Letter to the editor: Railroad service delusion
Tuesday, January 10, 2017 05:01 am
There is a fine book called “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.” In Fort Wayne we have an unpopular delusion without any crowd madness. The delusion is rail service from Columbus, Ohio, through Fort Wayne to Chicago. People don’t use trains. Columbus hasn’t had any rail service for the past 38 years.
Fort Wayne train service is now at Waterloo, just one mile east of I-69 and only 20 miles from DuPont Road. There are two morning trains to Chicago and one evening train to Fort Wayne and the East. Parking is free and safe. The day after Christmas my wife went to Chicago. She was the only person on the entire lower level of the coach car. Returning four days later, six people got off in Waterloo.
In the summer I went to Chicago, and returning on a nice Sunday night I was the only one getting off at Waterloo. In a dozen trips over the past few years there were about a dozen people coming and going each time. The trains were often an hour late. Freight traffic takes precedence. People don’t ride trains. They want a car when they get wherever.
There is no void in local train service. What we have is not used, and every rider costs the taxpayer $58 in subsidy. Two million riders and a profitable operation by 2020 is a delusion. What this Northeast Indiana rail plan is about is raising money for consultants, studies and assessments that will, of course, tell the money providers what they want to hear, even if it doesn’t reach the level of a pipe dream.
Joseph L. Cipolone