amtrak northeast corridor

I was on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor Line on Friday.  While traveling through the Connecticut I decided to call a long time friend of mine on my cell phone.  The call was dropped four times.  I have always known that there is spotty coverage along the line, but frankly this was ridiculous.  While on the call my friend noted that he had driven through rural North Carolina just a few weeks ago and his wife held a telephone conversation uninterupted for an hour.

This is just another example of how our highways have been favored over our railroads.  The lack of cell phone infrastructure is not Amtrak’s fault per se. However, they are not blameless either.  Amtrak should be working with Verizon and AT&T to build cell towers on or near their tracks, especially if they truly want to be known as a business-friendly line.  Amtrak could give easements to the telephone companies on their land in order to build more towers.  This is an agreement that would benefit both the mobile phone corporations and Amtrak.  Train rides are pretty luxurious when compared to a car ride or a plane ride.  It is a shame that one of the contemporary amenities of most highway drives in the Northeast–cell phone coverage–is currently partially missing along the premier passenger train route in the country.

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Alaska Railraod

I just updated the blog’s page linking to all state departments of transportation.  In the process I noticed that almost all of them have something quirky or interesting.  In a four part series the blog will look at the most intriguing links on each state’s page.

Alabama: a video of the hidden treasures of traveling while the stars fall on.

Alaska: stunning pictures of and from the Alaska Railroad.

Arizona: I applaud the Department’s effort to promote the underused and incredibly safe roundabouts.

Arkansas: I’ve never driven through, but now that I know 600 species of wildflowers are protected on the side of the road I want to!

California: A neat story from the California Transportation Journal on the history of the Caltrans Translab, which does work on projects like greener concrete.

Colorado: A great campaign to share the road with cyclists and pedestrians called “Oink“.  This particular ad is hysterical.

Connecticut: Connecticut is attempting build public transportation in its major cities and is offering a free 10 day trial ride to get people hooked, if seats are available.

Delaware: The Department of Transportation has a cultural resources department which conducts archaeological digs.  Here are the periods of history preserved in Delaware.

Florida: I learned that South Florida has commuter rail.  I did not even know it existed.

Georgia: The state is installing HOT lanes on I-85, which goes through Hotlanta Atlanta.

Hawaii: Apparently in Hawaii one celebrates energy efficiency with a big check and a lei.

Idaho: The state is battling a plight of invasive plant species brought in by pesky cars from other states.  You won’t find great pictures of trains but you will find great pictures of herbicide treatment.