Phony Tesla PR Stunt/ Shut Down Grossly Inefficient Amtrak

The founder of Tesla Motors also is in the rocket business. Elon Musk launched one of his rockets on February 6 with one of his Tesla electric cars on board. It is a PR stunt for the Tesla car which was supposed to go up and circle the Sun near Mars. We are all supposed to be amused. Unfortunately for Musk, The Verge website reported:

Elon Musk’s Tesla roadster, which launched on top of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy earlier today, is going farther out into the Solar System than originally planned. The car was supposed to be put on a path around the Sun that would take the vehicle out to the distance of Mars’ orbit. But the rocket carrying the car seems to have overshot that trajectory and has put the Tesla in an orbit that extends out into the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

In other words, it is another Musk failure. In case you don’t know Elon Musk is a con artist. He has sucked up more than $5 billion in federal taxpayer subsidies for an extremely inefficient Tesla electric car that few people want and only will buy with subsidies both at the purchase point and at the factory.

Musk is a big liberal and he burned up vast amounts of rocket fuel and created large amounts of pollution for his publicity stunt. Shouldn’t he be worried about ‘global warming’?

No, because not even these left-wing goons believe in “warming”.

Musk once said, “We need to fight the propaganda of the fossil fuel industry”.

So what did he use to power his rocket? Rose petals?

Musk also has injected another piece of man-made junk into space.

Big environmentalist, right? Wrong.

This guy Musk is a phony. He has endless amounts of energy to promote himself, but his ideas don’t work. Even the rocket was based on technology developed over decades by the federal government at NASA.

Now here is today’s Amtrak commentary:

The February 4 Amtrak crash in South Carolina that killed two and injured more than 100 is yet another reason that we should shut down this grossly inefficient taxpayer-funded passenger train service ($1.4 billion in annual federal subsidies). The Amtrak train crashed head-on into a parked freight train, destroying two freight locomotives as well as the Amtrak locomotive and some passenger cars, probably $6 million worth of equipment.

Every time we see such an accident the Democrat safety fanatics demand the installation of a super-expensive and totally unproven computerized system called Positive Train Control (PTC) that uses the Global Positioning System to track trains and allegedly prevent collisions.

Within the next year PTC is supposed to be installed on tens of thousands of miles of mainline freight train tracks in the US and will cost the private-sector freight railroads up to $20 billion. They already have spent billions and there is no guarantee that PTC will work or reduce accidents. Computer failures could even increase accidents since we know that computers fail routinely, particularly with a complex system like PTC which has never been installed or tested before.

Interestingly government-run Amtrak has not installed PTC on just 237 miles of its own dedicated Northeast Corridor track between Washington, DC and New York City even though it has had 40 years to do so since the PTC concept was first suggested. Some sections of the route have a less-advanced form of control called ATC.

PTC might have prevented the May 2015 Amtrak derailment outside Philadelphia which killed eight and that was attributed to high speed on a non-ATC section of track.

Amtrak carries only about 85,000 passengers per day nationwide out of tens of millions of intercity travelers per day (2 million by air alone). Amtrak uses the tracks of private freight railroads for most of its system. This South Carolina crash happened where Amtrak was traveling on the tracks of the CSX freight railroad.

This is a recipe for disaster. By using the very busy mainline tracks of the big freight railroads Amtrak not only puts its passengers in danger but it slows down the freight railroad system that our national economy relies on.

The South Carolina accident closed the heavily trafficked New York-Florida freight corridor, backing up dozens of trains all up and down the East Coast. This will take several days to work itself out, and this has been repeated all over the country with Amtrak crashes.

Amtrak runs one train per day in each direction between Chicago and Seattle on the tracks of the freight hauling BNSF Railway. Over the 44 hour trip, there are at least four Amtrak trains running between the two cities on any given day, two in each direction.

These four Amtrak trains are supposed to get priority over freight trains, up to 100 freights per day somewhere on that 2,100 mile stretch of track. This causes the BNSF freights to run inefficiently and adds to costs for shipping of the goods carried on the trains. Consumers ultimately pay for this inefficiency.

This Chicago-Seattle route is covered by airlines that are faster, cheaper and vastly more fuel efficient than Amtrak. The plane trip is 4 hours; Amtrak needs 11 times as long and that does not even account for Amtrak often being up to 10 hours late. That is why so many Amtrak passengers are retirees with lots of time on their hands, or college students or tourists out for a train ride. Amtrak loses $80 million per year on the route.

Amtrak also runs with historically low passenger loads. The train that crashed in South Carolina was only reported to have been carrying 139 passengers. That is a very small load for a major intercity train (Miami to New York), probably a 30% passenger load or less. Most airlines run full or close to capacity as most air travelers know.

On February 6 an Amtrak Acela high-speed train headed for New York City from Washington, DC broke apart at one of its couplers at 125 MPH but was able to stop safely with no injuries reported. It had a paltry 52 passengers on board even though it was scheduled to arrive around the rush hour in New York. Aren’t these trains supposed to be crucial elements in our transit system that are jam-packed with passengers?

Apparently not…

Another Amtrak corridor runs straight south from Vancouver, Canada to Seattle, Washington to Portland, Oregon to Eugene, Oregon. It is 470 miles long. These trains also use the tracks of the crucial BNSF freight railroad that serves the greater Seattle area along with Vancouver and Portland. Yet that busy BNSF corridor must accommodate 8 passenger trains a day in each direction. This is a major impediment to the freight system.

The Vancouver-Eugene Amtrak route only carries 2,300 passengers per day over 470 miles. This is a statistically negligible passenger load; you could fit 2,300 passengers on four New York City rush-hour subway trains arriving at Grand Central Station within 2 minutes of each other and coming from just a few miles away.

Amtrak should be barred from using the tracks of the freight railroads. For its small number of passengers Amtrak is responsible for a large number of crashes and a significant amount of delay to the freight system. Many Amtrak crashes are directly related to its use of freight train tracks.

Or better yet, Amtrak should be shut down altogether and its Northeast Corridor (Boston to New York to Washington, DC) sold off to private investors.

Here’s another story about one of the most famous Amtrak crashes ever, at Chase, Maryland:

On January 4, 1987, an Amtrak train traveling at 108 MPH slammed into two Conrail freight locomotives running “light” (pulling no cars behind them) that had emerged onto the main line from a siding track. Fourteen Amtrak passengers died.

The engineer and conductor in the Conrail locomotive cab had missed a red signal. They were found to have been smoking marijuana and so the accident could have been prevented with a $2 drug test. There would have been no need for a multi-billion dollar PTC system.

See how simple and inexpensive safety can be?

The Conrail engineer also had a history of drunk driving convictions. Thus a simple background check would have disqualified him from his job. Again, no PTC needed.

The Amtrak engineer was also running 20 MPH over the limit before he slowed when he spotted the Conrail locomotives. The December 18, 2017 crash near Seattle also was attributed to high speed, as was the Philadelphia crash where the engineer was going 106 MPH in a 50 MPH zone.

Finally here is a new development in the Philadelphia crash almost three years after the event. Fox News reports:

An Amtrak engineer was ordered Tuesday to stand trial for a deadly 2015 derailment in Philadelphia as a judge reinstated involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges.

Another judge had thrown out the charges against 34-year-old Brandon Bostian last year, ruling that the evidence pointed to an accident, not negligence.

Pennsylvania prosecutors appealed. Judge Kathryn S. Lewis ruled that the earlier judge had erred and that there was sufficient evidence to send the case to trial.

Good. has been saying from the start that this was no simple accident. Let’s find out the truth about this tragic event and expose what is really going on at Amtrak, which is systematically deficient. If Amtrak were in the private sector it would have been shut down within two years of its start in 1971.

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