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  •  Yet it is a different story in the USA (none)
    where the distances are longer, and the maintenance of high-quality track is a vastly more expensive proposition.  I lived for four years in Germany, in Bavaria, and the railway system was maintained at a loss and later privatized into the Deutsche Bahn, which has rapidly diversified over time.  It is nowhere near ready to be classified as a publicly traded firm, yet it is a standard by which our own rail system could and should be measured.

    I have been in Japan, off and on for twenty years.  Japan Rail is not considered a profitable enterprise by any stretch of the imagination:  its relationship with the government has always been incestuous at best.  Japan Rail has huge liabilities under its various and sundry corporate entities, and like the US Postal Service has been a heavily regulated entity.  I would not call JR in any of its corporate incarnations a profitable enterprise.

    All this is moot:  as you point out, there are far larger considerations at hand.  American society is best served by a working mass transit system, as it has been similarly served by highway taxes and tolls to this point.  The USA has failed to exert any national will to make the rail system a priority, and mass transit in general has been given short shrift.

    People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

    by BlaiseP on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 10:03:30 PM PST

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    •  You're right about Japan (none)
      and density, and about JR not "really" being profitable. But the interesting thing is - rails across the country are still cheaper to maintain than roads.

      http://higherfrequency.blogspot.com

      by Bensch on Thu Jan 05, 2006 at 11:01:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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