All I want for Christmas…

Our stuff finally came in from Florida the other day, so every day’s going to be like X-mas for a while. ;)

In the bigger picture, though, I’d love for California to finally get its act together on high-speed rail connecting the state’s metropolitan areas.

California’s not a small state; in land area and population it’s comparable to large European countries. Getting from San Francisco down to the Los Angeles suburbs where my family lives is about a 400-mile drive (600ish km), a weary 6-8 hours on the highway. It’s faster by air — but for the hour you spend on the plane you’ll spend two in the airport, and you’ll have to add local transport on the other end to your ticket price.

There needs to be something in between, and that spot’s just begging for a modern high-speed rail system.

Less check-in and security hassle than the airport means it’ll be as fast as flying at a lower price point, and for the greenies it won’t be burning jet fuel the whole way. ;)

Metro subways and commuter rail have good traction in many US cities, but long-distance rail is something most Americans today don’t take seriously. And is it any wonder? Today’s Amtrak combines the low speed of a cross-country road trip with the high price of air travel…

When I was planning my move here, a German comrade jokingly suggested I go by rail instead of flying, as it was “only in-country”. ;) For fun I looked it up; taking Amtrak passenger rail from Orlando, Florida to San Francisco, California would take 93 hours of actual travel time, plus stopovers between the three separate rail lines it would take. Our direct flight took just 6 hours… and cost about the same, around $200 a seat.