Imagine hopping a train to Las Vegas from Phoenix

June 23, 2015

By Jeff Gibbs. special to the Arizona Republic

I recently traveled by plane, train, light rail and car to the Pacific Northwest to visit some cities that are highly regarded in development circles — Vancouver BC, Seattle and Portland.

On the Amtrak trip from Vancouver to Seattle, I again was impressed with intercity rail travel. I have taken a number of train trips over the years, including the TGV in France and the Bullet Train to the Shanghai Airport, so it was good to see how our domestic services compare.

Here are my eight reasons to like rail travel:

  1. Convenient arrival and departure at city center locations.
  2. Easy check-in with no hassles about the number of bags, their sizes or weights. Plus security clearance is faster due to the lower risk profile of trains vs. planes.
  3. No extra fees for things like checked bags and expedited check-in.
  4. No weather delays.
  5. More aisle and seat legroom with the ability to walk around in-transit.
  6. Smooth, relatively quiet journeys without billboards, etc. as railroad rights-of-way often run through residential and scenic areas. (Many locals actually come out to wave to passing trains!)
  7. Picture windows in rail cars for viewing, always at ground level.
  8. Generally costs less than air travel, and is usually about the same as full-cost automobile travel.

Many Valley residents may not be familiar with these advantages as passenger train service to Phoenix ended in 1996 and the downtown Union Station long ago fell into disuse.

 

Read the full story at The Republic by clicking here.

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