Romance of the Rails: Why the Passenger Trains We Love Are Not the Transportation We Need

Featuring Randal O'Toole, Art Guzzetti, Jim Mathews, Marc Scribner, & Jason Kuznicki

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.