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Lovely, nicely written piece about training to NYC sans Amtrak (“The Third Rail,” May 9). Minor quibble: BWI some time ago was renamed Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport. We all should use that name, honoring the great Baltimorean who was the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. It took some persistent noodging (and reminders of the…Ronald Reagan National Airport flap between Metro and Congress), but Amtrak’s president, Alex Kummant, has instructed conductors and station announcers to use the correct name.

Reform party

Mike DeBonis, in his informative Loose Lips column last week lists DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s three major initiatives so far: school closings, central office firings, and budget reform. School closings, yup. Office firings, yup. But budget reform? Turns out (as DeBonis graciously acknowledged in a post-publication e-mail) that when he referred to the Chancellor’s “budget reform,” he actually meant her refusal to release detailed budget information to the public. DeBonis, whose reporting I otherwise respect, explained his use of the phrase: “Good point, well taken. I needed a quick way to refer to that decision—‘late budgeting’ didn’t really work, for instance.” No problem. It’s just that the Mayor and Chancellor have been getting away with calling everything they do “reform”—even their legislative proposals for more secrecy and less democracy. A growing number of people…aren’t buying it.

Marc Borbely
Stanton Park

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Reader responses regarding “The Third Rail” from washingtoncitypaper.com

Interesting article! I routinely drive from DC to NY in 3 hours. I can’t imagine taking 12. It’s crazy that in this country, where we used to have such a great train system, it takes 12 hours or $100 to get 250 miles.

I wonder if there are cabs in Perryville. What would a cab ride cost from there to Wilmington?

I rode the Greyhound for an entire summer in 2000. I bought an unlimited ticket that lets you get on any bus anywhere for I believe a 3-month period. I used it to get to job interviews across the country.

What a different world it was. It was packed with guys who looked to be fresh out of prison or headed there soon. A couple of buses broke down on the side of the road. They often left late with no explanation of any kind. In a way I’m kind of proud I did it, but I’ll never ride a Greyhound again.

Posted by JB, May 8, 2008, 9:43 a.m.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading THE THIRD RAIL and your very interesting AND informative comments. In fact I forwarded this article to friends, co-workers, PASSENGER TRAIN JOURNAL, and my union.

Josh, thanks for posting NJT’s “Notice to Passengers”. David, the cheapest fare between BAL and WAS is $14. Hope 2 see yall rock ’n’ roll on the Northeast Corridor.


Posted by Sam Jennings, Amtrak Conductor, WAS-NYP, May 9, 2008, 8:56 p.m.

Hi-Speed Queen

Cruising the Corridor

Hi-Speed Queen

Acela Express

upscale scene

Civilized Shuttle

blazing trails

Heavy metal

sizzling rails

Gotham flash

dc power

chic connection

on the hour

Double any

Regional fare

Save 5 minutes

“I do declare”

But chronic breakdowns

far from rare

Where R we?

“I swear!”

Corporate cult

ticket to success

Fastraking on

American Express

1st Class clones

sophisticated style

Custom service

tailored with a smile

Executive Trainig

Class on the run

“Scotch on the rocks!”

Lesson #1

NO deadheading!

Passriding taboo

Restrictions apply

even 2 U

Yet those excluded

from inside

must subsidize

this royal ride

Federal funds needed

to put trains on track,

but taxes spent

on War in Iraq.

Posted by Samtrak, May 10, 2008, 9:05 a.m.

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