Riding Amtrak along the Northeast Corridor to New York can be one of life's more civilized transportation experiences. The trains are nice enough, and there's room to be comfortable. It ain't cheap -- especially the Acela -- but it sure beats flying in terms of fewer hassles, and doesn't take much longer when you factor in getting to and fro the airports.
Well, after a couple of very unpleasant attempts to save money by taking the bus, today I splurged on the train to NYC and was reminded once again about the sorry ass state of our intercity rail system. The Amtrak service itself was fine, and the conductor was genuinely apologetic for our delays. But going into New Haven, only two tracks were available for all trains going to and from Boston, which meant sitting on the tracks while other trains cleared. And between New Rochelle and Queens, only ONE TRACK was available for all trains due to repair work. A 3 hr. 30 min. trip turned into a 4 hr. and 15 min. one.
If we only invested public funds into building a decent intercity high speed rail system (calling Gov. Dukakis!), this would be a fast and pleasant 2 hr. trip to New York, and maybe a 3 hr. and 30 minute trip all the way to D.C. It would cut down on the air traffic generated by all these short commuter flights.
And it certainly would be a boon for Boston, bringing more people into the city for tourism and business, and giving Hub dwellers a fast, convenient, and hopefully affordable rail link to places up and down the corridor.