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Archive for Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Anticipating a rail travel resurgence, organization wants to fast-track repairs

Carey Maynard-Moody, left, and Dennis Domer peek into the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway depot near Seventh and New York streets. The pair are part of a group aiming to renovate the half-century-old building, which still is in limited service as an Amtrak station.

Carey Maynard-Moody, left, and Dennis Domer peek into the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway depot near Seventh and New York streets. The pair are part of a group aiming to renovate the half-century-old building, which still is in limited service as an Amtrak station.

May 7, 2008

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Efforts underway to rehabilitate rail depot in East Lawrence

The 'Burlington Northern Santa Fe Depot' is beginning to show its age. It's been there for 52 years. Enlarge video

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The train depot in east Lawrence still welcomes and sees off passengers, still accommodates railroad operations and still grabs attention with its mid-century modern architecture.

Now a fledgling group of residents wants to make sure that the depot owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, 413 E. Seventh St., not only survives for another 50 years but also stays on track to handle a hoped-for resurgence in rail travel.

"Our goal is to maintain it as an active station," said Dennis Domer, co-chairman of Depot Redux, an organization formed to fight for the depot's renovation, restoration and enhancement as a passenger hub. "Not only do we like the transportation and the depot and the architecture, but we think this is the wave of the future. It's like 'Back to the Future.'

"Nobody has any money right now, and we're just starting out, but if there's going to be a rail system in the future, it'll be just like in the 19th century: Everybody wants to be on that line. And Lawrence is already on it."

The depot in Lawrence is one of 31 stops between Chicago and Los Angeles on the Southwest Chief, an Amtrak line with twice daily scheduled stops in Lawrence: 12:32 a.m. for passengers going west, and 5:49 a.m. for passengers headed east.

But Depot Redux hopes for more. They're working with the Northern Flyer Alliance to help push for a new train that would connect with the Heartland Flyer, which already runs from Dallas/Fort Worth to Oklahoma City. The Northern Flyer would extend north to Newton, then on to the north and east through Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City, Mo.

The Kansas Department of Transportation is studying the feasibility of such service.

Working for the future

Lawrence's depot, which served 3,732 Amtrak passengers last year, could become an even bigger player in the years ahead as fuel prices escalate, environmental concerns mount and people become increasingly aware of the potential for rail as a convenient, cost-effective mode of transportation, said Carey Maynard-Moody, Depot Redux co-chairwoman.

But protecting and preserving an existing depot is a years-long process, Maynard-Moody said, and one that needs to start soon if Lawrence wants to be a player in extended rail service.

"If the Northern Flyer is going to come through - in, say, 2010 or 2011 - our depot needs to be ready," she said.

The depot itself, opened in 1956, is showing its age, said Domer, who knows a thing or two about such things. The historic preservationist and architecture educator helped with a community effort to preserve and restore the old Union Pacific Depot, now the Lawrence Visitor Center in North Lawrence.

The BNSF depot is worthy of placement on the National Register of Historic Places, he said, given its status as one of a small number of U.S. depots built in the modern style - one dominated by bold, overlapping rectangles and metal architectural details, virtually all of which remain in place today.

About the depot's only nod to the present day is its illumination. While fixtures hanging from the ceiling are original, the compact-fluorescent bulbs inside are new.

"You walk in there today, and it's like walking into the 1950s," Domer said.

Repairs sought

The building's flat roof is leaking, terrazzo floors are cracking and metal supports outside are rusting.

Domer figures it might take $200,000 or so to repair the roof and make other necessary upgrades. A full-scale renovation, rehabilitation and period-sensitive upgrades could push the project cost past $1 million.

Rich Wessler, director of passenger train operations for Burlington Northern Santa Fe, said that the railway would be an unlikely candidate to tackle such work alone.

"The depot, as it is now, is fine for our purposes," Wessler said. "We don't need much of a facility."

But BNSF would entertain the possibility of selling the depot to the city of Lawrence, provided that its own interests - space for communications equipment and room for switching crews - could be met, either on site or somewhere else nearby, Wessler said. And government money could come into play.

"We're certainly willing to consider legitimate offers," said Wessler, who emphasized that the railroad was not actively looking to sell. "The federal government is not interested in rehabbing a Burlington Northern Santa Fe facility, but they're very interested in rehabbing a city-owned facility."

Maynard-Moody and Domer say they have broached the subject with city officials, and are confident some arrangement with somebody - the city, a trust or a nearby property owner - could be worked out.

"We want to have the depot up and running and welcoming for passenger rail travelers," Maynard-Moody said. "How do we get there? We don't know. But we're very creative."

Comments

TopJayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

I can't bellieve I am agreeeing with Bozo. But he is right. Rail travel could be viable again. But it will take a large investment. If You could get rail going again is some meaningful way, it will hugely reduce the use of fuel in this country. That means a corresponding reduction in CO2. But if your not serious about reducing this, then well never mind. I also think it should be done like Marion says for civic opportunites, and just to save some mid-century Americana. You should come over to Topeka and see what they have done with the Great Overland Station.

salad 6 years, 7 months ago

DonQuipunch (Anonymous) says: ""Bee-otch" Awesome!You SO win, salad."See?...we CAN agree on something.

ralphralph 6 years, 7 months ago

"The depot in Lawrence is one of 31 stops between Chicago and Los Angeles ..."There's your trouble. 31 stops? What is it, a 5-day trip?Rail is over, at least as a means of long-distance travel.It's also over for commuting, in this part of the country, because the popluation density just isn't there (thank goodness).5-stars for nostalgia, 1-star for reality.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"There's your trouble. 31 stops? What is it, a 5-day trip?"The trip from Lawrence to Chicago is about 10 hours, so your estimate is likely pretty far off."Rail is over, at least as a means of long-distance travel."With oil heading towards $200 a barrel, you couldn't be more wrong.

Jean1183 6 years, 7 months ago

I would love to do a train trip and have checked into the costs as recently as a month ago.........exhorbitant! It's cheaper to fly.

igby 6 years, 7 months ago

3700 passengers is more than the T. Lol. Maynard-Moody, has another dead horse to beat now. Whats next? Hope it's not the 2009, CC election.

salad 6 years, 7 months ago

I look forward to gas going to $10 so we can all SLOW the eff down a little. We'll have to walk to work or ride a bike, take public transportation, and only use your car for special occaisions. And for long trips: take the train, which will be cheaper than flying....it will just take a few years to get there.

1029 6 years, 7 months ago

ralphralph could not be more wrong. i'd love to hear his/her views on what the world will look like in twenty, thirty, forty years. (also, I believe it is estimated that the number of cars on the road today will double by sometime in the 2050s) Small thinkers and those with the inability to visualize are sadly a plentiful crowd.

Stu Clark 6 years, 7 months ago

We (two adults, three kids) took the train from Lawrence to LA a few years ago. It was a great trip, good dining service, great views from the observation car. It takes about 30 hours. It's not cheap though, and the 12:30AM departure time is a drag.

Godot 6 years, 7 months ago

My first reaction to the headline and a few sentences was, "Do Maynard-Moody and Domer own stock in BNSF, is that why they think they have any say in this?" Then, further reading revealed that their solution requires the taxpayers to buy a dilapidated building that BNSF does not see fit to repair, and then have the taxpayers spend $1,000,000 to fix it up. Why am I not surprised?

rumor_man 6 years, 7 months ago

I heard that Dennis pushed Carey onto the first westbound train right after they took the pictures and interviewed her.

kmat 6 years, 7 months ago

JackRipper - There's not a fear in living where you work. Some of us don't have much of a choice. It's not a lifestyle - it's a necessity for many. If you think anyone wants to drive to KC everyday, then you're pretty dumb. Many of us have a spouse that has a job in Lawrence, but since the job market here sucks, the other spouse has to work in KC. I used to work in Eudora, but then the company closed (owner decided he'd sell out to the competition and it got shut down). So, to get an equivalent job I had to start commuting.Should my spouse have to leave the job he's had for 18 years with one of the few good companies in Lawrence and give up the benefits? We'd have a hard time selling our house since the market sucks. And given the fact there aren't a lot of good paying jobs anywhere because of the economy, yeah I should have my husband quit his good job to try to get a crappier one in KC. Now, that's smart.What would be smart are commuter rail lines that ran from Topeka to KC (through) Lawrence. Then have bus service to the main areas of town from the rail stations. St. Louis and the east coast major cities are perfect examples. Too many idiots in this area keep us from progressing.

salad 6 years, 7 months ago

DonQuipunch (Anonymous) says: Yes, salad. I, for one, can't wait to walk 40 miles one-way to work.Douchebag. Kill the commuters and there won't be a lot left to pay for the city infrastructure. Lawrence needs commuters a lot more than we need it.Wow, DonQuidik, aren't you a self-important whiny little bee-otch! I'm sure that Lawrence will be just fine without your little drop in the bucket. I STILL can't wait for gas to go to $10/gal. so you'll have to change your bassakwards lifestyle. It's comming, oh yes....it's comming.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"Or you could have just looked it up. There's a train leaving Chicago at 1:45 pm tomorrow - it gets to LA at 10:10 am three days later. (There is another one that takes 'only' 43 hours - must not make all 31 stops.)"I may be a "moron", at least I can do basic math, and read a train schedule. That train that only takes 43 hours, which is less than two days, is the same one that goes through Lawrence (I've taken it several times.) Last I checked, 5 days is 120 hours, which is considerably more than 43 hours."Your typical business traveler from Chicago isn't going to spend the entire business week on a train for a one hour meeting in LA."Your typical business traveler who goes from Chicago to LA for a one-hour meaning, no matter the means of transport, is a true moron. Fact is, a very high percentage of business travel, especially that taken by private corporate jet, is mostly about ego-stroking, not business necessity.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 7 months ago

same day, same paper, we are straining to pay for the T, might have sales tax vote whether to keep it going; and, some of these same far left people are in the same paper telling us we need to plunk down a boatload of money to fixup an old train depot?makes me feel as if I were a goldfish, in a washing machine set to agitate!***c'mon, do you people ever think before you start flinging moneywaster ideas out there?

bearded_gnome 6 years, 7 months ago

I have ridden the train many times in my life and enjoyed it. so, am not anti-train. it is very comfortable compared to most forms of long-distance travel. *I see we have some hysterians above who believe in anthropogenic global warming. when CO2 is outlawed, then only outlaws will breathe. algore's movie was ruled false on ten or eleven points by a uk judge. furthermore, this hysteria is based on poor models that don't even account for global precipitation. some of the same hysterians were warning us in the '70s about a "pollution winter" "global cooling." it was on the cover of time and of newsweek. the earth has been warmer than this before. solar output has been up corelating with global temperature increases, not CO levels in the atmosphere, in fact measures during the last century indicated that increases in atmospheric carbon levels followed temperature rises, not preceded them. stop thinking you have to have your fellow americans punished!

Godot 6 years, 7 months ago

Question: if BNSF does not see the need to remodel this train station, why should the city do it? Is there some undercurrent that is not being discussed here, such as, once the Dems are in the Whitehouse, nationalizing the railroads or something?

sdinges 6 years, 7 months ago

As a university student in Ontario, I used to take the train all over. I had no car and it was cheap. It wasn't really that bad. There were express (no stop) train on all well-traveled routes, but if the scheduling didn't work out for me I often ended up on a train with several stops. The stops were annoying, but all in all, the trips were a positive experience.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"Except, of course, people actually use air travel infrastructure."If rail were subsidized to the extent the air and auto travel are, ridership would increase dramatically.

Bookie 6 years, 7 months ago

LOL... I've been in Lawrence 17 years and didn't even know there was a passenger depot!I'd love to take a trip by rail. In 1966-ish I travelled with my mother and 3 siblings (all of us under 7) from Rochester, Minnesota to Merced, California. Great memories for me, though I know it had to be stressful for my mother!

RedwoodCoast 6 years, 7 months ago

"Too many idiots in this area keep us from progressing."Waaaah, waaaaah, sob, sob, I don't want to change!Boo hoo.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 7 months ago

My first reaction to the headline and a few sentences was, "Do Maynard-Moody and Domer own stock in BNSF, is that why they think they have any say in this?"Then, further reading revealed that their solution requires the taxpayers to buy a dilapidated building that BNSF does not see fit to repair, and thenhave the taxpayers spend $1,000,000 to fix it up. Why am I not surprised?--godotyou know godot, I think we were wrong to oppose yDOOM-dranyam's election to the city commission. she is obviously very forward-looking and perceptive...she really works hard to find places for the city of lawrence to waste its money! in the city commission race she predicted that food prices would rise, she didn't explain that she and others would cause gas prices to rise. oh and I love the three or so posters wishing the $10 per gallon gas as a punitive measure. these people seem to think their fellow americans need punishing! they oppose building new refineries, they oppose new drilling. ten years ago, bill clinton vetoed the bill passed by congress to begin drilling in ANWR. if he had not done this, we'd have more domestic production, and that means lower oil prices because supply is higher. and that slanted report that it would only matter by one penny to bring down the price of gas, often cited by chuck schumar d. senator of NY, it is completely fake.

monkeyhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

"If people in Lawrence would start supporting and building business that provide for ourselves then Lawrence or any other community would be strong but instead we aren't building complete communities." That particular pearl caught my eye.Years ago, I did start a business right here in our precious mecca. Luckily, I was able to unload my last local property last year. In the time my business was thriving here, many of my fellow Lawrencians benefited greatly. Just ask them. Regulations and taxes forced me to invest elsewhere. The experience with local government, largely controlled at that time by controlling elitists who don't have two nickels to rub together, was quite disarming. It made me realize that I did not want to work my butt off in a city where my diminishing returns were taxed heavily and unfairly only to be frittered away by loser socialist programs.My goal now is to fund this city in the most minute way possible, while at the same time, I actually don't mind giving my tax money to Missouri.

Godot 6 years, 7 months ago

A wind powered train? That could make the schedule a tad unpredictable, couldn't it?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Hey, BG and nota-- ever heard of telephones? Some of em even have teevee screens.

Kookamooka 6 years, 7 months ago

We used to ride home to St. Louis when we were in college. Now we visit grandma. I loved it as a new mom because I could focus on the kids and breastfeed and relax. It takes longer but the view is better. I would advocate Amtrak try to attract the young families and have a whole car set up like a little soft playground so all of the families could congregate in it and the kids could play and be noisy. Not distracting the crotchety old folks is the biggest challenge to rail that I saw.

gccs14r 6 years, 7 months ago

We could have used the $3 trillion we spent on Iraq to build a fabulous passenger rail system. You naysayers are really going to wish we had built passenger rail when your only inter-city transportation option is a stagecoach.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

"If you can build massive infrastructure for cars and airliners with taxpayer money it should also make sense to build a system that is a complete package like the train."Yeah, makes a lot of sense, building an equally massive infrastructure for something that has 1% of the demand. Yep, makes sense to go for that "complete package."A 'complete package' that can't take you door-to-door like a car.A 'complete package' that can't even begin to approach the speed of airliners.A 'complete package' that can't travel overseas.A 'complete package' that can't go where you want when you want.Maybe you meant "complete waste of money."

J Good Good 6 years, 7 months ago

I would seriously settle for a map of town, and a working phone at this train station. The trains let people off in the middle of the night next to a homeless campground that the city allows unabated. There is not even a way to call a cab or to realize that there is a hotel a block away. The city and the railroad ought to be ashamed.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

"Lots of pork barrel spending on car travel such as the $200,000,000 roadway being discussed aka the trafficway.""Pork barrel," merrill? How many passengers were on the train you rode (all of whom had more than half their fares paid through tax subsidies), compared to just a single daily passenger load in the cars that will travel the SLT? Get over yourself.I just love these people that say "Yeah, I rode the train once" as if it's their sole means of travel. Without the roads of which you speak, merril, how do you think all those people who boarded your train in Indiana got to the train station?******gccs14r (Anonymous) says: "Aircraft are going away. They burn way too much fuel and produce way too much CO2 per seat-mile. A windmill-powered train produces no CO2."A windmill-powered train might have a difficult time carrying passengers to Europe. Or Japan. Or Hawaii. Or Australia. Or.....

martyks 6 years, 7 months ago

Something to think about: At the turn of the last century, we had trains running to and from every little town throughout the country... another train would come by every 10 minutes or so. You could hop on almost any time and go almost anywhere for almost nothing. Henry Ford and Big Oil got together to buy up every commuter train they could and dismantle them. The answer will be light rail, but we are probably 110 years away from that... in the past. Too bad these unamerican tycoons were allowed to ruin real transportation, and now, history presents these people as heroes. I know there's a need for it, but building it would be harder than putting a man on the moon. Obama might want to write a speech: Before this decade is out... Or, we choose to build a modern transportation system, not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Imagine spending the money we are throwing away in Iraq on real transportation! Ah, I'm dreaming. Not gonna happen... CO2 through the roof (or sky) and people telling us rail transportation is dead right up to the moment most of us are.

gccs14r 6 years, 7 months ago

Aircraft are going away. They burn way too much fuel and produce way too much CO2 per seat-mile. A windmill-powered train produces no CO2.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "And again it is selective socialism. And if we had the system in place many people would be using it."Why would you think that when people don't use the ones we have? More than half the cost of every single fare on Amtrak is subsidized already, and you want to throw more money at it in the hope that more people will ride? Look at the train Kansas is considering flushing money at now, the one to Texas. About what, 70 people ride it daily? And you think adding more trains would add more riders? The problem certainly doesn't look like a lack of seats.And it's not socialism, selective or otherwise, to fund vital services with tax dollars - that's pretty much what the whole idea is. Trains aren't in that category and never will be. My remarks to nazi_on_the_bus related to his desire to force public mass transit on us to replace personal conveyances, not to his penchant for choo-choos.The American public is never, ever going to give up their personal vehicles. They want to be able to get in their car in their driveway or their garage and get out when they're in the parking lot of where they're going - and do it when it's convenient for them (as in when they have to be at work, not an hour before), not for the transportation authority. Trains will never be able to do that, buses can't even do that. And it's worth noting that even in Europe private car ownership is rising; it's not quite to where we are, but closing in fast.The American public is never going to accept having to take three days to cross the country. Not for business travel and certainly not for something that's even more valuable, their leisure time. Even if you could run a high speed train at full speed all the way (and you can't), be realistic for just one second. How many trains are we talking about building to replace the thousands of planes that are in the air at any given moment? How many rail lines would you have to build to replace all the air routes? Where are you going to put all the homes and businesses and farms that are displaced - you do know that not all parts of the country are as empty as western Kansas? And then there's that slight problem with overseas travel...As I said earlier, trains can not replace airplanes or cars. It can't happen. And if we need cars and planes, especially if we're already subsidizing them, why pour money down the drain on something we absolutely don't need?

Haiku_Cuckoo 6 years, 7 months ago

Air travel is a waste of time and money. Why would I want to spend a whopping 3 hours flying to New York when I can make that same trip by train in a measly 29 hours?

gccs14r 6 years, 7 months ago

If passenger rail had its own high-speed track, instead of having to piggyback on dilapidated freight rail and be subjected to delays because freight takes precedence, it wouldn't take three days to get to California. Chicago-LA could be done in 10 hours as a non-stop with proper trains. Statistically, no one will travel overseas after the oil runs out. We'll be back to sail-powered commercial vessels by the end of the century, and there just won't be that many folks who will have the means or the time to make the trip.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "Really, notajayhawk. Please go to timeout. Your blood pressure is obviously sky high, and you're beginning to babble even more incoherently than usual."Aw, bozo, don't run away with your tail tucked in now, I need more laughs. And with you being such an endless source of mirth around here, even if you think your serious..."Hey, BG and nota- ever heard of telephones? Some of em even have teevee screens."Uh, yeah. We can all take our vacations by phone instead of actually travelling. What a frikkin' moronic troll.Hey, nazi_on_the_bus: Would it be okay with you if we built a train line through the wetlands? (Maybe we could call it the Columbus line.)****JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "Again the myth that it is "private"! It is hilarious to continually be told that air and auto travel is just private free enterprise."And again, the major difference being that people actually use the roads and air routes.

gccs14r 6 years, 7 months ago

A nonstop probably wouldn't be justifiable for that distance, but having stops at the major cities along the way would add maybe an hour to the total trip. In the case of a person coming here from Chicago, he'd take the fast train as far as KC, then hop on an interurban that stops here. Simple.Marion, most people are terrible drivers. Giving them wings would be a disaster.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

In the fall the east coast train heading west was quite busy and hooked up additional cars in Indiana on our way to KCMO. A train lay over in a city is way more fun than any airport.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "The trip from Lawrence to Chicago is about 10 hours, so your estimate is likely pretty far off."Or you could have just looked it up. There's a train leaving Chicago at 1:45 pm tomorrow - it gets to LA at 10:10 am three days later. (There is another one that takes 'only' 43 hours - must not make all 31 stops.)"If rail were subsidized to the extent the air and auto travel are, ridership would increase dramatically."Uh, sure. Except there aren't rails to carry any more trains, moron. And here's another clue (since you seem so devoid of them): Your typical business traveler from Chicago isn't going to spend the entire business week on a train for a one hour meeting in LA.*******JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "I don't so as well as many others so it is in the eye of the beholder."A million people used Kansas City's airport in March. How many used the train station? I think there's a few more "beholders" on the plane.*****The bottom line: Trains are incapable of replacing automobiles or airplanes (let alone both). And with airplanes and automobiles, there is absolutely no need for passenger rail.When gas gets to the price where people stop buying it (and it doesn't look like that's in danger of happening any time soon), they will drive electric cars, or propane cars, or soybean-oil cars, or rubber-band cars. They will not flock to the rails. The American public is not going to give up their personal point-to-point conveyances that go anywhere they want when* they want. Rail is dead. Get over your nostalgia and your socialism and deal with it.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

If there is no reason to be in a hurry the sites along the way are interesting. Train travel is definitely a social experience and comfortable. The club car and food are okay. We've traveled from New Mexico to Los Angeles toting our bikes and camp gear. We've traveled from Pennsylvania to KCMO. We've traveled from Baltimore to KCMO with bikes and camp gear. Our latest venture from Pennsylvania noted public transportation buses delivering and picking up commuter train patrons. We did commuter train from small town Pennsylvania to the Philadelphia train depot. So public transportation is not unreasonable.Tons and tons of tax dollars are spent on car travel so it is a long way from being self sustaining. Lots of pork barrel spending on car travel such as the $200,000,000 roadway being discussed aka the trafficway. Roadways breed more tax dollar spending as developers create demands such as schools,houses,strip malls, water and sewer, fire and police plus additional city staff and equipment. No way do more roads save tax dollars.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 7 months ago

OMG Cool! you've got to be kidding, riiiiiiiiight? now, here we go:in this discussion, three different types of trains have been prought up. the far left greeniewheenies and crazies portrayed in the article aren't very clear which they're trying to resurrect. 1. express train, higer speed, fewer stops. great for some especailly business travel.2. local, a train not so fast and stops at every "whistlestop" [that phrase is an old railroad term, could have also said "jerkwater" instead.] not good for business, but good for some vacationers/family trippers. 3. hobby/historical, like the midland railroad running out of baldwin, only excursion short trips. cool throws out "heritage tours." there is no reason to think that #1 would connect much to that at all, though #1 is where worldwide there's the most money. the tours might connect some to #2 group, but trains do have inconveniences and take more time, as identified above. but you're not talking about a very big pie here.3. smallest pie is #3, you could have a "local train" that ran to some attractions in lawrence, but it would have to have some kind of connections to bus, major train, or air in order to funtion. historical train also might connect ku, downtown, museums, haskell, and perhaps a couple of county locations. big problem, you're talking about 'right of way," a lot of land. land ain't cheap, especially in some places you'd need to run track for your local hobby train. and then the cost of the rolling stock. c'mon Cool, you can do better. connect to the Oread inn???

Godot 6 years, 7 months ago

Soros and Buffett, Obama's richest supporters and financial gurus, have made big investments in railroads recently, inlcuding BNSF. I love it how they are able to get the sheeple of moveon to carry the flag and support their business interests all in the name of "green."

Godot 6 years, 7 months ago

I wonder to what degree Soros and his hedge fund speculator followers are responsible for the outrageous runup in the price of oil?

bearded_gnome 6 years, 7 months ago

nota,you know that the elitist left fringe on here has already labeled you and me as "rednecks!" [the correct modern term: agro-americans, please]. and I note with glee that boozo on the wrong bus a cts like he/she/it has some knowledge of what happens at such business meetings! that's really funny. all he/she/it is telling us is about the giant prejudice in his/her/its heart! windmill powered engine, I think that had to be sarcasm.
and, finally comrad Merrill pops up. he wants us all to have enforced power outages to force electricity conservation! he thinks broken streets are good passive traffic calming devices {and he's on the traffic safety commish?!?}. but worst of all, merrill applauds those blowing up our troops in iraq, calling them patriots. so, anything merrill writes, just ignore as stemming from tortured mind. maybe we need to set aside some town, and only maynard-moody boozo merrill ripper et al can live there, tax themselves into oblivion and have a little people's republic, while leaving us in freedom and lower taxes and sensible government. ya' know, us agro-americans!

ralphralph 6 years, 7 months ago

Sheesh! The '5-day trip' remark was one of them thar hyperbole thangs. People will not take a 31-stop trip to LA by rail in sufficient numbers to be feasible, regardless of fuel costs. Query: don't trains use fuel? I'm not anti-train, just realistic. When I'm in Chicago, St. Louis or Atlanta, I use the trains all I can. In college I was a master of bus schedules, and could make connections with the best of them. It was great, and affordable. Trains aren't going to work in Kansas, though, or from Chicago to LA. They just aren't. I picked August 19th out of the air, and checked schedules and prices: you can fly non-stop from Chicago to LAX for $ 135 in 4 hours and 15 minutes; OR, you can go by bus for $ 102 in 43 hours and 45 minutes; OR you could go by train in 43 hours for $ 143. Let's see, which do I like best? Pay more and take 10 times longer? Idunthingso.What's the world going to look like in the future? Around here it's going to look trainless, except for the freighters bringing in the Chinese goodies to meet up with the NAFTA Superhighway over at Gardner.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

just_another_nazi_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "I may be a "moron", at least I can do basic math, and read a train schedule. That train that only takes 43 hours, which is less than two days, is the same one that goes through Lawrence (I've taken it several times.) Last I checked, 5 days is 120 hours, which is considerably more than 43 hours."At least I know the difference between 3 and 5. I didn't say five days, nazi_on_the_bus, I said three:421 Texas EagleChicago, IL - Union Station (CHI)1:45 pm 08-MAY-08 Los Angeles, CA - Union Station (LAX)10:10 am 11-MAY-08 70h 25mhttp://tickets.amtrak.com/itd/amtrak/FareFinder?_tripType=OneWay&_origin=chicago&_depmonthyear=2008-05&_depday=07&_dephourmin=&_destination=los+angeles&_retmonthyear=&_retday=&_rethourmin=&_adults=1&_children=0&_infants=0&_searchBy=schedule&x=15&y=10And maybe your eyes are failing as fast as your feeble mind, but you might have noticed that in the parentheses - that's these things ( ) - I mentioned there was another train that 'only' took 43 hours. There's also one that goes through Sacramento that takes about 60, one through San Antonio that takes about 63, and one through Portland OR that takes over 76. Wow, now there's flexible scheduling.But okay, let's take the one that's 'only' 43 hours. Lest you think it's just business travelers, clownie, while I realize you don't have much to do with your time, those of us who work for a living might not want to spend 4 days of our week-long vacation in transit. Especially those of us with small children who can think of better ways to torture a child than to subject them to 43 hours on a train - both ways."Your typical business traveler who goes from Chicago to LA for a one-hour meaning, no matter the means of transport, is a true moron. Fact is, a very high percentage of business travel, especially that taken by private corporate jet, is mostly about ego-stroking, not business necessity."Yeah, yeah, yeah, forgot, it's all about good socialist ideals, isn't it, nazi_on_the_bus? Private wealth is bad, private health insurance is bad, private schools are bad, and private transportation is an absolute abomination before the gods of socialism. Way to stay true to your nazi ideals, Herr bozo.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "If you don't even have the option of going from Texas to Chicago then it should be easy to understand why it isn't being used."Oh, great. You really can't come up with a better argument than "If we build it, they will come?" Didn't there used to be passenger train service between Chicago and Texas, JackRipper? (Just nod your head, look sheepish, and say "Yes.") There's no longer train service between Chicago and Houston because - and I'll try to type slowly here - not enough people were riding the frikkin' train!!! That shouldn't be hard to comprehend. Maybe they wanted to get there faster than 27 hours. Go figure."Again, it isn't black and white, what is hard to understand about that that we can have cars, we can have planes, and we can have trains at the same time."We can have hot air balloons, dirigibles, sailing ships, steam powered boats, pedal-powered submersibles, horse-drawn wagons, we can have a whole lot of things, JackRipper. Except there's really not much point in paying billions or trillions of dollars to pay for all those things when there is absolutely no need for them! Please try to keep up."I don't even care if we have high speed trains, a 10 hour trip to Chicago is fine with me. I'd rather do that then fly even though those highly subsidized and government bailed out airline companies do have some cheap fares but gosh, they are highly subsidized. Trains would make far more sense for trips that are probably the length that most people are going to make."Good, it's fine with you. Build yourself a railroad. Why should the rest of us buy it for you? And I hate to burst your little bubble, JackRipper, but it isn't planes that trains would be competing with for those trips. Until you get to a distance of about 2000 miles, most people still drive their cars."And who are you to determine it is something we "absolutely don't need"?"Me, JackRipper? I'm one of the 99% of the American public who travel by means other than train. Who are you, again, that we should spend billions on accomodating?"...or sitting in airports being treated like a criminal so you can sit in a crampt airplane as it sits waiting for possibly hours on the runway?"And if the 30,000+ people who use MCI every day were trying to use Union Station instead, it would look like what, JackRipper?Look, there's a nice little antique train down in Baldwin. It runs almost every day, I think. Knock yourself out playing choo-choo. You can even stick your head out the window and yell "Toot, toot!" Have fun. Just don't act so shocked or mistreated when 99% of your fellow Americans don't feel like taking that nostalgic trip back to the 1800's with you, and would rather our taxes went to pay for something we need, not something you want.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says: "If passenger rail had its own high-speed track, instead of having to piggyback on dilapidated freight rail and be subjected to delays because freight takes precedence, it wouldn't take three days to get to California. Chicago-LA could be done in 10 hours as a non-stop with proper trains."Good theory. Except most of the people in this country don't live in the deserts and empty plains between Chicago and LA. In densely populated areas, you can't build those tracks. The Acela between Boston and NY can only get to its top speed for 18 miles of the trip; it only cuts a half hour off the time required for conventional trains to make the trip.Your proposed high speed, non-stop train between Chicago and LA illustrates the reason most people would never go back to trains. You can only build the rails practically for such trains through the empty, wide open spaces. Which means the trains aren't going (or stopping) where people want to be. A non-stop between Chicago and LA? At how many billion dollars in cost? For how many riders per day? And what about the people who didn't want to go all the way to LA - they're supposed to take this high-speed train all the way to LA, then board another train to go back to Denver?And, uh, you do realize that this "non-stop" train to LA wouldn't be stopping here? Did you think about any of this?

bearded_gnome 6 years, 7 months ago

with local government, largely controlled at that time by controlling elitists who don't have two nickels to rub together, was quite disarming. It mademe realize that I did not want to work my butt off in a city where my diminishing returns were taxed heavily and unfairly only to be frittered away byloser socialist programs.--monkeyhawk,very well said! this article highlights the very disconnect elitists you describe!

classclown 6 years, 7 months ago

As long as any train rail system takes the 32nd street route.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Really, notajayhawk. Please go to timeout. Your blood pressure is obviously sky high, and you're beginning to babble even more incoherently than usual.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "Ah yes, Mr Status Quo, life will continue on just like it is now, no need for change."Well, to be more accurate, there's no need to change backwards."We'll burn food for fuel if need be while we drive up the cost of food so others in the world not fortunate enough to live in prosperous countries can starve."Getting desperate here, Jackie. By your own admission trains wouldn't replace planes or cars, so where's this fuel savings coming from?"But life is good for you"It is, thank you. Would I like gas to be cheaper? Well, I commute 550 miles per week, so I guess so. But that's my choice, which was made because the pay was sufficiently higher than what I can make locally to make it cost effective. And guess what - a train wouldn't be a viable option. Even if there were rail service, I still have to get from the train station to work. And for some reason I'm not willing to trade in my one hour commute for a three hour commute, waiting for buses and walking a few stretches. Or paying more than I am now by taking taxis. But hey, if those kind of things make sense to you, go for it. That would be your choice - just don't ask me to pay for it."You might want to go back to see where funds came from that built the airports and how passenger trains were taxed to support other things."A tired and false argument, Jack. Government bonds that are repaid through passenger terminal fees and airline service fees (also paid for by passengers) isn't quite the same thing as more than half of every train fare being paid by taxpayer subsidies. And once again, Jack - we pay for the roads and the airports because people use them."You must have some connections with the auto or air industry, maybe a big investor with stocks and can't have anything effecting those."It's pretty obvious that you're a former railroader who has no other argument than being disgruntled over losing his job. And yes, I do have a 'connection' to the auto and airline industries - I use them both. Like 99% of the rest of the country.(continued)

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

(continued)"Yes, I'm the only person in this country who would like an other option."Then keep riding the trains. And if enough people like you do so, we'll have more trains. The antique railroad in Baldwin is a good example, actually. If enough people are willing to pay for something, even a 20 minute ride to nowhere, then the service will be offered. And if not, it isn't. Pretty simple. We'd still have rail service from Chicago to Houston if enough people wanted it. And it was actually one of Amtrak's 'busiest' routes. But 'busy' is a relative term; the number of passengers wasn't even a drop in a very large bucket compared to the number of people who fly that route every day."But why if we are whittling it down to the most bang for the buck don't we get rid of autos or airliners so we can funnel all the money to only one of them?"Now you're just being an a**, so there's not much point in continuing. Planes can't replace cars any more than cars can replace trains. But, and I'll say it yet again, with both trains and cars, passenger rail is completely superfluous. But hey, just for those folks who insist on wasting tax dollars for nostalgia's sake, why only three? That's not fair, Jack. Don't we also have to fund sailing ships, dirigibles, and all the other things that nobody (except maybe you) wants anymore?

TopJayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

And don't forget about the Sprint Center, the plaza, downtown too. It's perfect.

TopJayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Again, I refer everyone to the article of the "T" In it I and bozo talk of light rail.. But it should run from Junction City/Ft. Riley, to past KC to say Odessa Mo or somewhere like that. All of the towns along the Kaw river valley are perfect for this, all lined up nice and straight like an arrow pointing right to KC. With all the commuting that goes on, it is a natural.. Just look at the turnpike, and K-10/23 rd st. on any given day. Then figure in the sporting venues that should be serviced by this, Between Manhattan, Lawrence, and KC, there are over 150 major sporting events a yr. I'm telling you, it will work.. Yet be very expensive. You could also build a spur on Overland park go norh and cover the dog track, Legends the speedway. JCCC, the edwards campus, and on to KCI..

Flap Doodle 6 years, 7 months ago

"Marion writes:...Dimwit..."Marion Sidney Lynn, bringing discussion on LJW down to the level of a grade-school playground since 2003.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "LOL oh nota, if your argument is so sound why are the insults?"Because it gets tiring arguing with a one-trick pony who's beating a dead (iron) horse. You're a broken record, Jackie, and the tune was outdated long before you cracked."Let's see we already have a fully developed road and air structure that is being overwhelmed and going to be squeezed when fuel becomes a rarer commodity."Really, Jacka? Which is easier, adding additional air routes or more train tracks? Do you even think before you try to argue? And, for the umpteenth time (and I'm sure this will fall on the same deaf ears as all the other times), cars and planes will still be with us long after the oil's gone. Sorry to remove your last shred of hope that your job as a brakeman will come back, but those days are gone, Jackie. You really should seek some professional help to start facing reality."I'm not saying trains are the only solution I'm saying it is something we should seriously look at before spending an other dollar on the more roads and airport infrastructure."Trains have been looked at. That's why we don't have them any more. Because people won't ride them, Jackie. It really doesn't make any difference if it's better environmentally or if it's more efficient or even if it made economic sense (which it doesn't) if nobody wants to ride the darned things!As far as where we spend that one more dollar, we need cars, we need planes, we do not - get it through your thick head, Jackie - DO NOT need trains. So yes, the 99% of the population that travels by car and plane don't want to spend one more dollar on something completely superfluous. You have a hankerin' for the old days, Jackie? Fine. Pay for it yourself. Otherwise join us in today's world."The end of oil, peak oil is a serious issue because there are people smarter then us that believe we may have a hard time finding anything comparable to it. I'm for trying to discover options but so far they haven't looked to appealing."Speak for yourself, Jack ol' boy. I'm fairly certain it doesn't take much to be one of the "people smarter than" you. And nothing that doesn't ride on steel rails would look appealing to you, apparently. Get a grip, Jack. Really. Get help.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

(continued)"They would if we had a system in place in which they could. Ridership is already up and it isn't a complete system. You are against allowing for that option, that's what this has all been about."Again, how may people use the Heartland Flyer, Jacka? Total ridership for 2007 averaged 186 per day, and average of less than 100 people in each direction, and assuming not everyone was aboard for the entire Ok-City/Ft. Worth distance (a significant number of people use it to connect to other trains), how many people are aboard at any given time, Jacka? You think that's for lack of seats available, do ya'? And I have no objection for "that option," Jacka. If you and enough like-minded old folks want choo-choos, then demonstrate a willingness to make them financially viable, and someone will provide them. (And before you go off with your drivel about the government subsidizing raods and airports, Jacka, please, please try to remember that those are the modes of transportation preferred for use by 99% of the population, and in one of your more lucid moments even you recognized that we have to have those things.)Do I sound bitter to you, old man? I guess I get frustrated, like anyone, when dealing with a doddering old fool who wants to hold on to the past at all costs, and resorts to fabrications, half-truths, and outright lies to support his 'argument.' Yep, Jacka, way to show your true colors - make fun of alternatives for being 1940's technology, while you're pushing for a return to the early 1800's. Troll.******And speaking of liars, look, nazi_on_the_bus is back. just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "Well, since you are apparently never on a train, how do you notice that? The several times I've taken the train to or from Lawrence, it's always been full or nearly full."Well, nazi, if you were making better progress in those remedial reading for Dummies classes, you would have seen that yes, I've spent quite a bit of time on trains. I asked this before, nazi, and gee, you didn't answer when you're on those 'full' trains, how many people are passing by using other modes of transportation, hmmm? "So it would appear that the real reason most people aren't riding trains is because there aren't any trains for them to ride."More brilliance from nazi_on_the_bus. My dear nazi, how much money does that train lose every time it pulls out of the station? You're really stupid enough to believe that the reason there aren't more trains is because the demand isn't there for them? (And yes, that's a rhetorical question, your idiocy speaks for itself.) Have a hard time getting tickets, did you? Big lines at the station, people getting bumped off the train? With the government paying over half the operating costs, you really think if they could make more money by making more fares available they wouldn't do it?And the troll-train keep rolling along:

Flap Doodle 6 years, 7 months ago

I see cool is still plugging that stinking pit of a 'forum'. Go through proxify dot com if you want check it out.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 7 months ago

If the US was the size of Germany with a comparable population density, I'd say "come on down, DB."

ralphralph 6 years, 7 months ago

"One reason people aren't using them now is because it is an incomplete system"Bass-ackwards.One reason it is an incomplete system is because people aren't using them now (and haven't been for a very long time ... like since we got cars and planes).That's better!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"Just not on the completely superfluous passenger trains that aren't a significant part of that infrastructure."Every time I've taken the trip to/from Chicago, the train has been full. Full of passengers paying ticket prices that receive a fraction of the taxpayer subsidies that car and air travelers receive.And that's generally the case everywhere in the country.You obviously need to learn the meaning of "superfluous."

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "If we had the same mentality that notajayhawk has back in the 1800's we would be guaranteed to be still taking horses and ships. Fear of change, fear of looking at options, fear of threatening his way of life."Let's see: Jackripper wants us all to return to an unnecessary and obsolete mode of transportation that went away a loooong time ago. And I'm the one who's afraid of change? Get a grip, will you, Jack? If Jackripper had been around in the 1800's (and I'm beginning to think he was), we wouldn't even have gotten to the train stage. I can here him now: 'The world is going to run out of coal. Modern stagecoaches are nothing like the stagecoaches of the past. If the GD government would be fair and subsidize more stagecoach routes, then more people would travel by this more civilized mode of transportation. Why is everyone in such a hurry that they want to cross the country in less than two months?'"Imagine taking a modern train to get to locations within a 500 mile range and then using small cars, scooters, bikes, or buses in cities allowing for smaller roads."And I'm supposed to do what, Jack, carry that 'small car' in my briefcase to use when I get off the train?"Yes, notajayhawk your continuous twisting of what I'm saying into your snarly little come back show a person who lives in fear that there will be change then someone with the old American let's make something better mentality. But what do we expect anymore?"You're the only one twisting things here, Jackripper. Again, I think it's the guy who's whining for a return to 'the good old days' that fears change more than the one who prefers the gains we've already made. "Let's make something better mentality?" Let's have something that takes days instead of hours, that drops you off miles away scrambling for another mode of transportation rather than carrying you direct to your destination, that's "better," Jack? On what planet?(continued)

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "Hmmm, in the old days people were using trains. How is it that cars became used more? Well maybe it had something to do with the government coming in and building all the roads. Imagine that. People didn't fly until the government came in and built airports and provided that infrastructure. It isn't complicated."More revisionist history, Jack? Thousands of years ago, I'm pretty sure the Romans didn't decide to build roads to create unfair competition between cars over trains. And maybe you didn't have roads out here before cars came along, but in the parts of the country that were settled a little earlier, roads were around before rails. The 'government' (aka 'the people') built more and better roads because they were needed to support the increase in automobile travel, in response to ever-increasing demand. Which is why they built those airports, too. Get over your petty bitterness that people don't want to follow you down memory lane, Jack; it's so unbecoming.

Godot 6 years, 7 months ago

Sure, Bozo, and spending $1,000,000 (and that is the estimate today - just wait until it is finished) of city of Lawrence taxpayer money to remodel a run down piece of junk building is going to do that.

gccs14r 6 years, 7 months ago

We need to hire Deutsche Bahn to come over here to design, build, and operate a proper North American rail system. It is possible to get within a few blocks of just about anywhere in Germany by rail.

JerryStubbs 6 years, 7 months ago

We all might prefer planes to trains but the day is coming when fuel will cost too much. Trains are much more fuel efficient. Nobody wants to take 3 days to cross the country, like 150 years ago nobody wanted to take 3 months, but they had no choice.US spends approx $34 billion a year on Air infrastructureand about the same amount on highways.Rail has trouble getting $1billion because "it can't support itself", yet neither highways or airports are complete self supporting.Rail will become more and more important as fuel prices continue to climb. Industry experts have already declared short range jetliners financially obselete and are beginning redesigns of turbo props.Current AMTRAK locomotives are capable of ~110mph on good (welded) track. KC-LA could theoretically be about 14 hours, plus whatever stops, but hard to say when that will happen.AMTRAK was completely crippled when they sold their tracks back in the '80s and began leasing freight tracks, this will have to be reversed somehow for rail to become what it should be.

Godot 6 years, 7 months ago

Jack, jack jack jack jack. This is privately owned railroad that already receives taxpayer subsidies. The railroad management, in its wisdom, has decided it is not necessary (or, more likely, profitable) for them to repair this building, they can do just fine with what they have. If they want to fix it, let them.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says:"There you go again nota, if someone threatens your way of life with something you don't like then we are talking about going backwards. It is obvious you are afraid of the future as you desperately make your snide comments."I understand old folks can be pigheaded, Jackie, but you're really embarassing yourself. I don't know what language I have to type in so you'll understand, but you're the only one here whose way of life is being threatened, and it's clear from your desperation that you're scared spitless. Yes, returning to train travel is going backwards, Jackie. People are not going to return to having to travel on someone else's schedule, take days for a trip that can be made in hours now, or give up the freedom and flexibility to go where they want when they want. As I've already stated, there will always be cars. They may be electric, they may be powered by alternative fuels. But they'll always be around. Alternative-powered personal vehicles aren't too far off; the technology exists, and isn't far from becoming practical. And you know what, Jackie? We don't even have to spend trillions on a whole new infrastructure (like we would with your plan), because the roads are already there. Talk about tunnel-vision - in your desperation to return rail travel to its glory days, you just can't see past your bias and continue to focus only on oil. And when the oil's gone, Jackie, and people still haven't embraced your return to the past with trains, are you going to wake up? Somehow I doubt it."Like I said, doesn't matter what I think, you will be living the reality in the future."Apparently, it doesn't matter if you do think (or, as is obvious, you don't). You can't even live in the reality of the present, Jack, and I'm supposed to buy into your delusions about the future?"Don't you see how the system allowed for sprawl and people not being able to get to the local store?"Whereas you don't seem to grasp the fact that 'sprawl' might have something to do with the fact that the U.S. population is more than ten times what it was during the 1850's, Jack.Smell the coffee, Jack. Join us in the present, and maybe you'll be able to talk intelligently about the future. Although again, somehow I seriously doubt it.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

(continued)"Bonds can be issued for rail."Maybe you don't understand the concept of bonds (and I'm pretty sure you don't), Jack. Bonds have to be paid back. In the case of air travel, the passengers and airlines pay fees that go to paying back the cost of building the airports. With trains, more than half the operating expenses of the trains is still paid by taxpayer dollars. It would help if you really understood the concepts you're trying to argue."So please stop with your whining when the government runs a bus system. It needs to be seriously improved but there are people who depend on it and if it was set up better more could depend on it."Really, Jack? "Depend on it?" Who (besides railroad workers)? Name one person who has to ride the trains, who doesn't have an alternative for traveling. But the last part of your sentence is very telling - you want to remove cars and planes from the equation and make people dependent on trains. Since the free market sounded the death knell for passenger rail, and the overwhelming portion of the public abandoned it for modes of transportation that better met their needs, you want the government to force people back to trains. Great. Nothing socialist about that."And nota, as touching as your personal issues are do you stop to think about the people who can't afford to keep a car?"Yeah, Jack, you're the poster-child for 'touching' here. As a matter of fact, Jackie, the majority of the people served by the agency where I work can't afford cars. That's why I have to travel to them. And what about the case workers at my agency, Jack? How many fewer clients would they be able to serve on a daily basis if they had to wait for a bus or ride a bicycle when they go on home visits, or take the clients to their doctors' appointments, etc.? Yep, your concern for those who have less (none of whom you apparently have ever met or give a d*mn about) is touching, Jackie.In any event, that's not what we're talking about here, is it? Jackie (aka Mr. Pretzel), I thought we were talking about intercity travel here. How many of the people that can't afford cars are languishing because they have that great vacation at Disneyland all paid for but can't get out there because there's no trains, Jackie? In general, airline travel is less expensive - why do you want to make poor people pay so much, Jack? And you do realize (even if you don't understand) that intercity buses serve many more cities than train service does (or ever will)? (continued)

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "No point in discussing it with you nota, once again you have twisted what I said."Jack, it's really sad that you can't see this, but I haven't twisted anything you've said. On the other hand, maybe you weren't a railroad worker; the way you twist what everyone else has said about your 'arguments,' I'm beginning to believe you were a pretzel maker. Play the injured party seeking pity if you want to, but some of us want to live with the present and move into the future, it's you that wants us all to go back to the past."But really looks like a time is coming that will settle this anyway and as peak oil and really no good substitute existing yet for oil and more and more people in China and India want our kind of lifestyle and put more pressure on these resources"Sounds like the people in China and India don't want to join you living in the past, either. And you're right that alternatives will eventually be necessary. That alternative isn't going to be trains, Jack. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Jack. People with families that need bigger vehicles are evil (how dare they try to transport their children!). People who commute are evil. People who Funny, but I don't see you coming up with any alternatives, here, Jack. How would passenger rail service help either them or me? Oh, wait - it wouldn't."Godot, stop and look at the reality. Your personal freedom to drive came about only because the government built the road! "To be more accurate (and I wish you would be just once or twice), the personal freedom of Godot and 99% of the rest of the population to drive because they elected a government who would be responsive to their needs and built the roads they required and demanded. And by the way, someone (one of the people on your side of the argument) posted some numbers on how much the government spends on roads, air travel, and trains. Those aren't entirely accurate, because a substantial amount of what the government spends on roads and air travel is generated by their use, but even forgetting that, the ratio of spending to the number of people who benefit from that spending is clearly skewed in favor of trains. (continued)

Godot 6 years, 7 months ago

notajayhawk is on to something with the remarks about stagecoaches; horses are going for real cheap these days because it is too expensive to feed them; save the horses, let them work for their food; bring back the horse and buggy. This would please jackripper and cool and the gang. This might be a solution to the T problem, too.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

(continued)I actually liked riding into NYC on the trains. But then, once you get to MY, you have a public mass transit system that can get you within a block or two of anywhere you want to go every few minutes instead of every couple of hours, mainly because they have the population density to support that kind of system. Lawrence does not have either the public transit with those characteristics or the population to support it, and neither do Topeka or Kansas City.On longer trips, train travel has been uniformly miserable. Actually, they have taken as long or longer than I could have made the trip by car (not all parts of the country allow trains to travel much faster). And the trips have significantly longer than taking a plane; travel time is 3-4 times as long, and seems like 10 times as long. Yes, you can carry all those things like a baby buggy and several large bags on the train. Have fun getting them into a cab or onto a city bus when you get where you're going."Leave in the morning and be in downtown Chicago for dinner."Of course, by plane, you can go to Chicago for dinner, and still be home to sleep in your own bed.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Some of us are looking for technologically and environmentally superior means of transportation, Godot, not ideological bogeymen.

JerryStubbs 6 years, 7 months ago

We are fortunate here in Lawrence to have the CHICAGO-LA Southwest Chief. It is a decent way to get to either Chicago or LA from here. Leave in the morning and be in downtown Chicago for dinner. While it doesn't get to Chicago as fast as jet you can carry a baby buggy and several large bags if you want. Even your bicycle. The trip to LA takes two nights and you should be downtown for breakfast. The one whole day on the train between Dodge City and Flagstaff is great scenery as is the early morning trip thru the San Bernadino Mts as you get to LA land. This trip is a lot longer than air but much quicker than car and you can carry as much.

Godot 6 years, 7 months ago

What is it about the Progressives that makes it so important for them to deprive people of their independence? They want to force people to live crammed together in high-rises and cooperatves, rather than in individual houses; they want people to have to ride together in buses and trains, going only where those lines take them; they want all children to go to public schools rather than private ones; they want to eliminate roads; eliminate cars; elimlinate air travel.They must trust in the hope that the more you eliminate peoples' choices in housing, travel and education, the more control you have over them.Progressivs have all the trappings of the Luddites - in truth they aspire to be the new totalitarians.

Godot 6 years, 7 months ago

The point id, Bozo and Jackripper, this business is not asking for this building upgrade; people who have no business asking for it are requesting that the taxpayers take it on.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

You have no point, Jack, only a stubborn desire to live in the past. I'd like to think you're trying to argue for something you believe in, but you're just being obtuse.Yes, Jackie, trains of today aren't much like the iron horse. Guess what - and I know this is going to be a big shock to someone with your blinders so firmly attached - modern cars aren't much like the Model T, either, nor is the modern airliner much like a DC-3. Your entire 'argument' is based on the fact that train technology has advanced. The part you blindly refuse to acknowledge is that 1) it still lags behind cars and planes, and2) the technology of cars and planes continues to advance as well.Trains do not and never will be able to match the flexibility and convenience of point-to-point personal vehicles like cars. They do not and never will be able to match the speed of aircraft. You will never be able to lay out enough train tracks to replace even a tiny fraction of either roads or air routes. You may think I'm snide, Jack, but actually I've been more than patient and have been trying, at least, to be cordial. But you're just making a fool of yourself and it appears you're just being an a** for the sake of argument. Luckily, the folks like you and bozo will go the way of the dinosaurs soon enough, and stop trying to hold the rest of us back.

gccs14r 6 years, 7 months ago

No one expects Winchester to be a stop for a high-speed train. Certainly a local train could work its way by there on the way down to Lawrence from Nortonville, though. Say you want to go from Topeka to Omaha. If you drive straight up 75, it's just over 3 hours (and about $26 in gas for the one-way trip at today's prices). If there were a regional train between the cities, it'd take just under 1.5 hours. If the regional train didn't go there and you had to take a fast train that goes to KC first, it'd still take less than 1.5 hours. It would use a lot less energy, too. Now here's the kicker: if you missed your train and had to wait 2 hours for the next one, you'd still make it in just a bit longer time than it would have taken to drive. The really cool part of all of this is that you can do something else during the trip, instead of having to concentrate on the act of getting there.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

And how are you going to be getting around, Jack? Now you're just being a moron. If the doom and gllom you're slinging really happens, then what? This delusional rail system is going to spring up overnight? And by the way, JackaRipper, has it occured to you that when the oil gets 'cut off,' the trains won't be running either? Do us all a favor, put on your engineer's hat and go sit in the bathtub and yell "Toot-toot" to yourself. Just come up with an intelligent argument or have the good grace to bother us with any more of your drooling.THIS is the future, old man. http://www.teslamotors.com/And the technology is here, today. We don't need to spend trillions of dollars on a whole new infrastructure, and take 20 or 30 years to do it. Right now the practicality is somewhat limited by range (although even I could use one to commute) and payload, but we're talking about change in a matter of degree, not a quantum leap. You want to rely on trains, Jackie? Fine. Explain to me how the food you eat is going to make it's way to the grocery store. Horse-drawn carts? Or are we supposed to build rails up to the loading dock of every store in the country? You're so invested in your delusional pipe dreams that you can't see you got left behind, Jack. At least there will be more fossil fuels somewhere in the distant future - people will be filling their tanks with the remnants of the dinosaurs like you and bozo.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says:"Again the point is that you can't deal with is government involvement created the systems you are so fond of which has created a whole host of other problems."And one of the many points (although it's the biggest) that you can't wrap your little brain around is that the 'government' involvement you're continuing to rant and foam at the mouth about is us, Jackie. The 99% of this country that doesn't use and doesn't want passenger rail elected officials and passed bond issues to develop an infrastructure that they needed and wanted. So sorry the 1% like you can't get over the precious choo-choos you have such an emotional investment in, but that's exactly what it is: emotional. There is no rationality to your pointless insistence that moving backwards is the way we have to go."What will your airplanes run on?"http://www.wpafb.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123040425http://www.energybulletin.net/23098.htmlhttp://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/06/19/ap/business/mainD8IBI17O0.shtmlhttp://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CWU/is_2005_Nov_17/ai_n15859742Your narrow-mindedness is admirable only for it's persistence, Jackie. Most of us want to move towards the future by investigating all the options. You're the only one crying it has to be trains, nothing else will work. Again, what passes for your argument is based on the fact that oil is drying up. And in your deliberate blindness, you refuse to accept that the lack of oil will not spell the end of personal vehicles or air vehicles - nor will it bring back your choo-choos."You can dream on in your delusion world but the news isn't looking to good for your lifestyle as the changes are already happening and there you are with your pants down."And yet you're the one standing here hat-in-hand trying to get everyone to do things your way - but nobody's listening. Maybe it isn't looking good for my lifestyle, Jackie (although it should be apparent to everyone but morose idiots like you that cars and planes will continue to be around for a long, long time after the oil is), but yours is already long gone, and you can't even remember where you left your pants.

Jerry Stubbs 6 years, 7 months ago

A poll conducted by CNN/Gallup/USA Today near the height of Amtrak's June, 2002, cash crisis (June 21-23) found that 70% of the public support continued Federal funding for Amtrak. Similarly, The Washington Post found that 71% of Americans support continued or increased federal funding for Amtrak (August 5, 2002, article reporting on July 26-30 poll). An October 27, 1997, nationwide Gallup Poll sponsored by CNN and USA Today asked whether "the federal government should continue to provide funding for the cost of running Amtrak, in order to ensure that the U.S. has a national train service." Favoring continued funding were 69% of respondents, with 26% against (and 6% other responses).

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"One reason it is an incomplete system is because people aren't using them now (and haven't been for a very long time : like since we got cars and planes)."But since we can no longer afford to use cars and planes (more accurately, now that we are finding out we never could afford it) as much, or the same way we have.......

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says: "No one expects Winchester to be a stop for a high-speed train. Certainly a local train could work its way by there on the way down to Lawrence from Nortonville, though."I really hate to burst your bubble, gc, but nobody (in their right mind) expects a high-speed train to stop in Lawrence, either. (There isn't even enough demand for a passenger airport in Topeka.)

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

just_another_nazi_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "If you are against taxpayer funds being used for providing transportation infrastructure, then you should insist that all roads become toll roads."We're all in favor of taxpayer funds being used for transportation infrastructure, clownie. Just not on the completely superfluous passenger trains that aren't a significant part of that infrastructure.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

(continued)Maybe you were talking about commuting again - tell me, Jackie, how many people do you know that can't find a job closer than 50-60 miles to a job that doesn't pay well enough for them to afford a car? Do you really think there's people in Ottawa that are saying "I could get a job at Burger King in Topeka, if only I had a train available to get there?" I'll give you points for trying to play the sympathy card in your desperation, Jack, but you're play is still failing miserably."Are we suppose continue with the status quo because it makes your set of issues easier to deal with?"And again I ask, are we supposed to run boldly into the past because of your issues, Jack? My issues are those of the vast majority of the public. Yours are - well, yours."People it was your liberal idea that created this current system using the power of the government."You're starting to grasp it, Jackie. You're not quite there, but it's seeping in. Yes, it was the people who created the current system because it's what the people (or at least the people not named Jack) who wanted it. The evil government you speak of is the people. The people elected the government who built those roads and airports. The people voted for the bond issues that built those roads and airports. And those people don't have any similar desire for trains. That's the part you just can't seem to grasp, Jack, maybe because it galls you so much that the overwhelming percentage of people in this country just don't think like you do. Maybe we're driven by something other than nostalgia.****just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "Some of us are looking for technologically and environmentally superior means of transportation, Godot, not ideological bogeymen."Then why are you looking at trains?"But if passenger railroad got the same level of taxpayer subsidies that airlines and airports get, the $1 million to rehab this building would be small potatoes."Gee, as usual nazi_on_the_bus is uninformed and going by ideology instead of facts. According to the numbers posted by JerryStubbs above, the government spends more per user of trains than they do on roads or air travel. But don't let the facts get in your way, nazi, you never do, after all.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

The primary (only?) user of this building is Amtrak, not the railroad that owns it.. If they are going to continue to use it as the Lawrence train station, with possibly expanded use, it will need to be renovated.If you are against taxpayer funds being used for providing transportation infrastructure, then you should insist that all roads become toll roads.

JerryStubbs 6 years, 7 months ago

Here's another piece you referenced:"4. ConclusionTo seamlessly transition to the use of alternative fuels, research and development is needed. Developing alternative fuels will help to improve each country's energy independence, could help lessen global-warming effects, and will soften the economic uncertainty of crude oil peaking.For most countries, it appears unlikely that enough bio feedstock (crops) could be grown to replace a sizable portion of crude oil production. Therefore, to efficiently utilize available agricultural lands, careful consideration should be given to crop selection, method of fuel processing, and the type of biofuel produced."----------------------Doesn't sound all that hopeful to me. We will still fly, but I bet you'll find some real bargains in the used jetliner dept.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Very true, Marion. Of course, even at that, you need trucks - and therefore roads - to get the freight from the train station to its final destination.But we'll always have trains for freight, and as long as the tracks are there, there will always be some limited passenger service for the niche market like bozo and Jack. Unfortunately, that means they'll always be trying to push for more.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

This conversation went well beyond the article this thread is linked to, Godot.But if passenger railroad got the same level of taxpayer subsidies that airlines and airports get, the $1 million to rehab this building would be small potatoes.

Jerry Stubbs 6 years, 7 months ago

The Germans began their syn-fuel development after WWI, so they had many years to get it into production. Nevertheless it never matched conventional oil supplies in quantity. Allied bombing near the end of the war disrupted much of the synfuel production. Your figure quoting peak production in 1944, 124,000 is a drop in the bucket in today's market.Also, increasing coal prices and inevitable CO2 reduction mandates will deter widespread use of this type of synfuel.

JerryStubbs 6 years, 7 months ago

I like airplanes better than trains, but for the future fuel shortages will become a problem for air travel. Making synthetic fuel will be substantially more expensive than just pumping it and refining, especially after bio prices follow this upward climb of oil. Just the tiny amount we use in cars has made farmers estatic about the price of corn THere is only so much land to grow crops on, try to come up with about 10,000x times that amount, then you've still got land transportation needs. It's one thing to make a little syn fuel and show it off than come up with the incredible amount burned today( you said in your earlier post how many planes are flying at any one time) Some other problems with syn-fuels quoted from the web sites you just posted..."One alternative researchers are studying is biodiesel."'A big problem, though, is that biodiesel freezes at a much higher temperature than traditional fuel, which could spell trouble in the frigid air at 35,000 feet.""Gerald Brown said it would require relatively little modification to run a regular jet engine using liquid hydrogen. The hard part is storing it on board.""Other alternative fuels result in airplane performance penalties. For example, liquid hydrogen (LH2) not only presents very substantial airport infrastructure and airplane design issues, but because of the need for heavy fuel tanks, a short-range airplane would experience a 28 percent decrease in energy efficiency .""Ethanol takes up 64 percent more room and weighs 60 percent more compared with Jet-A fuel. This type of alternative-fueled airplane would experience a 15 percent decrease in fuel efficiency on a 500-nmi mission and a 26 percent efficiency decrease on a 3,000-nmi mission compared with a Jet-A fueled airplane."-----------------------------------------------------------Do you know what oil went to yesterday?Do want to guess what it might be in 5 years?

Godot 6 years, 7 months ago

And, passenger train travel being all that, I am sure that the owners of the railroads will invest as needed to cash in on the overwhelming demand for its services...as did the owners of Nebraska Furniture Mart, Sees Candy, and Berkshire Hathaway.

Rationalanimal 6 years, 7 months ago

The only way something like this will work, like all other liberal idiotic ideas, is to force people to use it through legislation. Such legislation will either come through a tax, ban, subsidy, or all of the above.

JerryStubbs 6 years, 7 months ago

And my own opinion about long distance car vs train travel from somebody that's done both :(notajayhawk, you can't legitimately comment here as you haven't)Train is easier, more comfortable, safer, faster, and probably cheaper too, now, than driving.

JerryStubbs 6 years, 7 months ago

not_a_jayhawk makes some points, but they clash.If you take a plane, you can't carry much and last I checked the plane doensn't take you directly to your door (you have to rent a car). If you take the baby buggy, when you get to your destination you have to deal the same way you got it to the station in the first place, (rental) car or taxi.Have you ever driven to LA from Lawrence? Not much fun, and it takes about the same time as a train, except you stop and get a motel at night. Driving to Chicago takes all day, and is a real pain in the butt (literally).

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

JerryStubbs;We've travelled on the plane with a child seat, stroller, and plenty of luggage. And have never had a problem. Yes, by plane you still have the same difficulties changing modes as you do with trains - I was merely pointing out that trains don't have an advantage in that area. And I'd rather stop and get a motel for the night on a long car ride that spend the night trying to sleep on a train - with the kids.Thanks, though, at least you're being thoughtful and addressing the points.***Stain (Anonymous) says: "Rail is by far the most efficient way to transport goods."Which is why we do it that way. It's not the best way to transport people, or more people would be traveling that way.

Jerry Stubbs 6 years, 7 months ago

Millions of Americans, in travel markets large and small, do not want to or cannot fly or drive.Many communities lack alternative public transportation. Dodge City, Hutchinson, and many more Kansas communities are losing bus service.Overnight trains often facilitate start-up of shorter-distance intercity services and commuter rail operations by allowing shared use of tracks or facilities.Rail is one of the safest and most energy-efficient forms of travel, highways are the least safe, and rail is more energy efficient than both highways and aviation.

Eileen Jones 6 years, 7 months ago

Rail is by far the most efficient way to transport goods. I've been wondering why there was not a resurgence of this extremely fuel-efficient method of transportation.This is good news. Bring back the trains!I wish train travel was as affordable as other forms. There is a romance to traveling by train, seeing all of America on the way...

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "Yes, that's it nota, no cars or planes, that's what we are saying and trains to everybody's home."Since you're obviously to stupid to understand, Jack, maybe you have a five-year-old great great great great grandchild that can explain it to you. The point of mentioning the limitations of train travel is to illustrate (yet again, for the terminally dense like JackRipper) that no matter what we do with trains, we are still going to have cars and planes. And if we have to spend the money on the infrastructure for those, and we do, then it makes absolutely no sense (except to the terminally dense like JackRipper) to throw money down the tubes on something that nobody uses and is completely superfluous."Talk about tiresome, listening to you intentional twist what anyone says about trains like you had a traumatic experience with trains in the past and are afraid of them."Okay, Mr. Pretzel, what I said was that I have used trains and under the right circumstances I like riding the train. Those circumstances don't exist out here, except in your psychotic little mind. You're the one that thinks people are in too much of a hurry, Jackie. You're one of those folks who plod along the highway at 30 mph, aren't you? And are scared spitless at the thought of those newfangled flying machines?"All the alternatives you suggest are a long way off and create other problems as you demand we maintain the status quo."Back in March the Air Force flew a B1B at supersonic speeds using 50% synth-fuel, Jack. They are aiming to have every aircraft using synthetic blends in three years. And the Tesla is on sale today. How long will it take to build your choo-choos, Jack? That's it, forget the status quo, let's go rushing headlong into the past with Jacka**ripper."Obviously the fear of the future does eat at you since you get so bent out of shape."Jack, for a bitter old man who wants to return an obsolete form of transportation to its heyday because you just can't live with the changes that have overtaken the rest of the world, it's pretty nervy - even for a crotchety old geezer like you - to talk about other people being afraid of the future. Heck, Jackie, you're afraid to move forward into the 1950's.(continued)

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

mooner (Anonymous) says: "A poll conducted by CNN/Gallup/USA Today near the height of Amtrak's June, 2002, cash crisis...."1) It would be interesting to repeat those polls from 6 and 11 years ago today, in the current financial situation, to see if Americans still feel that way. 2) Two of the three polls you mentioned said "continued" funding and one apparently lumped "continued" and increased together. You do realize there's a huge difference between "continued" funding and the monumental expense of building a rail system such as some of the people here are talking about?3) While people may answer a poll saying they want there to be rail system available, I notice they aren't riding it. It's one thing to say sure, let's keep funding it (at the minimal level that it is), but how come they aren't really supporting it by spending their travel dollars and using it?"During World War 2, Germany fought desperately to overcome an acute fuel shortage. They made heavy use of synthetic fuels but were only partly successful in alleviating their fuel shortage...."Without a link it's hard to see what time frame your figures refer to. However, according to:http://www.fossil.energy.gov/aboutus/history/syntheticfuels_history.html"More than 92 percent of Germany's aviation gasoline and half its total petroleum during World War II had come from synthetic fuel plants. At its peak in early 1944, the German synfuels effort produced more than 124,000 barrels per day from 25 plants."The fuel shortages that Germany suffered were as a result of successful allied bombing campaigns against the synth-fuel plants."Millions of Americans, in travel markets large and small, do not want to or cannot fly or drive.""Millions" don't, but that's heavily weighted in those large markets. Millions of people in NYC don't have cars, but then NYC's subway and bus system makes that feasible. It's only a matter of minutes that a person has to wait for a bus or subway to pick you up, and drop you off within a block or two of your destination. Of course, when you have 8 million people living there and a daytime population that's closer to 20 million, you can have that kind of public transportation. You can also support commuter railroads and bus lines. And with the density of the Boston-DC corridor, which is for all intent and purposes a continuous city, where the roads and air routes are saturated, you can support trains like the Acela. However, even the Acela is already running at capacity, and that capacity is miniscule compared to the total number of travelers. And this part of the country doesn't have any of the conditions that support train use like the NorthEast does."Several airlines have gone out of business this year, and surely more will follow."Some routes will be picked up by other airlines. Some will be discontinued because the level of traffic doesn't support the higher costs. You know, like with trains.

Jerry Stubbs 6 years, 7 months ago

Several airlines have gone out of business this year, and surely more will follow."A Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500) report released Tuesday suggested that the price of crude oil could reach as high as $150 to $200 a barrel. ""While the high price of oil has kept demand limited in the U.S., demand in developing counties such as India and China has been surging, supporting the spiking price of crude. "

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

mooner (Anonymous) says: "Your figure quoting peak production in 1944, 124,000 is a drop in the bucket in today's market."124,000 bbls/day is 45 million barrels per year, which is more than the total annual fuel consumption figure you cited.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

(continued)"I don't agree that just continuing to build more billions of dollars of roads that continue to encourage a commuter culture is nuts."Yeah, Jack, e got it, you don't like commuters. Deal with it. Just ebcause you think everyone should be living in small towns where everyone can walk down to the feed store and socialize, what gives you the right to try to impose your preferences on the 99% of the world that doesn't agree with you, just because you're pining away for the good old days and are too afraid to keep up?"At least in the 70's we actually made sacrifices, probably because the great generation was in charge, now the whiny boomers are in charge and of course we know sacrifices are things they never want to do."Enough said. Thanks for making my point, geezer. Incidentally, Jackie, I'm a little older than you think. Except unlike you, I'm not locked in the past and complaining about how the young whippersnappers are ruining the world."The other issue that you never have answered is what about people who don't want to drive or can't or fly?"And just what about them, Jack? You still haven't explained how your plan would have any effect on them. For the minimal number of people who prefer to travel long distance by train, we have trains (and it is a minimal number, Jack). As far as local travel goes ('cause that's your real issue here, isn't it, Jackie, get people out of their cars and back to mass transit), are you proposing a subway or tram system for Lawrence? You think the folks that can't afford cars are spending a lot of time traveling the countryside, Jack?Just as a point of curiosity, Jackie-boy, wouldn't it be unfair competition for the government to unfairly subsidize the trains and put the intercity bus lines out of business?"Gosh, maybe all those people you have to go visit might be able to have mobility on their own, maybe you are worried about job security?"You're a bitter troll, Jack. Like I said, how is subsidizing long distance intercity train lines going to help those people? Oh, I see - you're all for those folks who are afraid of flying and need choochoos to soothe them, but the people who depend on cars and commuters for their social services are SOL 'cause cars are evil and only those who support trains are worthy of your concern. You're a disgusting waste of protoplasm, Jack.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

(continued)"You commute 550 miles a week? That pretty much explains a lot right there. It is your right to burn up all that fuel isn't it. Let's be sure that we live just for today and not think about the future just like all the boomers have done anyway. Who cares about conserving for the future generations. It's our God given right as an American and you are going to defend it. I'm going to go look for some apple pie now."Why, yes, it is my right, Jack. Oh, I know, in your rather warped worldview, I should take a job slinging fries at McDonald's rather than the job my education, training, and experience qualify me for. And maybe the social services agency I work for, that's had a very difficult time keeping staff (all of us are commuters, none live nearby the agency) should just tell the clients that they can't have the services we provide because Jackripper doesn't want us using gasoline. Or maybe I should pack up not only my own family and uproot my daughter from her school and friends, but find a way to move my wife's entire extended family (being our reason for locating here) closer to there, too (of course, then they'd have to commute back here). Maybe to you I'm not showing enough concern for future generations. Frankly I couldn't care less what you think. I'm not going to apologize to anyone, especially a throwback to the 'golden' ages, for doing what I have to do to take care of my family in the here and now.And it's you that's afraid to move forward, Jackripper. Heck, you're scared to death of how far we've already come. You want to solve today's problems by returning to yesterday. If humankind has demonstrated anything, it's the ability to adopt and overcome challenges. Far from being tied to the status quo, I look forward to the time when overly long airplane flights are replaced by sub-orbitals. And when electric cars become practical for more than short hops, I'm all for it. What I'm against is backwards change because relics like you aren't comfortable living in the modern world and want us all to follow you back into the past.

Godot 6 years, 7 months ago

This is such a funny argument; there was a time not too long ago when the railroad barons were the great Satan of the populists; now that Soros and Buffet own the railroads, they are now the savior of the great unwashed masses. Give me a break.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

just_another_nazi_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "Full of passengers paying ticket prices that receive a fraction of the taxpayer subsidies that car and air travelers receive."I never said you were the only one on the troll-train express, nazi.Well, it didn't take long (as usual) for nazi to fall back into blatant lies. "A fraction," nazi? Half your fare? For something that only 1% of the population gets any benefit from?"And that's generally the case everywhere in the country."Like the Heartland Express, I presume? That about 70 people per day use? "You obviously need to learn the meaning of "superfluous.""Well, one of us does, nazi. Try opening the dictionary. How many thousands of people flew overhead during the 10 hours you were on that train, clown-troll? How many tens of thousands were riding alongside in their cars? In your warped little pin-head, are you really so delusional to believe that rail has the capacity to carry even a tenth of those people? The answer, since it's pretty obvious you're too dense to understand, is "no." In other words, trains will not replace planes and cars because then CAN NOT do so. And since we need to have those planes and cars, nazi, the train was unnecessary. Just because you want to live in the past, you didn't have to. You had several other modes of transportation available. 'Superfluous': adjective 1. being more than is sufficient or required; excessive. 2. unnecessary or needless. 3. Obsolete. possessing or spending more than enough or necessary; extravagant.You know, bus_nazi - like a train.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

JerryStubbs (Anonymous) says: "Nobody wants to take 3 days to cross the country, like 150 years ago nobody wanted to take 3 months, but they had no choice."Except now we do."US spends approx $34 billion a year on Air infrastructureand about the same amount on highways."Rail has trouble getting $1billion because "it can't support itself", yet neither highways or airports are complete self supporting."So we spend $1 billion on a mode of transportation that accounts for one percent of long distance trips and $68 billion on the other 99%. (Virtually all local travel is by car.)Do the math."Rail will become more and more important as fuel prices continue to climb. Industry experts have already declared short range jetliners financially obselete and are beginning redesigns of turbo props."I have no problem with that. I've flown on them. They're still much more preferable to trains."Current AMTRAK locomotives are capable of ~110mph on good (welded) track."Except they can't go that fast the whole way. Look at the Acela - from NY to Boston there's only 18 miles where it can get up to speed. Even cars have to slow down in the metropolitan areas they pass through. (Planes don't.)"KC-LA could theoretically be about 14 hours, plus whatever stops, but hard to say when that will happen."That's still about 4 times the length of a (non-theoretical) plane ride. And it's not hard to say at all - it will never happen. Maybe you want to take 14 hours to make a trip that can be done in 3. The overwhelming percentage of your countrymen don't, and don't see why we should pay for your leisure."AMTRAK was completely crippled when they sold their tracks back in the '80s and began leasing freight tracks, this will have to be reversed somehow for rail to become what it should be."Passenger rail has already become what it should be.Obsolete.

Jerry Stubbs 6 years, 7 months ago

Germany's Fuel Shortage in World War 2 Was Similar to Present U.S. Energy Crisis & Oil Shortage.A German fuel shortage in World War 2, caused largely by Germany's small oil reserves, was a factor in the German defeat in the war. During World War 2, Germany fought desperately to overcome an acute fuel shortage. They made heavy use of synthetic fuels but were only partly successful in alleviating their fuel shortage, but perhaps the United States, facing an acute oil and energy crisis, can learn something from the efforts of Germany in World War 2.References for this : 'Inside The Third Reich' by Albert Speer which discusses Germany's fuel shortage, ; 'The Role Of Synthetic Fuel In World War II Germany' by Dr. Peter W. Becker which described the German's attempts to resolve the fuel shortage.German Fuel Source Million Barrels (Annually)Domestic Oil Production 3.8Synthetic Fuel Production 9.0Import From Overseas 28.0Import Overland-Europe 3.8 Total 44.6. Increases in fuel supply from various sources helped but were still inadequate as World War 2 began to place a high demand on German fuel supplies.Germans Turn to Synthetic Fuel. After World War I, the Germans began to look strongly at synthetic fuel production. Hitler was determined to make Germany independent of imported oil (sounds familiar?) and it was only natural that a high-technology country such as Germany, with large deposits of coal and lignite, would turn to the production of synthetic fuel from these plentiful raw materials. The German fuel shortage in World War 2 helped cause the Germans to lose the war. They simply did not have adequate oil reserves to refine for gasoline and aviation fuel. Plus, their synthetic fuel production, while impressive, was never quite adequate.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

JerryStubbs;Biofuel does not look that promising as an alternative. However, you might have noticed that was not the only alternative mentioned in the articles I linked to. There is also research into hydrogen as a fuel, and synthetics from coal and natural gas. The latter, I believe, is not exactly new technology; something like 90% of aviation gasoline used by the Germans in WWII was synthetic.Another point from those articles: Jet fuel takes up only what, 6% of world oil production? Using alternative sources of energy to fuel other end uses (including cars, which is a much easier task) means only a small fraction of our current oil use would be necessary to keep planes in the air. This is especially true if alternative aviation fuels were used to augment that remaining oil.Could we do without kerosene jet fuel tomorrow? Of course not. And the Tesla I linked to isn't the most practical alternative for an internal-combustion car, either - at the present time, it's not very practical to pay $110,000 for a two-seat vehicle with a range only slightly over 200 miles. But in both cases, we're talking about a matter of degreee - further developing technology we already have and already know works. The argument of the train fanatics like JackRipper and bozo keep returning to is that trains will become a necessity because oil will be gone, that we will have no choice but to give up our personal vehicles and air travel. The articles I linked to illustrate that while it's not going to happen tomorrow, both personal cars and air travel will be with us long after the oil is gone. And that can be accomplished long before we could construct the massive infrastructure necessary for the rail systems they advocate, as 1) the technology has already been proven, and 2) the infrastructure requirements of either alternative are tiny in comparison to a rail system."Do you know what oil went to yesterday?Do want to guess what it might be in 5 years?"It's moving in the direction where electric cars and alternative fuels for aircraft will make economic sense. Yes, both personal cars and aircraft will be more expensive. But they will still be with us."And my own opinion about long distance car vs train travel from somebody that's done both :(notajayhawk, you can't legitimately comment here as you haven't)"Nice a$$sumption, there, Stubbs. What is it about some people that they just a$$ume if someone doesn't make the choice they make, then that someone must not know enough about the choice they prefer? Yes, I have traveled by train. Both local and intercity, both here and in Europe. (continued)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"1) It would be interesting to repeat those polls from 6 and 11 years ago today, in the current financial situation, to see if Americans still feel that way."Especially given that oil will soon hit $200 a barrel, with peak oil and global climate change breathing down our necks."While people may answer a poll saying they want there to be rail system available, I notice they aren't riding it."Well, since you are apparently never on a train, how do you notice that? The several times I've taken the train to or from Lawrence, it's always been full or nearly full.So it would appear that the real reason most people aren't riding trains is because there aren't any trains for them to ride.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Sorry you got so bitter that the world passed you by, Jack. But it's nobody's fault but your own. For all your whining about how unfair it is, the overwhelming percentage of people in this country picked the direction we wanted to move into the future with, and you got left behind solely because you insisted on standing still (or moving backwards). Enjoy wallowing in your self-pity, Jack. But frankly, dealing with a bitter troll like you is not how I planned on spending Mother's Day. I'm on the way out with my wife and child, and yes, we're taking the car. Have a nice life being consumed by your petty bitterness, old man.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

Definition of a troll:A person that throws around the troll insult to: anyone who defeats them in an argument, anyone who points out facts the real troll doesn't want people to know, or someone the real troll picks at random to stick falsely with a troll label for sheer lulz. This type of troll is 98.9999999% of all trolls now and is often called an Anti-troll.Also...The troll is divisive and argumentative with need-to-be-right attitude, "searching for the truth", flaming discussion, and sometimes insulting people or provoking people to insult him.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

You can find that in federal and state budgets, if you're really interested, Marion. But your prejudice for cars (especially inefficient ones) is well-established, so I know your question is not a sincere one.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Lordie, you really are nothing but a troll, JackaRipper. If you had bothered to follow the links I provided (which your blind ideology won't allow you to do), you would have seen that those other methods were mentioned. I talked about coal because 1) that was the one that mooner addressed in his reply, and 2) because you said - let's see, what was the quote - "All the alternatives you suggest are a long way off," when as you just pointed out, the technology has existed and was proven 70 years ago. I was giving you the benefit of the doubt that you were mistaken and trying to show you that, but as you are obviously just resorting to outright lies, it's plain why the arguments are lost on you."using a non renewable resource - coal and natural gas"Big coal shortage, is there, Jacka? Especially if alternatives were in use for other oil consumption, and we only needed such fuels for aviation, which currently accounts for only 6% of world oil production? How long will the coal last, Jacka? And gee, it's not subject to one of your other doom-and-gloom circumstances, either, since we have quite a bit of it ourselves. "Funny how all those Europeans are doing exactly what some of us have discussed and from reading the polls they have a higher standard of life then we do"When you read this in whatever "Save the Trains" publication you subscribe to, Jacka, did you happen to notice - just maybe - that one of those things that's happening in Europe is a major increase in private car ownership? Isn't that strange, what with their excellent trains and all. Why would people be shifting to private car ownership, Jacka? Maybe because even in Europe they don't want to live the lifestyle you and your ilk are trying to foist on the rest of us?"No we travel in a region that is smaller then a European country."Now, see, Jacka, some of the real world really does find its way into the cracks in that rock that passes for your skull. Yes, you are absolutely correct - the vast majority of daily trips are local, for commuting, trips to the store, to school, to visit grandma's house, etc.Now, Jacka**: Tell us all how increased subsidies of intercity train service is going to help those people. I'll wait.(continued)

gccs14r 6 years, 7 months ago

Notajayhawk said,"Yes, that's right, Jackie, as I've said over and over and over, we won't be "ending air transportation or automobiles." And as such, Jacka, if you could just answer that one last little question:Then what the f do we need trains for, other than so you and the nazi can arrive at your destinations a couple of days behind the rest of us?"Despite your protests to the contrary, air and auto travel will end as we know them. There won't be fuel enough to support those systems. Rail will be the* way to get to any land destination beyond walking distance. You can stick your head in the sand and deny the inevitable all you like, but that does not change reality.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"Well, nazi, if you were making better progress in those remedial reading for Dummies classes, you would have seen that yes, I've spent quite a bit of time on trains."Do you even know what a real nazi is? Or do you just reach for the nearest pejorative you can find, and puke it as randomly as the rest of your pointless diatribes? At any rate, I find little point in reading most of your posts, so if you can bring yourself to break your rant mode, exactly what is your "train experience?"" how much money does that train lose every time it pulls out of the station? "One hell of a lot less than the average plane, car or truck.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

just_another_nazi_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "Do you even know what a real nazi is? Or do you just reach for the nearest pejorative you can find, and puke it as randomly as the rest of your pointless diatribes?"As you know full well, nazi, from when the name started, it's because you're a well-known socialist and rascist, not to mention your penchant for trying to impose your will on others, so nazi seemed to be the best fit. And if anyone around here is known for "pointless diatribes," troll, it's our favorite bus-riding clown.See, nazi, the point you (and Jacka*Ripper) don't seem to grasp is that the taxpayer money that supports roads and air travel supports travel modes that 99% of the American public use, while the subsidies for train travel - half the fare of every Amtrak fare, and proportionately higher per user than either roads or airfares - get flushed down the tubes for a completely superfluous travel modality that only 1% of the public uses. But as usual, don't let the facts cause any dissonance in that empty little clownhat.****Marion (Marion Lynn) says: "Please prove that assertion with appropriate citations."Marion, please, this is bozo we're talking about. You've been around these boards a lot longer than I have - have you ever, ever seen the bus-nazi post actual facts?'Citations? We don't need no stinking citations!'

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Funny how that works, Jacka - you lie, I call you a "liar." If that's "defining the terms," so be it. As far as being a troll, Jacka, you lie, you twist everything tighter than a peppermint stick, and you argue not from the perspective of someone who has a rational argument, but from your personal biases against the government and for a way of life that doesn't include commuting or 'sprawl.'For those of you who missed Jackie's previous tirades when this subject came up before, here's a few of his greatest hits:http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/feb..."The whole commuting thing is just insane, that it could possibly make sense that we think we should have all the fuel and highways we want so we can live cities away from our work. That is what we get with the road system- sprawl. I would say it could end up bankrupting us but then remember the government is already living on the brink with our massive debt and that's before factoring in the very near future of social security and medicare expenses that will start coming due with the boomers retiring.""And it is rather bizarre with NAFTA and trade with China and all how unsustainable this all is.""Oh yeah, that should also include removing ourselves from using the military to obtain oil. Let's let the oil companies bargain with the people who own the oil instead of using force"As I said to you in that other thread, Jackie, why stop with trains? You're the big champion for those that can't or won't fly, right? How are they supposed to get across the ocean? Shouldn't the government be subsidizing ocean liners, too? But of course, just like trains, ocean liners are an obsolete and superfluous method of travel. And the reason you are just fighting for your prescious choo-choos is because you aren't a displaced dockworker, you're a displaced railroad worker, and you only give a dmn about the things that you want and that affect you*, right? You're the big champion of those who can't afford cars, those that 'can't' fly, yada yada yada. What about those that can't support their families without commuting, Jacka? Just screw'em, right?"People should have the choice of safe transportation that doesn't require dealing with people with road rage, uh hmmmm, and many who aren't capable of driving on highways. Almost 50000 a year killed each year on the highways and many more seriously injured. Can we really just overlook that?"You do realize, don't you, Jacka, that per passenger mile, there are fewer airplane fatalities than there are on trains? Can we really just overlook that?

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "No, I'm a bozo, just like you."We are nothing alike, nazi, for which I will be infinitely grateful 'til my dying day.Points for using the "I know you are but what am I" argument, though, which is more adult than your usual cr*p.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for the clarification, dirk, that does suit you to a tee.As usual you don't have anything intelligent to say on topic, I presume? Anything in your troll definition that covers someone entering a thread to make comments such as yours without a single mention of the article the it's attached to? (Pssst: It's about trains, dirk.) Or that trolls tend to band together to try and hide through sheer numbers what they lack in argument? (Such as your tendency to sniff around at bozo's backside on any topic that let's you spout about how the government should be forced to pay for anything you think you're entitled to?)

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

See how easy that was?Mr. Fish, why do you continue to swim in that barrel? Don't you realize it just makes you an easy target?

JerryStubbs 6 years, 7 months ago

Rep. John Mica (R-FL), Ranking member on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, on March 14 introduced H.R. 5644 which "seeks... to develope rail between Washington and NY, to be followed by proposals for other corridors around the country""With up to 75% of the nations aviation delays attributable to New York airspace congestion, a viabel high speed corridor in the Northeast would also free up critical airspace and reduce aviation congestion nationwide."

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Ah, nice to see the train-trolls keep rolling without me.Only Jacka**Ripper would compare an electric sports car that goes from 0-60 in 4 seconds to a Volkswagen. My, your 'arguments' are really getting convincing. Pretty amusing from a desperate old man who complains that modern trains are being compared to old technology. But hey, they're both cars, and therefore both equally evil in your eyes (after all, they spelled the demise of your precious choo-choos).JerryStubbs: There is already such high-speed train in the NorthEast, I've mentioned it a couple of times, it's called the Acela. It can only hit top speed for a total of 18 miles between Boston and New York, with an average speed of 70 mph that only cuts a half hour off the Boston-NY trip, 15 minutes off the NY-DC trip. And it's already at capacity, which is pretty small. All the NY-Boston trains together carry about 13 million passengers per year. That sounds like a lot, until you realize that the daytime population of NYC increases by almost that much every day. The track improvements for the Acela cost $1.6 billion, btw; that was just to improve existing routes, not build new ones - real estate in that area doesn't come cheap.gccs14r, if you really believe that, then it's you that has your head buried somewhere. The technology for electric and other alternatively powered vehicles is already here, as is the technology for alternative fuels for aviation. And neither requires an investement in infrastructure estimated at over $70 billion for just a minimal nationwide high speed rail system (that would be able to replace just an infinitesimal fraction of current car and plane passengers), let alone the investment to develop rail systems for local travel. If you really think people are going to give up the convenience of personal cars or the time savings of aircraft in favor of trains, you might want to ask yourself two questions: Why is private car ownership increasing at a huge rate in places where they have plentiful train service (like Europe), and 2) why are only 1% of long distance trips in this country made by train?As for nazi_on_the_bus, I finally realized why he's so gung-ho for trains - getting the trains to run on time is one of the only things he can be proud of his hero Mussolini for.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says: Oh boy, Jackie no-note strikes again.You're getting so close, Jackie. If it wasn't so apparent you're too dense to make that final breakthrough, I'd almost have hope. It's almost painful to watch, with you so close to grasping the reality, and just so completely incapable of moving that last inch and seeing the light.Yes, that's right, Jackie, as I've said over and over and over, we won't be "ending air transportation or automobiles." And as such, Jacka, if you could just answer that one last little question:Then what the f do we need trains for, other than so you and the nazi can arrive at your destinations a couple of days behind the rest of us?Actually, Jackie-boy, it's a shame you're so terrified to drive. Or read, apparently. Commuting in the Kansas City area is a breeze. I've never seen an incident of road rage in twelve years of commuting into the metro area, actually folks are right pleasant and courteous most of the time. See, Jackie-boy, you're the only one who thinks that "commuting is bad for people." Maybe that's why nobody else wants to play on your choo-choos.Of course, to a doddering old geezer that thinks the demise of his precious railroad was a big government conspiracy somehow tied to NAFTA, social security, the war in the middle east, the Chinese, and the national debt, it all makes perfect sense. Oh, except for one thing, geezer: If you're so concerned about the national debt, maybe you'd like to take a crack at explaining how spending billions on a rail system is going to help that*?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

" it's because you're a well-known socialist and rascist,"No, I'm a bozo, just like you.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Another question all the kool-aid drinkers who think people are going to be abandoning their cars and flocking to public transportation because of the gasoline situation might want to consider: Were that the case, why would scrapping the 'T' even be a matter of discussion? Gee, oil at $125/bbl, gas approaching $4/gal., and you still can't get anyone to ride the bus, but you think you'd get them to flock to trains if there were more of them? Sure. Makes sense, in a twisted, delusional way.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"Points for using the "I know you are but what am I" argument, though, which is more adult than your usual cr*p."Interesting comment coming from someone whose voluminous posts would be shrunk in half without all the sophomoric insults.

gccs14r 6 years, 7 months ago

Our global energy availability is 1300W/m^2. The entire planet must live on only that much power, long term. Any power diverted from running the weather and growing plants diminishes the total number of life forms that can be supported here. There isn't enough spare power for everyone to own a self-propelled conveyance, unless there is a sudden, catastrophic crash in the human population. We have to stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about the entire planet, and thinking about how to sustain it not just through an election cycle, but for millenia. This little rock we're on is all we have. There is no shiny new planet to run to when this one is completely spent.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Incidentally, Jerry, I apologize if you felt you were lumped into my categorizations of the other posters; as I said earlier, you're putting together real arguments that are on topic and seem to be based on the merits of your information rather than on a blind ideology. I shouldn't have replied to you in the same post as the others, as you are not like bozo, jack, or dirk.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Yes, gcc, they will. They won't pay $3,500 to fly to any of 16 small cities in Nebraska. Nor is there any reason to.Incidentally, the routes that were discontinued by Mesa (the Air Midwest ones) were mostly federally subsidized. In other words, those routes were never self-supporting. (Should make Jack happy, less air routes for the feds to subsidize.) Even though they used relatively less fuel-thirsty small planes (19 passenger Raytheon-Beech 1900 turboprops - essentially a stretched King Air 200).

gccs14r 6 years, 7 months ago

Looks like the airlines know something that nota doesn't. Air travel has to be relatively inexpensive to remain popular. No one is going to pay $3,500 to fly from KC to Chicago.

JerryStubbs 6 years, 7 months ago

PHOENIX-AP - Mesa Air will shut down subsidiary carrier Air Midwest, cutting off service to 16 small cities in Nebraska and nine other states because of soaring fuel prices, the company said WednesdaySoaring oil and jet-fuel prices already have contributed to the shutdown this year of Skybus Airlines and forced ATA Airlines and Aloha Airlines out of business. Frontier Airlines has entered bankruptcy restructuring. Champion Air said it would cease operations and MAXjet Airways did so in December.

JerryStubbs 6 years, 7 months ago

A troll is when somebody, like dirkleisure, says something, anything, to goad somebody, like notajayhawk, into making yet another verbose, ridulous post that nobody will read, just for the sheer fun fun of knowing that notajayhawk wasted another 10 mins shortening his life.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Also, incidentally, according to their website, Mesa has been shutting down unprofitable segments of its network as far back as 1997, when they lost their agreement with United and couldn't operate profitably as an independent in Texas. Maybe they're blaming it on the price of fuel, but it sure looks like they're dropping routes that were dogs anyway. If you look at their route map, the Mesa group (198 planes with 1200 daily departures from 170 cities) looks like it just might survive without those 16 stops in Nebraska.http://www.mesa-air.com/map.asp

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