The Last Train to Grand Canyon: How Amtrak Fails

Essay | The Last Train to Grand Canyon: How Amtrak Fails the National Parks—and America

Not sure I come to the same conclusion in the end but it’s an interesting summary of the history


Much of the US Electric Grid Could Go the Way of the Landline Phone

Making electricity, in other words, is becoming a less profitable business. And Garg worries that these costs will eventually reach consumers and send ripples throughout the economy. “You don’t need a huge amount of people to leave to cause a huge issue with the grid,” he says.

Unlike in the phone industry, an enervated electric grid can hurt just about everybody. Even most folks with solar panels on their roof still need that baseload power when the clouds block the sun long enough for the fridge to suck their Powerwall dry, or wires onto which they can shunt their excess power whenever the panels are generating more juice than any home can use.

…“The regulatory structure basically paid utilities to build power plants, and charge customers for the cost of those plants through bills, but didn’t provide much incentive for the utilities to be efficient,” says Seth Blumsack, who studies energy policy at Pennsylvania State University. So long as you didn’t have any competitors eyeing your market share, why innovate or look for cheaper fuel sources?

…Another tack would be changing the way the industry is regulated, all over again. Even with restructuring and deregulation, government policy still rewards big capital expenditures like new power plants or miles of transmission line. Regulations could easily be written that reward companies that make the existing grid operate more efficiently. However, the current administration hasn’t really caught up to what the market is saying.

Much of the US Electric Grid Could Go the Way of the Landline Phone | WIRED


Amtrak ups its PR game hoping people will forget they are downgrading food options for long-haul riders

Amtrak ups its food game for long-haul riders

Amtrak is pitching a lot of articles about how it is “improving” the prepackaged, might-as-well-be-airline food, not-much-different-than-what-you-could-get-out-a-vending-machine, food offering lately. And press across the cultural spectrum seem to be eating it up and publishing these claims without context or critique.

All of these positive articles that neglect to mention the fact that Amtrak is actually ditching the actual food that has been served in their dining cars on longer trips and downgrading to a lesser level of food service and quality.

Sorry Amtrak, you can improve your you-could-buy-this-shit-in-a-convenience-store crap all you want. It’s still crap. Bring back dining cars!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mobile moves ahead with Amtrak plans

Amtrak service left Mobile and the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina damaged tracks in 2005. Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida have already signed off on bringing the service back.

“It would be a shame to send these grant resources back when we can utilize it to have a shovel-ready plan so the governor can hopefully support what we’re trying to do in the near future,” Manzie said.

Mobile moves ahead with Amtrak plans

Very cool.