Amtrak is in financial trouble again. Perhaps Amtrak is a good counterexample to the idea that all monopolies rake in festering gobs of cash. For Amtrak, this is unso.
I like trains. I like the technology, I like the mode of travel. Taking a train is an act of rebellion in this land of ever-compressing schedules. There's something positively nineteenth century about taking two days to go from Boston, MA to St. Louis, MO. I've selected two books, Survival City and The Loud Hound of Darkness, as traveling companions. It should be delightful.
The downside to trains is the cost. Trains are a far more expensive means of travel than planes. For my trip, I'm paying nearly five times the rate airlines charge for the same route. Oh well, that's what money's for: selecting the agent of one's unplanned demise. However, like some occult illumati conspiracy, Amtrak's money woes are coming to a head exactly when I need dependable transportation to YAPC. I leave Monday and arrive in St. Louis on Tuesday. Will Amtrak be solvent in time to return me to Boston on Sunday?