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Reply to "Amtrak's Plans to Extend Rail Service Across the Country"

Many are the preceding arguments regarding Amtrak. The economic and the efficacy, the political and the equitable. Some that I read were well researched and presented, some polite opinion, and of course some hot air presented as fact on both sides.

For myself a small almost inconsequential point that I feel is missed but I now add to the conversation. Beyond the costs, the convenience, in short the hard realities there is also.

Our heritage; train travel, not unlike the national parks, our museums, or the historical markers that flank our highways and byways. None provide profit, none can be justified economically, often majority supported by government dollars yet used only by a minority.

Consider the Post Office, the Libraries, Universities teaching Arts and Humanities. Most could be replaced by a more efficient paradigm or system. However without these institutions our lives are poorer. Their existence is not predicated solely on efficiency but as part of our heritage as options that we enjoy.

The trains provided by Amtrak are far from what we imagine they could be. So we should support efforts and ideas to continue improving train travel.

So that again we may realize a way of travel that for a long time, to many travelers has meant more than an inconvenient necessity rather an experience. Outside passing by our country, our landscape, meeting our neighbors, lost in simple reveries a respite from the days hustle all to that rhythm. Without the distractions of traffic expected with bus travel. Without the herd mentality of air travel. You might be late arriving but that's OK; when you knew ahead it could be expected. But you also knew when you get to your destination you would be aware that you have traveled.

As a society we should preserve this option of train travel, it may cost more than it returns but only in dollars. Fix what needs fixing but don't forever discard. When we have cut out all the inefficiencies in the budget. When we are finally a perfectly efficient society. That day we will realize all we have lost.

Just an opinion....

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