Amtrak has screwed up again. At least 6 people (and when you see pictures of the wreckage, it’s hard to believe it was only 6) are dead, after a train went off the track and at least some wagons over a bridge and onto the freeway below, in Washington state. This seems to happen to Amtrak a lot. They are like the Aeroflot of trains.
The thing is, it shouldn’t be that hard. It’s not like earthquakes, or volcanoes, which come from the earth and there’s nothing human beings can do to stop them. It’s not like wildfires, which, although some might be arson, can conceivably be due to natural causes. There’s nothing natural about a train wreck, because there’s nothing natural about trains. These are designed, built and operated by human beings. Every time one of them crashes, it’s because at least one, and probably more, human beings fucked up. Either the designers and engineers of the railroad, or a sleepy conductor or switch man
A bit more vigilance, maybe a few dollars more spent on upgrading the system, and accidents like this would be rarer. Japan, France, and other countries have high speed trains zipping around all day long at speeds Amtrak can only dream of, and they don’t seem to have accidents like this as often. In most countries in the world, trains are a common, and safe way to get around.
So, what can America do? First, start giving a shit about rail transportation.