Video: Seth Meyers on Trump's FBI Speech, the GOP Tax Plan and Bob Corker's Stunning Hypocrisy

Barefoot Grin12/19/2017 6:24:53 am PST

re: #111 wheat-dogg

I read an interesting book over the summer, Train: Riding the Rails That Created the Modern World-from the Trans-Siberian to the Southwest Chief by Tom Zoellner. He covers the history of rail in little snippets in between a kind of travelogue of his jouneys. It seems the aristocracy and high society of England did not much care for the railways, because it allowed too much mobility to the lower classes. No longer were cottagers tied to their manorial farms, but could up and leave whenever they liked to work in the cities. But the upper classes had to swallow their pride when Queen Victoria took to the railways like a duck to water.

In the USA, the railroads similarly allowed African-Americans to flee the South to work in northern cities and begin new lives away from Jim Crow and agricultural jobs.

It’s only my surmise, but I suspect the Right Wing’s hatred of passenger rail comes from a similar disdain for the common people. Train tickets are cheaper than airfares (for seats, anyway) and they allow someone without a car to move about relatively freely. Worse yet, the trains allow “those people” to visit places “our people” frequent, a thought that I think dwells in the back of the RW mind.

Plus, there is a strong association between city people and railroads, since the only active passenger lines serve the coastal elites. So, the RW Congressmen in the interior can justify gutting Amtrak, because their constituents have never been on a train - ever. So, they don’t know what they would be missing. The Right can dismiss Amtrak as a needless piece of “socialism.”

Zoellner also points out that railroads by and large boost local and national economies, and nations that invest in passenger rail are investing in their futures. But try telling the GOP that.

Thanks for the rec. Many years ago I was talking to my grandmother about getting around when she was a young woman. She said that Illinois was criss-crossed by trains and there were smaller electric systems (interurban). It was our past, but the car largely destroyed it.