Riding on the Bart Train

When I was living in Iceland, there was some talk about putting in a rail line between Reykjavík and the Keflavík, or more specifically, to the airport. This did not strike me as a bad idea, despite the earthquake/lava flow technical difficulties of such an enterprise. But it reminded me a bit of the piecemeal approach to the rail system in California. The great state of California does not have a highspeed rail system, and even the old diesel train system is a huge disappointment. One line extends to Bakersfield and the next line does not start until Fresno, so people have to take a bus in between. Using this system, it takes something like 18 hours to get from San Diego to San Francisco, in comparison to 8 hours driving. So that sucks. There is now finally a proposal on the books to try to make a continuous, modern rail line from northern to southern California, and to say it is hightime this be pursued would be a massive understatement.

On the other hand, the Bay Area has had a well-functioning, integrated, efficient electric rail system since the 1970s. It makes living in the Bay Area much more liveable, and they constantly strive to make improvements (like new seats, new cars, new train stations, new seismic upgrades) to keep things humming along. 

So I do not mean to be complainy when I say that the two homeless men who were sleeping in the train this morning created such an unpleasant odor that that entire section of the train was vacated. I suppose it is a further testament to the supportive nature of people in the Bay Area that no one complained to the conductor and had them kicked off.


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