The following is a letter to the editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that will not be published, primarily because it punctures their beloved choo-choo train balloon. (I'm taking a risk here; if they publish it, I'll have to eat my words.) The letter was written by a close, long-time friend, Charles A. Bass, a former Chicago and Northwestern brakeman who has written and published a marvelous book on his experiences, Life on the Shiny Iron, which is presently available at certain specialty bookstores or on-line at ronsbooks.com. (I don't get a commission.)
The commuter/high-speed rail business is just another government payback-boondoggle at taxpayer expense. (Remember, even federal largesse is taxpayer money.) To my knowledge, there is not a commuter train system in the country that is self-sufficient. The automobile is the most convenient, efficient and flexible means of transportation invented by man. Buses run a distant second. Commuter rail is way down the list. Passenger rail can be a useful and convenient means of transportation between metropolitan destinations, but even it is far from self-sufficient.
Chuck is an entertaining writer with a wealth of railroad experience and knowledge of the "shiny iron." I highly recommend his book.