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Letter: State needs to invest in reliable rail system

State needs to invest in reliable rail system

I am writing this while sitting on Amtrak train 281 about 10 miles east of Syracuse. We have been stopped waiting for traffic to clear for two hours thus far. I am told that I will have additional time to view the lovely CSX rail yard in Dewitt. Since CSX owns the track, we have to wait for its freight trains to get through one of several work zones first.

A week ago, when I went to stay with two of my grandchildren in Rockland County, the train was merely one hour late. If we luck out, we will be only three hours late on a scheduled seven-hour and 22-minute trip.

It could be worse. My fellow travelers going to Syracuse will have to get off and take a shuttle bus from the state fairgrounds. If they’re going to Rochester, it is only a small temporary platform. The fault is not with the Amtrak employees; they are very polite, especially given the conditions in which they work.

Two years ago, I attended a meeting in downtown Buffalo where the wonderful new New York Passenger Rail system was presented. Almost everyone there knew it was a joke to placate those interested in rail transportation systems that almost every other place in the world has. Even many states like Florida, Texas and California have systems that work.

I have taken the Auto Train between Washington, D.C., and Orlando several times without any serious delays. I also should note that both ways there were no delays between Albany and New York City. Should I be surprised?

There are several thousand miles of abandoned tracks in New York. In many cases, the State Department of Transportation actually paid to have the rails destroyed.

Isn’t there some politician who understands that rail transit made New York the Empire State and who will put together a system that works for both freight and passenger transport, instead of neither?

Richard Greenberg


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