[TAG] Department of Homeland Security funding Open Source projects
Benjamin A. Okopnik
ben at linuxgazette.net
Sun Feb 19 11:46:16 MSK 2006
On Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 09:30:03AM +0000, Neil Youngman wrote:
> On Saturday 18 Feb 2006 04:39, Benjamin A. Okopnik wrote:
> >  Would someone *please* mention British Rail already, just so I don't
> > have to throw myself on that grenade?
> British Rail? Do you mean Railtrack (no, they're Network Rail now), Virgin
> Railways (don't ask). WAGN Rail, GNER, Hull trains or one of the other 27
> (yes 27, excluding the steam railway companies operated for enthusiasts and
> tourists) train operating companies, with which this small island is now
I *see*. _Now_ I understand why the US has such awful train
transportation - the UK had first pick, and took almost everything. For
Seriously, US train service is mainly conspicuous by its absence
(although it's marginally better on the West Coast), and would not be
considered anything but laughable in Europe. Amtrak, which is pretty
much the only game in town, doesn't even own the greatest majority of
the track it runs on and has to "borrow" from the freight companies.
It's also perpetually broke, usually delayed, and has to slow *way* down
to avoid derailment if there's even a tiny bit of snow. I've been a day
late on a day-long run because there was "snow on the tracks" (the snow
I saw on the ground from that train was patchy and perhaps 1" or less
But, hey, the engines are _very_ shiny stainless steel, and look all
sleek and curved and stuff. As long as we've got _that,_ everything else
can go hang.
> At least Connex no longer runs trains. We should be grateful for small
No matter how bad they were by comparison to your other train lines,
please just pack'em up in a large box and send'em over here. I suspect
they could teach Amtrak to improve their service a hundred-fold -
perhaps to as high a grade as "merely horrible".
Note that, even with all that grousing, I would _still_ rather take a
train than fly, for anything under 500 miles or so; ten hours on a train
beats having to deal with arrogant, imperious TSA goons who have the
right to strip you naked and give you a cavity search if they don't like
your face. I *left* Russia to get away from that kind of regime - and if
I had to invent a worst-case nightmare for myself, it would be one in
which that regime followed me here and infected this country. Well...
[sigh] I'll skip the obvious political rant.
* Ben Okopnik * Editor-in-Chief, Linux Gazette * http://linuxgazette.net *
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