Many opinions have been expressed regarding the Bullet Train proposed and being built between Dallas and Houston. I have an opinion myself, but will not voice it in this column. Instead, I will relate the story of my own fast transportation idea, conjured up from the fertile imagination of my youth.
It probably all started after a trip home to Western Oklahoma from Los Angles in January of 1970. This journey was aboard, for most of the miles, the renowned Santa Fe “Super Chief”, the last of the luxury trains in the United States. Amtrak took over all passenger service in May of 1971, ending the operation of the Super Chief.
After having traveled more than once to Southeast Asia, back and forth in cramped airplane seats, 12 hours each way, I was giddy with excitement to experience the extravagance of traveling with an extraordinary freedom of movement. I enjoyed amenities such as the dining car, sleeping cabins, seating in Lazy Boy style chairs, and a beautiful wide view, as we moved at a leisurely pace through the varying landscapes of our country. I still have fond memories of traveling in a style I experienced only once in my life.
With this always fresh in my mind, plus the negative experiences I’ve had aboard boring, confining, monotonous air travel, I dreamed of a better experience while retaining the speed, but at ground level. My 200 MPH train would never stop. It could crisscross the U.S. from coast to coast, in motion at all times. Each car would be powered independently. The cars on the front would be for the luxuries of dining, sleeping, and business traveler cubicles or for other special purposes. As the train approached a destination city, the rear cars containing departing passengers and their baggage would drop off, shunted to arrival tracks, and slowed to a stop at the terminal.
In advance, a set of cars, full of departing passengers would be on adjoining tracks, ready to leave before the drop-off car arrived. They would gather speed and be shunted to the rear of the moving train, then coupled for the journey to the next destination. An additional car would be connected to resupply the train as needed, including relief personnel. In the same manner, the engine and service cars could be replaced for maintenance without stopping.
What an odd mind I have! I’ve spent untold hours dreaming of that transportation system, solving the practical problems. What freedom I enjoy to have the time and energy to spend on a frivolous mental exercise that would probably never be built in the real world.
Even though I’ve never been wealthy, I’ve had the basic necessities of life, without undue struggle for a few years. This has afforded me the leisure to speculate to my hearts content. I’ve always been a dreamer, from my earliest memory as a child, and will undoubtedly be one until I draw my last breath.
The Dallas – Houston bullet train is certainly an expensive and ambitious venture. Dang. Too bad I wasn’t consulted!