HBLR wrote:You would not believe how many times noobs/tourists get freaked out on PATH when amtrak or NJT decides to show up as we are coming into harrison for a stop, the trains get about 1-2 feet from each other.
Most tourists (of those who don't understand trains) don't know or think about the amount of control involved. They are familiar with highway traffic with a semi in the next lane that they breathe easier when it isn't there. And they are used to vehicles passing, not pacing, especially when there is no path left for opposing traffic.
With experience comes comfort. Those who drive or ride in cars a lot get used to having semis feet away at speed ... and while one of those vehicles could change lanes at any time (with no rails engineered to keep vehicles in their lane - only an often faded line of paint and reflective "cats eyes" on some roads) in their experience that rarely happens. Those who ride (or drive) trains a lot get used to the opposing train meets and passing or pacing trains. And while on a two lane road having another vehicle pace you around curves and over hills is dangerous, on railroads it is generally safe. That other train wouldn't be there without permission.
And that is the key thing to remember ... it is all under control.
It is fun when it happens ... especially on "competing" lines. Side by side tracks could put riders in different trains closer to each other than riders in their own train. Having an opposing train split the middle would be a shocking disruption if one was casually enjoying the view of the other train.