Amtrak, A Greener Way to Travel
For the past 15 days, I’ve been traversing America on a train. No typos, I’m talking an 1800’s style locomotive that started in Baltimore and ended in San Diego. Why? Not only did I want to see the country, I wanted to do it in the most environmentally responsible way I could.
Since the 1800’s, train travel has had its ups and downs. Obviously, Henry Ford’s car and the later addition of the passenger airplane put a big dent in the number of people traveling by train, but the trend may be reversing. With the economy the way it is and airlines charging an arm and leg for travel around the holidays, I found myself on train after train that were at capacity. Sure, it takes a lot longer to get where you’re going but then again you can’t see much from 35,000 feet.
Amtrak has consistently improved its energy efficiency and emissions to levels that are below what they were a decade ago, even though they have added more trains to their system. Some of the trains use regenerative braking, as Kirby noted in a post last week. Traveling by train is close to 20% more efficient than car or air travel (based on emissions) and is more of a social gathering than a monotonous journey. When flying, the airplane is seen as a means to get where you’re going, where as the train is the destination itself. With comfortable seats, a viewing lounge car, and BYOB, it made for a really interesting trip back out to San Diego.
I don’t mean for this to be an advertisement for Amtrak, but I wish more people would consider train travel for their next getaway. Its comfortable, clean, and green.
To see the environmental scorecard, click here.