Here’s how US train travel went from excellent to mediocre.
Several factors contribute to the decline in train usage among US citizens compared to the past. One of the main reasons is the significant expansion of the highway system and the widespread availability of affordable cars. As personal vehicles became more accessible, convenient, and faster, people gradually shifted away from train travel, opting for the flexibility and independence that driving offers. Additionally, the rise of low-cost domestic flights further diminished the appeal of train travel for long-distance trips, as air travel became a more time-efficient option. Moreover, the United States has historically invested less in its passenger rail infrastructure compared to countries with robust train systems, leading to issues with outdated tracks, slower speeds, and limited coverage in certain regions. These shortcomings have resulted in a perception of trains as a less efficient and less viable mode of transportation for many Americans. However, there is a growing interest in sustainable and eco-friendly travel options, which may present an opportunity for a revival of train travel if investments are made in modernizing and expanding the rail network.