At this very moment I’m cruising along in probably my most favoured modes of transport, having just departed a cool Boston from South Station on the Acela Express train – the States only ‘Fast Train’ (at what I recall is 160mph). The view is untainted, thankfully without road exits, advertising or fast food outlets. Just pure New England backyards, sleeping towns and meandering streams. And this simple train trip is a highlight of what engineering and good policy can accomplish.
Surprisingly, it’s also one of the few times whilst in transit I can truly relax, simply jump on and go. Free power, wifi and legroom – things the aviation industry cannot compete on. At a mere three and a half hours to the heart of New York, it certainly beats having to get down to Logan then Newark/JFK airport and sit in traffic. No TSA manhandling either.
Back home in Australia, there’s an aversion – and a powerful one here in the States too to delegitimize the concept of good railways. It’s worth recalling that railways were the driving force that built our nations; and is the foundation of any nation.
But I consider there to be lots more benefits like ‘useful tourist time’ right before departure – which is time you are actually on the ground looking at stuff rather than transiting for the purpose of transiting (like catching the Silver Line shuttle bus to the airport). I’ve saved time., paid a discounted amount compare to air travel and minimized my carbon mileage (which is sitting terribly high at 17 flights for this whole trip). But overall I’m glad I have some quality down time for now.
Happy holidays! Now; nap time.