- Aug 24, 2003
The fly in the ointment of that logic are many:Because I'd prefer them to put more lines under wire and have a split fleet. Yes there are routes were bi modes will work well but others where if the state DOT would stop being clowns they could easily run the whole thing under wire.
(1) Most State DOTs are not going to stop being clowns just because we think they should.
(2) Additionally the host railroads also have to stop being opposed to electrification of their tracks, unless paid a King's ransom. A large proportion of the proposed new service is slated to operate on host railroad owned trackage, specially as it applies to extension from the NEC spine.
(3) Cost of electrification in this country, which is literally out of this world, has to somehow be brought down to address the argument used by the purveyors of (1) and to some extent (2)
Noticeably Amtrak has little control over any of those factors all by itself. Ergo the quickest way in which Amtrak can improve the customer experience is by going for dual modes. This is not the first time this has happened. UK facing mostly problem (3) has followed the dual mode route, and good thing they did too since it made it possible to introduce uniform MU based service much faster than if they had to wait for completion of electrification all across Great Western territory. In the US NJTransit has followed the same course.
So while ideally I'd like to see quicker and further spread of electrification, realistically in the context of service extensions from the NEC spine IMHO it is better to go with dual mode for the time being.