24 May, 2008

Commuter Rail in Jacksonville Past? You Bet! Number One In The State!


Since 1912 - Reactivated in 2008

This is the massive system we junked in favor of more "flexible modern buses." Shortly after the buy out by National City Lines, Motor Transit Company, the City was "gifted" with becoming the hub of a new General Motors Distribution Center. While the buses might have seemed like a great idea at the time, they added fuel to our sprawl. No longer would development be confined to easy commuter rail routes (Yes, streetcars and light rail are "Forms" of commuter rail but NOT what is usually ment by the term). The routes could be altered on a whim, and thus the heavy investment of livable spaces never developed along them. Autos took control and suddenly as if by magic, all of the National City Properties went bankrupt one by one to be pawned off on the Cities and taxpayers. Amazing that today, we are fighting those same agencys to see the error of their ways. Sadly, many efforts have fallen on deaf ears, "Skyways" and "BRT" or "Hovercraft" would save us. Did you know the Automobile and it's sister vehicles were NOT AMERICAN by invention and neither was the ship or the monorail? FACT! The Streetcar and Interurban train are our own unique creation and gift to the world. Won't you join me in leading the charge in bringing them home again!
A Series of Micro-Posts on a Lost Art


Do you Travel or do you make trips "swiftly?"

trav?el ?? (trvl) KEY ?VERB: trav?eled or trav?elled , trav?el?ing or trav?el?ling , trav?els

VERB: intr.
To go from one place to another, as on a trip; journey.
To go about in the company of a particular group; associate: travels in wealthy circles.
To move along a course, as in a groove, (or track?).
To admit of being transported without loss of quality; Some wines travel poorly.

Informal To move swiftly. (Note: there is no formal meaning that equates travel with moving swiftly).

VERB: tr.
To pass or journey over or through; traverse: travel the roads of Europe.

The act or process of traveling; movement or passage from one place to another.
A series of journeys.
An account of one's journeys.
Activity or traffic along a route or through a given point.
The activity or business of arranging trips or providing services for travelers.

ETYMOLOGY: Middle English travelen, alteration of travailen, to toil, from Old French travailler ; see travail

Where's the Bar? Got drink? Sandwich? Chips? Salsa? Music? Conversation? Care to Dance?

I always thought it important to have just a bit more room, a place to kick back, maybe take in some music, read a good book, or watch some video, hey, there's an open card game in the corner... can't you see it? Of course you won't on this crowded aircraft, but then we're in a rush remember? 2 hours to get to the airport ahead of the flight to get through security, 1 hour to fly and 1 more hour to get your bags and get out of security = 5 hours and we only went from Jacksonville to Tampa. Sorry but my train is arriving downtown in about 5 minutes and you
won't feel any pain on landing.
Here are 3 meals, only one is from an aircraft and two are onboard a train, can you decide which you'd rather eat?

Ever meet anyone that loved airplane food? I'm not talking about keeping it down, or someone that considers it edible or even good, I mean in the sense that they'd fly just to eat the stuff? Yet I've known dozens, maybe even 100 people that would ride the Hiawatha to have the baked Salmon, or the Silver Meteor to eat the Peanut Soup. Unlike airline or bus terminal food, each railroad dinning car has it's own chef, and each train it's own idenity, so no one just eats, they bask in a long tradition of excellence as they dine with ever changing views.

*(The one wrapped in plastic and paper is the airplane meal)

When you travel have you seen the great cities, farms, towns, mountains and rivers of America?

The view from 15 feet is so much better then the one from 30,000 feet. As you can get up and walk around anytime, visit the lounge or dinning car on a train, you'll arrive bathed in a new sense of the earths beauty.

Did you enjoy my views of Montana? Which one talked to you the most... come on... be honest!


The arguments rage to this date, "Should have never been built," "waste of taxpayer money," "Doesn't go anywhere," "Nobody rides it..." etc. Bottom line is we have it, and it is finally showing signs of life. Simple extensions to the Stadium, San Marco, and the area of Blue Cross in North Riverside would turn this little train around. Addition of Park and Ride garages and multimodal transit terminals at the end points would bring on the crowds. The video must have been shot on a Sunday Morning, as downtown is certainly as packed with life as any other major City on weekdays. Jacksonville is a city of Bikes, joggers, walkers, buses and cars, one almost wonders how the photographer managed to find this quiet moment.

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