Frankfort to Prague
Trip Start May 20, 2005
17Trip End Jun 07, 2007
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For me, traveling on European trains is a sensual experience - German railroads especially. Those of you who travel along the eastern seaboard on Amtrak know the drill. The roadbed is poorly maintained, the equipment is inferior, the ridership is low compared to the overall population. We love our automobiles. Yours truly is as guilty as anyone. It would be hard to give up our wheels. It would require a massive shift in attitude and willingness to pour state capital and subsidies into the railroads until the ridership grew to such an extent that the economies of scale would work. It might not succeed even then. Despite all the subsidies over the years, US passenger railroads are terrible. Even the vaunted Acela trains, when they run, can't measure up.
I guess, us rail junkies will just have to come over here to ride. European public rail transportation is far superior. The roadbeds are a marvel with concrete railroad ties and a constantly maintained infrastructure. The tracks are welded. The equipment is superior. The trains thus, are smooth, fast, and can be found everywhere. The population demands it and the goverment is willing to meet that need.
Admittedly they do not face the same problems we do. The population is more highly concentrated, the distances are much less. Rural areas are more compact and there is much higher support for state involvement in people's lives (universal health care, etc.).
What ever the reason, the trip yesterday, for this speed junkie was a marvel. Seven hours on the train and I finished half a book I needed to read. Made me forget my lost luggage.....for a while anyway.
PS: Thanks for your concerned emails. The luggage got here this morning.