I had to laugh at the letter supporting using existing tracks for transporting residents from the Southtowns to the city. I took the train to Denver a few years ago, and, you think you’re going to get on the Amtrak train and ride to each station – with a layover, like airports – and your train comes in at the expected time, you board, and you are on the next leg of your journey, but it doesn’t work that way.
I wish that we would spend the money to give Amtrak its own tracks so that commutes and trips would be efficient and require less plane and automobile traffic.
The railroad tracks are owned, mostly, by commercial lines, like CSX, and Amtrak kind of rents them, or borrows them. You might wait at your station for a while, as reports of new ETAs come in. You board and find your little room – so cute with its own little bed and toilet – not realizing that, even though you’ll ride in comfort, the ride may be a longer one than anticipated. If a CSX train needs its track, your Amtrak train waits until that train has passed, and with endless numbers of cars in trains these days, the wait can be long.
Amtrak just doesn’t have funds because they don’t have customers and they don’t have customers because they don’t have the money for their own tracks. A modern, wait-free, on-time, well-maintained train and track force would be a sell-out – especially for local travel.
We’d need our own tracks for the commuting plan to become a reality. Back-up times would be the death of the idea, and we need this to work. Traffic in Lancaster is choking. The lines at lights in Depew and Cheektowaga are infuriating. The air quality is getting worse. And yet we can never find the money to invest in something that would pay back the investment.