I was returning from one of my distasteful, although fortunately infrequent, visits to Washington. In order to justify the payments I received, I needed to perform a bit of consulting work, and from time to time be in contact with a continually changing nonentity in the Federal Energy Department. I had taken the train
to save money. As usual, it was running late, taking nine hours to make a six-hour trip. We did encounter a one-hour power-down in North Carolina, but, still, a three-hour delay is a three-hour delay.
Elsewhere, trains could travel at four hundred kilometers an hour. In this country, even on the faster intercity routes, two hundred was a top speed. Our trips tended to be longer; all the more reason for trains to be faster. Why had we not invested in the necessary infrastructure? Worst of all, through our outmoded rail system we were wasting energy—and this particularly bothered me.
In Savannah, the train station was located a few kilometers from downtown in a rundown area of scrub brush and litter. A poorly maintained bus carted passengers from the inter-city train station to downtown locations. I got off at Drayton Street where I needed another vehicle—a street tram—to take me south, out of the historic district.