Cowford wrote:It's 1956. You live in Boston and have to travel to Pittsburgh, a medium-distance lane. The NH offers six departures per day that connect with PRR at Penn Station. Once on the train, it takes you 14-17 hours to arrive in Pittsburgh.Are you sure? It is about 500 miles between Boston and Pittsburg, according to geobytes.com. So the train had to travel at an average speed of 35 miles per hour through the whole trip to take 14 hours? That seems a little slow, especially for 1956 when I assume the tracks were maintained better that now. 500 miles at the average speed of 60 mph would take about 8 hours. I guess the total trip duration would be 10-11 hours to allow for travel to and from the RR station.
Cowford wrote: Back to 1956... TWA offered 10 connecting flights a day in the same lane. Those flights took about 4-5 hours. Only two of the ten flights arrived between midnight and 6am. The round trip flight fare was $465 (in today's dollars), and (for you subsidy sleuths) was subject to a 10 percent tax. (Were rail fares taxed then??? I've no idea.)Well if the flights took 4-5 hours the whole trip would take 7.5-8.5 hours, wouldn't it? Two hours to travel to and from the airport, one hour for security checks, half hour to pick up luggage? Not that much dramatically different from the rail road. And again, if government did not especially favor the airlines and they had to pay for traffic control and the airports, the ticket would've been a lot more expensive. And then perhaps air travel for medium range distances wouldn't be as popular. But again, we can't really change history...
Cowford wrote: It offered such a productivity improvement over rail, promoting those new fangled travel options was in the nation's best interest.I think this is true only for long distance travel, for example Boston to SF.