Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Comic Strip
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."
Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
All aboard! (not)
When I was a wee lad in Farmingdale, NY, we lived maybe the distance of two blocks from the Long Island Railroad tracks. I cannot swear to it but I recall a few steam engines rolling along that track. According to the history of steam locomotives, it is quite possible. In any event, the steam whistle was familiar to me and intermingled with memories of the pleasant times of my early years.
Living near a railway is interesting. It is not as quiet as some might like. We were not right next to it, though. It didn't seem all that loud to me. Where the train passed was maybe a half mile from the station there in Farmingdale which means there was always a whistle (and later, horn blast of a diesel engine) and the trains were slowing as they approached and were still picking up speed as they left toward the Big City (New York) And it is a fact that small boys are entranced by the power and majesty of locomotive engines. So my memories may be a bit tainted.
Living near a railroad, or an airport, means living with noise. With trains, the intervals between arrivals and departures are longer than with airplanes at an airport. Which makes tuning the noise out easier, I think. I don't think I could deal with being under a flight path. But a few blocks from a railroad? No problem. In fact, because the sound reminds me of my early childhood, I find it pleasant. Even a bit peaceful.
I write all this because our governor has announced he won't be wanting that federal money (some 2.4 Billion dollars) to start building a high speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando. People with an interest in building it are scrambling about either crying over or planning ways around his nixing the project. I am on the side of the governor on this. Not because I don't like trains, I do. But because I think it won't do anything it is purported to do.
Sure, there will be an increase in jobs as the project gets underway and is years in the process. But who will get those jobs? I strongly suspect it won't be Floridians. Well, not most of the jobs anyway. Definitely not the high paying engineering jobs. And, in the end, what will we have?
A way to get from Tampa to Orlando in maybe half the time it takes now to drive it. Does it take you to down town Orlando or Tampa? Not really, from what I can tell it takes you between Tampa's international airport and Orlando's international airport. You would then have to secure transportation (bus or taxi) to your actual destination. And I have this nagging suspicion that the project will end up with a station stop at Disney World.
I fell out of love with trains back in the mid 70's when I took the train from San Diego to Anaheim. Granted it was no high speed rail. It was the commuter train. It stopped in every town along the way. Maybe 8 or 10 stops. Each of which was a 10 minute wait while passengers got off (few) and passengers got on (more). The trip was scenic, though. You got to see some of the worst parts of each town on the route. You also got a few views of the ocean but these were very few.
Trains are nice but they are nice because they are leisurely modes of travel. At one time, you could sit and read the paper (or a book or magazine) with the window open a little bit (depending on where the diesel exhaust would waft by) for fresh air or you could chat with fellow passengers and just relax. I do not see that happening with these "bullet" trains. In the first place, forget opening a window, even a little. They will be sealed. You won't have that rhythmic sound of steel wheels over the rails either. The odds are the cars will be so insulated that you won't hear much of anything from outside.
There'd be no romance. As a child, I could always pretend I was traveling across the untamed west and be on the lookout for buffalo herds and fierce Indians. That's part of the joy of being a child. But I have put most of that behind and I doubt ripping through the landscape at 120 MPH would evoke that kind of daydream anyway.