THE LITTLE TRAIN THAT COULD

From the time that I was a baby and my parents carried me on board the Trans-Canada train in the 1930’s so that I could meet my grandfather, Charles St. Lawrence Mackintosh in Vancouver, BC I’ve loved trains.  My great great grandfather, Sir Hugh Allan had, after all, helped to get the railroad across Canada.

With fascination, I’ve traveled on the famous Blue Train across Egypt, had dinner on one of the Dome Cars in Alaska, relaxed on the legendary trains of Europe, slept on the wagon lits of Italy and France, and watched the visages of the Industrial Revolution on a train from Washington, DC’s Union Station to New York City.

USA Today informs us that there will be an $8 billion infusion to get Amtrak on the “fast track”.  Somehow we fell out of love with train travel vs. planes and automobiles.  Europe (including the UK) is expanding their fast trains and “greening” their system.  The time is now for these faster, newer trains taking us past gridlocked airports and congested highways on electrified railroads speeding up to 200 mph.  Remember, there’s never been a serious accident on Japan’s or any other hi-speed railroad.  The new system in this country will reduce our dependence on oil, cut pollution and create jobs.

By April, Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood is required to issue a strategic plan detailing how DOT will use the $8 billion.  States will then be advised on procedure to apply for grants.  In Florida our schedule is Tampa-Orland0-Miami for a hi-speed rail corridor.  It will create an entirely new industry in this country.

Amtrak’s electrified Acela already exists – 135 mph.  The $8 billion is only a beginning…California’s system alone would cost $50 billion to complete, and it’s already in the works!  Check out www.amtrak.com.  Let’s fall in love again.