(UPDATE: News today revealed that the train was traveling at 80 MPH in a zone where the limit was 30 MPH. Safeguards on the track to prevent this allegedly were not activated which would contribute to the accident. The investigation of the crash continues.)

Today there was a nasty AMTRAK wreck in Washington State. As of this writing at least 3 passengers lost their lives on this train’s inaugural run.

This was also a high-speed train capable of traveling at last 125 miles per hour. The speed it was traveling when this accident occurred is under investigation as it should be.

It seems trains have the same type of black boxes that planes have.

Federal Funding

There is no public ground transportation in the United States that I’m aware of that’s not federally subsidized.

The person sitting next to you chipped in to pay part of your train or bus ticket.

In September AMTRAK was giving $1.4 billion as part of the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act.

Perhaps that’s not enough to keep trains on the track but it should go a long way for rail safety.

Train Travel

In college I often rode the train between Illinois and Texas when I went home for weekends now and then.

Train travel is not bad. There is a lot of movement that makes walking a challenge and you do get to see the worst part of most cities but in the open country it’s very beautiful.

One of the perks is that the repetitive noise of the train makes sleeping very easy. I don’t remember the food being bad at least not as bad as airline food. And you had a waiter in a clean white coat taking care of you.

Some Final Thoughts

If you’ve never been on either mode of transportation would you rather fly at 35,000 feet at the speed of sound, or 125 miles an hour on a speeding train?

On the surface they both sound like deathtraps, yet airline travel per mile is much safer than you are at the wheel of your automobile.

While trains are statistically less safe they are still in wide use across America. Will the federal funds keep flowing in to keep trains going faster or are they on their way out as passenger transportation?

While freight will probably always be carried by rail, passengers will be taking a nice nap in their GPS controlled driverless cars.

Will you be driving at 125 miles per hour with some computer watching for deer?

Are you getting on a train any time soon? Comments below.