3 Responses

  1. Al Cyone says:

    Thanks for those great ads!

    As for train vs. plane today, you also have to factor in travel time from center city (aka “downtown”) to the airport and security time at the airport. Let’s say that adds two hours on departure and another hour on arrival. For a flight from NY to FL that’s not much of a consideration. But for a flight from NY to Boston or DC it’s likely to be the better [sic] part of the trip. In other words, you’d spend more time getting to and from the plane than in the air. Which is why high-speed rail (really high speed, not just the Acela) might still happen in the northeast corridor. And maybe SF to LA.

    FWIW, I grew up in the City in the 50s in a family that never had a car. Ever. Of course in NYC you don’t need one but, back then, it was possible to even go on vacation without one. We’d take the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad to Mom’s relatives in Western Mass or the Pennsylvania Railroad to Dad’s relatives in Pittsburgh. For all I know, we may have left from New York’s historic, and doomed, Penn Station.

    Fast-forward several decades and one of my cousins was living in a apartment in Pittsburgh’s historic Penn Station. See http://www.thepennsylvanian.com/

  2. Suldog says:

    Truth. MY WIFE and I are looking at a trip to Chicago later this year, and I was checking prices on AMTRAK because we both think it would be an interesting ride. Way too high.

  3. Lee Winson says:

    Regarding train travel in the past, years ago, from roughly 1960 backward, trains were easier and more comfortable to ride than today. There were considerably many more towns served, and there was more of a network to allow easy interconnections between routes. Trunk routes had the choice of several trains a day to choose from. Most stations had an open ticket office and waiting room which made getting tickets and boarding the train easier. Coaches were generally more comfortable with bigger seats spaced further apart. Many trains had Pullman sleeping cars, dining cars with excellent food, as well as lounge cars with a bar. Major trains tended to be fast, for instance, the “Century” took only 16 hours between New York and Chicago, and even lesser express trains were still faster than today’s Lake Shore Ltd.

    Principal stations en route had Pullman set-out and pick-up service. That is, say a train would arrive at an intermediate larger city at 2:00 a.m. A Pullman car for that city would be set out from the train onto a siding so the passengers could continue sleeping until morning. The opposite was provided, too. Say a train would depart a city at 3:00 a.m. Passengers could board the Pullman earlier, perhaps 9 pm, and the Pullman would be added to the train as it passed by. Obviously this required a critical mass of passengers to justify the expense, but in the past many intermediate-route cities had this convenience.

    After WW II, the airlines began to operate bigger, more comfortable, and faster planes which business people flocked to to save time. Also, states began to improve local roads, build turnpikes and freeways, and build large airports. For example, the completion of the New York Thruway, New Jersey Turnpike, and Pennsylvania Turnpike, took away many passengers from the nearby Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads.

    As passengers stopped riding the trains, railroads began to cut back on service, which made train travel less convenient. This further reduced patronage and led to a viscious download cycle.

    Regarding riding Amtrak long distance trains today, it is a more civilized way to travel. The scenery is fascinating, be it farms or cities. A person can stay holed up in their compartment or mingle with other passengers in the lounge and dining cars; whatever they choose. There is a certain dignity about train travel that airlines just don’t have, especially today. (I do wish Amtrak was faster, cheaper, and available to more places.)

    P.S. Thanks for posting the old advertisements. Neat stuff!

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