As regular readers may know, I’m a big fan of train travel. I intend to be taking a train home from New Orleans in less than a month. It will pass through Philadelphia, as do the trains I take to and from DC regularly.
And given the awful derailment of last week I’m sure all of us on the train will have a moment of held breath as we approach that curve, even though we know that statistically we’re probably still safer than if we were driving on a highway, and even though we know that the disaster has finally prompted long-promised speed controls on that curve, even while it hasn’t shaken loose the bare minimum funding we need to upgrade the whole system to keep pace with the rest of the world.
Many people have in response to the derailment held forth at some length about the terrible shame that is the underfunding of our train system, and how it not only makes us the laughingstock of the industrialized world, but also is, clearly, dangerous. So I won’t repeat what they had to say.
But here’s what else I’ll be wondering on that trip: when I return home to Albany, will my kids be able to meet me at the top of the stairs? Will they have been allowed to watch my train pull in, and others out, and feel the magic of the train yard, and imagine as they watch where a train might take them? Continue reading