MEGAN MCARDLE: “McCain wants to shut down Amtrak. Liberals are predictibly (and understandably) outraged. I’m not sure, however, that this is such a terrible idea, even environmentally. The lines that actually run at a profit–those in the Virginia-Massachussetts corridor–would still be profitable, and presumably operated by some private company. The other lines are a mixed bag, environmentally; it isn’t really good for the environment to run trains at low capacity. And the federal government, because of the EIS process, other procedural barriers, and a great deal of logrolling, has so far not succeeded in making sensible upgrades to the system. The Acela was announced in 1994, actually went live six years later despite the really rather minor infrastructure improvements required, and at lavish expense now gets passengers to Boston one half-hour quicker in slightly comfier seats.”

We took the Acela from New York to Boston a few years ago; First Class was as cheap as flying on the shuttle, and much, much nicer. But we were the only ones in First Class for much of the trip.