Leave a comment



























A map of about every primary passenger railway in the USA for 2016, commuter rail included.

Surely there are more trains lines about than this ?!

Nope. We’re animals. I’ve only trailed by train twice in the U.S., and it was the same line, once DC to Philadelphia, and once DC to NYC for work once I discovered the train was two hours faster than flying and cabbing back into NYC.

I do forget though that you guys fly everywhere and trains might not be practical. I live on an island the size of one of your states !

Fun fact: the busiest railway station in America (Penn Station in New York City) gets fewer passengers than Liverpool Central.

I knew the US had a much less extensive rail infrastructure than us, but bloody hell, the fact that there are ENTIRE STATES that literally don’t have passenger rail is madness.

I’d still love to travel on it some time, mind.

Just imagine the jobs you could create by building a decent railway system!

Behold, the end result of graft and political corruption.

I had no idea most of the US had no regional lines? Like, I live in tiny little MA with one of those clusters of red. Does everybody else have to DRIVE???

yes. we drive. and it’s terrible.

D: This is actually distressing.

to be fair some cities do have good bus systems


what the shuddering fuck?  That’s IT?!  

actually we used to have a lot more, but as far as i’m aware i’m pretty sure the car companies bought a lot of railways and then destroyed them to force people to buy cars

Also some of those states that don’t have rails also have more cows than people.

Also our trains are slow and it’s usually much faster to drive than to take a train. We don’t have those speed rail things.


There used to be more (map of train tracks 1870 & 1890), but, as @kaza999 pointed out, alot of it was destroyed on purpose by General Motors in the firsty half of the 1900s to, ahem, pave the way for the primacy of the car.  And, since then, any investment in rail infrastructure (or any infrastructure at all, for that matter) has been opposed on ideological grounds by the conservative wing.

When you suddenly understand Sheldon’s train enthusiasm

And then there’s Europe:

And because that looks a tiny bit cluttered (and because we’re a German blog), here’s a railway map of Germany:

In red are the high speed InterCityExpress lines, blue are the InterCity lines and the grey ones are smaller regional lines.

And for Americans who don’t know how large Germany is: It is half the size of Texas.

Consider that this map does not show local lines, for example:
This is Hamburg


This is Berlin


This is Cologne

And this is Munich



Munich’s network deadass has more lines than the entire state of MA

this makes me so fucking upset, I fucking hate what car companies have done to our train network

there used to be a train station right in my town, that’s a short walk from here, that would have allowed me to go to boston with minimal fuss, but nooo, it has to be torn up and made into some sort of trail thing that I don’t think anybody even uses, like, I just wanna scream

Kill The Automobile Industrial Complex

I always wondered why Americans were so willing to drive for like 20+ hours to get somewhere and now I understand why.

It’s not just the auto industry.

Essentially ALL rail lines in the US are privately owned by freight hauling companies. As there is way more money in moving merchandise around our massive country than there is moving people, they have no desire or incentive to do so.

Creating new passenger rail lines means buying up land and, especially in urban areas, pushing people out of their homes.

Not surprisingly, it usually poor people forced out. So, regarding urban commuter lines, poor people see trains as intrusive and destructive.

In Seattle we devastated long standing neighborhoods like Columbia City, forcing people out of their homes and killing local bus lines and replacing them with the MORE EXPENSIVE commuter train.

Gentrification soon followed, forcing poor people, usually people of color, even further from the city. Making their commutes longer, often to places with worse bus service.

The result is trains, instead of helping poor and working class people, hurt them and they resent them.

Other countries have *nationalized* rail lines, or the government has real power over the train companies. The US DOES NOT.

So it’s not just car companies, it’s train lines, and, hell, unrestrained capitalism.

Same things happened in LA, NY, Philly.

Because of NIMBYism and the above mentioned political-economic machinations, new lines usually means screwing people and/or the environment. Worse, afaik, Amtrak basically has made it so they have all but a monopoly over interstate line development.

Yup. The first time I went to Europe, as a blind person, I was fucking stunned that there was so much ability to travel via public transit. I even had a conversation with a porter on a train. I wanted to go somewhere specific, but my ticket was for the earlier stop. He says to me “Do you want to go to X? How are you going to get there?”

I was like “Well, this puts off about 2 miles away, so I’m going to walk, I think.”

He looked at me like i was batshit and goes. “Just get off at the next station and transfer to the ___ train and it will take you to X and you won’t have to walk the 2 miles.”

And I was like “That can be done?”

He says, “Uh yeah, don’t you know how trains work?”

And I was like…. “No? I guess not.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: