Originally Posted by GoTrans
I don't know where you get your information about saying rail service will never dominate a 250 mile route. You only need to look at France where or the Chunnel where TGV or Eurostar have drastically reduced the airline share of intercity transportation. Yes, the government had to provide the start up capital but the lines generate a profit which is repaying the debt. It can be done if you want to do it. Never say never.
Oh, of course rail can be a major player in a 250-mile-long travel market, but air will always be a major player in such markets, too.
What I'm talking about is how, at travel markets of about 100 miles, rail becomes the market killer --- the absolutely, positively best option for most travelers.
For people traveling between Frankfurt and Cologne, or between London and Birmingham, how many fly?
For people traveling between Chicago and Milwaukee, between New York City and Philadelphia, how many fly?
These are markets where a rail service can practically own
the market, rather than merely share
a decent chunk. Rail is perfect for these, specifically because it's an awkward distance for other modes of travel: it's uneconomical for air travel, as the bulk of domestic flight costs are fixed costs and thus a 100-mile flight will be priced similarly as a 500-mile flight. The high airborne price for such a "short" trip would make people consider driving, but then there are serious issues of traffic (adding unpredictability and possibly a very long travel time) and parking (rapidly escalating cost by the hour). If rail service can be quick and reliable, with some accommodations made for regional distribution at either end (as ardec says, suburban stations, such as Glenview, Sturtevant, and MKE for the Chicago-Milwaukee route), rail can be dominant.