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Passenger rail USA: an exercise in patience




In this 25 October, 2002. file photo, an Amtrak train sits idle at Penn Station in New York.
In this 25 October, 2002. file photo, an Amtrak train sits idle at Penn Station in New York.
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

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Train service in Europe and Japan can be fast, reliable and frequent. But in the U.S., intercity rail travel is the step-child of transportation. In many places, scheduled travel times are actually slower than they were 50 years ago. And service is unreliable and infrequent. How did the U.S. passenger rail system get into such a sorry state? And what can be done to improve it? James McCommons set out to answer these questions in “Waiting on a Train,” a book about his journeys on Amtrak that includes interviews with rail planners, advocates and experts around the country.

Guests:

James McCommons, author of "Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service, a Year Spent Riding Across America" (Chelsea Green Publishing)

Ross Capon, Executive Director, National Association of Railroad Passengers