Betty Buller Whitehead: Unreliable train

June 16, 2014 

I was interested to see the June 10 Road Worrier column by Bruce Siceloff, “ Plane, train, auto – which wins?,” regarding the differences in experience and cost to travel to Washington from Raleigh. I’ve ridden the train several times to and from D.C., and although it is certainly less stressful than driving, it really is slow when compared with the technology and speed of European trains.

We were in France last month and rode the TGV a distance of 472 miles between Aix-en-Provence and Paris, arriving in less than three hours.

Several years ago our French “daughter” (a foreign exchange student who lived with us 1989-1990) was in New York for her husband to run the New York Marathon. I planned to ride Amtrak to meet her in D.C., but when I got online that morning to check its on-time status, I discovered it was running almost three hours late! I ended up driving.

The Carolinian can be a great choice, but it also is very unreliable. Amtrak could count me as a regular customer riding the train to D.C. or N.Y. if we, as a country, would invest in upgrading rail service, comparable to what’s available in many other countries.

Betty Buller Whitehead

Chapel Hill

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