Michael Bobbitt: Open Letter to Inscoe Regarding Rail


Mr. Inscoe I re-read the article in the Dispatch about your pitch to have the proposed high speed train stopping in our fair city.  This letter to you from someone who frequently uses Amtrak services to travel 200 – 300 miles one way.

Acela is Amtrak’s high speed train running between Washington and Boston a distance of 450 miles with only 14 stops between the two cities.  The regular train has 14 stops between Washington and New York City only half the distance to Boston.  Currently the maximum speed for the Acela is 150 miles per hour although the train operates normally around 125 mph.  The regular train’s maximum speed is 79mph in that area and operates around 50 mph.  The objective of high-speed rail is simply high-speed travel with limited stops.

I drive to Richmond to take the train north to my destination because there are nine trains daily instead of the one from Durham or two from Raleigh.  The train ride from Durham or Raleigh north to my principle destination is 9 hours long.  The train from Richmond to the same destination is 4.5 hours.  Why?  Shorter distance and less station stops.  Having a daily high speed train stop in our hamlet just slows the travel of the high speed train to its destination lengthening travel time. 

If your objective is to bring jobs to Henderson, here is reality check; all current train stops have automated ticket machine for on-site ticket sales.  Most stations offer zero baggage service.  I have said before that high speed rail can bring jobs to our area if we concentrate our efforts on track and signal maintenance instead of wanting to delay a high speed train with a stop in Henderson.  Ticket sales are automated.  Track and signal maintenance work requires a highly trained skilled labor force which equals jobs.  Well paying jobs.  

Michael Bobbitt