Following the recent Amtrak collision in Pennsylvania, I’ve seen a lot of folks taking a negative attitude towards the great American railway. This is truly saddening. It’s as if this bad incident has prompted people to suddenly recall their stories about relatives who have been struck by trains, former hobos who’ve lost legs to runaway freighters, and commuters trapped in the unforgiving doorways of the DC Metro. But it’s important that we remember how good trains can be.
I have had many wonderful experiences with trains. Not only are trains more efficient than driving, they span the nation. Every train is different: some have hard seats, some are spacious and incredibly comfortable, and some have dining cars replete with fine cocktails. My family and I have been on many trains, and not once were treated with disrespect or deprived of our luggage. Our country was built on railways, and if it weren’t for freight trains, we wouldn’t have any of the modern conveniences we enjoy today.
Though the recent crash in Pennsylvania is troubling, I find the actions of those in the area to be even worse. I have read reports that something had hit the windshield of the train in question, as well as the windshield of a similar Amtrak train traveling through the area an hour prior to the crash. It is entirely possible that, agitated by local hooligans, the conductor feared for his life and sped up to nearly double the limit in an attempt to save the passengers on board.
Before millennials start boycotting trains until “safety standards are enforced and improved,” maybe they should step back and consider what good trains have done for this country.
–Giles Fisher (Guest Contributor)
Giles is a prominent member of the Falls Church Assisted Living community. He is well read, with over 38 books currently in his room and over one hundred in storage. Giles used to keep a model train set in his basement.