Iceland volcano eruption causes more air travel headaches but trains move the stranded travelers in Europe in another example of how a viable passenger rail service can provide transportation in a natural disaster.
The Eurostar trains quickly sold out when the volcano closed European airspace this week, but the secondary trains were able to help keep passengers moving towards their destinations.
The extensive network of intercity trains in Europe were able to step up and help when airlines were grounded. Do we have this capability in most of the United States? No, unfortunately most of the US is not covered by adequate train transportation to be helpful.
The exceptions in the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and California not withstanding many locations with Amtrak service only see one train in each direction a day. This of course, would not be enough to replace the thousands of daily short and mid-distance flights.
After 9/11/01, Amtrak was able to help move stranded passengers, but to do this it has to have trains scheduled and available.
Now is the time to expand AMTRAK so that it can help when it is needed in a Natural or other disaster.
We have all our eggs in the flight bucket - it would also be great to invest in rail to help the economy too