Well, isn't it interesting that the day before I get ready to hop on Amtrak to go up to visit my brother and sister in Baltimore, that President Obama has unveiled his vision for high-speed rail in the U.S.! I think it's great that there is this vision, and I hope it won't take too long to become reality. When I told my brother I'd be taking Amtrak up to visit him for the weekend, I think he thought that's just silly. He offered to drive the hour down, and pick me up and bring me up to Baltimore, and then I could take Amtrak back home. Now to me, THAT'S silly - it's a waste of time and gas (even though he has an economical car). For me, taking Amtrak is HALF the price of getting a Zipcar (a day's use is about $80). Yes, when you consider $40 to get up and back to Baltimore, it DOES seem kind of expensive. BUT, when you add up my yearly total transportation costs, it's inexpensive. I have been keeping track, and so far this year, I have probably only spent about $100 for transportation costs. I bet my brother has spent more than that for gas and other maintenance for his car since January 1.
I will get in a nice bike ride on my Bike Friday Tikit to Union Station in D.C., and the travel time up to Baltimore is about 45 min. Not bad at all. Plus, I get to spend two full days with my brother and sister, vs. just one day (when I get a Zipcar). I'll get some good reading done along the way, vs. dealing with any traffic. Plus, I haven't actually been in Baltimore's Penn Station, so that'll be a new experience. I was reading online that the station is the 8th busiest station in the U.S.
I'll look forward to the future of high speed rail, which, according to an illustrated map (www.fra.dot.gov/downloads/rrdev/hsrmap.pdf), will cover a lot of the East coast! Lucky for me! :)