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Trains in Absentia

Posted on Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Dave!After an early two-and-a-half-hour drive over the mountains for work this morning, I came to the conclusion that the horrific condition of public transportation in this country (particularly on the West Coast) is something Americans should be terribly embarrassed over.

I mean, seriously. our options here are so bad they might as well not even exist. Which explains why our roads are so badly crowded... everybody is in their car, despite the high cost, because public transportation can't get them where they want to go. At least not easily.

Take for example my situation this morning.

If our train system was anything like what you'll find in European or Asian countries, I'd walk to a local train that would take me to the neighboring city of Wenatchee where I'd board a regional train to Seattle. I'd then find a local train that ran out of Downtown over to West Seattle. Done.

But, in reality, I can't catch a local train. The tracks run right thought town, but there are no local trains, thus no local stops. So I have to drive to Wenatchee and hop a train there. Except the ONE train that runs from the station each day boards at 5:35am and doesn't arrive Seattle until 10:25. That's nearly 5 hours for something I can drive in half the time. Even worse, there is no train from downtown to West Seattle. I'd have to find a bus, assuming one even exists.

And so I end up driving, because that's the only real option available to me.

There have, of course, been multiple attempts at adding high-speed rail systems to Washington State. Usually they focus on the Western corridor from Vancouver, BC to Seattle, WA to Portland, OR. But sometimes they study plans for a route that runs Spokane to Wenatchee to Seattle too. Whether or not these trains ever happen is anybody's guess. But it's just too good of an idea to pass up, so hopefully one day.

Spokane to Seattle in under two hours? Wenatchee to Seattle in under an hour?

Where do I sign up?

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Comments

  1. Australia has a similar problem. At least the train from Canberra to Sydney only takes about four hours which is actually a fairly similar time for driving into the city (but why would you), and there’s two of them a day. Not that I’ve ever taken the train because usually I’m visiting my mother who lives south of the city. Three hours to drive versus probably six by the time you get to and from the stations at either end…

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