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D. P. Lubic

Glad this is working out as well as it is.

Off topic, but I thought you would find these interesting:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/04/13/high.speed.rail.fact.check/index.html?iref=obnetwork

http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/04/21/harrod.high.speed.rail.trains/?hpt=T2

Some interesting comments and quotes from the second article:

“Much of the opposition to rail projects appears to stem not from economic arguments, but from fundamental cultural values on what “American” transportation should be.”

“A perusal of online commentaries about passenger rail stories reveals a curious linkage by writers between passenger rail and “European socialism.”

“Never mind that the majority of European passenger rail operates on a commercial basis.”

”Many critics of passenger rail emotionally identify it as an enabler of cultural values they fear.”

“Second, a passenger rail project labels a route as an “urban” corridor, and provides the infrastructure and incentive for even more urban development.”

“This contradicts a vision of America, held by many, as a small town society centered on the automobile. In reality, rural towns continue to decline. The 2000 U.S. census classifies 79% of the U.S. population as “urban.” Multiple studies project that statistic will reach 86% in 2030.”

“These emotional responses to passenger rail are troubling and obstacles to economic growth in the United States.”

“We are at very real risk of falling behind other developed countries, both in economic output, mobility and quality of life.”

Emotional responses! Ha! That's so true. A lot of people are afraid some criminal will ride the bus or the trolley car out to their house to steal their TV, or they are afraid that they'll be riding with someone who will knock them in the head.

Here's a real story:

Some years ago, some guy got on an Amtrak train in Washington, DC, specifically No. 29, the Capitol Limited (fine old B&O train name, by the way, I was so glad to see it back under Amtrak). This passenger brought along his own bottle of booze, and proceeded to tank up. He got drunk enough to start annoying passengers in the dining car; the limit came when he propositioned a 14-year old girl after the train left its stop at Harpers Ferry, W.Va. The conductor (female on this trip, by the way), had him put off the train at Martinsburg, W.Va. (which is about 75 miles west of Washington, and about 90 minutes in time for this intercity train).

I was there, just watching trains, when this one arrived, and waited for some time; a porter on the train told me and three old guys who were also just watching trains what was going on.

Two police officers in a car and a bicycle officer arrived. Onto the train they went. Off the train they came, along with the boozy passenger, the conductor, and another porter. Up to the baggage car they went, where the porter climbed into the car, and threw out a suitcase. Back came everyone to the platform. The conductor and the porter got back on the train, which highballed out. Left were the cops and the drunk.

The cops made the drunk open his briefcase, in which they found a half-empty bottle of Royal Crown whiskey. One said to the drunk, “May I have the bottle, please?”

He took the bottle, opened the cap, and poured the whiskey out on the ground. Then he handed the bottle back to the drunk. He reminded the drunk that he should not litter.

One of the three old guys said to the cop, “Hey, you should have given that to us! That’s good whiskey!”

The policemen left. The old guys were just laughing. I had trouble not laughing and trying to keep a straight face. I had more trouble not laughing as the drunk tried to get a cab (no answer at the cab company), then tried to raise his girlfriend in Ohio (cell phone didn’t work for some reason), and then found out from me that the nearest Greyhound bus stop was 30 miles away in Hagerstown, Md. Then he tried to phone the cab company again, then he tried to phone his girlfriend again, with no luck.

He was worried about his girlfriend missing him on the train. Seems she was supposed to pick him up at a station in Ohio. As the train was supposed to arrive at that location at something like 2:00 the next morning, I think she might have been a little upset. I wonder what she would have thought if she found out why her boyfriend wasn’t on the train, particularly at 2:00AM.

I left him trying to call the cab company again. He was in a world of trouble; boy, did I feel sorry for him. . .

Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho!!!

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. . .

Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho!!!

I hope his girlfriend was sympathetic. . .

Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho!!!

I brought this story up to an Amtrak ticket agent. He said that was pretty much standard procedure for dealing with obnoxious passengers. He also said he had heard stories of conductors setting such passengers off in a cornfield, and giving them a choice of walking two or five miles into town, or riding in on the train to meet the sheriff at the station.

Then there are the old, old stories, particularly from the West, in which the conductor and a brakeman put an obnoxious or drunk passenger off the train–without bothering to stop first.

Must have been fun to watch the bum bounce!!!

Between what I saw and what the agent told me, it sounds like a passenger train is a well-protected place to be.

You know what’s funny? The automobile was largely perceived as an early enabler of the Sexual Revolution! How else do you explain all those stories (likely overblown) about back-seat sex at the drive-in? Go back to the 1920s, you see all kinds of concerns about kids in cars, getting away to lovers’ lanes that their horse-and-buggy parents couldn’t reach.

Then there were the road bandits, such as a John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde; Dillinger once wrote a letter to Henry Ford praising the flathead V8 as a great getaway car!

Where would Hollywood be without all those car chases, even in relatively recent years?

My wife is of the opinion that this country may be dealing with some sort of epidemic of low-level mental illness. She thinks it may be due to all the stuff we’ve been dumping into our water and injecting into our food over the years. Don’t know if it’s true or not, but it makes as much sense as anything else out there for some of the troubles we see.

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