Friday, July 1, 2011

What does it cost to get from here to there on a train?

We've been told, endlessly, that high-speed rail makes money for the train operators.  And, we've said, also endlessly, that this is nonsense.  Only two rail routes in the world break even, the Tokyo to Osaka run, and the  Paris to Lyon run.

They say that the Acela between Washington and New York City also produces more fare-box revenue than it costs to operate the train, but I would really like to see their arithmetic, what they include and what they leave out.

Anyhow, it's not like passenger rail can't make money.  Some of them do.  This article doesn't tell us which ones are profitable and which ones aren't.  But, with those prices, you can make a good guess.

The China example seems to be the only high-speed train.  The fact is that all the high-speed trains in the world are the top-of-the-line, most expensive train tickets for regular service.  They are all subsidized by their governments.  And, they are exclusive.

 Anyhow, luxury is relative, isn't it?  As my father used to say, "Whether you're rich or poor, it's nice to have money."

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