains go up to 150MPH in the northeast, and up to 79MPH elsewhere. Not only that, but they keep moving while you sleep, use the restroom, and eat.
According to a National Transportation Safety Board report, in 2001:
- 20,269 people were killed in passenger cars, and 41,730 total people were killed in highway accidents.
- 1,162 people were killed in aviation accidents.
- 3 passengers were killed in intercity rail. In fact, far more non-passenger people (such as tresspassers on the rails and people attempting suicide) were killed in rail-related accidents than actual passengers.
Environment and Quality of Life Impact
- Trains pollute far less than airplanes or cars and contribute less to global warming. Some trains are all-electric and have been for decades -- something that cars are just now being able to attain.
- Compared to interstates, rail infrastructure requires less land and has a less negative impact on people near it.
Read about what it's like on a train.