Romance of the Rails: Why the Passenger Trains We Love Are Not the Transportation We Need
(Cato Institute, October 2018)
Like many Americans, Randal O’Toole loves passenger trains, yet he acknowledges that intercity passenger trains and — outside of the New York region — urban rail transit play little role in American life today. The replacement of passenger trains with cars, buses, and airplanes is similar to many other recent technological replacements: word processors replacing typewriters, calculators replacing slide rules, telephones replacing telegraphs, and cell phones replacing land lines. However, only for passenger trains has the government spent billions of dollars a year attempting to turn back the clock and slow that replacement. O’Toole’s book Romance of the Rails asks why this is so and whether passenger rail has a significant role to play in the future. Art Guzzetti, an advocate for urban rail transit; Jim Mathews, an advocate for intercity passenger trains; and Marc Scribner, an advocate for free-market transportation, will offer their comments on the book.